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Old Thursday, April 11, 2019
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Default Sociology or Gender studies. Need Suggestions!!

Need Suggestions please!

My optionals for CE-2020 are
Political science, US-History, International Law, and Public administration

Now I'm confused either I should go with gender studies or sociology. Which one is more scoring?

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Old Thursday, April 11, 2019
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Hello,

I do not have sufficient knowledge of Sociology. On the other hand, I have experience in handling Gender Studies in 2017 and 2019.

First of all, the syllabus is limited. Secondly, many topics are generic which means that we can effectively use our day-to-day knowledge and skills. Thirdly, every now and then, there appears to be an essay in the Essay paper pertinent to Gender/Feminism.

In the end, I would suggest having a meticulous look at the syllabus and the past exams of both subjects.

If required any more information about gender studies, I can be reached on my email address.

Best of luck and regards.
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I had both Sociology and Gender studies as optional during the 2019 exams. I thoroughly enjoyed preparing them both and appearing in their exams as well. They test your critical thinking and ability to logically make connections.

One thing I will say is that you will be hard pressed to find one good book that covers their syllabus satisfactorily. So I simply took it topic by topic and studied off of google, making my own notes along the way. I found this technique to be a little draining but if you apply enough discipline and stick with it, you retain the information longer and are exposed to many different views. Sociological subjects that deal with human beings are prone to having different school of thoughts even on the most basic of topics so if you study from only one or two books, you are limited to the author's point of view but if you study from a variety of blogs (note: always fact check them!) and Google books, you'll get a more varied perspective.

Furthermore, I had originally picked Gender studies and sociology under a misguided notion that they'd overlap but they didn't really besides the fact that GS is a social science. I think the reason for this is that the GS syllabus given by FPSC is primarily geared towards the more controversial aspects of the subject and its history rather than the actual theoretical work. The theories and literature of GS would most definitely overlap with sociology since-until very recently-sociology was the subject under which those topics were studied. So keep that in mind.

I'll highly recommend that you look through the syllabus and recent past papers of both the subjects to see what you feel more comfortable with. One thing people assume about both these subjects is that you need to write "generally". As someone with a masters degree in economics this view of "social sciences" irks me. The examiner does not want YOUR opinion. Just like in more established sciences, all social sciences have their own body of theories, laws and respected schools of thought. If you are asked a question, you must frame the answer in one of them. I'll give an example from Sociology below which I had posted on another thread in this forum to give you a better idea of what these subjects demand;

The basic approaches to the study of sociology are the three main paradigms; structural functionalism, conflict and symbolic interaction. You must learn sociology with its own concepts and theories and develop a "sociological perspective". I highly recommend giving time to these paradigms and also giving a good thorough study to part II-Sociological theory of the FPSC sociology course before preparing the other parts because it'll help you develop a sociological outlook and thinking.

This year's paper was highly conceptual. I enjoyed attempting it but that was only because I took the time earlier to carefully and methodically learn about the FPSC recommended sociologists and their theories. You need to immerse yourself in the subject. Once you know the basic theories you can apply them everywhere and even a seemingly general question will gain more weight if you can back it up with respected sociologists' theories and views.

For example; question number 4 from CSS-2019 was How cultural ethnocentrism promotes social change and maintain social order. Comment.

I attempted this question by first defining the term then giving examples of ethnocentrism and how "generally" it can maintain social order and also promote social change (social order: ethnocentrism promotes a feeling of solidarity amongst the members of the group against "others" and they develop cultural, social and legal measures to maintain an order where they are superior. e.g. European Colonialism and their "civilize the savages" campaign, apartheid in south Africa etc. Social change happens when the oppressed class gets tired of the discrimination and fights for change. e.g Martin Luther King Jr. and his marches, Black panther movement, freedom struggle of the Muslims against double ethnocentrism of both British colonizers and Hindu Mahasbha.) After this part I supported my stance with theories. Ibn Al-Khaldun and the concept of Assabiya (tribalism), Karl Marx and the fall of capitalism and W. E. B Dubois and racial discrimination in America.




I hope you found this helpful as a starting point. If you would like to ask me any questions regarding these subjects, I'd be happy to answer them to the best of my abilities.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aishalam View Post
I had both Sociology and Gender studies as optional during the 2019 exams. I thoroughly enjoyed preparing them both and appearing in their exams as well. They test your critical thinking and ability to logically make connections.

One thing I will say is that you will be hard pressed to find one good book that covers their syllabus satisfactorily. So I simply took it topic by topic and studied off of google, making my own notes along the way. I found this technique to be a little draining but if you apply enough discipline and stick with it, you retain the information longer and are exposed to many different views. Sociological subjects that deal with human beings are prone to having different school of thoughts even on the most basic of topics so if you study from only one or two books, you are limited to the author's point of view but if you study from a variety of blogs (note: always fact check them!) and Google books, you'll get a more varied perspective.

Furthermore, I had originally picked Gender studies and sociology under a misguided notion that they'd overlap but they didn't really besides the fact that GS is a social science. I think the reason for this is that the GS syllabus given by FPSC is primarily geared towards the more controversial aspects of the subject and its history rather than the actual theoretical work. The theories and literature of GS would most definitely overlap with sociology since-until very recently-sociology was the subject under which those topics were studied. So keep that in mind.

I'll highly recommend that you look through the syllabus and recent past papers of both the subjects to see what you feel more comfortable with. One thing people assume about both these subjects is that you need to write "generally". As someone with a masters degree in economics this view of "social sciences" irks me. The examiner does not want YOUR opinion. Just like in more established sciences, all social sciences have their own body of theories, laws and respected schools of thought. If you are asked a question, you must frame the answer in one of them. I'll give an example from Sociology below which I had posted on another thread in this forum to give you a better idea of what these subjects demand;

The basic approaches to the study of sociology are the three main paradigms; structural functionalism, conflict and symbolic interaction. You must learn sociology with its own concepts and theories and develop a "sociological perspective". I highly recommend giving time to these paradigms and also giving a good thorough study to part II-Sociological theory of the FPSC sociology course before preparing the other parts because it'll help you develop a sociological outlook and thinking.

This year's paper was highly conceptual. I enjoyed attempting it but that was only because I took the time earlier to carefully and methodically learn about the FPSC recommended sociologists and their theories. You need to immerse yourself in the subject. Once you know the basic theories you can apply them everywhere and even a seemingly general question will gain more weight if you can back it up with respected sociologists' theories and views.

For example; question number 4 from CSS-2019 was How cultural ethnocentrism promotes social change and maintain social order. Comment.

I attempted this question by first defining the term then giving examples of ethnocentrism and how "generally" it can maintain social order and also promote social change (social order: ethnocentrism promotes a feeling of solidarity amongst the members of the group against "others" and they develop cultural, social and legal measures to maintain an order where they are superior. e.g. European Colonialism and their "civilize the savages" campaign, apartheid in south Africa etc. Social change happens when the oppressed class gets tired of the discrimination and fights for change. e.g Martin Luther King Jr. and his marches, Black panther movement, freedom struggle of the Muslims against double ethnocentrism of both British colonizers and Hindu Mahasbha.) After this part I supported my stance with theories. Ibn Al-Khaldun and the concept of Assabiya (tribalism), Karl Marx and the fall of capitalism and W. E. B Dubois and racial discrimination in America.




I hope you found this helpful as a starting point. If you would like to ask me any questions regarding these subjects, I'd be happy to answer them to the best of my abilities.
It was quite helpful aisha. Thank you!!


Admittedly, this subject (Sociology) demands a smart level of preparation. And as compare to Gender studies I find myself more interested in Sociology but what is making me dubious about sociology is the invincible policy of FPSC of targeting subjects.
what has been the marking trend of sociology in recent years? If someone can share their scores?

CE-2019 was your first attempt??

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Old Friday, April 12, 2019
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Yes, CE-2019 was my first ever attempt. It was the first year I qualified age wise so I decided to give it a go. I was also concerned about the so called targeting of subjects by the checkers but I noticed that it changed every year. Then I came across a post by a senior member which debunked this trend theory and established a more solid explanation for the scoring differences.

I'll try to find the actual post but the main crux of it was simple; CSS exams are relational rather than standardized. What that means simply is that your paper doesn't need to be THE best it just needs to be better than the ones going before it. So if in a certain year there are only a handful of students who selected a specific subject, then the odds that any of them were extraordinary is minimal so in average most of them pass respectfully. But on the other hand if there are a lot of students opting for a subject then the odds of someone who has a near perfect mastery in the subject or overall just did a near-perfect paper is high and if that person's paper is one of the first to be checked, everyone else's paper shall be compared to that brilliant paper and marked accordingly. In such a scenerio, someone who could've passed if the papers checked before his were a little above average would fail simply because in comparison to that perfect paper, he doesn't measure up.

This has been often called out and FPSC has been asked to check the papers in a panel style format (which is followed by many board exams) where all checkers only get one or two questions to check so that this unfair comparison does not affect the entire lot as a whole.

So if you keep this in mind, the scoring "trends" make a lot of sense. For example, languages are often said to be very high scoring because not many people opt (or can opt for that matter) for them and those that do rarely if ever have a masters degree in it. They are just probably native speakers. So their papers are average but pass because in comparison to each other they all are pretty good, not great, but good enough. It's all about what the examiner is expecting of you and hence it becomes a game of chance and a good deal of luck.

This is no means meant to discourage anyone. In fact it makes it easier to adjust and prepare oneself. The only logical solution; try to be better than the rest. Have good presentation. Make sense when writing. If you write disjointed sentences, no one is going to give you any marks. Be logical. Don't panic. And do the absolute best that you can. There are no shortcuts here.

Also on the CSS website, there are examiners remarks of different subjects from several years. Look through what the checkers are saying about your subject and try to keep those points in mind when preparing. Here is the link:
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Here is the link to the examiner's report; http://www.fpsc.gov.pk/exams/css/examiner-report

An example of how I found this useful was in Islamiat remarks, the examiner has noted that the extraordinary papers had quotations from renowned and reputable books while the most recurring mistake they found was wrong Quranic arabic quotations. They specifically mention that the aspirants should try and better their arabic writing skills. So see one can get a fairly good picture of what the examiners want and then prepare accordingly.
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