For Beginners: Syllabus, Scores, How to Prepare

How is Psychology as an Optional?

As an Optional, Psychology is one of the most engrossing subjects one can opt for in the UPSC CSE Examination. Psychology is the (scientific) study of human mind and behaviour. It seeks to answer questions like ‘Am I an Introvert or an Extrovert?’, ‘Why do we fall in love?’, ‘Why are we motivated by Money?’, ‘Why do we forget?’, ‘What are emotions?’. These are some of the questions we have been asking from ourselves since our childhood. As an Optional Subject in the UPSC, Psychology gives the candidate an opportunity to go revisit these themes and explore them deeply. The subject will help you develop a Scientific temperament, it will urge you to think critically about things, which otherwise people just tend to accept as facts. It will make you more ‘rational’ and ‘skeptical’ while at the same time, it will surprise you with many of the facts about yourself, which you weren’t quite aware of previously.

Is Psychology a Scoring Paper?

From a strategic perspective: (Psychology + Essay + Ethics: A 1000 marks Game Changer).  

Psychology + Ethics (A Strong Blend): Psychology goes hand in hand with GS Paper IV i.e. Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude. Both Ethics and Psychology have stemmed from Philosophy, and both the subjects require you to develop a strong skill of ‘abstract thinking’. Once a candidate has completed his preparation of Psychology Optional, he will be delighted to discover that much of his GS Paper IV Portions have been covered. And it won’t take him/her much time to cover up the leftover parts. Some of the overlapping Parts of Ethics Paper and Psychology Optional are: Attitude, Values & Interests, Emotional Intelligence, Personality, Thinking and Problem Solving, etc.  


Psychology + Ethics + Essay (A deadly combo): In the last part we have seen how Psychology goes quite hand in hand with the Ethics Paper of UPSC CSE Examination. Another interesting part is, that much of the Answer Writing Skills which you will develop in this course would help you immensely with the Essay Paper of the Examination. Especially the Abstract portion of the Essay Paper (wherein you are supposed to write 1 Essay: marked at 125 marks). We will deal deeply with the structure of writing an answer. When to cite a research evidence in Psychology? When to bring in real life examples? How do I know how many researches should I quote in my answer? We will focus extensively on the various command terms like ‘Describe’, ‘Define’, ‘Evaluate’, etc. (Most of the Essay questions need an answer in the ‘Evaluate’ format). No particular course apart from Psychology, (especially the course offered under the aegis of Magnus IAS) would go so deeply to explore the exact Art of Answer Writing. Afterall, meeting the ‘demand’ of the question, is one of those challenging tasks which only a few candidates are able to accomplish.    

 Best Coaching for Psychology Optional

It is a truth widely acknowledged in the UPSC Community that the best way to prepare for this exam is Self Study! Especially when it comes to a subject like Psychology, the candidate needs to sit and internalize every concept as if it were his own. However, two challenges come into picture:

1) This could be a time taking process: Often times, we have seen candidates who have given multiple attempts at Mains with the subject and still have failed to qualify. The primary reason for this failure is that, the aspirants fail to integrate the various aspects of Psychology and therefore, are unable to produce holistic answers in the exam. This issue also occurs because not many of the aspirants have a background in Psychology. Many students choose this subject out of pure interest and curiosity, but end up losing confidence mid-way. This is not something we want.


‘Integration’ is everything. Under the aegis of Magnus IAS, we have provided 120 + Video Classes plus Weekly Live Classes for Psychology Optional, which are known for it’s ‘Integration’. We have a dedicated 3 Faculty team for Psychology Optional.

2: Answer Writing: Throughout the course, our faculty members emphasizes over and over again on ‘Answer Writing’. Every concept is taught in context to the Past Year Questions. Students are provided with Value Addition Points, are taught how to decode the question, how to write the answers in a limited time frame, etc. The program is being run under Arun Sir (Ex-Commissioner DI Central Vigilance Commission) who qualified this exam in 1995. Sir interacts with the students on a frequent basis, guiding them on how they can incorporate this subject in their work field, in the interview room and more prominently in their day to day lives.   

How to Study for Psychology Optional- Madhusoodan S (M.Phil Psychology, IB Examiner for Psychology)
UPSC Psychology Paper 1 Syllabus Overview- Rithwik Aryan, Harvard University, IBDP
UPSC PSYCHOLOGY Paper 2 Syllabus Overview, Launch of Full Online course for Psychology Optional
UPSC PSYCHOLOGY- Who should choose Psychology Optional? BY Rithwik Aryan, Harvard University, IBDP