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UPSC Optional Subject has the Highest Success Rate

UPSC Optional Subject

UPSC Optional Subject in UPSC CSE Mains is indubitably the most critical component that acts as a deciding factor in, not only the success potential of the candidate but also the level of success regarding the rank that an aspirant can achieve.

While UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) has not officially mentioned any specific success rate, UPSC toppers and mentors have estimated the success rate based on the Highest Choosing Rate for each optional subject, excluding literature.

Highest Chosen rates have been mentioned below

Subject Name2017 Stat.2018 Stat.2019 Stat.2020 Stat.Avg. Stat.
Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science1%1%1%1%1%
Civil Engineering0.5%0.5%0.5%0.5%0.5%
Commerce and Accountancy2%2%2%2%2%
Electrical Engineering0.5%0.5%0.5%0.5%0.5%
Mechanical Engineering0.5%0.5%0.5%0.5%0.5%
Medical Science2%2%2%1.5%1.875%
Political Science and International Relations10%8%8%7%8.25%
Public Administration8%7%6%5%6.5%

Top 5 Optional Subjects with The Highest Success Rate in UPSC

There are a few optional subjects that have overall good success rates. That is why we’ve mentioned the names of a few optional subjects there which have a good success rate-

I. Geography

Geography is one of the most opted-for subjects when it comes to optional paper, owing to the significant overlap of the syllabus with that of the GS-1 paper in Mains and a portion of the GS-3 paper as well. The level of understanding that an aspirant acquires in various topics such as Physical geography, Indian geography, Human and Economic geography, etc., while preparing for Geography optional is much higher than what is required for the GS-1 and GS-3 papers.

II. History

History is another subject that is considered to be a good optional due to the overlap of its syllabus with the GS-1 paper. Along with that, preparing for history as an optional would also be significantly helpful in the Prelims exam (relative to other optionals). Due to this, in a manner similar to Geography optional, a large number of aspirants opt for History as their optional.

III. Political Science and International Relations

Preparation for Political Science and International Relations (PSIR) as an optional, sets up a significantly advanced level of understanding and familiarity when it comes to topics covered in the GS-2 paper such as International Relations. This is the cause for PSIR to be considered amongst the best optional subjects for UPSC CSE by many aspirants.

IV. Public Administration

Public Administration as an optional has the advantage of covering many concepts under the topic of Governance in GS-2. Along with this factor, there is also the perceived notion that preparation for the Public Administration paper will be quite useful during the training period at LBSNAA and during service, after clearing the exam.

V. Sociology

Various topics under Society in GS-1, Social Justice in GS-2, as well as the common topics to be covered for the Essay paper, will all be covered in-depth as part of the Sociology optional syllabus. Since the Essay paper is considered to be a significant deciding factor for the total marks obtained, many aspirants choose Sociology as their optional subject to help them score well in the Essay paper.

How to Choose the Best Optional Subject for UPSC Based On Success Rate?

Choosing the best optional subject for UPSC depending on success rate can be a good strategy for some aspirants, but it should not be the only factor in the decision-making process.

Here are some steps that candidates can take to choose the best optional subject for UPSC based on success rate −

  • Look at Past Success Rates: Candidates should look at past success rates of different optional subjects in UPSC and compare them to identify the subjects that have a higher success rate.
  • Consider Personal Interest: It is important for candidates to choose an optional subject that they are interested in and passionate about.
  • Evaluate The Syllabus: Candidates should evaluate the syllabus of different optional subjects to determine which ones go with their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Analyze The Overlap with General Studies: Candidates should analyze the overlap between the syllabus of their chosen optional subject and the general studies paper.
  • Seek Guidance: Candidates need to seek guidance from mentors, experts, and peers who have experience with the UPSC exam.
Contributing Factors to the Success Rate of Various Optional Subjects in UPSC

We have mentioned a few factors that contribute to the success rate of the different optional subjects in UPSC −

  • Relevance of the subject to the UPSC exam
  • Availability of study material and resources
  • Overlap with the general studies paper
  • Interest and passion of the candidate in the subject
  • Guidance and support available for the subject
  • Manageability of the syllabus
  • Interdisciplinary nature of the subject
  • Scoring potential of the subject
  • Compatibility of the subject with the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Complexity and depth of the subject matter.

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