How to Choose Optional Subject for UPSC Civil Services Exam ?

Q. How to Choose Optional Subject for UPSC Civil Services Exam ?

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

1. Interest and academic background of the aspirant:

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. 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.

3. Contribution of the 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.

4. Performance of the optional subject in the recent past (past 3 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.

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.