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Choice Between Humanities and Science as Optional

Civil Services Examination, is one of the toughest Examination in the country which requires intensive preparation. One needs mental training and calculations regarding how to prepare and what to prepare so that maximum marks are achieved even with limited preparation.

Students select optionals keeping the above concept in mind. They select such optionals which are familiar, interesting and scoring. Here’s a narrative of two individuals who chose diametrically different optionals - Humanities and Science.

Let’s see how it fared down for them.
Shruti is an engineer from a reputed college. She did her engineering from computer science. When she decided to prepare for CSE, she was faced with the dilemma of choosing subjects from science background as her course subject was not offered as optionals in CSE. When she consulted her seniors, she was astounded to found out that many science students take humanities or arts subjects such as Public Administration, Sociology, Philosophy or any language subject as their optionals. The reason according to them was simple - Science subjects require time and effort and have vast syllabus. Whereas students from science background found humanities subjects quite easy to handle and with desirable time management it could be finished on time.

Shruti, however decided to opt for mathematics as her optional. Since her time as a student, she has loved solving problems and maths used to be her favorite subject. She also thought if due to any unforeseen events, she was not able to clear her exam, then she would require extra time and attempts. So, at least she could spend it on maths, which she clearly favored.

According to her, maths is a tricky subject. Aspirant must have a deep knowledge of the subject and it also require great deal of effort as no topic could be left behind. She was also confident that if one prepares the subject very well and in advance, then it generates fruitful results. In the past, it had been seen that students who opted for maths or any science subject and cleared the exams, they were able to do so only because of their optionals. Students favoring science even scored 400 out of 500. Thus, surpassing their fellow colleagues and clearing the exam even if they got less marks in other subjects and interview.

Now, here we have another fellow, who too decided to choose his course subject. Akshay is a college graduate with arts background. While completing his history honors degree, he chose his courses such that they coincided with his preparation. He has now decided to choose history as his optional. Akshay is self-assured that with his background as an arts student, he could do well in CSE because he is already familiar with this subject as he spent three years on the subject. Besides, while preparing he could assuage his doubts from his classmates and faculty teachers who have promised him to help in any manner. As he lives in the same city where he attended his college, he can also make use of their library.

According to Akshay, the competition has grown tough. He felt that with large number of students taking humanities, the examination pattern and scoring have varied in the past years. Many humanities subjects which used to be popular have taken a hit as invigilators are now going with strict markings. Thus, he is seeing a pattern where the onset of science students in popular subjects have declined. Also, he felt that most science students write superficial answers as they try to cram and fit whatever they have read in three or four months into their answers. Whereas, anyone who have studied the subject in deep and put in a considerable amount of time could be able to write analytical answers which now happens to be the demand of the question.

This science vs humanities have been an ongoing debate. No one can say, which is better- Science or Humanities. The belief that science people have an added advantage and are more intelligent is a myth. This has already been debunked in the previous years, when students from arts have brought glory and have passed with flying colors. There are many old prejudices which run among aspirant’s mind and these are continuing and passing down to next generations. It is not necessary that taking a science subject will surely get you good marks and the one who are able to manage it are exceptionally hardworking student. They already had deep passion for the subject that they chose.

In the CSE examination there is no great divide between science and humanities. In fact, this exam has managed to blur the lines.  If a science student is taking an art subject then it automatically provides a level playing field to other arts students. Everyone read the same books and prepare diligently for the other five papers. The optional is the only subject which is case specific. Whether, science or an art subject both requires analytical or rational understanding. It cannot be foretold which optional is going to score high as these are redundant and counterproductive questions.

The aspirants should not go into such matters as it creates doubt in their mind, hence hindering their preparation. ‘Go with what your heart wants’, because usually following your heart and passion makes you successful.

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