@thehulk @arma3349 @Rudy_Ruettiger @Inspector_Steel @I4anI
have asked for my experience about changing optional from geography to anthropology, time required, coaching etc.
Please keep in mind this is my OPINION. I believe anthropology might have played a positive role in clearing mains this time. But only marks will tell true tale. I hope I have done well. I had no intention of sharing this before final resul. But, since this is the time to decide for many and few questions were asked I am doing it.
Here it is:
1. Experience with geography -
Coaching - Direction IAS, Vision IAS test series
Attempt - 1 (2016), mains marks - 254
2. Why did I change?
I was not satisfied with my geography attempt, so to improve I joined Vajiram geography test series. But the programme required huge efforts and I was not sure whether it will translate into improved performance. I was worried it may negatively impact GS.
3. Why I went with anthropology?
A) syllabus seemed doable.
continuous good scores in mains
C) questions are pretty straightforward from the syllabus itself. If syllabus is covered comprehensively questions I believed I would be able to answer almost all questions. This was not a case with geography (for me).
4. Experience with anthropology
A) time required: I started my classes after mains 2016 result. Paper 1 completed before prelims and paper 2 after prelims. Total 2 months of classes and then self study.
material availability: enough material from various coaching institutes. Although I did not use it much. Relied on class notes.
C) syllabus is small and manageable if interrelated.
D) booklist - class notes, XAXA committee report, Social and cultural anthropology -vijay singh, Singh and Sahay, Tribal India - LP Vidyarthi.
5. Coaching -
A friend recommended Vijay Sir. In our first meet he insisted that anthropology is not taught with anthropological perspective in Delhi but with biological/zoological perspective. This creates issues related to bloated content and complexity.
At that time I was reading BrainTree. After few classes I was convinced of his approach, and got very strong recommendations from other friends so went ahead with coaching.
A) interrelate concepts
focus on application of content. E.g. He repeatedly uses same case studies in different contexts.
IMO this helps in two ways - reduces number of case studies we need to remember and to develop habit of using existing content to answer conventional/unconventional questions.
C) focus on previous year questions. He will ask u to go through all pyq as many times as u can.
His class structure and content is also based heavily on pyq and predicted questions. Focuses on having crisp 150-250 word notes.
If u mug up the content, u may directly dump the content in any related questions.
D) functional approach- u will find only a few scholar names and definitions (only those which are necessary) of concepts and lots of examples about how the concept works in life. Honestly, it was scary at first when everyone knew so many definitions and scholars. But, slowly I grew to appreciate the approach. It helped to reduce my search for new case studies and saved a lot of time.
E) willingness to work with students - took many doubt sessions, was working with class even the day before final exam. I know few friends who are attending classes again just to revise and clarify things without any further charges.
F) insistence on anthropological perspective - RIGHT VS RELEVANT. He will often scold us for quoting right examples or content but not relevant in the context.
A) accent was a problem for first few days, but u adapt quickly.
physical part may lack a little in opinion of some. But I found it satisfying. IMO one thing we should remember here is his insistence on studying physical concepts from anthropological perspective and not biological perspective. That way physical works fine. He will ask us again and again to stay away from P. Nath as it is written more from zoological perspective and less from anthropological perspective.
C) few case studies he mentioned were from 80s and 90s. However, they were to the point and relevant. His sources are generally anthropological journals - Man in India. Additionally, he has shown great will to adapt and improve. He updated us with case studies from XAXA and recent journals.
Should u join - go and talk to him. Attend a few classes and decide for urself. He is pretty accessible this way. I would recommend him not only because of content but because of the approach we develop I'm those 2 months.
6. More experienced people to ask queries about shifting from geo to anthro - @abhi1610
go for it. this was my last attempt.i switched from geog to anthro after 2016 mains reult. i have given 3 mains n one interview wid geog still finally i decided to change optional.newoptional will make u more alert and more serious because of fear of a new paper.This will help u in ur gs and essay preparation too .let loose ur inertia.go for it.sometimes new challenges bring d best out of us.
some risk pay and some don but that doesnt mean ki we stop taking risk .
Its just my thought.final decision should be urs.
PS: I know few friends who continued with geography because of all the efforts they had put in and have cleared mains. So, I am not sure whether shifting from geography or ur optional is the panacea. But that is for u to decide.