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Old Sunday, December 25, 2011
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New aspirants are usually in a dilemma in selecting the optional subjects. After embarking upon the preparation, this state of dilemma is quite natural as well. Impact of mixed opinions like opinion on the part of the friends, seniors, teachers, coaching institute etc bewilder them and they are not in a position to take a right decision. Above-mentioned opinions are at times influenced by individual outlook, at times by wrong perception, at times by personal experiences, at times by prejudice or bias and at times by vested interests.

We are presenting some of these opinions which new aspirants come across and which do not have any rational basis. We are presenting the explanation and the rational basis related to such opinions as well.

1. Some subjects are very lengthy and their preparation takes a lot of time. The truth is that the syllabus of almost all subjects is equally vast and comprehensive. FPSC does not discriminate among subjects. The commission has determined a standard for each subject and has incorporated all important topics into the syllabus of each subject. All popular subjects selected by the candidates like History, Sociology, Geography, Public Administration, Political Science etc. have comprehensive syllabus.

2. Two such subjects (having lengthy syllabus) should not be chosen like History & Political Science, Geography & Psychology, History and Geography The rational view is that there are other criteria to select the optional subjects for the syllabus of almost all subjects are lengthy.

3. Some subjects are more scoring like Sociology and Journalism or some are not like Sciences and Literatures. The truth is that the Commission / Examiner does not discriminate among subjects in giving marks. Fetching of good marks solely depends upon one's performance, not the subject. One can get good marks in any subject. The results of the Civil Services Examination every year too establish the same fact. The only rational criteria for the subjects being more scoring or less scoring are the stream they are associated with. Subjects associated with science may be more scoring than those of humanities because of greater objectivity. Likewise subjects from humanities may be more scoring than literature.

4. One should not opt for subjects like Commerce & Accountancy, Economics, etc. because candidates do not get marks in these subjects or candidates do not qualify with these subjects. The truth is that one can opt for any subject, provided one fulfills certain criteria. Basis of selection is not subject rather performance in a particular subject.

5. One should give a serious thought to the selection of the optional subjects. A wrong decision in the beginning might prove an obstacle in one's success. There are a good number of candidates who were capable of qualifying but only because of wrong selection of the optional subjects they eventually failed. Optional subjects play a decisive and crucial role in qualifying Examinations. Don't be in a hurry in selection, consider properly and give time to it.

There are certain rational criteria for selecting the optional subjects. We are putting them forward in point form.

1. Every subject is good.
2. The syllabus of almost every subject is equally lengthy and demand equal amount of labour.
3. The syllabus of all popular subjects like History, Geography, Political Science etc. are equally vast.
4. One can get satisfactory level of marks (required to make one successful) in all subjects through proper guidance and adequate labour.
5. One may take into consideration one's interests in the subject but this is not important. Success of many candidates has proved it.
6. One might take into consideration one's background in the subject.
7. One might take into consideration the similarities of topics of subjects for example History and Political Science, Commerce & Accountancy and Public Administration etc. This lessens the burden of the candidates. This is an important criterion.
8. Go through the syllabus and previous years' questions of the subjects, you are considering opting.
9. One might take into consideration the fact that to what extent the optional subjects help a candidate in General Studies. Subjects like History, Public Administration, Political Science etc. play significant role in this context.
10. The most important criteria is the guidance one gets in the subjects. Guidance makes subject / subjects easy and enables candidates to write standard answers. Experiences of a large number of candidates have established the truth that any subject is a good subject provided one gets a good guidance for that subject. A good guidance does not mean teaching of topics, rather teaching in such a way so that one comprehends all the topics, one has adequate and quality content and more significantly one is in a position to write good & standard answers - which is the essence of the preparations.
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