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

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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
  • ashwin kumar p

    Insights,request for Pub ad strategy plzzz

  • ashwin kumar p

    mark sheet???????

  • AKS

    Insights … it will be extremely helpful if some tips are given for preparing history as an optional ..

  • Lovi

    Can u pls provide help regarding Economics optional ?

  • Gauri

    Congrats Neha Ma’am you got amazing marks. Especially in essay 158 is a magical number to get. We need to learn even essay writing from you 🙂

  • Curie

    Geography optional strategy plzzzzz……

  • Neeru Sethi

    Plz give guidance for history optional also

  • Yash

    Thanks Neha

  • Paul

    Please give tips about ESSAY and ETHICS…u have got mind boggling scores 🙂

  • yugender sharma

    plz give tips for gs 3rd n 4th paper and geography optional

  • g srinivas

    Insights thanks ..Could you please do same kind of article for History Optional

  • anshu

    Congrats mam, Insights can u plzz arrange for the tips of Sociology

  • Discipline9

    Congratulations Ms.Neha on your success.
    Can you please share the strategy for ethics papr and also the presentation skills specific to ethics paper. Many do feel that they wrote well but end up getting less marks like me.
    Kindly help us. Thank you.


    I would request if Insight could arrange for tips of Sociology optional….

  • Atul Sharma

    Please sir bring up Geography optional topper strategy

  • SKP

    Insights …….pl. arrange some tips for Public administration as an optional ..

  • satwik Raj


  • Gauri

    In a nutshell, people need help for History, Geography, PubAd, Sociology, Economics and Ethics.

  • Anand

    Amazing scores in ethics and essay. Great! Would you be kind enough to share any ethics mock answer sheet via insights? It would be helpful for all aspirants. Thank you so much in advance!

  • Thedarkknight

    Thanku ma’am for your valuable time will try to take clue from path u followed

  • Durga

    yea… desperately need such guidance for history optional… Kindly help!

  • shdl

    Congratulations mam..
    It would be great if you make it for Geography Thanks

  • Yaswanth Reddy

    pls post for history as an optional

  • Chandu RedE

    Thank you mam. All the best in your future endeavours.


    Congrats Ma’am and all the best. The information was very useful and i appreciate your effort to put up a detailed article and also thanks to INSIGHTS.

  • Daenerys

    Hi Neha…would you please upload the sample of your Anthro notes and questions compilation. I would really be thankful 🙂

  • Deepti Chahar

    Thank you! 🙂

  • Deepti Chahar

    From where to get Vaid Sir’s notes and Braintree notes???? Sorry I’m not aware about it.

    • Vipin Gedam

      They are available at Jawahar book depot in Delhi. Contact them.
      PS: I did the same ?

      • Deepti Chahar

        Thank you very much for letting me know 🙂 But can I place order online as I’m not staying in Delhi????

        • VIPIN

          Yes, you can..
          Put a mail in their enquiry section available on their website regarding your requirement,they will reply you the further details

          • Deepti Chahar

            Alright! Thank you very much once again! 🙂

            • VIPIN

              You r welcm:)

      • Manoj

        Thanks Vipin, I was looking for this from many days…

        • VIPIN

          Pleasure is mine, Manoj!

          • Manoj

            Hi Vipin.
            Are you taking any coaching for anthropology….?

            • VIPIN

              No, not at all, relying on self preparation!
              Using coaching material as a reference.

              • Manoj

                Thanks for the reply… Sometimes doubts about self preparations crosses in my mind with no proper background in anthropology and no one with the subject in my circle… Message came out with anxiety… Thanks and all the best

                • Sonia

                  Can somebody mail me the Braintree Anthro notes??? I am outside Delhi and cannot come.

                  • da

                    buy it from ebay. i bought it today

              • Lav Kumar

                hi vipin , please reply is jawahar book depo is same that is in front of old JNU campus to buy vaid’s notes of anthropology? and what will be the cost of the vaid’s notes?

              • ppun

                How was ur mains???? anthro part??? m giving xam this year 2016.. need some advice reg anthro..thanxx

      • Snehal Nimse

        Thank you so much for this… But do they parcel it to mumbai?

        • VIPIN

          Yes, they do.

          • Snehal Nimse

            Thank you so much. This was of immense help.

      • Lav Kumar

        is jawahar book depo is same which is in front of old JNU campus? and what will be the cost of vaid’s notes?

        • VIPIN

          Hello luv Kumar,
          1) I never went to Delhi to visit JBD, all the communications were done online as m from Maharashtra, I ordered material by courier.
          2) Vaid sir notes costs me 900/-

      • Abhishek Kumar

        Hi , mine also anthropology optional subject but I am not aware them plz help.

  • sg

    I believe that this strategy does not originally belong to Neha Kumari. Because I have seen this same strategy posted as it is (except tribal part) by one of the top scorer of CSE 2013 at Orkut community (Interview prep 4 IAS) after CSE 2013 results were out.

  • MCA (K)

    Plz tell me where can i get Vaid sir notes in Hyderabad.

  • kdas12aug

    I could not find anywhere the book ‘S Das’ for anthropology. There is a book by ‘B M Das for Physical Anthropology’. If anybody knows about the book by S Das please kindly let me know from where to buy it !

  • sri ram

    plz upload notes neha jii,,,,, would be really helpful


    any online material or buks available which explains the fossils part diagrammatically..?

  • brute

    hey… any doctors preparing from bangalore? right now im in delhi planning to come back to bangalore soon.. .. optional anthro or medicine…mail me- [email protected]

  • nicksyna

    Friends there is a forum for Anthropology discussion as well….

  • Anirban Ray

    how one can buy Braintree materials and vaid sir notes??

  • Bidisha Chakraborty

    What exactly is the name of P.Nath’s Biological Anthropology book ? I cannot find it on Flipkart or Amazon.

  • Shishir Singh

    Any body want Vaids sir’s notes…then contact me

  • keetaanu

    plz can you upload vaid sir’s booklet for fossil evidence……not able to find it.