Commerce Option: To Opt or not to opt?

Commerce is one of the technical optional and provides an advantage to commerce graduates as your college and professional studies are utilized in both paper 1 & 2. There are about 150 marks worth numerical, which can fetch very good marks. Besides, a large portion of the syllabus is static in nature.
However, Commerce is also one of the lengthy optional in terms of time required for preparation & revision.
The biggest hurdle is that commerce requires vast reading and then integration from different sources, for a comprehensive coverage in paper 1 and 2.
Since UPSC numericals are very unpredictable, it requires a high level of competence.
In this scenario, there is no harm in taking coaching if you’re uncomfortable. For example, I did join coaching for Paper-II, since the basics are taught in class and regular test provide a check. Besides, time is saved since you don’t have to refer to material from different sources
But a word of caution: coaching helps only around 20-25%, rest is application and hard work of student itself.

Commerce Paper 1

For CA students who have not joined any coaching classes- refer to your CA PCC/IPCC material, instead of putting time in different standard books.
You can also rely on coaching class, but only after prudently analyzing past year questions.

Topic & Prep. Source Remarks

Financial Accounting : JR Monga & DS Rawat(For AS) OR Material of CA PCC.
Focus more on Accounting Standards and presentation (for numericals) should be taken care of properly with working notes.
No need to practice again & again. Just mark the important adjustments/questions and refer them only in subsequent revisions.
Cost Accounting: Maheswari & Mittal plus theoretical part from either book itself or some compilation like CA PCC scanner. Also material of RANKER’s CLASSES (RC) provides very good compilation of numericals and theory. OR Material of CA PCC can be referred. Emphasis should be given on theory equally.
Taxation: Girish Ahuja OR CA PCC. One can go in depth initially and mark important adjustments and later on focus on basics itself. Again theoretical portion is important like exceptions to any section/rule etc. Overall questions are of graduation level only.
Auditing : CA PCC notes for relevant topics or Aruna Jha or Compilation from RC.
Financial Management : RP Rastogi OR CA PCC notes plus relevant topics from CA Final can also be seen. FM has been the most wicked portion for past few years but don’t try to control this part as question have wide range. Just see you’re aware of different models/concepts/terms that come along.
Financial Markets and Institution :Relevant Chapters from Indian Financial system by Bharati V Pathak or any other book and newspaper cuttings provided by RC. Keep track of steps/initiatives by RBI,SEBI,IRDA etc.
I did not prepare this section in detail, since it is highly unpredictable and I suggest not to waste much time in it.
For paper 1, exam day revision is impossible and therefore make chaperwise notes of important formulae and adjustment which are tricky especially for Acct,FM and Cost.For tax,one can go in slight details also.

Capsule for Exam Hall

In exam hall patience & calmness holds the key since there will definitely be bouncers (unpredictable & unexpected questions). You’ve to smartly avoid them in Choice and for compulsory questions don’t beat around the bush if you don’t know the answer.
Rather invest the time in known questions & numericals.
Even if 25-40 marks questions are unanswered, still you can achieve 140 easily. Try to attempt more numerical than theory.

Commerce Paper 2

I followed Rankers material and class notes sincerely for paper 2 together with good reading of basic books mentioned below and compiled all of them in around 80 pages Organization Theory and Behavior, Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations.
Organisation Theory & OB : SP Robbins OT book (for different models/terms/concepts),Singh & chhabra. SP Robbins OB book(only relevant chapters) PLUS RC notes and answers.
Human Resources Management (HRM) : CB Gupta,RC notes and answers.
Industrial Relations : RC notes are sufficient.


Here preparation should start with a general reading & developing the conceptual clarity with subsequent reading focusing upon important definition by authors/thinkers, establishing links with other topics/chapters and current corporate practices.
After reading the definition & basic explanation try to think before studying in detail.

Notes making for Paper 2
Note making is very important here wherein diagrams, verbatim defintions (by thinkers), examples & only core points should be noted without explanation.
Topics from all sources should be integrated at one place.
Important lines from class notes should be on the lips like NR Murthy says “ our most important assets walk out everyday and we have to make sure they return” in context of HRM.

Capsule for Exam Hall

For compulsory question same as for Paper 1.Choice here is more important as little knowledge of every question shall be there.
So, after choice careful reading of question is needed before writing & while writing also.
Make use of all chapters and topics in your answers but basic tone of answer should be maintained like for HR answers, focus more on such dimensions and less of OB etc. Also avoid GS type and general answers.

Answer writing

For Long answers-Introduction can be either indirect through some lines or quotes or direct with general explanation followed by exact definition.
Thereafter topic need to be explained in short followed by establishing links with other chapters and focusing on the question again. Here give a pause, read the question again & think again. Diagrams can be used effectively.
Ending of the answers should always be visionary/positive and solution based with example if needed or with some lines.
There should be mixed use of paras and points. Examples should be quoted wherever possible but refrain from using one enterprise again & again.
For short answers, write the basic definition and then directly hit the core.
Ending should be solution based. For merit/demerit/feature use diagram or points.
Test series can be joined for practice.

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