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Economics or History as Optional for 2016

Hi everyone

I am looking at a 2016 attempt and have gone through the forum and various blogs exhaustively to get a lot of subsidiary gyaan (haven't started preparing actually yet) but there is one thing that has kept me at fence till now

I am confused as hell between Economics and History as an optional

Before you guys come with some helpful advice (I really am counting on that), a little background, I graduated from one of the top b school and have read a bit of Economics as part of the curriculum, however, I really like the content part of History syllabus and was kind of excited about learning a lot about the world through this process by studying History. Now, the issue is that I sometimes come to realise that after all, it's an exam and not some learning exercise. It sounds very curt but that's how it is and I can't put my selection in doubt over interest or anything else. A lot of people who have taken history in the past are always rueful about the dire states of history as an optional and honestly the lack of top rankers in the list with history as an optional is bit unnerving.

I want to know if that really is the case and whether economics will be a more sane choice as an optional purely from the selection point. I know the cliched take an optional which satisfies your interest criterion and what not but I think am looking at it from a ruthless pragmatic approach as I believe I am fairly comfortable taking either one even though interest tilts a bit towards history more (due to novelty)

Please pour whatever advice you can give, thanks in advance

P.S: Please discount whatever sort of overconfidence or inflated ego sense that comes from the above (if any), I just want to prepare my optional and not regret about in future and clear the exam at earliest

Comments

  • Mine is Economics.

    Economics Benefits:-
    1. perfect books available
    2. indian and foreign authors available
    3. syllabus is small compared to History
    4. questions are repeated... though in 2015 many new questions were asked.
    5. you can easily cover it 4 5 times before mains provided u make complete notes

    Disadvantages:-
    1. No coaching classes
    2. only 2 classes and both are useless
    3. wont find peer group easily
    4. expert opinion is hard to find
    5. different authors may give contradictory view thus confusing you.
    6. you yourself will have to take all efforts. no perfect teachers or seniors available---Unlike history

    History:-
    1. too vast and will have to remember much more names and places (bit of ratta)
    2. syllabus is too big to cover 4 5 times
    3. but good coaching and peer group will be available.
    Success!!
    Optional = Economics
  • Thanks@chowmin
    I am working right now so I am going to rely entirely on self study
    How do you figure difficulty level of the economics for a new person?
    Even though I had some exposure to Economics in MBA, I haven't done my undergrad in the subject
  • edited December 2015

    Thanks@chowmin
    I am working right now so I am going to rely entirely on self study
    How do you figure difficulty level of the economics for a new person?
    Even though I had some exposure to Economics in MBA, I haven't done my undergrad in the subject

    Background is not important though it helps. Paper 1 was application oriented in 2015 but in 2014 it was static n direct from syllabus. till now it has been mainly static. Only some part is difficult as no definite source is there but its manageable.
    paper 2 questions are repeated but answers will be different each year. But its manageable with dutt sundaram n writing speed.

    Also pls tag me properly if u need any more help. :)
    Success!!
    Optional = Economics
  • chowmin said:

    Thanks@chowmin
    I am working right now so I am going to rely entirely on self study
    How do you figure difficulty level of the economics for a new person?
    Even though I had some exposure to Economics in MBA, I haven't done my undergrad in the subject

    Background is not important though it helps. Paper 1 was application oriented in 2015 but in 2014 it was static n direct from syllabus. till now it has been mainly static. Only some part is difficult as no definite source is there but its manageable.
    paper 2 questions are repeated but answers will be different each year. But its manageable with dutt sundaram n writing speed.

    Also pls tag me properly if u need any more help. :)
    Thanks again, just a last query
    If you were to suggest a book list for both papers, what would it look like?

    Pls be exhaustive
  • Hi, I was in a similar situation just a few months back albeit with a different set of optionals to take a choice from (Mathematics and economics, gave my first mains in 2014 with mathematics). My background -B.Tech and MBA (from one of the top-20 institutes)... My experience: Economics taught in our MBA colleges is bull****. It is no-where comparable to the economics optional of UPSC, which is highly technical and must be taken only if you have the curiosity to explore. Question pattern in almost every optional is changing these days and if one is not naturally inclined towards his/her subject, they may be one of the few unlucky ones who "didnt expect the change in question pattern", which happens every year. As far as I am concerned, I used to write economics and finance articles for some finance magazines and a few companies as well, was deeply interested in economics and desire to do a Ph.D someday, still it took me atleast 4 months, to have a decent coverup of the subject (however, I am not convinced about my optional preparation, but I get a feeling that I will somehow manage it in next 2 months or so)... Cant say anything about history as not experienced about that. (Overall advice: Economics is the most pragmatic option, but stay very creative and curious, when you are taking it as it is one of the most challenging optional in social sciences)
    Jaake mehertabaan se keh do ki apni kiraanein ginkar rakh le, mai apne sehra ke zarre zarre ko khud chamakna sikha raha hoon!!
  • history is a worthless optional.... particularly if u r a gen cat candidate.. just try to find out the number of candidates with history optional in top 100 and u'll know.. economics has produced toppers in consecutive years.. not history.. history is not a scoring optional..however hard u may try..

    P.S.: wrote mains with history 6* times in gen cat ..3 times qualified for interview.. still no rank..
  • economics le lo..
    One of the greatest mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results
  • Economics lo GS 3 bhi chill ho jaayega and essay mein bhi help milegi.
  • Take Economics only if you a good grasping power and patience. Trust me,you will require those traits in adundance. Paper 1 is highly technical and requires good 6-8 months to get hold of it. I really don't think Economics will be a very viable option if you are a working aspirant. Rest, your call. Frankly i have seen many aspirants taking Economics out of interest/recent euphoria of being a 'rewarding optional' etc and later dropping ,calling it too challenging to handle without a background.

  • ankit_222 said:

    Economics lo GS 3 bhi chill ho jaayega and essay mein bhi help milegi.

    That is a misconception actually. Economics as optional is highly technical, wo gyaan gs 3 and essay me daaloge to ulta marks kam ho jayenge. Read Gaurav Agrawal's article, how he got less marks in essay in his first attempt.
    Jaake mehertabaan se keh do ki apni kiraanein ginkar rakh le, mai apne sehra ke zarre zarre ko khud chamakna sikha raha hoon!!
  • Thanks everyone!
    I have got hold of Froyen, Pindyck, salvatore and HL Bhatia for now and would go through the syllabus and read whatever I can in next 2~3 weeks to see if I like economics and will keep in mind the above points
  • edited January 2016

    Thanks everyone!
    I have got hold of Froyen, Pindyck, salvatore and HL Bhatia for now and would go through the syllabus and read whatever I can in next 2~3 weeks to see if I like economics and will keep in mind the above points

    Read Musgrave instead of Bhatia.
  • Thanks everyone!
    I have got hold of Froyen, Pindyck, salvatore and HL Bhatia for now and would go through the syllabus and read whatever I can in next 2~3 weeks to see if I like economics and will keep in mind the above points

    Read Musgrave instead of Bhatia.
    Yeah heard that it's quite good. Will get it once I finish my "trial run" at economics
  • I hv chosen eco as my optional. Mech Engg 3.5 yrs of work ex( resigned n left in Dec 15...shifted to ssc..with some job...joinin will take june 16...6 free months.

    Intend to prepare Eco as optional. Want to take formal coaching. Will go to delhi..will be reaching there on 5th Jan 16 ..Got 3 options
    1. Axiom prof lalwani
    2. Ak daksh sir
    3. Ecopoint
    Pl. suggest which one is worth joining. If others options other than theae are available, pl. Suggest
  • You will be better off studying on your own. Get the standard text books and download Gaurav Agarwal's notes (may god bless him, his notes have made economics preparation easier).

    I myself had got coaching notes but they were useless. Spend the time and resources on better books and self study is what I would suggest. Rest is up to you.
  • Take an optional you have interest in. In mains analytical questions are generally asked hence you need not only command of subject but also a interest in it for writing analytical answers.

    I m too a IIM grad however let me tell you the bschool level eco is crap, mains requires pg level command of eco. And after gaurav Agarwal eco has become mildly famous and as more and more student take it, upsc will increase difficulty level of optional correspondingly.

    Hence take eco or history only if you have interest in them otherwise reading optional would be chore and it won't lead to selection.
  • sidsa said:

    Take an optional you have interest in. In mains analytical questions are generally asked hence you need not only command of subject but also a interest in it for writing analytical answers.

    I m too a IIM grad however let me tell you the bschool level eco is crap, mains requires pg level command of eco. And after gaurav Agarwal eco has become mildly famous and as more and more student take it, upsc will increase difficulty level of optional correspondingly.

    Hence take eco or history only if you have interest in them otherwise reading optional would be chore and it won't lead to selection.

    Sounds fair, I have already got some standard books for Eco and will give them a try for next 2~3 weeks to see if I can handle it with enough interest over the next 12 months
  • sidsa said:

    Take an optional you have interest in. In mains analytical questions are generally asked hence you need not only command of subject but also a interest in it for writing analytical answers.

    I m too a IIM grad however let me tell you the bschool level eco is crap, mains requires pg level command of eco. And after gaurav Agarwal eco has become mildly famous and as more and more student take it, upsc will increase difficulty level of optional correspondingly.

    Hence take eco or history only if you have interest in them otherwise reading optional would be chore and it won't lead to selection.

    Sounds fair, I have already got some standard books for Eco and will give them a try for next 2~3 weeks to see if I can handle it with enough interest over the next 12 months
    so hows your preparations for economics optional going? would you recommend it right now?
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