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How to Choose Optional Subject for UPSC Exam?

Are you confused about choosing the best optional subject for UPSC? Check the smart tips to choose Optional Subject for UPSC Civil Services Exam.

Choosing a right Optional subject is a crucial step in your preparation for the UPSC civil services exam. A wrong decision not only costs you a rank but also leaves in you a sense of regret for the rest of your life.

Check here List of Optional Subjects in UPSC

Further down the page, you’ll find How to choose Optional Subject for upsc exam, how to select optional for upsc. We try to carefully curate top method to choose best upsc optional subject for you and you can be sure that tips to choose optional subject for UPSC on this page is worth your time. Enjoy!

What you may know to choose Optional Subject for UPSC?

There are many important aspects to be kept in mind while choosing an Optional Subject –

1. Interest and Academic background:

Kindly identify your interest in a subject by exploring about it through school level NCERT’s (Class 11th and 12th preferably), going through Optional subject syllabus and your comfort level in reading the subject.

For example:

(a) If you are from Commerce background, look for what you have already studied in college and choose accordingly between Commerce, Management or Public Administration.

(b) If you are from Engineering background, check the syllabus and content of optional subjects like Physics, Chemistry, Maths., Engineering optional – Civil, Electrical, Mechanical etc. If you are not comfortable with the science subjects mentioned, check other optional subjects such as Geography, Psychology, Anthropology, Political Science, Sociology, Public Administration, Philosophy etc.

2. Success Ratio of that optional subject in recent past years:

A candidate’s individual performance can vary on a large number of parameters compared to his competitors. But there can be Optional Subject(s) that do not fetch the marks desired as compared to the effort put in by candidates. A few Optional Subjects that go through a few years of toughness either in the questions asked or the marks awarded.

Check here Best Scoring Optional for UPSC

3. Coaching Available in the subject:

Check from your peers, friends, civil servants who have already qualified, for identifying the best coaching classes available. Study material from a good coaching along with the classes conducted will accelerate your preparation manifolds.

4. Contribution of Optional Subject towards General Studies Syllabus:

Find out on your own from the past question papers and the syllabus regarding the contribution of the optional subject towards General Studies and essay papers of the Main exam.

5. Time Management:

Apart from the comprehending ability, a candidate should decide on how much of time he/she would be able to spend on studying an Optional Subject. A few candidates might be working while preparing or studying at a university etc, should be able to estimate the amount of time required to study the chosen optional subject along with General Studies.

Check here What is Time Management for UPSC Preparation?

Conclusion to choose best optional subject for upsc

By taking the above mentioned into consideration, you should shortlist at least 2-3 optional subjects that are most suitable for you. Before shortlisting, one should analyse the syllabus and the question papers of the previous years. With this, you can understand the standard of the questions asked in the exam and the extent of the syllabus.

In the next step, write pro’s and con’s for each and every optional, and finally choose the right optional for you.

Click here Easiest Way to Choose Best Optional Subject for UPSC

Common FAQs

While choosing the Optional Subject for UPSC civil services examination, you should refrain from doing the following tasks. We have tried to address these in the form of questions –


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