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Sociology versus History- Which is a better subject for the UPSC optional paper?

eliteiascoaching June 5, 2021

As a dedicated UPSC candidate, you may have started your preparation for IAS Prelims and Mains. However, to appear for the Mains exam, you have to choose an optional subject. There are several options, and you can select any of them as your UPSC optional paper. But, IAS candidates are in a dilemma while they make a decision on the optional subjects. Most commonly, they choose between Sociology and History. Still, which one is better for you? A thorough analysis of these UPSC subjects will enable you to make the right choice.

Factors differentiating History from Sociology

Interestingly, History and Sociology have a close relation to each other. You cannot avoid Sociology while reading History. Similarly, Sociology has no root without History. Both these subjects belong to social science, although they differ from each other.

Sociology is a subject where you have to learn about the human society. The subject also includes critical analysis and empirical investment methods to develop knowledge. On the contrary, History is about the analysis of the past events and the investigation of the cause and effect.

The Sociology students have to learn the scientific techniques, like sampling. However, the History students collect evidence and facts.

There are several other differences between History and Sociology. Candidates who have chosen Sociology need to study the present human society. Thus, there is a minimal risk of error in documenting the human interactions.The History students may find the problem of bias, as they have to rely on the traditional methods to record historical facts.

In Sociology, you will learn about different methods about interpretative approaches and philosophic development. On the contrary, the History students have to know about elements related to the historical investigation process.

Pros of Sociology

  • The syllabus is shorter, and thus, you do not need much time for preparation.
  • It is a comparatively scoring subject. As candidates can easily understand the concept, they can secure a high score. You may check your performance in the best Sociology test series.
  • The Humanities students like to choose Sociology as their optional paper. But, candidates with a Science background also prefer the subject.
  • While studying Sociology, you can prepare yourself for the UPSC essay paper. In most cases, UPSC chooses one essay from the sociological issue.
  • By understanding social issues, you can learn about other functioning of society.

Cons of Sociology

  • Without effort, you cannot secure a high score.
  • Candidates must know the way of writing the answer properly to obtain better scores.
  • They should have knowledge about current affairs to understand the subject easily.

Pros of History

  • Some parts of General Studies are from History. That is why you can make a combined preparation for these subjects.
  • By increasing your knowledge about History, you can easily write your essay paper.
  • History includes a range of topics, socio-politics and economy. Thus, some UPSC candidates find the subject interesting.
  • History is easily understandable, as it is similar to a story. You do not need to read complicated formulas.
  • You can nurture your reading habit by studying History.
  • In the GS papers, you can make your arguments stronger by mentioning historical facts.
  • History is a static subject, and it is one of the reasons for making your preparation easy.
  • You can avail of your study materials from several sources.

Cons of history-

  • Without interest in History, you may find the subject complicated.
  • The writing skills are important to score high marks in the subject.
  • Some candidates claim that History is not a scoring optional subject
  • They have to learn the names and dates of events thoroughly. Thus, they need strong memory to ensure better performance in History.

You can now read the pros and cons of two subjects to select your optional papers. However, candidates from both these subjects have to try their best to score high marks. They need to study the subjects from reliable sources and buy quality books. There are also training institutes helping students with the History and Sociology test series. The test series will prepare you for the final examination. You may learn about the question patterns from the mock tests. A series of mock tests will slowly make you feel confident.

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