Hemant Bhorkhade , Rank – 424 (CSE-2017)
Sociology Marks 324
I am Hemant Bhorkhade and I have secured AIR 424 in UPSC Civil Services Examination 2017. I am sharing here detailed strategy for Sociology as I have got good marks (156 + 168) in this subject this year.
My Background :
Computer Engineering 2003-2007 from PICT Pune
MBA in Marketing 2008-2010 from JBIMS Mumbai
Assistant Commandant in CISF from 2014 till date
Total Attempts = 6
Sociology Strategy :
In all the years from 2011 till 2018 I did not change my Sociology optional. But I always got very poor marks in previous attempts. I had got (75 + 82) in 2013 , ( 127 + 81 ) in 2014. 2015 attempt I could not write due to CISF training. In 2016 I failed in prelims. This time I ensured that I should get good marks in Sociology.
Sociology is a subject which is very easy to understand. But the problem lies in how to remember and reproduce the relevant content in actual paper. Please remember that in Sociology or any other optional subject, examiner wants us to write in as much detail as u can. In fact he will be very happy if you use sociological terms in your answer. It shows you really love your subject and that is what is expected of you from the examiner. Then the question is how to show him/her that you really like your subject. There are certain tricks which I learned by following previous toppers answer booklets. They are
- Usage of maximum Sociological terms
- Drawing relevant diagrams or simply reproducing diagrams from the standard books in your paper
- Underlining important sentences
- Boxing Sociological Thinkers names so that on every page, 3-4 thinkers names comes out which examiner can not ignore
What errors most people do while preparing this subject :
Since the subject is very easy to understand, students want to read as many books as they can. They have Nagla,Ritzer,Giddens,IGNOU,Yogendra Singh and every other book in the market. In previous attempt I also committed the same mistake and in the end I could not memorise anything and I wrote common sense answers and I was awarded (75 + 82 ).
The crux of this exam and this optional lies in following minimum sources. If you remember movie “ Lage raho Munnabhai”, Sunjay Dutt goes to a library full of books on Gandhi and picks up the thinnest possible book on the shelf. This scene applies ditto to Sociology optional. Earlier we did not have one single book for his subject so what we used to do is do some portion from one book and other from another. But one book in 2017 has changed all this scenario and literally has made Sociology a subject to be completed within maximum 25-30 days. The book name is “Essential Sociology” by Nitin Sangwan Sir.
Can one succeed by reading many books ?
Definitely. Why not? There can be ‘n’ number of strategies to succeed. But then you will have to put in much more efforts, time in preparing this subject. If someone has invented the wheel, why to reinvent it again ?
How to study this book?
The first thing to do is limit your optional reading, only to this book. I had prepared my Paper 1 from one coaching class notes but when I came to know about this book, I decided to do my paper 1 again so that when revising, I should be able to do it from one book only. This thing helps on the day before the optional paper. On that day, you should be in a position to revise all the subject within 7-8 hours.
One has to understand that reading and finishing syllabus is only 30% of the task. Remaining 70 % is writing mock tests. I had written total 18 mock tests on Sociology for this attempt and anyone who wish to score good marks should write at least 12 mocks on Sociology.
Coming to the reading of this book, One should slowly read this book for the first time and keep on underlining the important parts at the same time. One should read chapter by chapter and it is preferable to start from paper 2 as understanding Indian Sociology is easier than Western Sociology.
Once you finish reading and underlining one chapter, immediately read the underlined part again. This time think hard and reduce the underlining part to as much smaller as you can. Always keep in mind you have to remember only that much, which you can reproduce in paper. Nobody is concerned about what you know but you did not write in answer booklet due to various constraints like space or time.
So, reduce the underlining content by using brackets. Next time you read only this. Moreover it is not possible to remember every thinker who criticised any theory. So chose only 2-3 thinkers which are easy to remember. The examiner doesn’t know that you have chosen the easiest ones. He only expects 2-3 criticisms. Doesn’t matter which thinkers you choose. Also no need to remember their book name also. For eg.
Lets say Catleen Gough in her book “xyzabc” has criticised the conceprt of so and so. Here no need to remember the book name (xyzabc) as you will not be able to remember all this tiny data till the end.
Always keep in mind that you have to remember GS 1,2,3,4 and optional content and have to reproduce them in 27 hours. So being practical is the key. The lesser you underline, the more times you can revise. And it is a game of revision only. I had revised the above said book 15-16 times.
Regarding Class Notes :
I am not in favour of class notes because the examiner expects some bookish language which one cannot get from any class handwritten notes.
Regarding preparation of notes :
It depends on person to person. I personally did not do it because
- I was working so I didn’t had that much time
- It is time consuming
- Many times when you revise the underlined part you further make some adjustments to improve your content and the process goes on till Mains
That is all I did in preparing this subject. I hope I have conveyed what I wanted to convey through this article.
The crux of this exam is Don’t be greedy for resources, instead write as many mocks as you can like a possessed man.
I am attaching some of my mock papers also. You can go through them.
All The Best.
My Sociology Answer Booklet: