UPSC Optional Success Rate | Year-Wise Success Rate of Optional in UPSC IAS Exam

By Ritika Pant|Updated : January 4th, 2023

Every year there is a possibility of change in the Success Rate of Optional in UPSC for the Civil Services exam. UPSC, or the Union Public Service Commission of India, conducts the reputed IAS exam to allow candidates to enter civil services. The examination is executed in 3 stages: Prelims, Mains, and the Interview test. Every year millions of optimistic IAS applicants give the exam. For every student, the process of assessment is equivalent.

Success Rate of Optional in UPSC PDF

In the Mains exam of IAS, they must select an optional subject (2 papers having a weightage of 500 marks). Candidates should choose the best subject by reviewing the exact UPSC optional subjects success rate to obtain the highest marks in the exam. In this article, aspirants can learn about UPSC optional subjects success rates in 2017, 2016, 2015, and 2014, along with how to analyze the best optional subject for UPSC if they are still preparing for the most challenging exam.

Table of Content

Success Rate of Optional in UPSC

Check out the latest information on the UPSC optional subjects' success rate. The table lists figures extracted from the 2017 data of the Civil Services exam. Before choosing the best optional subject for the UPSC Mains exam, there are various factors one must consider, including available preparation time, the curriculum of the exam, etc.

Aspirants can choose a subject they know about as it will help them cover the UPSC syllabus quickly and understand it more efficiently, or they can even go through the recent UPSC optional subjects success rate list. Candidates opting for the subject they are interested in will score better in the exam as UPSC asks in-depth questions about any topic.

List of UPSC Optional Success Rate Year Wise

The table illustrates the UPSC optional subjects success rate from 2014 to 2017 for Civil Services Examination. Aspirants can take a brief idea about the success rates of optional subjects and choose the one having the highest rate.

UPSC Optional Success Rate 2017 

Candidates appearing for the UPSC exam can glance at the latest UPSC optional subjects success rate. The figures have been taken from the 2017 civil services examination results.

Optional Subject

Success Rate Percentage

Number of Aspirants Suggested

Number of Aspirants Appeared

Management

8.1

7

86

Civil Engineering

8.9

11

124

Bengali Lit.

0

0

3

Mechanical Engineering

11.2

19

170

Urdu Lit.

19.2

5

26

Bodo Lit.

100

1

1

Commerce and Accountancy

12.5

28

224

Zoology

1.8

1

55

Kannada Lit.

3.5

4

115

Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Sciences

8.7

2

23

Public Administration

10.2

119

1165

Botany

11.4

5

44

Mathematics

5.9

26

441

International Relations and Political Science

9.4

117

1246

Tamil Lit.

4.7

5

107

Manipuri Lit.

7.7

1

13

Telugu Lit.

1.4

1

72

Geography

5.5

147

2669

Sindhi Lit.

50

1

2

English Lit.

9.5

2

21

Philosophy

7

53

755

Statistics

0

0

3

Marathi Lit.

0

0

17

Chemistry

8.7

11

126

Gujarati Lit.

7.9

8

101

Hindi Lit.

7.1

19

267

Agriculture

12.4

11

89

Oriya Lit.

0

0

5

Malayalam Lit.

7.2

8

111

Psychology

10.9

21

193

Nepali Lit.

0

0

1

Sociology

9.6

137

1421

Assamese Lit.

0

0

3

Anthropology

9.7

85

880

Physics

10

14

140

Law

14.1

43

304

Maithili Lit.

6.4

5

78

Punjabi Lit.

15.4

6

39

History

5.5

59

1074

Medical Sciences

10.2

32

313

Electrical Engineering

9.8

19

193

Economics

6.9

16

233

Geology

5.4

2

37

Sanskrit Lit.

7.1

5

70

Success Rate of Optional in UPSC 2016

It can be easily comprehended from the table that the success rate for a few Literature papers appears to be the highest. In contrast, a significantly less number of aspirants opted for this optional subject of UPSC.

Optional Subject

Success Rate Percentage

Number of Aspirants Suggested

Number of Aspirants Appeared

Agriculture

18.6

41

220

Economics

11.3

37

326

Konkani Lit.

0

0

1

Geology

5.6

2

36

Arabic Lit.

0

0

1

Management

7.7

1

13

Zoology

3.7

18

484

Assamese Lit.

40

2

5

Mathematics

2.9

8

277

Law

5.2

19

365

Mechanical Engineering

5.2

5

96

Sociology

5.7

89

1555

Marathi Lit.

16.7

7

42

Tamil Lit.

12.9

29

225

Medical Sciences

16.3

16

98

Hindi Lit.

5.7

56

974

Political Science and International Relations

6.4

85

1320

Botany

4.5

14

312

Geography

5.8

236

4049

Sindhi Lit.

0

0

1

Statistics

0

0

14

Bengali Lit.

0

0

5

Urdu Lit.

13.8

4

29

Dogri LIt.

0

0

1

Punjabi Lit.

26.3

5

19

Kannada Lit.

16.7

14

84

Chemistry

5.6

7

124

Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Sciences

12.3

8

65

Electrical Engineering

5.4

4

74

History

5.5

212

3870

Pali Lit.

7.1

18

255

English Lit.

15

6

40

Anthropology

10.7

37

345

Physics

6.7

16

239

Gujarati Lit.

16.7

7

42

Psychology

10.9

116

1061

Public Administration

10.5

337

3301

Maithili Lit.

4

1

25

Telugu Lit.

6.1

9

147

Malayalam Lit.

7.3

5

67

Philosophy

4

84

2092

Oria Lit.

0

0

4

Civil Engineering

3.9

1

35

Sanskrit Lit.

8.2

10

122

Manipuri Lit.

4.5

1

22

Persian Lit.

0

0

10

UPSC Optional Subjects Success Rate in 2015

The table shows the IAS optional subjects success rate from the 2015 figures of the civil services examination, excluding the Literature optional subjects.

Optional Subject

Success Rate Percentage

Number of Aspirants Suggested

Number of Aspirants Appeared

Physics

6.4

17

266

Public Administration

5.1

359

7077

Agriculture

16.4

20

122

Anthropology

6.3

38

579

Philosophy

8.9

99

1116

Civil Engineering

10.6

5

47

Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science

23.1

12

52

Zoology

12.7

29

228

Chemistry

10.6

11

104

Electrical Engineering

6.3

8

126

Economics

19

51

269

Law

17.1

42

246

Psychology

7.9

92

1163

Mechanical Engineering

4.7

3

64

Geography

7.2

314

4351

Mathematics

7.1

23

325

Management

14.4

24

167

Sociology

9.2

230

2490

Medical Science

23.4

55

235

Political Science and International Relations

10.9

121

1107

Commerce and Accountancy

14.9

28

188

Botany

11.5

12

104

Geology

14.4

4

28

History

8.3

174

2090

Statistics

6.3

1

16

UPSC Optional Success Rate in 2014

Union Public Service Commission provided the UPSC optional subjects success rate for the 2014 Civil services examination mentioned in the below table.

Optional Subject

Success Rate Percentage

Number of Aspirants Suggested

Number of Aspirants Appeared

Botany

14

7

50

Medical Science

16.4

48

293

Literature of Malayalam Language

8.7

6

69

Literature of Sanskrit Language

5.6

4

71

Literature of Assamese Language

0

0

2

Literature of Gujarati Language

12.5

8

64

Mathematics

6.1

32920

Philosophy

7.9

73658

Literature of Marathi Language

3.8

1

26

Literature of English Language

16.7

5

30

Literature of Punjabi Language

11.1

54 6

Statistics

16.7

1

6

Management

13.8

16723

Sociology

9.1

150

1647

Economics

20.2

38

188

Literature of Hindi Language

4.2

12

284

Zoology

9.8

92 9

Chemistry

7.1

85 6

Literature of Tamil Language

10.7

758

Literature of Telugu Language

4.3

4

93

Literature of Santhali Language

100

1

1

Psychology

9.8

34834

Mechanical Engineering

6.7

60 4

Literature of Kannada Language

12

75 9

Geology

6.7

151

Political Science and International Relations

6.1

65140

Agriculture

9.1

7

77

Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science

15.6

5

32

Literature of Oriya Language

10

10 1

Physics

8.8

13

147

Anthropology

11.8

53

449

Public Administration

6.2

176

2840

Literature of Urdu Language

17.9

5

28

Commerce and Accountancy

7.5

20015

Electrical Engineering

11.5

11313

Literature of Maithili Language

10.7

84 9

Literature of Sindhi (Devanagari) Language

0

0

1

Literature of Dogri Language

0

0

1

History

7.7

100

1303

Geography

5.6

178

3158

Law

24.3

35

144

Literature of Bengali Language

16.7

1

6

Civil Engineering

13

7

54

Literature of Manipuri Language

5

1

20

Most Opted IAS Optional Subjects Success Rate

Below is an average number of aspirants that appeared for each optional subject for UPSC. The choice for these subjects is their overlapping in more than two papers.

Optional Subject

(Approx) Number of Aspirants

UPSC optional success rate

Philosophy

1000

7

Sociology

1800

9.6

Political Science

1800

9.4

Public Administration

3000

10.2

Geography

3500

5.5

History

3500

5.5

What is the Best Optional Subject for UPSC?

Aspirants can select their optional subjects as per their preference from the list of 48 available subjects. Of the total choices, 23 subjects are from the modern Indian languages, and the remaining are from different educational fields.

  • The best optional subject for any candidate is not necessarily the same for the other, so aspirants should consider UPSC optional subjects success rate, which will help them pick the easiest and most recommended subject according to other applicants' experience.
  • Candidates should examine the success rate of optional subjects in UPSC and shortlist the subjects further, relying on personal interest and educational background.
  • Aspirants must examine the number of hours they can dedicate to the optional subjects and research for the availability of quality study material/lecturers.
  • Lastly, candidates should inspect whether the UPSC optional subjects coincide with the other parts of the IAS exam (Prelims, GS papers in mains, Essay).

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FAQs on Success Rate of Optional in UPSC

  • The Department of Personnel & Training updates the success rate of optional in UPSC yearly. The success rate for the UPSC optional subjects in 2017 remains the latest report, and the recent data will help candidates choose the best optional subject for the IAS exam.

  • Geography, Public Administration, and Sociology can be the easiest subjects to score in the UPSC exam. According to last year's results, many applicants have scored more than 400 marks in these optional subjects.

  • Geography has the highest success rate as per the preference given by the candidates. Public Administration, History, and Sociology are some additional subjects with a comparatively higher success rate than others.

  • Geography is the most prevalent optional subject for IAS candidates. It has a comprehensive syllabus which may be a challenge for some, but the major advantage of selecting Geography as an optional subject is that it overlaps with CSE Prelims and GS 1 exams.

  • Math has a 5.9 as per the data of UPSC optional subjects success rate (2017). Mathematics can emerge as a scoring subject in the UPSC exam if practiced well. The questions are usually asked directly from textbooks, so summarizing formulas and practicing them can result in exceptionally high scores.

  • Listed are the top 10 UPSC Optional Subjects having the highest success rate as per the recent data after comparing the success rate of all the subjects.

    • Chemistry
    • Any Literature Subject
    • Commerce and Accountancy
    • Law
    • Psychology
    • Economics
    • Medical Science
    • Agriculture
    • History
    • Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science
  • History is a topic included in both Prelims and Mains syllabus of the UPSC exam, so if candidates choose this as an optional subject, it will also aid in preparing for the GS part. But, most aspirants find the subject hard because it has a vast syllabus.

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