How to opt for optional subject for the UPSC exam?

How to opt for the optional subject for the UPSC exam is one of the most common questions asked by the IAS aspirant. The UPSC mains exam includes optional papers and the aspirants are required to choose the subjects from the list of optional subjects prescribed by the commission. Now, the question arises of what factors should be considered when choosing the UPSC optional subject.

The optional subjects in the UPSC Mains exam play an important role in the selection of the candidates as it carries a total of 500 marks. Adopting the right approach while choosing the optional subject for the UPSC exam would be a game changer for the candidates. So, here in this blog, we have shared the strategies on how to opt for the optional subject for UPSC 2022 exam.

UPSC Optional Subject

Before proceeding ahead with the strategies, we have shared below the list of the UPSC Optional Subjects for the main exam.

  • Agriculture
  • Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
  • Anthropology
  • Public Administration
  • Botany
  • Chemistry
  • Civil Engineering
  • Geography
  • Commerce and Accountancy
  • Economics
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Medical Science
  • Philosophy
  • Physics
  • Geology
  • History
  • Law
  • Management
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Psychology
  • Statistics
  • Sociology
  • Zoology
  • Literature of any one of the following languages: Assamese, Hindi, Manipuri, Marathi, Odia, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Kannada, Kashmiri, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Konkani, Maithili, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Malayalam, Nepali, Santhali, Sindhi, and English

How to choose the optional subject for the UPSC Exam?

As the UPSC IAS exam is approaching, the candidates must choose their optional subjects and start the preparation accordingly. After going through the list of optional subjects, they should pick the subject on the basis of certain factors. For the ease of the aspirants, we have shared below the strategies that they should keep in mind while choosing the optional subject for the UPSC Mains exam.

Prior Knowledge

The first thing candidates should figure out is whether they have any previous knowledge of UPSC’s optional subject. For that, they go through the list of the optional subjects specified by the commission and filter out the options as per their prior knowledge and comfort level. If they already have that subject in their graduation/post-graduation level, then they should go for it. Otherwise, they can choose the subject that they can study with full dedication & consistency without losing their focus.

Availability of Books & Guidance

The next factor, the candidates should opt for the UPSC optional subjects based on the availability of books, study material, and guidance. Without sufficient books & guidance, it is not possible to perform well in the optional subject. They should determine which optional subjects have sufficient study material & expert guidance to master the topics and for practicing answer writing.

Check UPSC Previous Year Question Papers

After going through the list of optional subjects, the candidates should check the previous year’s question papers and determine their preparation level. This will provide them insights into the exam requirements and help them to figure out how comfortable they are in answering the questions related to it. Along with this, they should also solve the previous year’s papers on the UPSC optional subject to score good ranks in the exam.

Overlapping UPSC Syllabus

There are certain optional subjects like Geography, History, Economics, Mathematics, Sociology, etc that overlap with the UPSC syllabus for both Prelims & Mains exam. Thus, choosing this type of subject will save a lot of time during the preparation. Also, if they choose an optional subject that covers a massive syllabus then they will have to allot more time to prepare well for the optional papers. Thus, it is advised to opt for a subject that can be easily covered in the decided time so that there is sufficient time for revision.

Past Success Rate

There is no popular or scoring optional subject, the scores solely depend on the performance of the candidates. Many times, candidates select the UPSC optional subject on the basis of past success rates. They must remember their scores depend on the accuracy of their answers in the optional papers. Thus, they must pick the optional subject they have an interest in.

All these factors should be kept in mind while choosing the UPSC optional subjects for the IAS mains exam. Also, they should select the right study resources, expert guidance, and coaching facility to excel in the optional papers section.