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Preparation Tips for Political Science & IR Optional Subject For UPSC

Union Public service commission, UPSC, probably the most prominent aim that youth for a long time are craving for!

Of course, the fame, the honor, the power, the glamour it contains attracts a wide proportion of teenagers this side…

But honestly, it’s not as easy as its name seems to be. About an average of 9,00,000-1, 000,000 candidates apply for it, and when it comes to becoming civil servants, it is just a few.

The reason for that is – it is a menange of hard work and no work and less people know the difference between the two.

No work what does that mean??

In UPSC, you have to be very restricted regarding your study material. In different books, which portion is to be left out carries weightage as same as what to be studied. You must be to the point..

Well, as like you all, I am also an UPSC aspirant, aspiring to become an IAS one day.

Being an arts student I find all the subjects rather easy to understand. But I know it becomes a bit difficult for the science students to cope up with the syllabus at one go. Of course, they are in a different world altogether till their +2..

I have been loving political science since I was in class 8th  or something . But when I started preparing it as an UPSC aspirant I got to know it’s not a piece of cake and depends upon how you link different topics with it.

Strategy for Political Science & IR Optional Subject For UPSC

My this article deals regarding my strategies to prepare political science simple Or for optional-Believe it or not , opting for pol science will prove to be a good decision because it fetches your attention as well as contains weightage in both prelims and mains.. And International Relations have been favourite topic of interviewers.

  • I would suggest to go through NCERTs first so as to create a proper base of the subject.
  • Online learning is a boon to us.. So those who are in their first year or just 12th passed out may start preparing for it from YouTube videos or different apps like Be EggHead Academy, Unacademy, Byjus, etc.
  • In the first reading of NCERT underline the important points. In the second round start memorizing it and write OT or objective type in front of the Statements you think maybe asked in prelims.. If you think any sentence is important and can be a mains question write discuss or describe or explain in front of it.
  • After going through NCERTs go for Refreshers like laxmikant.
  • Watch daily analysis of the Hindu and from your 3rd year start preparing notes out of it.
  • And take breaks from studying and start memorizing things in your mind.
  • If possible go for yoga exercises to keep your mind calm from anxiety.
  • For international relations, the newspaper is a good source. If not go for YouTube videos prove to be a good source as well.
For now these are a few of the strategies of mine 

One suggestion for us aspirants-

  • Be loyal to yourself, Don’t masquerade in front of anyone!!!
  • If you think you are quite right according to you stick to yourself and try avoiding those disturbing you.
  • Just remember all of us are same as we all are UPSC aspirants but what will make a difference between us is our level of craziness for it..!!
  • I hope political science doesn’t seem to be critical anymore from now!

Also Read: UPSC History Optional: Advantages & Strategy for UPSC 2023.




Paper- I

Political Theory and Indian Politics :
  1. Political Theory: meaning and approaches.
  2. Theories of state : Liberal, Neo-liberal, Marxist, Pluiralist, post-colonial and Feminist.
  3. Justice : Conceptions of justice with special reference to Rawl’s theory of justice and its communitarian critiques.
  4. Equality : Social, political and economic; relationship between equality and freedom; Affirmative action.
  5. Rights : Meaning and theories; different kinds of rights; Concept of Human Rights.
  6. Democracy : Classical and contemporary theories; different models of democracy—representative, participatory and deliberative.
  7. Concept of power : hegemony, ideology and legitimacy.
  8. Political Ideologies : Liberalism, Socialism, Marxism, Fascism, Gandhism and Feminism.
  9. Indian Political Thought: Dharamshastra, Arthashastra and Buddhist Traditions; Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Sri Aurobindo, M. K. Gandhi, B. R. Ambedkar, M. N. Roy.
  10. Western Political Thought : Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, John S. Mill, Marx, Gramsci, Hannah Arendt. Indian Government and Politics
  •  Indian Nationalism :
    • (a) Political Strategies of India’s Freedom Struggle : Constitutionalism to mass Satyagraha, Non-cooperation, Civil Disobedience; Militant and Revolutionary Movements, Peasant and Workers Movements.
    • (b) Perspectives on Indian National Movement; Liberal, Socialist and Marxist; Radical Humanist and Dalit.
  • Making of the Indian Constitution : Legacies of the British rule; different social and political perspectives.
  • Salient Features of the Indian Constitution :
    • The Preamble, Fundamental Rights and Duties
    • Directive Principles
    • Parliamentary System
    • Amendment Procedures
    • Judicial Review
    • Basic Structure doctrine.
  • (a) Principal Organs of the Union Government : Envisaged role and actual working of the Executive, Legislature and Supreme Court.
  • (b) Principal Organs of the State Government : Envisaged role and actual working of the Executive, Legislature and High Courts.
  • Grassroots Democracy : Panchayati Raj and Municipal Government; Significance of 73rd and 74th Amendments; Grassroot movements.
  • Statutory Institutions/Commissions : Election Commission, Comptroller and Auditor General, Finance Commission, Union Public Service Commission, National Commission for Scheduled Castes, National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, National Commission for Women; National Human Rights Commission, National Commission for Minorities, National Backward Classes Commission.
  • Federalism : Constitutional provisions; changing nature of centre-state relations; integrationist tendencies and regional aspirations; inter-state disputes.
  • Planning and Economic development : Nehruvian and Gandhian perspectives; Role of planning and public sector; Green Revolution, land reforms and agrarian relations; liberalization and economic reforms.
  • Caste, Religion and Ethnicity in Indian Politics.
  • Party System : National and regional political parties, ideological and social bases of parties; Patterns of coalition politics; Pressure groups, trends in electoral behavior; changing socio-economic profile of Legislators.
  • Social Movement : Civil liberties and human rights movements; women’s movements; environmentalist movements.


Comparative Political Analysis and International Politics :
  1. Comparative Politics : Nature and major approaches; Political economy and political sociology perspectives; Limitations of the comparative method.
  2. State in Comparative Perspective : Characteristics and changing nature of the State in capitalist and socialist economies, and advanced industrial and developing societies.
  3. Politics of Representation and Participation : Political parties, pressure groups and social movements in advanced industrial and developing societies.
  4. Globalisation : Responses from developed and developing societies.
  5. Approaches to the Study of International Relations : Idealist, Realist, Marxist, Functionalist and Systems theory.
  6. Key Concepts in International Relations : National interest, security and power; Balance of power and deterrence; Transitional actors and collective security; World capitalist economy and globalisation.
  7. Changing International Political Order : (a) Rise of super powers; Strategic and ideological Bipolarity, arms race and cold war; Nuclear threat; (b) Non-aligned Movement : Aims and achievements. (c) Collapse of the Soviet Union; Unipolarity and American hegemony; Relevance of non-alignment in the contemporary world.
  8. Evolution of the International Economic System : From Bretton woods to WTO; Socialist economies and the CMEA (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance); Third World demand for new international economic order; Globalisation of the world economy.
  9. United Nations : Envisaged role and actual record; Specialized UN agencies—aims and functioning; need for UN reforms.
  10. Regionalisation of World Politics : EU, ASEAN, APEC, AARC, NAFTA.
  11. Contemporary Global Concerns : Democracy, human rights, environment, gender justice terrorism, nuclear proliferation. India and the World
    1. Indian Foreign Policy : Determinants of foreign policy; the institutions of policy-making; Continuity and change.
    2. India’s Contribution to the Non-Alignment Movement Different phases; Current role.
    3. India and South Asia : (a) Regional Co-operation : SAARC-past performance and future prospects. (b) South Asia as a Free Trade Area. (c) India’s “Look East” policy. (d) Impediments to regional co-operation : River water disputes; illegal cross border migration; Ethnic conflicts and insurgencies; Border disputes.
    4. India and the Global South : Relations with Africa and Latin America; Leadership role in the demand for NIEO and WTO negotiations.
    5. India and the Global Centres of Power : USA, EU, Japan, China and Russia.
    6. India and the UN System: Role in UN Peace-keeping; Demand for Permanent Seat in the Security Council.
    7. India and the Nuclear Question : Changing perceptions and policy.
    8. Recent developments in Indian Foreign Policy : India’s position on the recent crises in Afghanistan, Iraq and West Asia, growing relations with US and Isreal; Vision of a new world order


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