Choosing the right optional subject for the UPSC exam is a crucial decision that can significantly impact your preparation and, ultimately, your success. Here are a few factors to check to strategically Choose an Optional Subject for UPSC Exam.
When choosing an optional subject, with numerous options available, it is important to consider your interests, strengths, and weaknesses.
Make your decision to choose the right optional list of optional subjects wisely. Here, we’ll delve into strategic approaches to help you make an informed choice, ensuring that your optional subject aligns with your strengths and aspirations.
The Significance of optional subject for UPSC:.
The UPSC exam consists of two optional subject papers, each carrying 250 marks. The choice of the optional subject is an important and challenging aspect of the UPSC Exam. It contributes to a substantial portion of your overall score. With the right approach, it is possible to successfully navigate the challenges of the UPSC exam and achieve your goals.
How to select optional subject for UPSC – Factors to Consider
Interest and Passion:
Selecting a subject in which you have a genuine interest is the most important step for choosing the right subjects. Assess your interests and passion areas. Opting for a subject you genuinely enjoy will make the learning process more engaging and sustainable.
Background and Graduation:
Consider your educational background as an optional subject for UPSC( the civil services main examination). A subject related to your graduation can offer familiarity and an advantage in terms of foundational knowledge. For example, many medical students select medical science as they feel easy with it. This option is specifically recommended for students who are continuing their education while preparing for the civil services, or for those who start their UPSC exam preparation while still in the academy.
Availability of Study Material:
Check the availability of study material. Opting for a subject with ample resources can simplify your preparation. In most cases, UPSC candidates choose an option that is popular among most UPSC aspirants. The reasons for their popularity may differ.
Optional subject papers can greatly improve your overall rank and increase your chances of securing a desirable position in the civil services. Research the scoring trends of optional subjects. While scoring can vary each year, some subjects historically have higher success rates.
Evaluate the availability of coaching for your chosen subject. A reputed IAS coaching centre can provide structured guidance and help you stay on track. Previous year questions can help you to score well.
Overlap with General Studies:
For candidates who are hesitant about many of the subjects to be covered, it might be a good idea to select a subject that joins with the GS papers. Analyse the connection between your chosen optional subject and the General Studies papers. Some subjects may complement GS preparation. This is also advisable if you are constrained for time. These subjects include history, public administration, geography, sociology, political science and philosophy.
Optional Subject Paper Strategies for Decision-Making:
In-Depth Research for how to choose optional subject for UPSC
Conduct thorough research on each optional subject. Understand the syllabus, previous years’ question papers, and the overall demand of the subject in the UPSC exam. With four general studies papers and an essay paper previously demanding significant attention, it is wise to choose an optional subject with a practicable syllabus.
Seek guidance from mentors, seniors, or subject experts of public administration. Their insights can provide valuable perspectives based on their experiences.
Consider taking up a short trial period for a couple of subjects for UPSC mains exams. This can help you gauge your interest and aptitude for a particular subject.
Engage in mock tests for different subjects. This practical approach can give you a feel for the subject’s complexity and your comfort level.
Align with Career Goals:
Align your optional subject with your long-term career goals. Choose a subject that resonates with your vision for the future.
The process of the “how to choose optional subjects for UPSC” exam requires careful consideration and self-reflection. It’s not just about selecting a subject; it’s about choosing a pathway that aligns with your strengths and ambitions. By following the strategies outlined in this guide, you can embark on your UPSC preparation journey with confidence and clarity. Remember, the right choice today can pave the way for your success tomorrow. Happy studying!
Academic Director and tutor of Polity ,International Relations and Chief Editor of UPSC Current affairs Magazine.