Choosing an high scoring optional is one the most daunting and challenging part of the preparation of UPSC Civil Services Exam. An excellent optional subject can make or break your final score. No matter how well you do in your GS papers if you are not getting satisfactory marks in your optional subject. So it becomes crucial to choose a high scoring optional. But how exactly can you do that with so many options? We are here to guide you through with this step by step guide to choose an optional subject that will definitely boost your score.

High Scoring Optional

Choose a High Scoring Optional

Pro Tip 1:

First preference for choosing an optional subject should be given to the subject you studied in your graduation. The reason being your familiarity with the concepts of the subject. It is easier to explain your answer more confidently and precisely when you have already studied the subject for more than 3 years. It also increases the probability of getting more marks than the students who have opted for the same subject without any prior knowledge. Additionally, if you come from a science background with subjects related to medical sciences or engineering, you’ll have to fight less competition in your subject and get more marks easily.  So, before looking into other options, check the UPSC syllabus of your graduation subject.

Pro Tip 2:

If you feel like you need a change and you can’t study your graduation subject anymore, you can choose any optional from the subjects, which are given below:

  • Agriculture
  • Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
  • Anthropology
  • Botany
  • Chemistry
  • Civil Engineering
  • Commerce and Accountancy
  • Economics
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Geography
  • Geology
  • History
  • Law
  • Management
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Medical Science
  • Philosophy
  • Physics
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Psychology
  • Public Administration
  • Sociology
  • Statistics
  • Zoology
  • The literature of any one of the following language:

Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu

Choose any subject that piques your interest in studies. Make sure you are ready to dedicate your time to study for this subject. Curiosity is the most crucial factor when you have to study with full concentration for more extended periods. Before making your final decision, make sure you can study the subject as extensively as UPSC requires by checking the syllabus. Also, your main focus is to score high, not just gain knowledge, so do not choose subjects that are out of the scope of your study. For example, if you have no concrete understanding of biology, then do not choose medical sciences as your optional subject. It is indeed an interesting and unique subject, but you can not cover the syllabus deeply. It will only affect your marks negatively.

Similarly, if you are from a medical background, do not opt for engineering subjects. You will only find yourself struggling with the studies. Unless, of course, you have an extraordinary power to understand complex concepts. Then you can choose whatever suits you. But for most students, it is not recommended to select subjects that are not even vaguely related to the subjects they studied in graduation.

Pro Tip 3:

If you are still confused when you look at the list of optional available, then this next tip is for you. So if neither of these subjects looks interesting enough to you nor your own graduation subject then, you can just pick up the syllabus defined by the UPSC for each subject and choose the one that will take the least time to cover. This will give you more time to concentrate on other aspects of the UPSC Civil Services Exams without worrying about covering syllabus that will eat up most of your precious study time. You can also choose the language subject. The syllabus might not be small in comparison to some other subjects, but if it is your regional language, then there is a probability that you can score higher than others. Just be sure to study the literature with proper expert guidance.

These were our top 3 tips to choose an optional subject for your UPSC Civil Service Exam. Before you start your UPSC CSE preparation, it is essential to choose an optional subject that will play a vital role in your mains score. The General Studies Papers in the Mains are highly unpredictable, so you can’t rely on them. But adequate knowledge in an optional subject will surely ensure that you get a good rank. Thus, research thoroughly and get your working shoes on.

For any other query/mentorship needs/study material requirements, please feel free to contact us. All the best for your preparations.

Jai Hind!

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