Choose A Suitable Optional Subject For The UPSC Mains


The UPSC Mains exam is a general state exam in India, which is conducted for admission to the civil service of India. Therefore, if you seek to work in the diplomatic, administrative, or law enforcement agencies of India, you must pass such an exam. Of course, you must carefully prepare for the main subjects. However, even having passed these few items perfectly, you will get only three-fourths of the maximum mark. You can get other points by choosing an optional subject.

The problem is that people cannot decide what subject they should choose. There are 25 additional subjects, and they can be divided into two categories. The first one is technical subjects and the second one is non-technical subjects. It is not surprising that the majority of candidates choose one of the non-technical subjects.

If you look at the statistics, most people decide to write Mains with Geography or Public Administration. It is important to choose the subject in which you can score the maximum number of points. And whatever the statistical data is, you should listen to yourself. Let’s figure out how to choose the right optional subject.

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The Most Scoring Subjects For The UPSC Exam

As we said, the most scoring subjects in the last few years were Geography and Public Administration. For example, the number of people who chose Geography was around 3400 in UPSC Mains 2015. The number is a bit smaller for those who wrote UPSC Mains with Public Administration. It is worth mentioning that the majority of people who chose a particular optional subject have not studied that before. Why is it so?

We can call it a herd mentality. It started when some civil services specialists told the candidates what the most scoring optional subjects are. Maybe they were profitable because of the large number of applicants who wrote Public Administration or Science Humanities. Anyway, it is so that candidates UPSC mostly choose one of the popular optional subjects.

However, is it the right strategy? Do you need to follow those people’s example and choose the popular subject in order to get the highest score? Does it mean that those subjects are easy?

Let’s take a look at five most scoring subjects and find out which one you should choose and why.

1. Geography

That is the most popular optional subject among the candidates UPSC. A large number of applicants score 350+ points, so that subject is considered to be easy. However, you should not choose to write UPSC in Geography if you have not studied it before. You are likely to fail the exam if you are not prepared enough.

2. Public Administration

That is the most popular optional subject among people who have not studied public sciences before. A lot of candidates UPSC claims that it is not so difficult to prepare for the Public Ad exam. Nevertheless, keep in mind that you should not choose a subject like that if you are not going to work in UPSC civil services related to interaction with the public.

3. Sociology

If you are looking for the easiest optional subject, it might be Sociology. The thing is that each of us is a part of society. Therefore, it should be not only easy but also interesting to write UPSC in Social Sciences. Also, we recommend you to choose Sociology if you don’t have enough time to prepare for another subject.

4. History

If you listened to a teacher during your History classes, consider choosing that one as an optional subject. However, there is no guarantee that you will score high. Not only should you have a solid knowledge base but also have critical thinking and analysis skills.

5. Science Humanities

Science Humanities is the most scoring optional subject for people who were good in Humanities at school or college. If you have a humanitarian mindset, write upsc in Humanities. Nonetheless, keep in mind that some civil services specialists may recommend Humanities exam even for those who are not good at it.

Useful Tips To Help You Choose An Optional UPSC Subject

When you choose the optional subject for the UPSC Mains, it is important to put off statistical data and remember about your experience. A lot of candidates UPSC pick up a popular subject because they think that is easy. However, that is a big mistake. Use our list of tips to find out what optional subject is right for you.

  • Analyze your interests and experience. Choose the subject you are interested in so that you are ready to learn a lot of information. Also, keep in mind that you should have enough experience in learning a particular subject.
  • Evaluate your knowledge base. In addition to experience, you should have a solid knowledge base. Review your notes and test results to make sure you are good in that subject.
  • Analyze the previous years’ tests. Try to pass the previous years’ test to find out whether you are capable of that.
  • Try to find enough study material. Browse through the Internet and books to find relevant study material. Make sure to use only credible sources for preparation.
  • Keep in mind your background. If you have not studied History before, it will be really hard to comprehend a large amount of data.
  • Choose the subject you have a penchant to which. For example, if you cannot live without communicating with people, choose Sociology or Public Administration.

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Final Thoughts

Choosing an optional subject for the UPSC mains, you should keep in mind your interests and knowledge base. Don’t make it about statistics. Instead, choose the subject you have studied before. Make sure there are enough material and credible sources that help you prepare for the exam.

Using our guide, you will decide what optional subject you should choose. However, make sure you like the subject, and you are ready to research it. Good luck!