How to Prepare Chemistry Optional for UPSC Mains Exam?

Chemistry as optional in UPSC

“Think Like a Proton and Stay Positive.”

Chemistry is one of the optional subjects offered by the UPSC for the IAS mains exam. It is a core science subject and should be taken only by those with a science background at their graduation level. If you are confident about your knowledge in this subject, you should definitely go for Chemistry as an optional subject in the UPSC mains exam. This article talks about how to prepare for Chemistry optional for UPSC mains.

 

There are many advantages if you take up this subject as optional:

  • Being a science subject, the topics are very precise with very little scope for subjectivity by the examiner. So, you can be sure of how you fared in the exam unlike the humanities subjects.
  • Certain topics in this subject are related to current affairs topics like environment, climate change, etc.

 

Given below is a table giving the success rate of candidates with Chemistry as optional subject from 2002 to 2013.

 

Year

No. Of candidates appeared

No. Of candidates recommended

Success rate percentage

2002

75

2

2.6

2003

133

7

5.3

2004

109

0

0

2005

84

4

4.8

2006

89

5

5.6

2007

110

9

8.18

2008

124

7

5.6

2009

109

9

8.3

2010

107

7

6.5

2011

123

11

8.9

2012

104

11

10.6

2013

85

6

7.10

2014

98

7

7.10

 

  • The first thing to remember is to understand the UPSC syllabus for chemistry
  • There are two papers for the optionals. Each paper is of 250 marks making it a total of 500 marks.
  • The major branches in paper I are physical chemistry and inorganic chemistry.
  • The topics atomic structure and chemical bonding are straightforward and should be studied from the basic books.
  • You can expect numerical problems in the sections solid state chemistry and gaseous state.
  • Other topics where you need to practice numerical problems are thermodynamics, chemical kinetics, photochemistry and electrochemistry.
  • It is recommended that you study the section coordination chemistry as lengthy questions can be expected from it.
  • Paper II mainly covers organic chemistry. It is scoring because of more numericals, factual questions, and objective questions.
  • Take care to include diagrams in your answers wherever necessary.

 

PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY:

  1. Principles of Physical Chemistry – Puri, Sharma & Pathwa (for gaseous state, phase rule, solutions, thermodynamics, colligative properties, electrochemistry, catalysis and colloids)
  2. Advanced Physical Chemistry – Gurdeep Raj (for chemical kinetics)
  3. A Text Book of Physical Chemistry (Volume IV) – K.L. Kapoor (for photochemistry)

INORGANIC CHEMISTRY:

  1. Principles of Physical Chemistry – Puri, Sharma & Pathwa (for atomic structure)
  2. Advanced Inorganic Chemistry – J.D. Lee
  3. Chemical Periodicity, Chemical bonding, Coordination compound- Maden, Malik and Tuli
  4. Theoretical Principles of Inorganic Chemistry – G.S. Manku

Principles of Inorganic Chemistry – Puri, Sharma, Jauhar (for extraction of metals)

ORGANIC CHEMISTRY:

  1. Bonding and shape of organic molecules, Stereochemistry of carbon compound – Reactions and reagents – O.P. Agarwal
  2. A Guide to Mechanism in Organic Chemistry – Peter Sykes
  3. A Text-Book of Organic Chemistry – Bahl & Bahl

 

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