The UPSC Optional Subjects list has 48 subjects. From where one subject has to be selected by the candidate for both their UPSC Optional Paper. Certainly, each optional subjects have two papers i.e Paper I and Paper II of 250 marks, with a total of 500 marks. The UPSC Optional Syllabus is at the honors degree level higher than an undergraduate degree level. But, lower than the master’s degree level. So, the candidates can opt for literature UPSC Optional Subjects as an optional paper. Moreover, one’s choice of optional can influence your success chances in UPSC Exam. So, we have compiled a detailed UPSC Optional Syllabus for UPSC Optional Subjects. In short, it will help the candidate to decide their optional subject for the IAS Exam.
- UPSC Mains Exam Papers
- What do UPSC Optional Subjects mean?
- How many optional subjects are there for IAS?
- General Studies Paper I – IV for IAS Mains Exam
- UPSC Optional Subject List with the Syllabus
- List of Literature UPSC Optional Subject List
- How to select the Optional Subjects?
- How to prepare the Optional Subject?
- FAQs I UPSC Optional Subjects
- Editor's Note | UPSC Optional Subjects
UPSC Mains Exam Papers
UPSC Main Examination comprises of two qualifying papers and seven merit ranking papers:
- Qualifying Papers
- Any One Indian Language from the Eighth Schedule of The Constitution of India.
- Merit Ranking Paper
- UPSC Essay
- I Paper General Studies
- II Paper General Studies
- III Paper General Studies
- IV Paper General Studies
- Optional Paper I
- Optional Paper-II
What do UPSC Optional Subjects mean?
Certainly, candidates opt for one optional subject from UPSC Optional Subject List. Moreover, UPSC Optional Subjects consists of two papers each counting for 250 marks. So, candidates have to choose from optional subjects list including the literature subjects. Besides, the UPSC Optional Paper is descriptive and consists of 3 hours. However, the UPSC Question Paper plays a significant role in the UPSC Mains Exam.
How many optional subjects are there for IAS?
Above all, in the UPSC exam pattern, one UPSC Optional Subjects is chosen by the candidate. Besides, the civil services mains exam General Studies paper counts for 1000 marks. Moreover, here are two optional papers for 250 marks. So, it’s important for candidate to consider various aspects before opting for optional.
General Studies Paper I – IV for IAS Mains Exam
See the below list of general studies papers:
|General studies||Topics covered||Total marks|
|General Studies Paper-I||Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society||250|
|General Studies Paper-II||Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations||250|
|General Studies Paper-III||Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management||250|
|General Studies Paper IV||Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude||250|
UPSC Optional Subject List with the Syllabus
|S. No||List of Optional Subjects in UPSC||Detailed Syllabus|
|2||Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science||Syllabus|
|7||Commerce & Accountancy||Syllabus|
|20||Political Science & International Relations||Syllabus|
List of Literature UPSC Optional Subject List
The candidates can opt for a literature subject as well as for their optional subject. But they can also opt for it even if they have not taken that language as their graduation subject. However, the languages below are from the eight schedules of the Indian Constitution.
|S.No||List of Literature Optional Subjects||Detailed Syllabus|
How to select the Optional Subjects?
Firstly, selecting an optional subject in UPSC exams is an important decision. But, in the new format, General studies hold importance. So, do not take your decision at the very beginning. Firstly, start your GS preparation, then consider opting for the optional subjects. Because, in GS, there will be subjects like history, psychology, geography. However, this will help you with a better understanding of what subject suits you the best. Moreover, if the candidate is well-prepared with newspaper reading and note-making. So, then the decision of opting for an optional subject is not a tough task. But, some candidates are not high GS scorers and its difficult for them to prepare.
Reason of General Studies Overlapping
Certainly, one needs to understand that every optional subject is scoring. Because in previous years, some subjects are not turning to be good scorers. But, your basic requirement is to score highest in the UPSC Optional Paper as well as GS paper. So, the factors required in preparation is effort, time, and the maximum marks.
You have to keep the following things in mind while selecting your optional subject:
- Interest and understanding of the subject.
- Proper analysis of the previous year UPSC Optional Paper and UPSC Optional Syllabus.
- Presentation techniques and the writing style that is suitable.
- Study material availability.
- UPSC Optional Paper weightage in General Studies.
- Graduation background.
- The thinking pattern which is expected from a specific optional subject.
Certainly, opting for the right optional subject is not an easy task. But, a wrong decision can cost you losing the score and a big regret for the rest of your life. Moreover, the candidates come from different academic backgrounds like commerce, arts, engineering, etc. So, UPSC has given the candidates to choose from 51 optional subjects i.e 26 literature and 25 non-literature subjects.
How to prepare the Optional Subject?
1. Do not miss your daily newspaper
Rely on reading newspapers rather than the summaries you get from the market. Further, while reading the newspaper, try to link it with your UPSC Optional Paper. In addition, prepare notes if required.
2. Less material, more revision
Firstly, try to follow the minimum references and revise it all. Meanwhile, your references always include the standard NCERT textbooks, The Hindu, and previous year question papers. So, using these resources, prepare notes. Subsequently, revise all these couples of times before your mains exam.
3. Qualitative over Quantitative Preparation
Do not worry about spending more hours over preparation because of quality matters over quantity. So, try to focus on conceptual clarity and revision.
4. Consistent Hard Work is needed
Certainly keep your routine balanced to complete the whole syllabus and revise it. However, if needed, take a break of 10-15 days.
5. Integrated Preparation
Above all, the candidate has to do a comprehensive preparation of every topic and every stage of the UPSC exam. So, think of all the questions that can come while reading a topic.
You can also check about Test Series, Study Material, Question Paper & CSE Subjects which in details talk about Prelims Test Series, Indian Polity, Free Material for UPSC, 2019 Question Paper, UPSC History Syllabus
FAQs I UPSC Optional Subjects
According to the data from 2015 to 2016, the literature paper’s success rate in the IAS mains exams is very high. So, considering that a few candidates choose these subjects in UPSC mains. In addition, these subject’s success rates should be taken as a broad reference.
Subjects with the high syllabus which overlaps with the GS considered to be a great bet. So, the other factors like study material, nature of the syllabus, and individual preference are equally important.
It’s one of the most popular optional subjects for the candidates. Because geography optional syllabus is overlap with GS paper I and prelims. However, there are students with high ranks who did opt for geography as their optional subjects.
In 2015, 1163 candidates opted for psychology, 92 qualified for the interview round. So, the success rate was 7.9% that year. Moreover, psychology is an interesting subject having a scope of citing real-life examples. In 2015, 1163 candidates opted for optional and 92 were sent for the interview round.
Earlier, agriculture did emerge as a scoring optional subject in UPSC mains. On the other hand, its syllabus has overlap with general studies paper in mains and prelims. So, the paper 2 has the concepts that are related to botany.
Editor’s Note | UPSC Optional Subjects
Opting the UPSC Optional Subjects for the IAS exam is fully based on the candidate’s interest and their grip on a particular subject. There are no criteria that one can clear the exam easily without even putting effort into it. You need to dedicate your time in the preparation for the exam. You just have to look upon your knowledge in a particular subject and how suitable is that for you to complete it along with the revision. Moreover, you have to complete the preparation within time, so choose that subject which you feel would help you in scoring high.