5 Most Popular Optional Subject in UPSC Civil Services Main Examination

The UPSC Mains examination is comprised of the subjective papers. The papers to be written for Mains examination are as follows: –

For the Mains phase of the IAS exam, an aspirant need to pick an Optional subject. The optional subject comprises of two papers, i.e., Paper 1 and Paper 2 of 250 marks each. This means the total marks allocated for the optional subject is 500 which can make a huge difference in the overall result of the aspirant. In order to study well and secure good marks in Mains exam and to get a good rank, the UPSC aspirants should carefully analyse and choose their Optional Subject.

Factors to be considered while choosing an optional Subject for UPSC Mains Exam: –

  1. Coverage and length of the optional Syllabus: 

The aspirants should analyse the syllabus of the optional subject, to be chosen, in details. Considering the length of the Optional subjects and the General studies subjects to be covered. There should be a clear idea among the aspirants about how they have to covered everything.

2. How familiar an aspirant is with that subject?

Different aspirants come from different graduation streams. Choosing an optional which is completely out of familiarity will left the aspirants frustrated. The aspirants should consider their subjects of graduation and then decide the Optional subject.

Preparing for an Optional subject of 500 marks require a good amount resources for every topic. Besides the aspirants also needs to value – add content in the material. The aspirants should take into the consideration that how easily good study material is available for an optional subject on internet and offline mode.

4. Level of Competition since few years: 

A few applicants feel a decent UPSC Optional subject is the one that has a high achievement ratio as far as various aspirants are appearing. Nonetheless, it is just incompletely evident. More than all the other things, your answer copy will be assessed based only on your answer’s understandability. Thus, pick a subject that you’re OK with.

5.Check the Overlapping Syllabus: 

An aspirant should consider the same topics that are to be covered from the Optional Syllabus and the General studies syllabus. The aspirants should choose the subject which have more overlapping topics. This will reduce the time to read the same topic and enhance the writing capability of the aspirant.

If we consider the success ration of the Optional subjects from the previous results, there are few Optional subjects which can be considered most useful in UPSC Mains exam. The details of the 5 Most beneficial subjects in UPSC Civil Services Main Examination.

You can Read Also- How to Choose Optional Subject for UPSC? A Detailed Guide

Political Science & International Relations

  • It can effortlessly be perceived by each aspirant.
  • It does not require a political technological know-how background.
  • If you’ve got a fundamental awareness, comply with contemporary affairs and current study editorials, you may get a good score in this subject.
  • A lot of questions are nearly like essays or want you to outline sure terms, that’s why suitable writing competencies could be very useful.
  • Part I includes a segment referred to as the Indian Government & Politics. It consists of subjects like Organs of Government, Federalism, Constitution etc., which might be already included in Prelims preparation.
  • For Part II you may have to study the political relations of India and the World. you could effortlessly write on India’s relations with different countries/ corporations via way of means of clearly analysing the PIB information and maintaining tab of treaties, visits etc.


  • Significant amount of Geography syllabus is covered in General Studies paper Continued perusing will help increment maintenance of key terms and ideas.
  • Geography is a fascinating blend of technical and non-technical and that makes it mainstream with the both arts and science aspirants.
  • An immense measure of content is accessible both on the online and offline format about Indian Geography and world geology.
  • While most subjects of the test are interconnected, none appreciates the instructing position of Geography.
  • It is very fascinating to peruse and very scoring. You will find that it is identified with climate, worldwide relations, Current Affairs, biology and even financial matters somewhat.
  • It covers an accentuation on local arranging and contemporary issues. This makes the paper dynamic and tremendously expands its extension.
  • Profound information and guidance are obligatory for this subject.


  • The Optional subject can help an aspirant scale the most noteworthy pinnacle of progress however at the same time it can toss that person out of the race.
  • Also, we should keep something more in our brain: while the dominance of Optional subject requires particular information, GS calls for capability in summed up information.
  • In the notice, it has been plainly referenced that in General Studies “the inquiries are probably going to test applicant’s fundamental comprehension of the multitude of significant issues and capacity to investigations and take a view on clashing financial goat, targets and requests”.
  • Then again, it has been referenced for Optional paper that “the scheme of Optional papers for the assessment is comprehensively of the distinctions degree level for example a level higher than the Bachelor’s Degree and lower than the Master’s Degree.”
  • Thus, the applicants should be cautious while choosing the Optional subject as History.
  • The benefits of choosing history as optional are: –
    • It will make a significant commitment to General Studies.
    • The subject will help you to score.
    • Syllabus of the subject is clear.
    • Availability of appropriate examination materials for the subject

You Can Read Also – Which is the Best Optional Subject for IAS Preparation?

Public Administration

  • Public Administration was first added as a Optional subject in 1987.
  • The Public Administration has acquired massive prevalence and is a hot top choice among the aspirants.
  • Likewise, the achievement rate for this subject is higher than some other non-technical subjects.
  • All these normally make it perhaps the most scoring just as best Optional subjects in UPSC.
  • It is exceptionally gainful to discover such assembly in papers since it saves you time and energy and furthermore gives abundant material, just as alternate points of view to compose better replies in the two subjects.
  • An exceptionally huge piece of Paper-II covers your Political Science and Current Affairs preparation for prelims.
  • The topic of this paper additionally covers with the Polity and Governance Paper in General Studies.
  • It contains themes like Public Sector Undertakings, Union Government and Administration, Urban Local Government, Philosophical and Constitutional Framework of Government and so forth, which have just been covered.


  • The syllabus of Sociology is genuinely restricted and generally static in nature.
  • It is one of the most scoring and best discretionary subjects in the UPSC Mains.
  • After examining the subject, you will have a top to bottom comprehension of Indian culture and design.
  • It is probably the most effortless subject offered by the UPSC. Since it has generally been a discretionary of decision among the aspirants, you will discover a lot of material just as direction regarding the matter.
  • Preparing to peruse material is of extraordinary assistance in any subject and saves a ton of time.
  • You will likewise profit by the technique and experience of the individuals who had chosen and passed with good marks taking Sociology as their Optional subject.

The ‘success rate’ of the Optional subject is very significant. Aspirants who have an experience of working in a major association, Public Administration is an incredible decision. It has been the most common choice with working aspirants or with the people who have stopped their work for UPSC preparation.

Clinical aspirants may choose Medical Science, Zoology or Anthropology as these papers are identified with their field. The literature subjects have performed well altogether years. You may end up picking literature of your local language as your Optional paper. It’s a fair decision.

The decision of choosing the option is an individual choice of each candidate as demonstrated by his/her characteristics and deficiencies. Regardless, just the hopeful knows his/her qualities, shortcomings, taste, and accessibility of study materials.

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