Detailed Guide to Choosing the Best Optional Subject for UPSC

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Detailed Guide to Choosing the Best Optional Subject for UPSC

The choice of selecting Optional Subjects for UPSC is an important decision for civil services aspirants. As per the most recent prospectus, the quantity of optional subjects for UPSC to be picked is decreased to one, yet aspirants are confused if they chose the right subjects or not.

Regardless of the fact, that the weight of the optional paper is only 500 marks out of 2025 marks as indicated by the latest example of UPSC Civil Services test, it is as yet a basic factor in the last positions as a result of the irregularity identified with General Studies Papers (1000 marks GS + 250 marks exposition) and Interview (275 marks).

1. How important is choosing the right IAS Mains Optional?

With newspaper reading and note-making abilities, the selection of IAS Mains optional won’t play a noteworthy distinction in your results. In any case, not a lot of aspirants fall into the “solid GS” classification of aspirants and it is hard to get into the club without genuine long term planning. 

Picking the optional subject for the IAS exam is a very important decision. You need to pick an optional subject in which you are confident to score high in UPSC mains. 

The degree of ease depends upon various components like the nature of the subject, openness of books and other assessment materials, accessibility of staff, late patterns of marks, the extent of companion dialog, the degree of trouble as per the schedule and past inquiry papers, etc. 

If the subject you took for graduation is accessible in the list of subjects given, as a rule, a comparable elective will turn out as a good alternative. All others (who don’t have a decision for an optional subject), look for an optional subject which you can finish in a period bound manner without infringing the ideal opportunity for GS readiness

2. Things to consider before choosing the optional subject for UPSC

In the first place, experience the rundown of all the Optional Subjects. Read the names of the subjects again and again for the timeframe of 15 minutes.

Think about your school and college days. Contemplate your most loved subjects by then. Consider each subject wherein you surpassed desires, in which subject you indicated more enthusiasm, in which subject you got incredible marks.

Now go to the present. See which parts of news you are genuinely on. Think about which subjects of GS you like more. A couple of individuals like history, some like polity/sociology and keep examining those books just as they are doing aces in those subjects. Consider making them as your Optional subject.

List of UPSC Optional Subjects :

No.Optional SubjectNumber of candidates appearedNo. of candidates recommendedSuccess Rate
1Agriculture2204118.6
2Medical Science981616.3
3Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science65812.3
4Economics3263711.3
5Psychology106111610.9
6Anthropology3453710.7
7Public Administration320133710.5
8Political Science1320856.4
9Geography40492365.8
10Sociology1555895.7

Following the above mentioned 10 best optional subjects for UPSC, mentioned below are different subjects that are taken as optional by aspirants who showed up for the UPSC 2016 Exam and were recommended:

Sl. No.Optional SubjectNumber of candidates appearedNo. of candidates recommendedSuccess Rate
1Chemistry12475.6
2Commerce and Accountancy266155.6
3History38702125.5
4Law365195.2
5Philosophy2092844
6Zoology484183.7
7Mathematics27782.9

Furthermore, there were various candidates who picked writing as their optional subject, keeping in mind, a couple of writing subjects made it in the 10 best optional, read the following list to know about the top writing subjects that were chosen as optional.

Sl. No.Literature Optional SubjectNumber of candidates appearedNo. of candidates recommendedSuccess Rate
1Assamese5240
2Punjabi19526.3
3Gujarati42716.7
4Kannada841416.7
5Marathi42716.7
6English40615
7Urdu29413.8
8Tamil2252912.9
9Sanskrit122108.2
10Malayalam6757.5
11Pali255187.1
12Telugu14796.1
13Hindi974565.7

3. How to shortlist from the main list of optional subjects for UPSC.

  1. In view of the previously mentioned criteria, create a list of 4-5 subjects that you think you have general interest for.
  2. Now go through the syllabus and topics of each Optional Subject. Study all subjects decisively. Underline/feature the points that you ponder or have some enthusiasm for the syllabus of each shortlisted Optional subject.
  3. Study and go through the previous year question papers (3-4 years) of the shortlisted subjects. Go through each and every question. It’s a simple way to analyze yourself how comfortable you are with a subject, don’t wait in case you don’t have a clue about the answer to any question.
  4. At last, access to materials and guidance through coaching matters a lot. For a couple of subjects, it is difficult to get standard books, for certain subjects training may not be possible. Non-specialised subjects can be prepared through self-study.
  5. At this point, you will have a clear picture of picking between 2-3 subjects. For example, in case that you are from the engineering foundation and particularly great at your engineering subjects, meanwhile on the off chance that you have extensively practiced the writing of your local language, maybe since your youth, you will be in a predicament to choose between these two subjects.

For people who have worked in a major association, Public Administration is an incredible decision and truth be told, it has been the most common optional with working aspirants or with the people who have stopped their employments. 

Medicinal students may choose Medical Science, Zoology or Anthropology as these subjects are identified with their field. 

Top 10 optional subjects for UPSC IAS Exam

In conclusion, here is the list of 10 best optional subjects for UPSC:-

  1. Agriculture
  2. Medical Science 
  3. Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science 
  4. Economics
  5. Chemistry
  6. Commerce and Accountancy 
  7. History
  8. Law
  9. Psychology 
  10. Literature Subject (Any)

4. Conclusion

The decision of choosing the optional is an individual choice of each aspirant as demonstrated by his/her strengths and weaknesses. Regardless, only you know your strengths, weaknesses, and access to study materials.

The guidelines and tips referenced above may help you to clear some of your doubts. IAS Aspirants’ who will take the UPSC 2019 test or any year in the future can utilize the list as they have time left to choose which optional subject to pick and then proceed with their UPSC Preparation.

Do your research well and make the best decision. All the best!

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