Tanai Sultania, Rank 63, CSE – 2016
This is the strategy I followed. Please choose one which suits you as there can never be single strategy to succeed in this exam.
Paper 1 — 136
Paper 2– 157
In 2015 ,I had 93(Paper 1) and 116(Paper 2), all due to my fault. Had focused more on GS and neglected sociology thus cleared mains marginally and missed final list by 12 marks.
Thus this time I prepared comprehensively by memorizing the syllabus, and focusing on each and every topic mentioned. Knowing the syllabus well is important to correlate in answer writing.
Many questions (RTE,NREGA, globalization and Informal sector, sex ratio, inequalities and acute poverty as challenges to social transformation) look like GS questions but are from a particular topic in syllabus and hence it is very important to correlate and write accordingly.
I had attended Mohapatra sir’s classes(Vajiram and ravi) and thus class notes were my base notes for both the papers.
My Book List:
- Paper 1
Mohapatra sir notes
Upendra sir Class Notes – Available in Book stores
Harlambos(thick one) for few chapters
Vikash Ranjan sir Book ( Fundamentals of sociology)- selected chapters
Topics:(Each topic has subtopics also,please keep the syllabus in front while studying any topic or subtopic)
1. Sociology – The Discipline: Mohapatra sir notes
2.Sociology as science- Upendra sir notes and Fundamentals of sociology
3. Reseach method and analysis– Upendra sir notes and Fundamentals of sociology
4. Sociological thinkers– Mohapatra sir and Upendra sir notes. (Given the questions being asked I recommend reading IGNOU BA or Ritzer for this part)(Please do refer additional source for this part)
5. Stratification and mobility– Mohapatra sir notes , Harlambos(for Mobility studies), Upendra sir notes (For Gender stratification , sources and causes of mobility), Fundamentals of sociology(for definitions of concepts)
6. Works and economic life– Fundamentals of sociology( Many ignore this part but lots of questions being asked from this part now)
7. Politics and society– Upendra sir notes, Mohapatra sir notes (for contemporary theories on power)
8. Religion and society -(a) Sociological theories of religion- Haralambos
(b) Types of religious practices: animism, monism, pluralism, sects, cults — Fundamentals of sociology
(c) Religion in modern society: religion and science, secularization, religious revivalism, fundamentalism- Upendra sir and Mohapatra sir notes
9. Systems of kinship– Upendra sir notes, Harlambos(selective)
10. Social Change in Modern Society– Upendra sir notes(Sociological theories of social change,Agents of social change) ,Mohapatra sir notes( Development and dependency.)
- Paper 2:
Kept syllabus in front, according to each topic and subtopic prepared the entire paper:(Some help was required from internet for topics/subtopics not available anywhere else)
For entire paper , I referred to Mohapatra sir and Sindhuri mam notes(available in market) and the 1-2 subtopics like population dynamics which were not there in either of them,studied from Vikas ranjan sir book(Applied sociology)
Some topics like village studies, Green revolution- mohapatra sir has given studies which helped a lot as direct questions were asked from these parts .
Similarly on topics like Industrialisation and urbanisation, challenges of social transformation ,sindhuri mam notes are brilliant and once again studies and theories are given
This paper also needs current affairs for which regular newspaper would suffice.
Short notes are very important – extra focus on them is necessary . Need to avoid repetition, provide new points in almost every line.
I defined the concept in 1-2 lines in every question . Eg: vertical mobility,closed society,revolution,pluralism,fundamentalism,informal sector, development.Whenever such terms were mentioned , i defined them and derived my answer from definition itself.
Going through previous papers is important. Almost 4-5 questions are repeated. Education and mobility, old age problems, ethnicity and religion, value neutrality.Questions on these have been asked in past 3 years without fail!
Bullet Points vs paragraph debate: I wrote in points wherever possible but its all based on one’s comfort. Its completely your choice and doesn’t make difference. But in some answers like benefits of qualitative research, its better to list advantages or disadvantages in points.
Underlined key words in all answers to make it easy for examiner.
I did not give overdose of theories and thinkers in paper 1, gave lots of contemporary examples and observations. But mentioning some views of thinkers is important to give legitimacy to own views and thoughts.
Choice of questions is also important, last year I attempted many similar questions- Positivism, non positivism, value neutrality ,science and sociology in which content was being repeated to some extent. I avoided it this time. But if you have content to attempt all these and not repeat, should definitely go for it.
Attempting questions like:
Religious pluralism(gave examples like-Obama giving holiday on diwali, canada apologising for komagata maru and inducting people from multiple religions in cabinet, French burkini ban revoked by court and other current issues)
Development and social change( used views of Dr amartya sen, mahbub ul haq and connected to current indian scenario. Economic,political,social development linked to social issues of caste,class,gender,race and thus mobility)
Globalisation and informal sector(wrote about MNCs which have departments like HR,finance etc thus informalises work force by dividing them and reducing bargaining skills, work from home, pink slips, rise of knowledge based industries(daniel bell),outsourcing,contractualisation,)
worked for me this time as they are more on non conventional side and give scope for examples and contemporary data .
Questions like RTE ,NREGA, Poverty, slums,sex ratio look like GS answers but are part of syllabus and thus correlation is very important in this paper to write accordingly.
Multidimensional approach is needed for this paper–
- Eg: environment movements in india- Are also social(as women and child issues, peasants,tribes issues get interlinked). Thus are being called new social movements
NREGA- has gender,migration,urban-rural conflict, poverty,caste dimensions.
Using contemporary data in answers:
- Eg: sex ratio implication: Girls from southern states are married in states like punjab and haryana -some are even sold- leads to trafficking,prostitution,child marriages. These were in news recently
Dalit movements- change from ritual to secular movements. Dalit pride yatra in Una had secular demands – land,manual scavenging abolition, employment.
Ethnicity issues- Manipur(Nagas,meitis,kukis-insider vs outsider), Nagaland(greater nagalim), economic- sons of soil policy , reservation demands from dominant ethnic groups
Using case studies in questions like Village studies,green revolution, slums helps as it gives credibility to answer as the researchers have actually given ground realities in all dimensions-caste,class,gender,ethnicity,economic,political.
Tried to inculcate all the inputs shared above in the answer writing. Maintained introduction- body-conclusion format.
I attended Mohapatra sir and Vikas Ranjan sir’s test series. Many others are there (Vision, Aditya Mongra sir, NICE IAS- for which I cannot provide reviews)
Mohapatra sir- Questions and discussion sessions are great and extremely helpful, contemporary approach and scenarios given by sir are very relevant. Papers are exactly like UPSC format. The only drawback is sir doesn’t check copies.
Vikas Ranjan sir- Focus on answer structure which is helpful, Sir checks copies himself.
For any other queries: Please feel free to message on Facebook