Physics as optional subject in UPSC/How to prepare Physics optional for UPSC?
“Quantum Physics thus reveals a basic oneness of the universe.” – Erwin Schrodinger
Physics is of the optional subjects that the UPSC offers candidates in the civil services mains written exam. Though not as popular as history or geography or public administration, it can be taken up by those with a science or engineering background in college. This article talks about how to prepare for Physics optional for the UPSC mains exam.
Who should take Physics Optional in UPSC CSE?
- Candidates with a science particularly Physics major in their graduation.
- Candidates with engineering backgrounds at university.
Advantages of taking Physics optional
- Being a science subject, there is no scope for interpretation. If you know the answer and can write it satisfactorily, you will get marks. Nothing is subjective here.
- You can score through numerical problems if you practice well enough.
- You can score well by drawing diagrams.
- This can be your scoring point subject if you have a solid base in it.
Tips to prepare for Physics optional
- Theory building and problem solving ability are very important to score good marks in the Physics optional paper.
- Derivations are important in your answers. Assess the number of marks allocated to a question and decide if you would derive the whole equation or just give the equation. If it is a 20-marks question, you should derive the relevant equation. Analyse the space and time constraints and decide. So, practice derivations diligently since you cannot mug up all of them.
- Practice numerical problems sincerely, especially for paper I. Paper II is more theory-based.
- In every topic in Physics, you must know the basic definitions in words and in equations.
- In a question where a particular phenomenon is asked, you must explain the underlying physics as well rather than just write the mathematical solution.
- It is a good practice to make summary notes for every chapter. This will come handy while you revise.
- Practice many problems before the exam.
- When you give a formula, explain the units and terms used in it.
A few important topics in IAS exam Physics optional
Physics Paper I
Section A: classical mechanics (never ignore this topic), special relativity, waves, geometric optics, physical optics.
Section B: electricity and magnetism, electromagnetic theory (scoring topic), black body radiation, thermal physics, statistical physics.
Physics Paper II
Quantum physics, modern physics, electronics
Books to refer for Physics optional for IAS mains exam
A Dictionary of Physics – Goldstein
Advanced Level Physics – Nelkon & Parker
Atomic Physics – J. B. Rajan
Electronics -Allen Mottershead
Nuclear Physics -S.B Patel
Fundamental of Magnetism electricity – B.N. Basudeva
Modern Physics – A Beiser (Concepts of modern physics), S.L. Gupta, B.S. Agarwal, J.B. Rajan
A Textbook of Sound – Khanna & Bedi
Any fundamental book on electrical engineering like B.L Theraja (Vol 1) or Vincent Del Toro
Atomic & Molecular Spectra -Rajkumar
Classical Mechanism -Gupta, Kumar & Sharma – Takewale & Puranik -H.Goldstein
Concept of Modern Physics – Arthur Beiser
Electricity & Magnetism: D.C. TAyal, B.S. Agarwal, Griffith
Electronics – Millman & Halkias, S. Ramnam, Ryder or Bolstead, Malvina
EM Theory -Chopra&Agarwal/Satya Prakash
Introduction of Electrodynamics – David Griffiths
Mechanics – D.S. Mathur, B.S. Agarwal
Mechanics – Kleppner & Kolenkow -D.S. Mathur
Nuclear Physics – D.C. Tayal
Nuclear Physics -S.B Patel
Optics – Brijlal & Subramanyam, B.S. Agarwal, Ajoy & Ghatak
Optics-Ajoy Ghatak-B.S. Agarwal
Physics Vol I&II by David Halliday and Resnick
Properties of Matter – B. Aggarwal
Quantum Mechanics – A Ghatak
Quantum Mechanics -Ghatak & Lokanathan
Quantum Physics- Resnick & Eisberg
Solid State Physics -Kittel
Special Relativity-R.Resnick -Gupta & Goyal
Statistical Physics -B.B laud
Thermal Physics – P.K Chakraborty – Satya Prakash, Singhal & Agarwal
Thermal Physics – Singal, Agarwal & Prakash, B.S. Agarwal, Shah & Srivastava
University Physics – Zemansky
Wave/Spl.Relatively – D.S. Mathur/Kleppner Kolenkow
Waves and Oscillations – Brijlal & Subramanyam, B.S. Agarwal
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