Public Administration -

Selection of a proper and better optional subject for the Civil Service Exam (PT and Main) is a difficult problem for the aspirants of Civil Services in the present competitive scenario. It could be decided only on the basis of proper information regarding the subject. The basis for the selection of any optional subject are: specifically defined and comparatively small syllabus, easy availability of study material, interesting and popularity of the subject, scoring nature of the subject, availability of experienced guide etc.

The syllabus of public administration is relatively short as well as it is well-defined .The study material is easily available and compact in nature. It, being a popular and scoring optional subject, has got easy availability of experienced guidelines .The scientific and logical nature of the subject helps to prepare the subject for Preliminary and Main examination within less time comparatively .This helps the candidates for the preparation of Essay and General Studies papers with “extra time” and ensures better performance and marks in the examinations. Thus, the Public Administration is a popular and successful optional subject for the preliminary and main examination in Civil Service Examination.

The students of Political Science have extra edge in this subject, as the Public Administration is the offspring of Political Science .Henceforth, there are many similarities between the two in their subject matter. The knowledge and concepts of Political Science are used in this subject for variation in the style of presentation of the answers .It is, of course, more scoring and has got concise syllabus than the other subjects. The portion of Indian Administration is very much related to the constitutional aspects of India .So the study of Public Administration as an optional subject is very much helpful for the Indian Polity portion of General Studies in the Preliminary and Main Examination as well. Now days the questions of Indian Polity in the Main examination have the applied and administrative nature and implications .The Public Administration makes such answers more relevant.

The study of Indian Administration, specifically the units of ‘Welfare Administration, Local Administration, Administrative Reforms in India, Law and Order Administration, District Administration, Role of public sector in the perspective of liberalization etc. helps the candidates to prepare the Essay Papers with better understanding of problems and solution aspects with practical approach with difference .Of course, the practical understanding gives them an edge in interview as well ,which makes the space sure in the success list.

The most important aspect of Public Administration is that it has only TWELVE TOPICS in the Preliminary Examination with proper specification of the sub-topics which could easily be prepared within 4-5 months span of time only. Of course this less consumption of time gives the candidate ample space for the SELF STUDY and REVISION without which the success is a nightmare. The conceptual nature of the subject helps the candidates accommodating and retaining the facts easily.

Similarly, the syllabus of Main Examination has got only TWENTY SIX UNITS in two papers. The strategic preparation of the subject requires only 50-55% of the syllabus prepared for the answers in the examination. The strategic preparation with the proper and experienced guidelines make the candidates’ preparation comparatively effective and easy for the three long questions and two comment questions in each paper .

The experienced guidelines help the candidates' analytical approach to develop properly in right direction .These help the candidates to score more in less consumption of time and ensures the WONDER SPACE in the final success list                                                      As it has been well said :“Winners do not do different things rather they do things differently”.

Last but not the least and most importantly, the study of Public Administration enables you and your performance more SYSTEMATIC, PRACTICAL, ORGANISED, RELEVANT AND WELL ARTICULUTED in every walk of your life. As the study of Public Administration is related to those phenomenon which are commonly reflected in our lives. So, the study of Public Administration "brings the difference differently "in you which is the REAL WIN .Your selection is just the by-product of your serious efforts with the Public Administration.


I would like to reiterate what I have quoted earlier also –
."Winners do not do different things, they do things differently”.
The knack is putting you in the shoes of the examiner. A little understanding of the psychology of the examiner can be done by putting yourself in the examiner's place. What you would like in any answer sheet? Clarity of though, lucidity, good content, well expressed views & compacted language. In short, good Communication Skill (Written Communication) so that the answer script could speak for itself.

The reason why I began with writing skill is that it is the most important component in the preparation for the Main Examination. There are many intelligent students, well versed with knowledge about their subject matter and yet they do not score in the Main Examination. What could be the reason? Of course, luck and destiny is there. However, another important reason is faulty writing skill.

Thus, Civil Services Examination requires a two-pronged strategy to hit the target -
Content and Writing Skill. Now I willtake up both these components in detail.

(a) Conceptual understanding.
(b) Facts.
(c) Manipulating the facts as per requirement.
(d) Something new, in terms of knowledge base or linkages.

  1. Conceptual understanding - of the subject matter is most important. Give a layman's interpretation to the concepts and relate it with mundane example for long-term memory.
  2. Facts -After conceptual understanding, the second step is memorizing the important facts. For example - some important theoretical aspectsare to be memorized to attempt any question related to the spatial analysis of the subject matter.
  3. Manipulating the facts as per the need of the question to reach desired inference. Herein selection and picking up the right direction and relevant fact becomes important with analysis.
  4. Something New - new diagrams, new ideas, original ideas, new content, latest reports, linkages etc.

However, one has to be cautious that a balance is maintained and the ideas are not too radical and should be well integrated with the answer.

Writing Skill:
  1. Be short and precise.
  2. Writing should be legible and neat.
  3. Grammatical errors should be avoided.
  4. Simple language.
  5. Neat diagrams and maps, whenever it is required, should be incorporated in the answer.

Writing skill does not mean a decorative language, having extra-ordinary vocabulary. It means that the ideas should be well expressed in a lucid manner. Simple language but a speaking Languageisthe demand i.e. the answer sheet should speak out everything for itself with requisite words, depends on the nature of the subject matter. There should be no ambiguity in the answers.

Writing skill comes through practice.Writing skill is also based on your knowledge base and conceptual understanding. This only can give flow and lucidity to your answers. The conceptual understanding will make your answer well organised and well integrated.
Thus, writing skill and content both should complement and supplement each other. Writing skill has its base in content and content needs writing skill to be well expressed.


  1. Underline the key words.
  2. Underline the latest updates that you have incorporated in your answer.
  3. Highlight the Reports of Commissions, new researches and approaches in that field, etc.    if you have quoted them in you answer.
  4. Make some lucid diagrams to make your presentation effective. But remember that the diagrams need to be well integrated with your answer. You can do this by simply incorporating a statement like - this can be diagrammatically represented as follows.
  5. Each topic has some key words and the examiner expects you to write them.
  6. Another, crucial factor which many of us tend to overlook is the selection of the first answer. Remember. "FIRST IMPRESSION IS THE LAST IMPRESSION",hence your first answer should be your best answer, i.e., one in which you have command and also have SOMETHING NEW to give - in the form of linkages, recent reports, diagrams, maps etc.
  7. Try to integrate the statement of the question, somewhere in you answer. Either begin with it or end with it. This makes your answer FOCUSSED and well knit.
  8. Last, but not the least, just before your examinations give your precious three to four hours to those things which are the dynamic aspects of your preparation. This includes the latest updates, reports, diagrams etc. Even glancing over these things at the last moment makes them alive and fresh in you memory (provided you have read them earlier) and they can be reproduced more authentically in the examination. This will definitely make the Difference.

These are the EIGHT GOLDEN RULES for fetching marks in PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION. These are not merely to be memorized and retold to others, these need to be applied in writing answers. So the thrust should be on writing answers and getting them evaluated. The more you practice the better answers you would be able to write. Next, I switch over to the question of reading list. But remember¬ "It is not wide reading but useful reading that tends to excellence".