ias junior psychology




Psychology Syllabus Paper – I

Foundations of Psychology:

Introduction: Definition of Psychology; Historical antecedents of Psychology and trends in the 21st century; Psychology and scientific methods; Psychology in relation to other social sciences and natural sciences; Application of Psychology to societal problems.

Methods of Psychology:

Types of research: Descriptive, evaluative, diagnostic and prognostic; Methods of Research: Survey, observation, case-study and experiments; Characteristics of experimental design and non- experimental design, Quasi-experimental designs; Focussed group discussions, brain storming, grounded theory approach.

Research Methods:

Major steps in Psychological research (problem statement, hypothesis formulation, research designs, sampling, tools of data collection, analysis and interpretation and report writing) Fundamental versus applied research; Methods of data collection (interview, observation, questionnaire); Research designs (ex-post facto and experimental); Application of statistical technique (t – test, two way ANOVA correlation, regression and factor analysis); Item response theory.

Development of Human Behaviour:

Growth and development; Principles of development, Role of genetic and environmental factors in determining human behaviour; Influence of cultural factors in socialization; Life span development Characteristics, development tasks, promoting psychological well-being across major stages of the life span.

Sensation, Attention, and Perception:

Sensation: concepts of threshold, absolute and difference thresholds, signal-detection and vigilance; Factors influencing attention including set and characteristics of stimulus; Definition and concept of perception, biological factors in perception; Perceptual organization-influence of past experiences, perceptual defence-factors influencing space and depth perception, size estimation and perceptual readiness; The plasticity of perception; Extrasensory perception; Culture and perception, Subliminal perception.


Concept and theories of learning (Behaviourists, Gestaltalist and Information processing models); The Processes of extinction, discrimination and generalization; Programmed learning, probability learning, self- instructional learning, concepts; Types and the schedules of reinforcement, escape, avoidance and punishment, modeling and social learning.


Encoding and remembering; Short term memory, Long term memory, Sensory memory, Iconic memory, Echoic memory: The Multistore model, levels of processing; Organization and Mnemonic techniques to improve memory; Theories of forgetting: decay, interference and retrieval failure: Metamemory; Amnesia: Anterograde and retrograde.

Thinking and Problem Solving:

Piaget’s theory of cognitive development; Concept formation processes; Information processing, Reasoning and problem solving, Facilitating and hindering factors in problem solving, Methods of problem solving: Creative thinking and fostering creativity; Factors influencing decision making and judgment; Recent trends.

Motivation and Emotion:

The psychological and physiological basis of motivation and emotion; Measurement of motivation and emotion; Effects of motivation and emotion on behavior; Extrinsic and intrinsic motivation; Factors influencing intrinsic motivation; Emotional competence and the related issues.

Intelligence and Aptitude:

Concept of intelligence and aptitude, Nature and theories of intelligence Spearman, Thurstone, Gullford Vernon, Sternberg and J.P; Das; Emotional Intelligence, Social intelligence, measurement of intelligence and aptitudes, concept of IQ, deviation IQ, constancy of IQ; Measurement of multiple intelligence; Fluid intelligence and crystallized intelligence.


Definition and concept of personality; Theories of personality (psychoanalytical, sociocultural, interpersonal, developmental, humanistic, behaviouristic, trait and type approaches); Measurement of personality (projective tests, pencil-paper test); The Indian approach to personality; Training for personality development; Latest approaches like big 5 factor theory; The notion of self in different traditions.

Attitudes, Values and Interests:

Definition of attitudes, values, and interests; Components of attitudes; Formation and maintenance of attitudes; Measurement of attitudes, values, and interests; Theories of attitude change; Strategies for fostering values; Formation of stereotypes and prejudices; Changing others behavior; Theories of attribution; Recent trends.

Language and Communication:

Human language – Properties, structure and linguistic hierarchy, Language acquisition-predisposition, critical period hypothesis; Theories of language development Skinner and Chomsky; Process and types of communication – effective communication training.

Issues and Perspectives in Modern Contemporary Psychology:

Computer application in the psychological laboratory and psychological testing; Artificial intelligence; Psychocybernetics; Study of consciousness-sleep-wake schedules; dreams, stimulus deprivation, meditation, hypnotic/drug-induced states; Extrasensory perception; Intersensory perceptionSimulation studies.

Psychology Syllabus Paper – II

Psychology: Issues and Applications

Psychological Measurement of Individual Differences:

The nature of individual differences; Characteristics and construction of standardized psychological tests; Types of psychological tests; Use, misuse and limitation of psychological tests; hical issues in the use of psychological tests.

Psychological well being and Mental Disorders:

Concept of health-ill health; Positive health, well being; Causal factors in mental disorders (Anxiety disorders, mood disorders, schizophrenia and delusional disorders; personality disorders, substance abuse disorders); Factors influencing positive health, well being, life style and quality of life; Happiness disposition.

Therapeutic Approaches:

Psychodynamic therapies; Behaviour therapies; Client-centered therapy; Cognitive therapies; Indigenous therapies (Yoga, Meditation); Bio-feedback therapy; Prevention and rehabilitation of the mentally ill; Fostering mental health.

Work Psychology and Organisational Behaviour:

Personnel selection and training; Use of psychological tests in the industry; Training and human resource development; Theories of work motivation – Herzberg, Maslow, Adam Equity theory, Porter and Lawler, Vroom; Leadership and participatory management; Advertising and marketing; Stress and its management; Ergonomics; consumer psychology; Managerial effectiveness; Transformational leadership; Sensitivity training; Power and politics in organizations.

Application of Psychology to Educational Field:

Psychological principles underlying effective teaching-learning process; Learning styles; Gifted, retarded, learning disabled and their training; Training for improving memory and better academic achievement; Personality development and value education, Educational, vocational guidance and career counseling; Use of psychological tests in educational institutions; Effective strategies in guidance programmes.

Community Psychology:

Definition and concept of community psychology; Use of small groups in social action; Arousing community consciousness and action for handling social problems; Group decision making and leadership for social change; Effective strategies for social change.

Rehabilitation Psychology:

Primary, secondary and tertiary prevention programmes-role of psychologists; Organising of services for rehabilitation of physically, mentally and socially challenged persons including old persons, Rehabilitation of persons suffering from substance abuse, juvenile delinquency, criminal behaviour; Rehabilitation of victims of violence, Rehabilitation of HIV/AIDS victims, the role of social agencies.

Application of Psychology to disadvantaged groups:

The concepts of disadvantaged, deprivation; Social, physical, cultural and economic consequences of disadvantaged and deprived groups; Educating and motivating the disadvantaged towards development; Relative and prolonged deprivation.

Psychological problems of social integration:

The concept of social integration; The problem of caste, class, religion and language conflicts and prejudice; Nature and manifestation of prejudice between the in-group and out-group; Causal factors of social conflicts and prejudices; Psychological strategies for handling the conflicts and prejudices; Measures to achieve social integration.

Application of Psychology in Information Technology and Mass Media:

The present scenario of information technology and the mass media boom and the role of psychologists; Selection and training of psychology professionals to work in the field of IT and mass media; Distance learning through IT and mass media; Entrepreneurship through e-commerce; Multilevel marketing; Impact of TV and fostering value through IT and mass media; Psychological consequences of recent developments in Information Technology.

Psychology and Economic development:

Achievement motivation and economic development; Characteristics of entrepreneurial behaviour; Motivating and training people for entrepreneurship and economic development; Consumer rights and consumer awareness, Government policies for promotion of entrepreneurship among youth including women entrepreneurs.

Application of psychology to the environment and related fields:

Environmental psychology- effects of noise, pollution and crowding; Population psychology: psychological consequences of population explosion and high population density; Motivating for small family norm; Impact of rapid scientific and technological growth on degradation of environment.

Application of psychology in other fields:

(a) Military Psychology Devising psychological tests for defence personnel for use in selection, Training, counseling; training psychologists to work with defence personnel in promoting positive health; Human engineering in defence.

(b) Sports Psychology Psychological interventions in improving the performance of athletes and sports. Persons participating in Individual and Team Games.

(c)   Media influences on pro and antisocial behavior.

(d)  Psychology of terrorism.

Psychology of Gender:

Issues of discrimination, Management of diversity; Glass ceiling effect, Self-fulfilling prophesy, Women and Indian society.


  • NCERT Psychology- class 11, 12
  • Morgan and King- paper 1
  • Baron- paper 1
  • Ciccarelli- paper 1
  • Applied psychology by Smarak Swain- for paper 2
Optional Notes: available under mentorship program

Strategy :


  • It is highly interesting and engaging. It is not a dry subject.
  • There is a lot of scope for using real-life examples in the exam.As you study, you will be able to relate to your own life.
  • There is an easy and good availability of materials.
  • Syllabus isn’t vast, safe and scoring.
  • Candidates with a non-psychology background but with a keen interest in the subject. If they don’t have a particular area of expertise also can opt for this subject.


  • If you don’t have any interest in Psychology, it is better to keep off this subject as it may come across as vague.
  • Some of the foreign authored books may be hard to follow for those with a non-Psychology background.

How to prepare:

  • Memorise the Syllabus.
  • Stick to limited reference books
  •  Before starting preparation, go through previous year qps
  • Start with NCERT’s as this would help in mastering the basics and develop an overall understanding of the syllabus.
  • It is crucial to have a good hold on concepts in paper 1 as it forms the foundation for paper 2.
  • The chapter on statistics has been asked repeatedly  and hence requires extra efforts.
  • It is important to root your answers in theory for paper 2 and not write in a very generic manner. Instead one should write the psychological concepts or theories from paper 1 to support your argument.
  • One can make their answers more relevant by using contemporary examples from the Indian context. This way you can enhance your answer and fetch more marks.
  • A standard format should be adopted for answering questions involving attitude and behavior change. Use principles of operant conditioning, modeling, social psychology, and persuasive communication etc. in the framework and cover every nook and corner of the syllabi.
  • Inclusion of case studies, examples, experiments, issues in newspapers and drawing diagrams holds a lot of value to the answers especially in paper 2.
  • Presenting answers using flow charts is also a good idea as they are easy to remember and one can fetch more marks easily.
  • One must aim for effective revision. It is advised to revise what you have already competed regularly rather than collecting new facts every single day. Revise the same material multiple times and also rely on your own concise notes. Having your own notes written in a simple language aids further revision in the later stages as well.
  • It is essential to develop the ability to interlink paper 1 and paper 2 for effective answer writing.
  • Effective answer writing can be achieved by answer writing practice on a regular basis. A good answer comprises of 2 parts i.e. content and presentation. Hence it is crucial to address both the aspects.
  • First step is to read the question and understand what it demands and then jot down the points which you feel are relevant and can add weight age to the answer.
  • Try to solve as many questions as possible and solve from the previous year’s papers.
  • Joining test series is another way of improving your answer writing skills as critical feedback helps an aspirant to know where he/she stands and can improve. Test series discussion also helps in gaining better perspective, interactive sessions builds one’s confidence and one can learn how to present an answer in a critical yet concise manner.
  • Follow some simple rules while writing an answer like underlining the key words, diagrams which can be well integrated with the answer and concentrate on the structure of the answer. Never lose focus from the central theme else it might lead to negative marking.
  • Try to stick to the word limit, with some deviation on either side. This time management skill and speed improvement can also be developed with repeated practice.
  • For many topics of paper 2 like gender psychology, military psychology, terrorist psychology, environmental psychology, work psychology, education psychology, social psychology etc, try to use contemporary examples from the Indian context to make the answers more relevant. This will highly enhance the value of the answer and fetch much more marks.

Previous Year Question Papers:




2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Paper – 1 Paper – 1

Paper – 2

Paper – 1

Paper – 2

Paper – 1 Paper – 1

Paper – 2

Paper – 1

Paper – 2

Paper – 1

Paper – 2

Paper – 1

Paper – 2



Paper – 2