Sociology Optional Strategy UPSC

Among UPSC hopefuls, sociology is a well-liked optional. Sociology was Jagrati Awasthi's optional subject. She placed second in the 2020 Civil Services Exam. Similarly, Gamini Singla opted for Sociology optional and secured All India Rank 3 in the 2021 civil services examinations. The subject is distinctive in that it appeals to applicants with backgrounds in both science and the humanities. There is no prerequisite for this optional course; academic training in this field is not required. This subject is also seen to be very scoring, especially if the proper preparation methods and approaches are used. You may find all the information you require concerning the sociology optional in this post, including the syllabus, book list, approach, etc.

Why is it Important to Adopt the Right Sociology Optional Strategy?

Choosing the right optional subject for the Civil Services Examination is a crucial decision that can significantly impact a candidate's chances of success. Among the vast array of subjects available, sociology has emerged as a popular choice due to its interdisciplinary nature and its relevance to society. However, merely selecting sociology as an optional subject is not enough. It is equally important to adopt the right strategy to approach this subject. In this article, we will explore the reasons why it is crucial to adopt the right sociology optional strategy and how it can enhance a candidate's chances of achieving success.

How many candidates take Sociology optional?

According to the most recent UPSC annual report, 1800 candidates chose sociology as one of their optional subjects in 2022. Out of this total, 137 people were suggested for the services, yielding a 9.6% success rate. We provide information for the number of applicants who select sociology as an optional course and are advised to do so in the table below.

Name Year All India Rank
Gamini Singla 2021 3
Jagrati Awasthi 2020 2
Sanjita Mohapatra 2019 10
Shruti Jayant Deshmukh 2018 5
Anu Kumari 2017 2
S Nagarajan 2004 1
Amrutesh Aurangabadkar 2011 10
Ila Tripathi 2016 51
Utkarsh Gupta 2016 78
Chandra Mohan Garg 2015 25
Neha Yadav 2013 24
Neha Jain 2013 12
Rajanvir Singh Kapur 2011 92

What is the Appropriate Way to Approach the Sociology Optional Exam?

The most appropriate way to approach the sociology optional exam is by simply reading incessantly the books referred to for Sociology to get started on your sociology preparation. You will gain a foundational comprehension of all the key sociological ideas from these books. The books can help you assess and learn more about case studies and, in turn, put theory into practice. Additionally, dealing with chapters like Politics and Society, Economic Life, and Kinship and Social Change is made much easier by the books.

Concentrate on thinkers: Concentrating on thinkers is a very important thing as the chapter on thinkers accounts for a significant share of the points in Paper I. As a result, one must treat this part with respect. Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, Talcott Parsons, Herbert Mead, Max Weber, and Robert Merton are the six social thinkers one must study intently. It is essential to cover every theory in depth. One can use the information in this chapter to write responses to questions from previous chapters as well.

The Pros and Cons of Sociology Optional

Choosing sociology as an option in the UPSC exam has various advantages. We go over some of the benefits and drawbacks of the sociology option in the IAS exam in this section.


  • Precise Syllabus and Scoring Subject: One of the key factors influencing sociology's appeal is the fact that it is seen as a high-scoring topic. Additionally, the success rate is quite high. Candidates should be able to finish within four months if they work diligently given the short syllabus.

  • Plenty of Reference Material: In sociology, there is an amazing amount of reference material that can be found in various libraries and sociology books available in bookstores.

  • No Need for any past Affiliation with Sociology: Candidates from any academic background are welcome to choose the sociology option and can easily study it. Candidates probably have at least a fundamental understanding of some sociological ideas. Family, religion, and other common concepts are frequently discussed in daily newspapers. Most people think it's a fascinating topic.

  • The Similar Questions in the Main Paper and in the Sociology Optional Exam: Sociology and the other papers in the UPSC GS share the same material. About 40 to 50 marks in the General Studies Paper 1 may come from sociology-related themes. Sociology is also very helpful in scoring good marks in the Essay paper.


  • Subjective Interpretations: Since sociology is a social science discipline, its concepts and interpretations can differ from those of the core sciences. This can prompt the examiner to make subjective modifications.

Further Reading
Sociology Optional Notes
Sociology Optional Syllabus
Sociology Question Paper UPSC
Sociology Optional Books


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Sociology Optional: Selected Students Testimonials

  • Sociology is a very interesting optional. It gives a unique perspective to see society and Ritesh sir has a very long background in sociology. He has done great research for the purpose of teaching sociology optional. He has a very vast, highly enriched and unique repository of contents to offer to his students. Also the quality of questions in test series was very good and it was very helpful for me to secure this 10th rank in CSE.

    Sanjita Mohapatra(IAS)
    AIR-10, CSE-2019
  • Ritesh sir is an excellent teacher when you look from the quality of content he provides to his student. My quality of answers really improved because I followed his lectures and discussions religiously. Ritesh sir gave me new perspective and insight to evaluate the things from sociological perspectives. Also sir provided me personal mentoring and guided me really well. I was in constant touch with him throughout my preparation. I would really thank Ritesh sir for mentoring me personally.

    Gamini Singla (IAS)
    AIR-3, CSE-2021
  • I want to thank Ritesh sir and Toppers IAS for helping with my sociology optional preparation. I am a civil engineer and a management post-graduate, no any background in sociology. I joined sociology foundation class of Ritesh sir and sir made sure that my journey of studying a new subject altogether was extremely smooth. Throughout my upsc journey Ritesh sir was always there to teach and guide me. He is very humble, responsive and directly approachable.

    Anand Malhotra (IAS)
    AIR-67, CSE-2021
  • Ritesh sir is an amazing teacher having vast knowledge and experience in the field of teaching sociology optional. He makes sociology very interesting, easy to understand and relate it with contemporary development. Also because of his personal mentoring I was able to clear this exam in my very first attempt. Thank you sir.

    Shubham Nokhwal (IAS),
    AIR-321, CSE-2022