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No, your interest in the subject is the most important criteria for choosing any optional. Psychology is a subject which does not require any background as the subject is very general in nature. Many of the good rankers in Psychology are actually from different educational background.

The average time required to prepare for Psychology optional is 4 -5 months. It is strongly recommended to start preparing for optional before the preliminary examination.

You can refer following books for Psychology optional

Notes making process is considered very fruitful in your UPSC Preparation. Since you have to read Psychology from many different sources, it is good to make notes out of I, however you can avoid making notes from NCERT Short and Concise notes are important so that you can revise in minimum time at the time of mains.

Paper 1 cover the topics which will clear all your basics related to the optional. Having a good Coverage of Paper 1 is important to understand the application part in Paper 2 You can find all the topics in the books mentioned above.

Answer writing practice is very important for UPSC preparation, for psychology, one should start practicing answers after reading the basic material once. You can start writing some basic answers given in NCERT, after getting good hold over the subject, you can attempt some Previous Year Question.

Although Paper 1 is static in nature, you can still add recent research Paper 2 requires to use many examples in your answer which you can find through newspaper. Paper II constantly requires regular updates of current issue.

The Hindu, Indian Express, Livemint. Other than this students can follow these magazines Psychology Today, Verywellmind.

Revision is the key to clear CSE examination. So, read the entire syllabus at least 45 times before the exams. Once the Prelims gets over do not wait for the result, you can refer to the notes and practice answer writing simultaneously.

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