Choosing the Right Optional Subject for UPSC

Each year lakhs of Indians have their hearts set on qualifying the highly prestigious competitive examination – the UPSC or IAS exams. The high value attached to these exams makes it imperative for the aspirants to put their best foot forward in preparing for the same. Along with all their efforts, the one decision that they must make with prudence, is selection of the best optional subject.

There are a few crucial factors that will help you make your mind for the best suitable optional subject and find your way out of this confusion.

Prioritize your parameter for choosing the right optional subjects

There are various parameters that dictate the choice of the right optional subjects for any aspirant. There are some subjects that are considered to be scoring whereas there are some others that are favored for their relevance to either General Studies or Current Affairs or Essay Topics. There are many who choose subjects based on defined set of topics asked and comparatively short type answers. So you can see that it all boils down to your personal preference, what you think works best for you. You can choose the subject based on the following attributes –

  • A high scoring optional
  • Popular optional
  • Optional subject that you find interesting
  • Optional for which best coaching is available
  • Subject you have already studied in graduation or post-graduation.

A few other unwritten rules also come into play an important part while contemplating about the optional subject.

  • Don’t choose an optional you are not interested in – Always choose an optional subject that lies within your interest zone and you are passionate to learn more about. Normally, people, select subjects studied at the graduation level but the criteria for choosing the subject should be as per your interest, rather than only on having studied them at the graduation level.
  • Don’t choose a subject you are not in touch with – You might have been conversant in a subject, but lack of touch makes it tough to re-grasp the same subject. This is quite relevant when it comes to technical subjects. In such a case, it is advisable to take a fresh subject.
  • Analyze the syllabus thoroughly – An in-depth analysis of the syllabus is critical before zeroing on the optional subject. Study the question papers of the previous years, and analyze the past trends. Do this at the very beginning and spend some time and thought to make a final call on it.

Finally, you must remember that popularity or scoring potential need not necessarily be the only basis of choosing optional subject. Every optional is equally scoring provided you have perfected the syllabus and the answer writing aspect. Once you have decided your optional subject, take a plunge into it and never regret not choosing any other optional subject.

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