Preparation Strategy for Mathematics Optional Papers in Civil Services Exam
The Union Public Service Commission conducts the Civil Services Exam (CSE) in India, which is a nationwide competitive examination. Many consider this exam to be the toughest in India. Over 5 lakh applicants take the exam each year. UPSC CSE is conducted in 3 phases i.e., Prelims, Mains and Interview.
Even though there is now only one optional subject to choose from for the IAS mains exam, most students still find it difficult to choose an optional subject. There are numerous rules to follow when selecting an optional subject for the UPSC civil services test. A good rule of thumb is to choose a subject in which you have some knowledge and real enthusiasm. If you are a math graduate who enjoys mastering the topic, selecting math as a UPSC optional can be a suitable choice for you.
In the UPSC Mains, there are two papers called Paper I and Paper II for the optional subject. With each paper contributing 250 marks and a total of 500 marks in the UPSC CSE Mains exam. On that note, let’s discuss a few strategies and tips that you should follow if you have decided to take Maths as an optional subject in UPSC CSE Mains and are keen on performing well in both Maths (optional) Paper-I and Paper-II.
Strategy for Paper I
Since Paper-I is easier than Paper-II, all of the topics must be covered in depth.
- In analytical geometry, pay special attention to questions involving skew lines, cones, and conoids, as well as the sphere. Examine the solutions to the questions in the books and try to repeat the technique while tackling a new sum relating to these topics. The questions may be phrased differently, but if you know what you’re looking for, the technique to solve them will be the same.
- In calculus, concentrate on the calculus of many variables; this topic is similar in paper I and II with minor differences, so you can prepare for both papers at the same time. You must learn the Applications of Derivatives to find maxima and minima, limits, increasing and decreasing function and more.
- Since statistics and dynamics is such an important topic, attempt to solve as many problems as you can from this chapter, at varying levels of difficulty.
- Even though the topic looks to be huge, ordinary differential equations is quite easy. The topic is finished once you have practised sums for all sorts of differential equations, and because the sums are all of the same pattern and are rather basic, it does not take too much time to prepare this topic.
- You must have a good understanding of the theorems linked with vector analysis to perform the applications correctly.
Strategy for Paper – 2
Paper-II is more conceptual and includes questions relating to the derivation and proof of theorems, which many applicants find challenging.
- All the theorems in abstract algebra must be memorised. You can, however, forgo learning the derivation of huge theorems, which are rarely asked in exams.
- In real analysis, the emphasis is on the Riemann Integral, Series and Sequence of Functions, and Improper Integrals, which have been repeated multiple times in recent years for maths optional.
- Another crucial topic is linear programming, which you must cover in full while practising sums.
- In the preceding year, there were a lot of questions about mechanics and fluid dynamics. Examine all of the solved examples in your reference books, paying specific attention to sums involving Kinematics of Fluid in Motion, Sources and Sinks, Vortex motion, and Inviscid Fluid Equation of Motion.
- Cathy’s Theorem is extremely essential from this topic, and complex analysis is an important yet quite simple aspect of this study.
- The computer programming part requires a lot of practise, however it does include fundamental programming that is simple to learn.