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How to select the best UPSC optional paper?

eliteiascoaching May 17, 2021

UPSC IAS candidates often raise a question- Which is the best optional subject for the exam? The exam pattern may get changed after every few years. However, one thing that will always be common every year is the optional paper. Candidates need to select the optional subject and prepare for it accordingly. From Sociology to Civil Engineering, there are several options for you. Still, you may not feel confident while deciding on the optional paper.

A comprehensive guide will let you reach your goal.

Check out the most scoring and popular subjects

Before taking any step, you have to know about the most popular optional subjects that increase your chance of scoring high marks. From the IAS candidates’ performance of the past years, it is found that Sociology is an interesting subject. The topics included in it are related to humanity. Moreover, you need to learn about different theories and abstracts.

Geography is also highly acceptable subject, and you need to attempt conceptual questions. This semi-scientific subject is preferable mostly to the engineers, and several other candidates.

Some IAS candidates from Science stream also like to study Anthropology, as it is a scoring subject. History is an easily understandable subject, and you need to learn different concepts. As you may have already learned History in your past academic years, you will find the subject easy.

Length of the syllabus-

With the optional paper, you need to learn the merit-oriented essay paper and other GS papers. Thus, to reduce your pressure, you can choose an optional subject that has a short syllabus. You can save time to prepare for other subjects within the available time.

IAS candidates have found that Sociology has comparatively short syllabus as an optional subject. Still, you can attend online Sociology classes to obtain a higher score.

Focus on your academic background and interest-

Your interest always play a role in choosing the right optional subject for UPSC exam. Check out the subjects you have already read in Class 11 and 12. You will feel comfortable with any of those subjects.

For instance, students from Arts may prefer Sociology, while candidates from Commerce will look for other subjects. Thus, identify your background to decide on the perfect optional subject.

Know the competition level

It is better to know the success ratio of the past years. You will find candidates’ performance in different subjects. However, the higher success ratio does not always indicate that the particular subject will be best for you. Your answers must be comprehensible.

Availability of the study materials

It is one of the important factors to make a final decision on the optional subject. You may have chosen an interesting subject. But, how will you read it when you cannot get resources and study materials? That is why you have to ensure the availability of relevant books to read the subject thoroughly. It is also better to look for educators to learn the subject properly. There are training centers providing coaching classes for different subjects. For instance, Sociology students will get benefit from Sociology video lectures for UPSC.

Overlapping syllabus

 Interestingly, some optional subjects and General Studies papers have overlapping syllabus. These subjects include Sociology, Political Science, Economics, Geography, and Public Administration. You can shorten the preparation time by choosing any of these subjects for your optional paper.

Mistakes that you must avoid

  • You can speak to your friends and families to select your optional subject. However, never let others decide on the optional subject for you.
  • You must not be fully reliant on the previous year’s results. It is safe to assess your knowledge about the subject.

To sum up, choosing the UPSC optional subject is not easy. You have to take some time to select the final one for UPSC exam. Subjects that you have already learned in your graduation course will be easier for you. You may also analyze the syllabus to know your potential to score high. It is better to shortlist a number of subjects. Then, you can choose any of them. However, the most important thing is that you must undergo training and take mock tests to prepare for the optional paper. You will feel confident on the date of exam.

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