How to choose optional subject for UPSC Mains

How to choose optional subject for UPSC Mains

Choosing an optional subject for UPSC Mains has been the problem of every UPSC aspirant and now Educolada will help with the mystery of choosing the right optional subject for UPSC Mains. From 2013 UPSC exam pattern has seen some amendments. Earlier, one had to choose two subjects as optional – one for Mains and one for Prelims, out of a long list of allowed subjects. Now, you only need to choose an optional for the Mains.

So the total number of exams one has to appear for in the second stage (Mains) are – 4 general studies papers, an essay and an optional which is further bifurcated in  2 papers.

Read here to know the list of the optional subject provided by UPSC.

Choosing the right optional subject is a major factor of UPSC examination. Only few people would deny the fact that there is a great amount of uncertainty in this examination. Therefore, students should undertake the following criteria for selecting the UPSC optional subject:

1) Most Scoring Optional Subject:

Most UPSC Aspirants wish to score that 1 extra mark that would help them to clear their exam.Which is why, choosing the most scoring optional subject is the wisest decision.

Geography, Public Administration, Sociology and Political Science – These subjects are easy to study with relatively limited syllabus. There have been numerous examples of people doing exceedingly well in these subjects.

    This trend will help you to give a clear picture:

Air 1 cse 2013 had economics optional marks 296

Air 2 cse 2013 had law optional marks 251

Air 3 cse 2013 had zoology optional marks 272

Air 24 cse 2013 sociology 206 marks

Air 259 cse 2013 history 210

Air 194 cse 2013 anthropology 193

Air 459 cse 2013 public administration 226

Air 138 cse 2013 geography 221

2) Most Popular Optional Subject:

The five IAS optionals – Geography, Public Administration, Sociology, History and Psychology alone accounts for about 50 percent share of the Mains pie.

  • Geography is a semi-scientific subject and a favourite among Engineers and Doctors for its laws, principles and map-based questions. No wonder why so many IAS aspirants opt for it.
  • Public Administration requires limited coaching as most of the syllabus involves self-study.
  • Increasing number of post graduates and even graduates with history as a subject is contributing to the popularity of History Optional for IAS.
  • Sociology is easy to understand and very interesting as the topics covered concern the very society we are a part of.

Psychology has pulled the popularity because it is a combination of all the above attributes. 

 3) Subject with easy availability of study materials

Aspirants already have limited time to gear up with the preparations and for them every second counts. Therefore, selecting the subject with easily availability of study material, notes, books or coaching can help you save time to prepare. For some subjects, it is difficult to get standard books while for some, coaching may not be available.

 4) Subject with previous base

Choosing an optional based on your previously studied subject in your graduation or post graduation will help you to understand the subject effectively and efficiently. Also ask yourself these questions while deciding on your optional – Your favorite subject ?  Subject you excelled in? In which subject you showed more interest ? and the subject in which you scored the most ?

5) Subject that should not put you to sleep

It is well advised to all the candidates not to think of just the score while choosing an optional subject. Analyze the syllabus and ponder over the fact that whether it will keep you interested throughout your preparation or put you to sleep. So choose a subject that excites you, encourages you to know more about it and should make you think out of the box.

So by now you will have a clear picture about choosing the best suited subject for yourself. That is why you must not just ignore its importance instead you should be a perfectionist in the optional subject you select. Now making a wise decision is not difficult. Analyze, Rationalize and work on it.

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