Political Science And International Relations
Why I chose it??
The only reason was i loved reading constitution and International Relations while preparing for my GS. And I think it was good enough reason to choose pol sc. as one of the optional. Though I was unaware of the Political thinkers hurdle I had to face once I started with this optional. The other minor reasons which ultimately proved right were-
1. Helped in GS II (scored a decent 70 without much preparation)
2. Helped in my Essay in First attempt (creation of small states)
3. Helped in my Interview (questions on constitution and IR are very commom)
Still I got 212 in my optional which despite decent is not a satisfactory score which showed my lack of preparation. so i have tried to include the preparation strategy of two of my friends and fellow rank holders in CSE 2013.. Dr. Aditya Prakash (AIR 79) who secured 208 marks and Nimit Goyal(AIR 164) who secured 225 plus. also i have talked to Shubhra Ranjan mam who has given her valuable tips which i will try to include here.
I think a minimum of 3 months are required to finish one reading but that wouldn't be sufficient as you need to revise 2-3 times more to grasp the crux of pol sc specially thinkers part. so it will take time but comparing the magnitude of upsc syllabus it is covering (GS II, ESSAY, INTERVIEW) the time spent is worthy enough.
How To Start
I will suggest one should start from the parts which are interesting.
Study of Constitution can be your starting point as it also covers your GS. Even if you want to drop this subject at later stage there is no loss if you have started with constitution plus it will make your interest in the subject.
1. Indian Constitution At Work is the NCERT book I started with. Actually this book dragged my interest into Pol. Sc.
2. You may also start with other books like political theory etc.
Western Political Thought
1. Subrata Mukherjee or Susheela Ramaswamy or Brian Nelson (as per SHUBHRA mam's advice)
I read shubhra mam notes for this. My friends too read those notes.
the books which are mentioned can be used for reference if u have time (say you are appearing next year)
OP Gauba And Rajeev Bhargava (SR Advice)
Me and my Friends read Notes And OP Gauba only
Indian Political Thought
VR Mehta (SR= Reference)
We read Notes. This portion is useful for Ethics Paper also.
Indian National Movement
One And Only Bipin Chandra
I also added some material from CHRONICLE issues.
Indian Constitution And Politics
DD Basu by me along with SR notes and also Rao's old notes of my friend.
Nimit and Aditya recommends BL Fadia too.
This is such an Important part as it covers most of GSII.. you can also read and do some value addition from various magazines like ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL WEEKLY.
DD Basu or Laxmikanth??
I found DD basu better. But you can follow any book which keeps you interested.
IGNOU notes are sufficient for comprehensive study.
Theory of International Politics and World Politics
Global politics by ANDREW HEYWOOD (as suggested by SR mam)
I mainly relied on internet to cover this part along with the notes.
World Focus was another magazine i used to read in between.
Mrunal.org is a good site to follow.
IR and Foreign Policy
2. Mrunal.org Diplomacy section
3. IDSA and MEA sites (less oftenly)
4. The Hindu
5. World Focus
IR is very dynamic plus it includes a large portion og GSII. you have to keep yourself updated with the sources mentioned above and others which you can find
My preparation was based on SR mam's notes and Rao's notes plus
2. CHRONICLE magazine
4. DD basu
the books which are mentioned otherwise are suggested by my friends and mam. I will request you to please take these boks as reference books to add variety and quality in your answers but try to follow only one book for each topic.
How to learn Articles, amendments and schedules??
schedules are easy to learn. just revise them a few times.
you don't have to memorise all the articles and amendments which we tend to do in the beginning. Just read them once and on subsequent readings you can judge yourself that some of them are repeating themselves in every other chapter and those are the ones which you need to remember. I made a separate List of Important amendments and articles and pasted them on my wall. which helped me in remembring them for longer periods.
How to attempt question paper??
1. I tried to follow the same approach as I used in attempting GS papers that is
a. writing a small intro
b. content in short paras according to word limit assigned. larger the word limit larger the paras
c. balanced conclusion
d. underlining important points even making boxes or encircling few imortant words
2. I always tried to attempt more (max 3) ques from section 2 which was bit dynamic in nature. since section 1 was theoretical, the views of examiner could vary. try to write a balanced answer in section 2.
Choosing political science as an optional or for that matter any subject as an optional is just like learning to swim. you may do a lot of analysis and research on them but you cant learn how to swim unless you enter the water. so take it calmly at the start. give your subject enough time and if u work hard enough the subject will give you enough marks..