(Getting Started) How to Score 310 Marks In Philosophy - K Aman Chandran (AIR-197)
K Aman Chandran is a Kerala native who has secured a coveted all-India rank of 197 in the UPSC Civil Services Examination. He has done his schooling at Vyasa Vidya Peethom, Kallekkad, Palakkad, and he graduated with an Electrical and Electronics Engineering B.Tech degree from College of Engineering, Trivandrum. This was his second attempt after 2018.
K Aman Chandran, AIR-197, UPSC CSE, 2019
Why Choose Philosophy Optional?
Choosing an optional is one of the most important decisions one has to make during their Civil Service Preparation. Aman considers aptitude to be the most important factor while choosing an optional. To begin with, Aman had an amateur interest in Philosophy.
Also, the syllabus of Philosophy optional is short and static. That makes it very manageable. Philosophy also provides you an edge in the Essay and Ethics papers. But mainly, Aman chose Philosophy for the intellectual stimulation it has to offer.
Strategy For Philosophy Paper-I
There are two sections in Paper-I – Indian and Western Philosophies. The similarities and differences between each school of thought and how they are comparable to each other are the main takeaways from this section. For example, what Adi Shankaracharya is to Indian Philosophy, Kant is to Western.
Paper-I is very concept-oriented and what is expected of you is to learn how their opinions are justified by their arguments and their implications. The questions of world view and morality are important and the criticism is faced. The key to paper-I is mastery over the content.
Paper-I Book List
Good study notes are very very important to score well in this. Aman had his notes from Mahesh Sir's class which had content curated from many books and other source material. This helped him save a lot of time.
Strategy For Philosophy Paper-II
There are two sections here as well – sociopolitical philosophy and the philosophy of religion. Sociopolitical is more contemporary such as democracy, justice, equality, multiculturalism, etc. Scholars like John Ralphs, Gandhi, Amartya Sen, Ambedkar, etc. Concepts of Marxism, Socialism, etc. come in. In the philosophy of religion, interpretation plays a role. The concept of God, the relation between religion and morality is questioned.
Paper-II is more about the originality of thought than content. How well you can create, process and present ideas are what plays the key role here. Approach questions with your independent opinion and justify those opinions.
How To Maximize Your Optional Score
The strategy for Aman was simple –
- For paper-I, he concentrated on learning concepts, arguments, justifications, and criticism. There was no place for ambiguity and vague thoughts.
- For paper-II, Aman developed his skill of original thinking by practicing previous year's questions. Using real-life examples will add value to your answer and increase your marks.
- Answer writing has to be practiced. Address all sides, talk about only what is asked, and do not go into tangents. Make your answers as readable as possible. Answer with different dimensions such as justification, world view, criticism, etc.
How Philosophy Optional Helped Mold Your Thoughts
Balance is key to cracking this exam
Philosophy makes thinkers out of you. It is a very gratifying experience to study so many different ideas and find relations to your day-to-day life. For example, Madhyam Marg philosophy of Buddhism will help every Civil Servant aspirant to understand how to balance their life with preparation.
It is a process of self-discovery and Aman recommends it to any aspirant who wishes to not only score well in UPSC but also learn and grow alongside it.
All the best!
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