Physics as optional subject in UPSC
“Quantum Physics thus reveals a basic oneness of the universe.” – Erwin Schrodinger
One of the science related subjects in the list of optional subjects of UPSC Civil Services Examination is Physics.This subject is not as popular as 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
- It is very important to make the concepts clear and be good at problem-solving in order to score good marks in Physics optional.
- One of the important parts of your answers is derivations. 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.
- For Paper I, practice numerical problems sincerely. Paper II is more theory-based.
- You must know the definitions in terms of words and equations in case of the subject.
- In a question where a particular phenomenon is asked, you must explain the underlying physics as well rather than just write the mathematical solution.
- You should make summary notes of every chapter. This will make your revision easier.
- You should practise more and more questions.
- 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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