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Geography vs Anthropology as optional

I am a computer science engineering graduate. I have considered the following two options based on interest and can't come to a decision.

My conclusions on
1. It has a vast syllabus, but I don't mind this much, as it is very interesting.
2. I don't have particular map drawing or presentation skills, which is said to be essential.
3. I have only 10 months for preparation and considering the vast syllabus I don't know if I can cover it.

1. I do not have a background in biology. Considering I have to start from scratch will it take too much of valuable time? Also since a lot of bio students will be taking it, will I be at a disadvantage?
2. The syllabus appeals more to me, but from what I hear, anthro has very little overlap with GS compared to geography. Will studying something entirely unrelated to GS cost me much needed time?

I need further insights on the challenges that could crop up in each subject, so that I can evaluate.


  • edited July 2017
    I am bio student and yes like 1/3 of paper 1 is gene and stuff related .

    buy main book or borrow books of the syllabus

    get the previous years papers and see what suits you .nobody can be sure but only yourself f
  • If you are taking classes of any of the above subjects its good and parallelly you need a mentor for anthropology as of you are from engineering background but if you plan properly with the help mentor or anyone, anthro is good option in other case go for Geo if u can believe in to cover the syllabus with interest
    Geo will be helpful in paper 1 &3
  • Don't take geography that's all I can say.Despite devoting a major part of my preparation on it,it has been the cause of me missing IAS by few marks this time.It isn't very scoring like anthropology.Moreover there are so many students opting for geography that your answer copy needs to be outstanding to fetch really high marks.
    CSE 2016 Indian Police Service ( IPS )
  • Next year upsc may decide to kill anthro marks- you never know. consider on basis of how tough/easy you find basic articles and PYQs. Toppers are there from every optional and there are always those who don't feel comfy with their initial choice like mister above. Don't make decision based on others' experience but your own.
    If geo has map, anthro has drawings
    . We are what we do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.
  • edited July 2017
    If you are comfortable with Human Geography which is more than 33% of the Geo syllabus, Go for it.
    Normally people from engineering background got fascinated by the GS syllabus of the Geography portion which is of very minimal use in Geo Optional papers! A classic case is me :neutral:
  • Throw some light here too. I have history as optional (although it helps in GS, I won't take it optional ever again after 2017 unless I turn insane, revision and exhaustive completion of syllabus highly difficult) so am thinking of switching to maths/ anthro. Anthro seems very objective in paper 1, however paper 2 is once again a bit of stinker for me. I don't possess great writing skills but am pretty good in making points noted.
    In case of maths, I know about the syllabus but am a bit bothered since 1 bad day can spoil the thing. In maths the normalisation is fearing me. So am just in favour of anthro
  • Thank you all people, I have finally settled for Anthropology. After analysing the syllabus and past question papers, I've decided that the biology part is interesting enough for me, and when there's interest difficulty level automatically comes down. So yeah all of ur opinions helped, thank ya :smile:
    For anyone who's having a problem - after weighing the pros and cons, if you're still unable to decide, go with the one which can hold your interest even for a year. Luck to ya'll.
  • Good choice
    The day we decided that the worth of an individual was determined by their performance in an examination, that was the day Education failed us.

    Long live Revolution, Down with ForumIAS. Ban me Mods
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