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A Comprehensive Guide on Choosing the Right Optional Subject for the UPSC Exam

Optional Subject for the UPSC Exam

Choosing the right optional subject for the UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) exam is a crucial decision that can significantly impact your preparation and overall performance. This article aims to provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to choose the optimal optional subject that aligns with your strengths, interests, and overall UPSC strategy.

Understand the Importance:

The optional subject carries substantial weightage in the UPSC mains examination, contributing to the overall merit. It is also crucial to comprehend the significance of this choice and invest sufficient time and effort into making an informed decision.

Assess Your Background and Interests:

Consider your educational background, work experience, and personal interests while selecting an optional subject. Choose a subject that you have a genuine interest in and possess some prior knowledge or experience. This familiarity will make studying and understanding the subject matter easier.

Analyze the Syllabus and Previous Years’ Question Papers:

Thoroughly review the syllabus of each optional subject shortlisted based on your interests. Evaluate the topics covered, depth of coverage, and relevance to the UPSC exam. Additionally, examine previous years’ question papers to gauge the type of questions asked and the overall difficulty level. This analysis will provide valuable insights into the subject’s suitability for your preparation.

Availability of Study Material and Guidance:

Consider the availability of quality study material and resources for the shortlisted subjects. Adequate study material is essential to build a strong foundation and facilitate effective preparation. Additionally, evaluate the availability of coaching or guidance for the chosen subject. A good coaching institute or mentor can provide valuable insights, strategies, and support throughout your preparation.

Scoring Potential and Overlapping with General Studies:

Assess the scoring potential of each optional subject based on its track record and the success rate of candidates in previous years. Additionally, consider the degree of overlap between the chosen subject and the General Studies (GS) syllabus. Opting for a subject that complements or overlaps with the GS syllabus can help you save time and effort during preparation.

Consult with Peers and Experts:

Engage in discussions with fellow UPSC aspirants, and subject matter experts to gain different perspectives and insights. Their experiences and advice can help you make a more informed decision and provide clarity on various aspects of each subject.

Time Management and Consistency:

Evaluate time and effort for optional subject prep, balance with GS for comprehensive UPSC success. Choose wisely, considering background, interests, and syllabus alignment. No universal approach; stay focused and dedicated for UPSC goals.

Read Also: Best Coaching For Geography Optional

List of Best Optional Subjects for the UPSC Exam

1. Public Administration

Public Administration: Public Administration is a hot favorite among the aspirants. Moreover, the success rate for this easiest optional subject for UPSC is higher than some other non-technical subjects.

This subject is highly relevant to your future role as an administrator.

2. Sociology

Sociology: Sociology is the study of human society, social relations, habits, practices, and cultures. It is another best-scoring optional subject for UPSC Mains. It is also one of the easiest optional subjects for UPSC with plenty of study material as well as guidance. The syllabus is interrelated, and Sociology gives you an in-depth understanding of Indian society.

Philosophy: Philosophy is the study of knowledge, values, existence, and mind. Philosophy had a success rate higher than History, Geography, Public Administration, and Political Science.

There is plenty of study material available online and offline that presents the thoughts of philosophers in a simplified manner.

Read Also: Top Sociology Optional Coaching Institution Lucknow That Guarantee Success

3.  Political Science & International Relations

Political Science & International Relations: Political Science & International Relations is a popular non-technical subject. It is considered one of the best optional subjects for the UPSC exam.

The subject can easily be understood by anyone and for those who have a flair for writing, this subject is rewarding.

4. Geography

Geography: Geography is an interesting mix of technical as well as non-technical subjects. Thus makes it popular with both arts and science background students.

A vast amount of free and best study materials are available both online and offline about Indian geography as well as world geography. Geography is related to the environment, international relations, ecology, and even economics to some extent.

Also Read: Geographical Optional

5. Anthropology

Anthropology: Anthropology, a combination of science and social science, is the study of human evolutions, human societies, and their development. The subject Anthropology is yet another best optional subject for the UPSC exam.

It is a fascinating subject for all categories of candidates. The subject of anthropology concentrates on the study of human beings, the evolution of man, the nature of human society, and the nature of human culture.

Read Also: UPSC Cut Off Marks 2023 Category Wise SC, ST, OBC & UR

FAQs on Best Optional Subject for UPSC

Question :- What is the most suitable optional subject for individuals with a medical background or medical students preparing for the UPSC exam?

Answer:- The choice of the best UPSC optional subject for doctors depends on the individual’s strengths, interests, and background. Medical professionals might consider subjects that complement their medical knowledge and offer a manageable syllabus. Some common optional subjects that doctors often find suitable include Medical Science, Anthropology, and Physiology. However, it’s essential to thoroughly research each subject’s syllabus, success rates, and your own comfort level before making a decision.

Question:- What is the ideal UPSC Optional Subject for individuals with an Engineering Background?

Answer:- The choice of the best UPSC optional subject for engineers is highly dependent on individual strengths, interests, and familiarity. For those with engineering backgrounds, subjects related to engineering, such as Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Mathematics, often align well with their expertise and can be favorable options. The decision should be based on a thorough assessment of personal strengths and affinities to ensure a successful and fulfilling preparation journey.

Question:- What is considered the most challenging optional subject for UPSC?

Answer:- The perception of the “toughest” optional subject for UPSC varies among individuals, depending on their strengths, background, and familiarity with the subject matter. Certain optional subjects, such as Mathematics, Philosophy, Anthropology, and Law, are often considered challenging due to their intricate concepts and extensive syllabi, demanding a deeper level of knowledge.

Question:-Which is the easiest Optional Subject for UPSC?

Answer:– Certain optional subjects, such as Sociology, Public Administration, Geography, and Literature languages (English, Hindi, etc.), are commonly seen as relatively easier due to their straightforward syllabi and relevance to everyday life.

Question:- Which is the most scoring optional subject for UPSC?

Answer:- Certain optional subjects are often associated with higher scoring potential. This is because factors like a manageable syllabus, objective evaluation, and past success rates. These subjects may include Mathematics, Public Administration, Sociology, and Political Science & International Relations. However, the crucial aspect is selecting a subject you can prepare effectively for and are comfortable with, rather than solely targeting perceived scoring potential.

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