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 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 the time required for preparation and the effort you can consistently invest in studying the optional subject. Balancing the preparation for both optional and GS papers is crucial to ensure comprehensive coverage and optimum performance in the UPSC examination.
Choosing the right optional subject for the UPSC exam is a decision that should be made after careful consideration of your background, interests, syllabus analysis, availability of study material, and guidance. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your strengths, enhances your preparation, and maximizes your chances of success in the UPSC examination. Remember, there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach, and what works for someone else may not necessarily work for you. Stay focused, determined, and dedicated to your chosen subject to achieve your 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.
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.
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.
Geography: Geography is an interesting mix of technical as well as non-technical subjects and that 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
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.
Optional Subject for the UPSC Exam