Psychology as optional for UPSC/Psychology as an optional subject in IAS
“If positive psychology teaches us anything, it is that all of us are mixture of strengths and weaknesses. No one has it all, and no one lacks it all.” – Christopher Peterson
Psychology is an optional subject that is reasonably popular among IAS aspirants. It may not be as popular as history or public administration, but it still fares better than many other subjects. In 2015, a total of 1163 candidates had opted for this optional out of which 92 were recommended for the UPSC interview round. That gives it a success rate of 7.9% that year. Is Psychology a viable optional for the IAS mains exam? What are the pros and cons of taking Psychology optional in the UPSC civil services Mains exam? Read on to find out.
Psychology can be defined as the “scientific study of the human mind and its functions, especially those affecting behaviour in a given context.” It is a science although some of the theory borders on the philosophical. It is not considered an exact science like physics or chemistry because mental processes are rather abstract and dynamic. So you will find that the laws in psychology are not as precise. It can also be described as a social science. However, it is very interesting especially to those people who have always been fascinated by the inner workings of the human mind.
Who should take Psychology optional in the UPSC Mains?
- Candidates with a background in psychology.
- Candidates with a non-psychology background but with a keen interest in the subject. If they don’t have a particular area of expertise (in any other optionals offered) they can opt for this optional.
Pros of Psychology optional in the UPSC mains exam
- It is highly interesting and engaging. It is not a dry subject.
- There is a lot of scope for using real-life examples in the exam.
- As you study, you will be able to relate to your own life.
- There is an easy and good availability of study material.
- It is considered easy, safe and scoring.
- It is a good optional for MBBS graduates who do not wish to take up medical science as their optional subject.
Cons of Psychology optional in the UPSC mains exam
- If you don’t have any interest in Psychology, it is better to keep off this subject as it may come across as vague.
- Some of the foreign authored books may be hard to follow for those with a non-Psychology background.
A few successful candidates with Psychology optional
Shena Aggarwal (AIR 1/2012)
Medha Roopam (AIR 10/2013)
Annapurna Garg (AIR 68/2015)
Ravi Ranjan (AIR 92/2013)
Ashis Panda (AIR 276/2014)
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