[Studyplan] Best Strategy, Studyplan, Tips & Books for Anthropology Optional UPSC by Topper Harshika Singh, Rank-8, UPSC CSE 2011

Why Anthropology ?

My interest in the subject was the most important reason for selecting Anthropology as an optional.I would request all the aspirants to choose optional based on interest as at the end of the day, its
“YOU” who has to sit with those books for long hours and in course of time have to start “living “ that optional as well.Availability of study materials and a background in biology also helped me in choosing Anthropology as my second optional.

Advantages of Anthropology :
  • Scoring subject
  • Interesting subject
  • Easy to grasp especially For science graduates
Anthropology is divided into two Papers :

Anthropology Paper - 1 :
  1. Physical Anthropology -
    • Prehistory - Evolution of man,
    • Biological concepts of man,
    • Genetics and Diseases,
    • Race
  2. Social Anthropology (Sociology related)
    • Family, Marriage, Religion, Kinship etc
  3. Theories
  4. Misc - Demography, Research Methodology etc
Anthropology Paper - 2 :
  1. Prehistory in India
  2. Indian Social System
  3. Indian Tribes and their Problems

Important Books for 
Anthropology Optional UPSC :

Paper - 1 and Paper - 2 : 

Physical Anthropology : 

Social Anthropology :  
Indian Anthropology :   
Anthropological Thought : 
Other sources:                           

Extensive use of the internet for keeping myself updated about any new development in the field of anthropology.

I also took study materials from Brilliant Tutorials (in my first attempt) and Vaid IAS academy,Delhi for this attempt.These materials helped me to systematise my study according to the syllabus.

Answer Writing in Anthropology : 

For Paper - 1 : I ensured that my concepts were very clear and i was able to express and substantiate the theories with adequate presentations and eg's ...Use of diagrams wherever feasible also helped me.

For Paper - 2  : I tried to substantiate many answers of mine with current developments and since i belong to Jharkhand , I  have seen many of the questions asked as "LIVE examples so could add-on there as well..

I tried to re-read the textbooks as i wanted to make my concepts clear and over a period of time i started enjoying the subject very much.There were several questions this year like the one on impact of industrialization on tribals or Impact of Hindu religion on tribals -in such questions i tried to substantiate my answers with some live eg's (like i have always appreciated the fact that tribal population in jharkhand celebrate 'Sarhul" as well as holi/diwali with equal fervor so there has been beautiful enmeshing of customs and traditions )or relate them with some current issues.Over a period of time if you actually start "living " your optional, it no longer remains a mere study or exam's  part. Hope this helps.

My Scorecard- UPSC CSE-2011 Rank- 8 AIR

General Studies Paper-1
General Studies Paper-2
Economics Paper-1
Economics Paper-2
Anthropology Paper-1
Anthropology Paper-2
Total Written



Source: Here

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