What is Optional Subject in UPSC?
The UPSC optional subject list comes with the release of the official Notification of UPSC on its official website. Candidates get to choose any subject they want from these listed IAS Optional Subjects. As we have mentioned above, the optional paper carries a total of 500 marks, so it is crucial to pick a subject that the candidate is comfortable with.
It would add a huge advantage if the candidate has completed his/her UG or PG in any one of the optional subjects in UPSC. The concept of the easiest and best optional subject for UPSC varies from person to person. So, we have covered the list of optional subjects for UPSC and also help you to figure out a way to choose the easiest optional subject for UPSC.
UPSC Optional Subject List
The table below lists the names of optional subjects for the UPSC Exam. The marks obtained in UPSC Optional Subject are considered for the preparation of final merit. Hence, the choice of an optional subject must be made cautiously. Unlike earlier, candidates now have to choose just one subject from a wide range of optional subjects for UPSC.
UPSC Optional Subjects List
UPSC Optional Subject List for Literature Subjects
Literature of the following languages is also part of the optional subjects for IAS, from which the candidate gets to choose any preferred language as his/her optional subject.
List of Literature UPSC Optional Subject
How to Choose Optional Subject in UPSC?
Choosing an optional from the UPSC optional subject list is a crucial decision that can impact the overall rank in the UPSC exam. An optional subject carries a total of 500 marks, making it essential to opt for the right subject. The goal is to fetch optimum marks in the UPSC optional because it can increase a candidate's rank on the merit list.
Most candidates make the common mistake of choosing an IAS optional subject based on the parameters like popularity, availability of study materials, and educational background. But you should not choose your optional subject depending on these factors because it can cost you an attempt. Following are some things you need to keep in mind before choosing a UPSC Mains Optional Subject.
- Interest and academic background- While going through the UPSC Optional List, you need to find an optional that you are interested in. The UPSC CSE optional subject must match your comfort level while reading.
- Overlap with the UPSC syllabus- There are some optional subjects that overlap with the other portion of the UPSC syllabus. That is why these optional subjects are highly popular among aspirants. The subjects are history, political science & international relations, sociology, geography, economics, etc.
- Availability of resources- You need to choose a subject that doesn’t have limited resources to prepare from. There are enough study materials available for some optional subjects for UPSC, but in some cases, research needs to be done on the availability of study materials for some subjects. Download the UPSC book list for all the IAS Optional Subjects.
- Proper Guidance- A candidate can crack the UPSC exam without coaching, but it would be hard to do the same without proper guidance. If you plan to choose an optional subject for UPSC that you are unfamiliar with, then you will need guidance.
- Time-Management- In the UPSC Mains exam, you will have to face four general studies papers, and a merit-based essay, if you choose an UPSC optional with vast syllabus then it will be hard for you to spend more time on other subjects. That is why choose an optional subject that will allow you to manage your time properly.
- Subject familiarity- Another crucial point you must consider while choosing the best UPSC optional subject is familiarity or knowledge of the subject. Choosing a subject you have already studied in your UG or PG would be great. Make sure that this is not the only factor you need to consider while choosing the best subject from the list of optional subjects for UPSC.
UPSC Optional Subject List with Syllabus & Books PDF
Below we have given the direct link to the syllabus of all UPSC optional subjects. Candidates can check the syllabus of each subject, which would make this process a lot easier for them.
List of Optional Subjects in UPSC
Syllabus of Optional Subjects for UPSC
Recommended Books for IAS Optional Subjects
Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
Commerce & Accountancy
Political Science & International Relations
Which Optional Subject is Best for UPSC?
Every year lakhs of candidates try to find the easiest and the best optional subject in UPSC. There is no perfect answer to this question; however, some key points would help you find the right UPSC optional subject. Let’s uncover which optional subject is easiest for UPSC. It is advisable for the candidates to check the UPSC syllabus for the optional subjects before picking the same.
- Technical subjects (along with Mathematics) can fetch excessive marks because the solutions are absolute. Generally, not like the humanities topics, the examine's biases do not play a big role.
- The non-technical subject, on the other hand, specifically the ones that have a few overlaps with the GS syllabus, offers extra practice time. That is why candidates can score well if they prepare well for these subjects; additionally, it will help them with covering other portions of the UPSC syllabus.
Before selecting any optional subject in UPSC, a candidate should ask herself/himself to consider these key points.
- The vastness of the syllabus
- If the candidate has prior knowledge of this subject
- Does the syllabus of this subject overlap with the GS papers?
- If there is an availability of guidance and study materials for the chosen optional subject
- Is the subject seems interesting or not
Depending on these abovementioned factors, a candidate should make an `individual` choice to pick the best subject among the list of optional subjects for UPSC.
Optional Subject in UPSC with Most Overlap with GS
Some optional subjects for UPSC overlap with the UPSC mains syllabus for general studies. These subjects are mentioned below.
- Medical Science
- Public Administration
Success Rate of UPSC Optional Subjects
According to the latest UPSC 69th Year report, the Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT) updated the success rate of the optional subjects for the UPSC 2017. You can check the preparation strategy of UPSC toppers and that of the youngest IAS Officer in India to move in the right direction of preparation.
UPSC Optional Subject List
No. of Candidates Appeared
No. of Candidates Recommended
Success Rate Percentage in UPSC Optional Subjects
Commerce & Accountancy
Toppers with their Optional Subjects in UPSC
Below, the table represents the UPSC optional subjects taken by toppers each year. However, your choice of optional subject shouldn't depend on this factor only. The UPSC Toppers' preparation strategy for completing the optional subjects can mold the preparation of the candidates in a unique way.
UPSC Topper Name (Rank 1)
UPSC Optional Subject Chosen