Maths Optional UPSC: Preparation, Success Rate, Highest Marks

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Maths Optional UPSC is one of the most scoring optional subjects in the Mains exam, as the questions are not opinion-based or subjective. As per the recommendations of experts and IAS officers, you need to choose an optional subject in which you have a background and genuine interest. When it comes to Maths Optional UPSC, you must apply this rule. Because preparing for Mathematics from scratch for Mains is not considered to be ideal. So if you have studied maths in your curriculum, then you can think of opting for Mathematics optional UPSC.

In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of choosing UPSC Maths optional and the preparation strategy to fetch good marks in this optional subject. In addition, we will cover some high-rated books for Maths Optional UPSC that would enhance your preparation.

Maths Optional UPSC

There are 48 Optional Subjects in UPSC, and each of them carries a total of 500 marks. Additionally, each subject is divided into two papers- Paper I and Paper II and accounts for 250 marks each. As you can see, the weightage of the optional paper is 500 marks out of a total of 1750 marks in the UPSC Exam. That’s why it becomes extremely crucial for the candidates to fetch good marks in this paper to ensure their selection for the exam. Maths is considered one of the best optional subjects in UPSC when it comes to fetching good marks in optional papers. As there is a certain answer to the questions, and the static nature of the syllabus it is easy to ace the maths papers as compared to other optional subjects.

UPSC Maths Optional Syllabus

The syllabus of Maths Optional UPSC is divided into two parts- Paper I and Paper II. Paper 1 includes topics like Linear Algebra, Calculus, Analytic Geometry, Ordinary Differential Equations, Dynamics and Statics, and Vector Analysis. UPSC Maths optional syllabus for Paper 2 includes Algebra, Real Analysis, Complex Analysis, Linear Programming, Partial Differential Equations, Numerical Analysis, Computer Programming, and Mechanics and Fluid Dynamics.

Pros of Taking UPSC Mathematics Optional

  • Scoring Optional– The subject is not opinion-based or subjective in nature but factual, so it is not up to the examiner to give marks. If you give the correct answer, then you will get full marks. There is only one correct answer to every question, and the scope of comparison is less, unlike other optional subjects.
  • Static Syllabus– The syllabus of Maths Optional UPSC is static in nature, which means you don’t have to keep updating your knowledge. It is not linked to current affairs, and after completion of the syllabus, you just have to revise it.
  • No Need to Memorize– apart from the theorems and formulas, you don’t have to memorize many things in this paper. This subject is logic-based. Hence you are not required to memorize too much information.

Cons of Maths Optional UPSC

  • Preparation Takes More Time– This subject is not only for reading; you have to work out the solutions if you want to fetch good marks.
  • No Overlap with GS Paper– Unlike geography, polity, history, etc., UPSC Maths optional won’t aid your general studies preparation as the syllabus doesn’t overlap with the general studies papers.
  • No Marks of Attempting– Maths question has either right or wrong answers. You won’t get marks for wild attempts. However, if the solution provided by you is in the right direction, then you can get some marks for attempting.

Books for Maths Optional UPSC

Books are the ultimate source for the preparation of any subject. In the case of Mathematics Optional UPSC, you need to have some highly rated Maths Optional UPSC Books. There are so many options when it comes to choosing  books for maths optional. However, to make things easy for you, we have provided the list below.

  • Linear Algebra: A.R.Vasista, Schaum Series
  • 3-D Geometry: P.N. Chatterjee
  • Algebra: Joseph A. Gallian, Shramik Sen Upadhayay
  • Complex Analysis: Schaum Series, J.N. Sharma, Ponnu Swami, G K Ranganath
  • Ordinary Differential Equations: M.D. Raisinghania, Ian Sneddon
  • Vector Analysis: A.R.Vasista, Schaum Series
  • Calculus and Real Analysis: S.C Malik and Savita Arora, Shanti Narayan

How to Prepare Maths Optional for UPSC

UPSC Maths optional is a popular choice among engineering students and candidates from Mathematics backgrounds owing to the objective syllabus. However, without a proper preparation strategy, it would be difficult for the aspirants to score well in maths optional in UPSC. Here are some key basic tips that would help you to level up your preparation and ace Maths Optional UPSC.

  • For a concept-focused subject like Maths, it is essential to develop clear conceptual clarity. Develop a good foundation for each topic covered in the UPSC Mathematics optional.
  • You can’t get good marks on this paper if you don’t practice enough. The more you practice, the better you get at problem-solving.
  • Silly mistakes can cost you big. So make sure you are extremely careful while solving problems. Check the ‘+’ or ‘-‘ sign and addition/subtraction mistakes carefully.
  • Never ever try to learn the process; instead, understand the logic behind it if you want to ace Maths Optional UPSC.
  • understand the question correctly before working out the solution. If you start solving it, and it is incorrect, then you will end up losing time and previous space in the booklet.
  • Math problems should be solved with a relaxed mind. Panicking will lead to silly mistakes, and you will end up getting confused while solving the Maths Optional UPSC Question Paper.
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