• IASbaba
  • September 11, 2015
  • 41
Political Science and International Relations
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Hello Friends

This is to inform you regarding TLP for Political Science Optional. There are requests to start answer writing section for PSIR but due to scarcity of resources we could not manage it. Some of you have requested us to start it and also extended their support to contribute the plan and daily questions.

We cannot start it unless due participation and contribution is visible from your side. Other optional like Geography, Pub Ad, Sociology, History and Anthropology are run by the contribution of some serious aspirants and IASbaba and its running successfully. We want aspirants from PSIR optional to come up and contribute so that it become self-sustaining and provide you a decent platform to get in touch with some serious aspirants to learn and earn at the same time 🙂

Here is a write up from one of the contributors,

Strategy for Political Science Optional – Mains


Hello all, Prelims are over and we all are thinking about our next big challenge [Mains]. The problem is that no matter how good & knowledgeable we think we are or how good we feel we have written the paper there is always a certain level of uncertainty. This is especially true for optional subjects. So all we can do is to keep preparing and in the path keep improving ourselves. For  us, materials and guidance available online is meager but IASbaba has given us the opportunity to form an effective and collaborative effort through which we can assist each other.  Baba has also promised to strengthen it as and when they have suitable resources for it 🙂

So having found very less for political science in the internet, I decided to share my strategy with you out there and hope to benefit from it.


The Actual Strategy:

Paper 1- Section A:


This here is mostly static portion and there are many recommended books as such for this. The most common and effective being


  1. OP Gauba – Introduction to political theory.
  2. Rajeev Bhargava – Political theory.
  3. VP Verma – Modern Indian political thought.
  4. Andrew Heywood – Political ideologies.
  5. IGNOU material on political thought.

I think the key to mastering this portion is understanding the basics very thoroughly and logically. That we can write dynamic answers. But we often doubt ourselves if we have reached that point. So i have followed a method to check myself


  1. To make sure I have understood different political thoughts properly I have gone through IGNOU material – Now these are written in a complicated way but when you have a good grasp on basics they make excellent reading – You can even start directly from them but just make sure to keep googling stuff and not get disappointed initially.
  2. For the other concepts such as rights, democracy, ideologies – These parts I think newspaper play a major role. Because we will only be able to connect the news to these concepts if we understood the basics correctly. This is why I am trying this Click Helps me understand and also revise.


Paper 1 – Section B:


The classic book list goes like this

  1. DD Basu – Constitution.
  2. Laxmikanth – Indian Constitution.
  3. Indian politics student edition
  4. Bipin Chandra – Indian struggle for independence

Now this part is pretty much static with dynamic links not so hard to find as most of the important news will some how be connected to these topics. Just make sure to go through all the topics in the syllabus and form some short notes in each one. For example recently there is a call for education body on lines of EC. So if after adding the static part, you can point out this as the awesomeness of EC or at the same time you can also point this out as the lack of faith in government structure to handle government and so the call for a independent body like EC.


So the key lies in spinning things to the benefit of answer. Just make sure you take a little extra time while reading newspaper. It will go a long way to add marks. Again, I am trying this Click  initiative to benefit through your help into doing this right.


Paper 2 – Section A:


The Classic list

  1. IGNOU for comparative politics.
  2. Click This is awesome and covers very good basics.
  3. Andrew Heywood – Global politics.

I know people suggest other books for international relations, But I am confident that Andrew Heywood will suffice, because it gives examples and explains in a lively and dynamic way. The book is big but goes like a novel. Also seeing the last year paper, I think the dynamic and historical knowledge is playing a bigger role which can only be achieved by contemplating on concepts and Heywood.


Paper 2 – Section B:


This part is as everybody knows is very dynamic. But first the book list

  1. David Malone – Does the elephant Dance.
  2. Rajeev Sikri – Indian foreign policy.
  3. IGNOU material.

Here too the key lies in picking the important words from the syllabus such as continuity, change, determinants and looking at everything in that perspective. “Akand Bharath” concept can be used as determinant in foreign policy – UNSC votes – Political rallies – Political leader’s relations – Everything and anything can be used as long as you can link it to some contemporary news.


Assumption – 5 Hrs of time spent on optional.

Weeks left – 13 weeks [90 days] [Until 12th December].


Concept behind the strategy:

I have started out with Heywood because I believe that they give good basic knowledge. Once you have read these ideologies, it will be easy to read the approaches to state. Now after reading the various western political thoughts, it will be easier to read different concepts such as rights, equality, Justice, Democracy.

As far as paper 2 goes, they are an organic whole and hence recommended to read the book at once. But while doing don’t forget to link what you are reading to the syllabus. This will help in retaining information and writing better answer. So keep a syllabus sheet side by.

Now the whole plan is divided into 54 days, so now if we write an exam once in every three days the total number of days will come to 72.

You can use this remaining 18 days to plan for Paper 1 section B. I have never prepared in an organized manner and picked things mostly from IGNOU, Google searches and various editorials. This is a very broad pattern and if anyone is more interested, they can refine it more.

And finally for people which have already read other books, don’t read these new books but just keep using your old one’s.

Download the PlanClick here

Final Note [Very important – Please read]


I know that I have missed some important books, but I truly believe that if you can read the books that I have read [Everything mentioned except the highlighted ones], I believe you will get the static part right. So keep thinking about them when reading news and I am hopeful that we will gain the extra edge.

Also many of you have seen that I have mentioned IGNOU everywhere. That is because they are beautiful and offer wide sets of examples for every topic, not just the concepts but examples. These can be valuable while writing answers. So please go through them as if you are reading a novel, they wont take much time if you read like one or two topics per day.

All the being said, I have to end this by saying that I have not written the exam yet and this year is going to be my first attempt. So please bear that in mind and this effort by me is more in the hope for seeing things more clearly by myself through your help than to help others [Not that I don’t want that].

Thankyou IASbaba for giving this opportunity 🙂



P.S- Share your views and interest to be part of this exercise and also how can you contribute in this 

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