Whether you are a fresher or not, the right time is NOW
i.e. just after UPSC Mains.
- If you plan to join a coaching institute, you need a cooling off period. That’s because during the lectures, the instructor would inadvertently engulf you with his/her own opinions, biases, prejudices etc. UPSC expects originality and rawness of thought and opinion. So, you need some time to synthesize your own opinion with that of the instructor. That’s possible only when you do this exercise well before UPSC prelims and mains.
- UPSC, normally (there are exceptions though), asks current affairs starting from January month of the examination year. So, why not finish off the optional before January, and focus on GS thereafter? If basics are in place, you would be in a position to make sociological analysis of current affairs – extremely important in the current trend.
- Coaching classes and test series that start after UPSC prelims have a race against time to somehow cover the syllabus before UPSC Mains exam. The quality – quantity trade off comes into picture. Same with test series. Keep yourself in the shoes of test copy evaluator. Since there are hundreds of copies to be evaluated with extremely strict deadlines, compromising with quality evaluation becomes inevitable. Also, one-one feedback and doubt clearing is difficult in sessions after UPSC prelims.
- Please do not be fooled by statements like ‘ABC optional can be covered in 3 months’. Sociology is considered an easy optional because scoring up to a threshold like 220-230 is easier compared to other optionals. However, scoring every single mark after that threshold is relatively difficult. It requires smart application of the subject matter, and the ability to relate happenings around you to Sociological concepts. Developing such insights is easier when practised in a stress-free situation i.e well before UPSC prelims and mains.
- Last but not the least, you ought to do things differently if you want to find your name in the final PDF without ‘scrolling down’. You should be revising the Sociology syllabus, and interlinking current affairs with sociological concepts when others start off with their Sociology preparation.
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