Political Science Optional Strategy: Anand Vardhan, Rank 7, 302 Marks in Political Science, Switched to Political Science Optional in 4th attempt

Political Science Optional Strategy

Anand Vardhan, AIR 7 (Political Science Marks-302, p1: 138, p2: 164)


  • I have not been very strategic with my optional initially, as I took 3 attempts with public administration and did not get my strategy right with that. Only when I switched to Political Science in my fourth attempt did I score well.
  • I had little time for Political Science.The parts of Indian Administration as well as IR were familiar to me, so I had slightly lesser to prepare than a starter would have to.
  • There were not many books I referred to. I read a few chapters from Andrew Heywood (global politics).
I would just like to offer general tips for the two papers.

Paper 1:

  • Mostly static. Work on understanding the theory well as well as interconnect.
  • Questions are mostly straightforward. Having a contemporary view in the answers can always help.
  • For the part on Indian Administration, one must quote a few relevant thinkers as well as talk about recent developments.
  • Overall, focus more on accuracy of your answers.

Paper 2:

  • I have scored 164 in this paper. For the IR part, I had a few consolidated notes as well as followed the newspaper articles ( along with expert names, need to be quoted).
  • I also referred to Project Syndicate website. I kept a fixed framework for most answers, like defence and security, economics, p2p contacts etc.
  • Please quote the expert views, but also have your own as well.
  • Take a stand. There are decisions to be taken in administration.

Also, add value by connecting with theoretical frameworks. India Pak relations for example can be called as a victim of Social Constructivism. Also, write the normal things, the common ones. Do not skip them thinking you need to sound all sophisticated. Be inventive, frugal and have faith in your opinions. Put them forward clearly.

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