A Guide on Choosing an Optional Subject in UPSC

The UPSC conducts one of the toughest and most prestigious examinations in India for recruiting candidates to various civil services positions. One crucial decision that candidates have to make is selecting an optional subject for the UPSC examination. The choice of an optional subject can significantly impact a candidate’s performance and overall success in the exam. In this content, we will explore key factors to consider when choosing an optional subject, providing valuable insights to help candidates make an informed decision.

Importance of Optional Subjects 

The UPSC examination consists of two phases: the preliminary examination (Objective Type) and the main examination (Subjective Type). While the preliminary examination is compulsory for all candidates, the main examination offers the opportunity to choose an optional subject. This choice carries immense weightage, as the optional subject accounts for 500 out of the total 1750 marks in the main examination. Therefore, the optional subject can significantly influence a candidate’s ranking and chances of selection.

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Factors to Consider

Interest and Aptitude:

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing an optional subject is personal interest and aptitude. Opting for a subject that aligns with your interests can enhance motivation, make studying more enjoyable, and foster a deeper understanding of the subject matter. Reflect on your passion and curiosity for a particular subject. Additionally, assess your aptitude by analysing your strengths and weaknesses in different subjects. By selecting an optional subject that you genuinely enjoy and excel in, you are more likely to perform well in the examination.

Scoring Potential:

Another crucial aspect to consider is the scoring potential of an optional subject, such as Geography or Sociology optional. They are considered as mark fetching optional in UPSC. While some subjects are considered scoring, others might be more challenging or have a subjective evaluation process. It is advisable to analyse the previous years’ question papers, marking patterns, and success rates in each optional subject to gauge its scoring potential.¬†

Look for subjects that have a balanced marking scheme and a history of relatively higher scores. However, it is important to note that choosing a subject solely based on its scoring potential may not be the best strategy if you lack interest or aptitude in that subject.

Background and Academic Background:

Candidates often wonder if their academic background should dictate their choice of an optional subject. While having a background in a particular subject can provide a head start, it should not limit your choices. With proper dedication and preparation, candidates from diverse academic backgrounds can excel in any optional subject. What matters more is a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter, regardless of your academic background. Consider subjects that align with your academic strengths, but also be open to exploring new subjects that interest you.

Syllabus Overlap with General Studies:

Analysing the overlap between the syllabus of the optional subject and the general studies papers can be advantageous. Opting for an optional subject that has significant overlap with the general studies syllabus can help in saving time and effort in preparing for both. It allows you to study common topics once and apply the knowledge in both sections. However, it is important to note that choosing an optional subject solely based on syllabus overlap might limit your learning experience and overall knowledge development. It is crucial to strike a balance between syllabus overlap and personal interest.

Availability of Resources:

Consider the availability of good quality study materials, books, online resources, and coaching facilities for the chosen optional subject. Adequate resources are essential for effective preparation. Research the availability and accessibility of study materials specific to your chosen subject. Look for reliable sources, reference books, and online platforms that provide comprehensive content and updated information. Evaluate the ease of access to these resources to ensure you can study the subject thoroughly.

In conclusion, we can say that choosing an optional subject for the UPSC examination is a critical decision that can significantly impact a candidate’s performance and overall success. It is essential to take in mind factors such as personal interest, aptitude, scoring potential, academic background, syllabus overlap, availability of resources, and coaching/guidance facilities. A well-thought-out choice will not only make studying more enjoyable but also increase your chances of scoring well and securing a higher rank.¬†

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Ajay Deep

Ajay Deep is a young enthusiast who Loves Chandigarh and is always eager to make this beautiful city even more beautiful. A Mechanical Engineer By Chance and Working in an IT MNC by Choice. A Writer, Photographer and a Budding Entrepreneur. A Designer, Developer and Digital Marketing Expert. In brief : A Jack of All Trades and Master of Few :) You may reach Ajay Deep at ajay@chandigarhmetro.com
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