ANTHROPOLOGY Strategy: Neha Kumari Rank – 26, CSE 2014 (Plus Her Marks-Sheet)

Anthropology Strategy
Neha Kumari, Rank – 26, CSE – 2014
DISCLAIMER:  Dear friends, I secured 271 marks in Anthropology. This was my first attempt and, like many of you, I was clueless about the subject before filling notification. I did not take any classroom coaching for the optional subject and depended entirely on self-study, guidance from a friend and feedback on answer writing (Vaid’s Test Series).
I am no expert in this subject, I have just shared how I prepared Anthropology because many wanted to know about this. Hope it will be useful.
My optional preparation was mainly done from Mid September 2014 to December 2014. (balancing between GS test series at Insights offline classes). Hence it might NOT be the best strategy in an ideal case.
Moreover due to paucity of time, for the initial reading  I stuck to basic notes by Braintree. Then I tried to read the specific book for particular section and finally made short notes/highlighted those important pages in the book itself.
Please customize my strategy as per your requirements, preparedness and time availability  🙂 Thank you.
Basic Requirement 
1) Please sit with the syllabus and previous years question bank. You will realise that most of the previous year questions have been repeated number of times. Hence it is very important to cover the syllabus along with clarity of understanding as well as making 200-400 words of notes on each sub-topic.
For this I tried to follow this method ( one senior aspirant’s strategy):
In a separate notebook, I divided syllabus of each section into 10 to 12 parts each. Then I noted down one topic. Under this topic, I wrote down all the questions asked in previous years. I completed this exercise for all topics.

Then made short notes of each topic. Notes must be concise crisp. Please remember these notes are useful for only for the person who has made it. So please don’t ask others for their notes as notes are only pointer to the information we read in books and materials.



I bought  Braintree (BT) and Vaid sir (VS) materials. We are not supposed to go through entire material, they are there for ready reference.

PART – 1

Physical Anthropology 

Though I entirely depended on Braintree material for this section, if time is available I would suggest the following:
  • P Nath -(  some topics are not at all useful, please avoid them) – Must buy
  • Das – few topics are really good – Desirable
  • Vaid Sir’s Notes
So for every topic in this section first go through P Nath and VS thoroughly. Now make notes and mug them up. If a question is coming then ideally one should recall entire 100-200 words of the notes.  Even if you can recollect 60% then also we will get at least 50% marks

Fossil Evidence:

  • S Das
  • Photocopy of one booklet (40 – 50 pages) in Vaid Sir’s – It is must – summary of each fossil with evolution tree and proper easily reproducible diagrams are given. Here no need to make separate notes. For most of the topics just enrich this booklet with information you get from other sources.


Please Visit:

For this section I depended on Vaid Sir’s Socio-Cultural Anthropology book and the remaining topics from Braintree material.

Take one theory at a time, make notes from both of above sources and memorise them on same day. It will take 2 hours daily for ten days and believe me you won’t require anything else.

(P.S.- While doing the theories, I was feeling like doing a PHD on each of them, but after it was over once I felt really good and confident about them.)
PART – 2
Socio Cultural Anthropology:Introduction to Socio-cultural Anthropology by Dr N K Vaid, recently revised, Palka publications
This book is very good. No need for making separate notes.BrainTree notes are good and crucial for topics not covered in the above book.Though I heard about Ember and Ember I could not find time for it and hence left that book altogether. Some topics are good in Ember and Ember (For example, Segmental Lineage, Chart for Band vs Tribes vs…. ) If we have time then for this section, then  Ember and Ember can be referred. I didn’t find this book important for any other section.Indian Anthropology
Books:Usually no need to refer notes for this section.

  • Nadeem Hasnani

For topics like ST SC OBC their backwardness and welfare, newspapers are important and 12th FYP relevant chapters are must.

Archeology :

The book mentioned above covers this section also.
Archeology and Theories are the core of Anthropology and I personally believe that if attempted,  questions of this section fetch more marks and creates good impression.

Here we must make notes of sites, Indian archaeologist associated with them.Tribals:Friends, being from Chota Nagpur plateau this was my forte. I really enjoyed reading this part.

  • Referred mainly to Nadeem Hasnani’s Tribal Anthropology.
  • N.K Vaid’s “Who cares for tribal development” can also be very helpful.
Last year January Yojana article completely covered tribal issues, planning related problems, Forest rights etc.This was very useful for me.
For basics we must know the various tribes of various regions, their special traditions, diseases prevalent in them, their socio economic status, problems of tribes in general with latest concrete data. Any new policy affecting or for tribes must be thoroughly prepared.
I still feel I could have planned better for my optional which could have fetched me better marks. I had skipped the Fossil Evidence chapters due to lack of time and revision. But Anthropology paper was kind and gave us an opportunity to write good answers.
Again I would like to point out that the excessive answer writing practice for optional (Vaid Test Series), Anthropology Answer Writing Challenges (Insights), General Studies papers through , Secure, Daily Tests were helpful when writing answers as paper 2 was of general nature.
Overall as an optional Anthropology has been a life saviour for me and has beautifully bailed me out. I hope it does the same for you.
Neha’s Marks Sheet:
Neha Kumari Rank 26 Marks