This article will cover the UPSC CSE optional subject list as well as some tips on how to choose an option for the IAS mains exam.
The UPSC’s prestigious Civil Services test is divided into three phases. Aspirants who have only recently begun their preparations may have inquiries such as “How many subjects are there in the IAS Exam?” and “How many options are there in the UPSC?” This essay aims to clear up the confusion and acquaint students with the topics covered in the IAS Exam. There is nine papers in the UPSC mains (written) examination.
This includes two qualifying papers as well as seven papers that will be ranked. Continue reading to learn about the IAS optional subjects.
How many optional subjects for IAS Exam?
The list of optional subjects for UPSC test candidates to choose for the Mains exam has been reduced to one under the new IAS exam format. The General Studies papers of the civil services mains exam are for 1000 points, whereas the two Optional Papers are worth 250 points apiece. As a result, it is critical for a candidate to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of several optional subjects before selecting one for the IAS Mains.
Every year the UPSC Notification provides the number of optional subjects and their curriculum. This article will tell you how many optional papers there are in the UPSC exam.
The following is a detailed list of optional subjects for the UPSC IAS Mains Exam.
General Studies Paper I to IV for IAS Mains Exam
The four General Studies Papers are:
|General Studies||Topics Covered||Total Marks|
|General Studies Paper-I||Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of The world and society||250|
|General Studies Paper-II||Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations||250|
|General Studies Paper-III||Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management||250|
|General Studies Paper-IV||Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude||250|
What is the optional subject in the IAS exam?
UPSC gives a list of optional subjects for the civil services test. For the main exam, candidates must select one choice. The optional subject consists of two papers, each worth 250 points. Candidates may select from a list of optional subjects, which includes literature (English and Indian languages).
The examination papers will be comprehensive. Each paper in the UPSC mains test will last three hours. Except for the literature on language papers, all question papers will be written in Hindi and English. In the UPSC mains test, the optional paper is quite essential.
Optional Subjects/Optional List for UPSC:
|Agriculture||Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science||Anthropology||Botany||Chemistry|
|Civil Engineering||Commerce and Accountancy||Economics||Electrical Engineering||Geography|
|Mechanical Engineering||Medical Science||Philosophy||Physics||Political Science and International Relations|
Literature of the following languages is also a part of the UPSC optional subjects for UPSC Mains exam from which you can choose your best suited optional subject for UPSC:
How to Choose The Best UPSC Optional Subjects For UPSC Exam | UPSC Optional Subjects For Civil Services (Main) Examination
The UPSC Mains Test, the second tier of the IAS exam, comprises optional subjects, and you have complete choice in selecting your favorite UPSC optional subjects. Would you want to know which optional subject is the best for UPSC?
For UPSC aspirants, the Optional Subject plays a significant part in determining their overall score. Out of the nine exams in the CSE Main test, two, Paper VI and Paper VII, are from the UPSC optional topic. Optional Subject Paper 1 and Optional Subject Paper 2 are the two papers. Each of them is worth 250 points. In the UPSC Mains Exam, the UPSC optional subject carries 500/1750 marks.
The marks earned in the UPSC optional subjects are taken into account when calculating the final merit. As a result, selecting an optional subject for UPSC should be done with caution. Candidates now have to choose only one optional subject, unlike in the past, and “how to choose the best optional subject for UPSC” remains the most commonly asked question by UPSC aspirants!
How to Choose the Best UPSC Optional Subject for Civil Services Exam?
In the UPSC CS Main Examination, the UPSC optional subjects are quite essential. It has a total of 500 points out of a total of 2025 points. If you choose properly, these 500 points can make a significant difference in your overall grade. Based on his educational background, each candidate’s view of the best UPSC optional subject from the list of UPSC optional subjects may differ.
Most students make the error of choosing UPSC optional subjects based on toppers’ marks in that subject or other considerations such as popularity, study group availability, and so on. However, you should use extreme caution when selecting an optional subject based on such criteria, as it may lose you an attempt!
Here are a few aspects to consider when selecting the best selection from the UPSC optional subjects list:
- Overlapping Syllabus: History, Political Science & International Relations, Sociology, Geography, Economics, Public Administration, and other optional topics have syllabuses that overlap with the General Studies curriculum in both the Prelims and Mains. As a result, it may save you some time in preparation.
- Lengthy Syllabus: You’ve already completed four merit-based General Studies papers and an essay paper. Choosing an optional course with a long syllabus means you’ll have to devote more time to studying the subject. As a result, pick a topic that you can easily address in the allotted time.
- Competition Level: Some applicants believe that a good UPSC optional topic is one with a high success rate in proportion to the number of candidates who appear to be recommended. It is, however, only half correct. Your content will be judged mostly on the comprehensibility of your response. As a result, pick a subject that you’re familiar with.
- Availability of resources: There are now 47 extra disciplines to choose from, however, there are very few educators, study materials, and appropriate literature available. Although with the advent of online education, you may now access more resources from the comfort of your own home, you must analyze your options based on the resources available.
- Familiarity with the subject: Another key element to consider when selecting the finest UPSC optional subject is your familiarity with it. That should be your choice when you already have that subject as part of your graduating or post-graduation. Otherwise, choose a subject which you can study for a long time without becoming bored.
Other considerations to consider when analyzing optional subjects include connection to the civil service job function, a persistent selection of subjects amongst high rankers, score potential, and comfort with the subject.
Which is the best optional subject for UPSC?
Few subjects are more difficult to score than others. However, while looking at the big picture, we can find that IAS toppers earned 320+ in both technical and non-technical topics. Some subjects are seen as low scores because candidates are unable to put in the required effort or because they have chosen an optional subject that is not appropriate for them.
Because the answers are absolute, technical disciplines (such as mathematics) can earn you high points. In general, unlike in humanities topics, the examiner’s biases or inclinations play a smaller effect. Non-technical disciplines, particularly those that overlap with the GS syllabus, provide more time to prepare and read the material in general, resulting in a higher overall Mains score if carefully studied.
There are numerous aspects to consider when deciding which UPSC optional subject is the best. A candidate should ask herself or himself the following six questions before settling on a subject.
- What is the scope of the optional syllabus?
- What amount of time do you have to prepare?
- Do you have any prior graduate/post-graduate level understanding of the subject?
- How much of your optional choice’s curriculum overlaps with the GS section of the Prelims/Mains?
- Is there sufficient study material and coaching?
- Do you have the motivation and enthusiasm to study the subject for the UPSC exam?
A candidate should make an “individual” decision based on the answers to the above six questions about which UPSC option is ideal for them.
The top 10 UPSC optional subjects for most applicants are:
- Medical Science
- Public Administration
Which UPSC Optional Subjects Has Most Overlap With General Studies Subjects?
Because of the substantial overlap with GS or other areas of the UPSC test, the following UPSC Optional subjects are popular among IAS aspirants from both technical and non-technical backgrounds:
- Paper-II (Indian Administration) has a lot of overlap with the polity and governance component of GS II, therefore it’s a highly relevant, concise course.
- Sociology is the study of society, and it has a wealth of information that can be applied to GS I, Essays, and even Ethics papers.
- History is important for both prelims and GS I.
- Geography is important for both prelims and GS I.
- Political Science is useful for both prelims and GS II.
- Law is important for both prelims and GS II.
- Optional UPSC disciplines such as Economics, Philosophy, and Agriculture are also viable options.
So there you have it, a quick rundown of the UPSC optional subjects for the UPSC Main Exam. Here you may get the UPSC CSE exam syllabus in detail.
Sociology, Geography, and Public Administration are all straightforward disciplines. According to the previous year’s results, many candidates got above 400 points in these optional subjects.
Philosophy has the shortest and easiest syllabus out of all the optional subjects for the IAS mains exam which explains its popularity among UPSC aspirants.
Sociology is the scientific study of society, and it has a wealth of information that can be applied to GS I, Essays, and even Ethics papers. History is important for both prelims and GS I. Geography is important for both prelims and GS I. Political Science is important for both prelims and GS II.
Among UPSC optional topics, Medical Science has had the greatest success rate now. In the UPSC Civil Services Examination, geography is the most preferred optional subject.