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UPSC Optional Subject list 2024

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UPSC Optional Subject list: How many optional subjects are in the UPSC examination? Which Is The Best Optional Subject For UPSC? Which subject has the highest success rate? Candidates preparing for UPSC examinations may have this question in their minds. The UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) examination is known for its vast syllabus for UPSC prelims and mains and rigorous interview selection process. One of the difficult decisions aspiring candidates must make is choosing the right optional subject for the UPSC Main Examination. This decision holds great importance as it can impact your preparation strategy and overall performance.

In this article, we will delve into the UPSC optional subjects list, How many optional subjects are for the IAS exams, Choose the right optional subject, and Factors to consider while choosing the correct optional subject. So, whether you’re just starting your UPSC preparation or re-strategizing, this article will serve as your compass, guiding you towards the right optional subject for the UPSC Mains Examination.

How many Optional Subjects for IAS exams?

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts the Civil Services Examination (CSE), which is one of the most competitive exams in India. The CSE consists of three stages: the Preliminary Examination, the Main Examination, and the Personality Test (Interview).

In the Main Examination, candidates are required to choose two optional subjects from a list of 48 subjects. The optional subjects are divided into two categories: General Subjects and Literature Subjects.

Find out the comprehensive list of optional subjects for UPSC IAS Mains Examination here. To delve deeper into the UPSC Syllabus and gain insights into the IAS Exam, feel free to check out the linked article.

Now the number of Optional Subjects for the UPSC exam chosen by the candidate is decreased by one. However, It’s essential to note that UPSC updates the list of optional subjects. Hence, it’s always advisable to refer to the latest official notification or the UPSC official website for the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding the Option Subjects for IAS exams.

Significance of Optional Subjects in UPSC

The UPSC Mains exam covers a lot of topics, making it pretty extensive. Besides the mandatory papers, there’s a chance for candidates to pick optional subjects. These subjects let candidates showcase their skills and passion in a specific area. It’s like a chance to dive deep into something they really enjoy and use their existing knowledge and skills to shine.

Picking an optional subject that matches one’s background or strengths can boost overall performance and confidence during the UPSC exam. It’s like playing to your strengths and making the most of what you’re already good at.

UPSC Optional Subject List 2024/Optional List for UPSC

List of UPSC Optional Subjects – General Subjects

List of Optional Subjects in UPSC (Choose any one)Exam PatternOptional Subjects (Choose any one)Exam Pattern

UPSC Civil Services Optional Subjects

Agriculture

2 papers (each paper: 3 hours duration)

Philosophy

2 papers (each paper: 3 hours duration)

Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science

2 papers (each paper: 3 hours duration)

Physics

2 papers (each paper: 3 hours duration)

Anthropology

2 papers (each paper: 3 hours duration)

Political Science & International Relations

2 papers (each paper: 3 hours duration)

Botany

2 papers (each paper: 3 hours duration)

Psychology

2 papers (each paper: 3 hours duration)

Chemistry

2 papers (each paper: 3 hours duration)

Public Administration

2 papers (each paper: 3 hours duration)

Civil Engineering

2 papers (each paper: 3 hours duration)

Sociology

2 papers (each paper: 3 hours duration)

Commerce & Accountancy

2 papers (each paper: 3 hours duration)

Statistics

2 papers (each paper: 3 hours duration)

Economics

2 papers (each paper: 3 hours duration)

Zoology

2 papers (each paper: 3 hours duration)

Electrical Engineering

2 papers (each paper: 3 hours duration)

Mathematics

2 papers (each paper: 3 hours duration)

Geography

2 papers (each paper: 3 hours duration)

Mechanical Engineering

2 papers (each paper: 3 hours duration)

Geology

2 papers (each paper: 3 hours duration)

Medical Science

2 papers (each paper: 3 hours duration)

History

2 papers (each paper: 3 hours duration)

Management


2 papers (each paper:

3 hours duration)

Law

2 papers (each paper: 3 hours duration)


List of UPSC Optional Subjects – literature optional subjects in UPSC

Assamese(Literature)Oriya (Literature)

Bengali(Literature)

Punjabi (Literature)

Bodo(Literature)

Sanskrit (Literature)

Dogri(Literature)

Santhali (Literature)

Gujarati(Literature)

Sindhi (Literature)

Hindi(Literature)

Tamil (Literature)

Kannada(Literature)

Telugu (Literature)

Kashmiri(Literature)

Urdu (Literature)

Konkani(Literature)

English (Literature)

Maithili(Literature)

Marathi (Literature)

Nepali(Literature)

The Syllabus of Optional Subject in UPSC and pattern for each optional subject may vary to the choices of the person. Here is a given overview of a general giving Optional Subject Paper I

Subject- specified topics

  • The Paper I of the optional subject focuses on the subject-specific topics as per the chosen optional subject.
  • The syllabus for each optional subject is specified by the UPSC.
  • Candidates need to have an in-depth understanding of the chosen subject and its core concepts.
  • The topics covered in Paper I of the optional subject may vary depending on the subject chosen.

Specialized knowledge

  • Paper I aims to assess the candidate’s knowledge, comprehension, and analytical skills in the chosen optional subject.
  • Candidates are expected to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter and its various dimensions.

Subject-specific resources

  • Candidates should refer to the recommended books, study materials, and resources specific to their chosen optional subject.
  • It is important to cover the entire syllabus of the chosen subject and prepare thoroughly for Paper I.
  • It’s important to note down that the syllabus provided in this is basically a broad outline, and candidates are advised to go through the official website of UPSC for notification and also prepare previous year’s question papers to understand the particular topic and sub-topic that need to be covered under every section.

Understanding the UPSC Optional Subjects

The UPSC offers a wide range of optional subjects from various disciplines, allowing candidates to showcase their knowledge and expertise in a particular area. These subjects include Anthropology, Geography, History, Political Science and International Relations, Public Administration, Sociology, Economics, Philosophy, Psychology, Literature (Any Indian Language), Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Botany, Zoology, Medical Science, and Engineering Subjects (Civil, Mechanical, Electrical, etc.).

What Factors to Consider While Choosing the Best Optional Subject?

  • Interest and Aptitude: Choose a subject based on your interests, strengths, and aptitude. It should be something you genuinely enjoy studying as it will keep you motivated throughout the preparation process.
  • Background Knowledge: A background in a particular field can provide an advantage as you may already have a foundational understanding of the concepts.
  • Availability of Study Material: Availability and accessibility of quality study material can significantly impact your preparation. Ensure that adequate study material, including books, notes, and online resources, is available for the chosen optional subject.
  • Coaching and Guidance: Enrolling in a reputed coaching institute or seeking guidance from subject experts can provide valuable insights and strategies for effective preparation. Evaluate the availability of coaching institutes and expert guidance for the chosen optional subject.
  • Scoring Potential: Research and analyze the previous years’ question papers to understand the scoring pattern and trends for each optional subject. Some subjects may have a relatively higher scoring potential, which can influence your decision.
  • Overlapping Syllabus: Consider the overlap of the optional subject with the General Studies (GS) syllabus. Opting for a subject that complements the GS syllabus can help you save time and effort in preparation.
  • Time Commitment: Assess the amount of time you can dedicate to studying the chosen optional subject. Some subjects may require more time and effort due to their extensive syllabus or technical nature.

Which Is The Best Optional Subject For UPSC

Choosing the best optional subject for the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) Civil Services Examination largely depends on the individual’s interest, academic background, and understanding of the subject. However, some subjects have been popular among candidates due to their scoring nature, overlap with General Studies papers, and availability of study materials.

Based on the above factors and recent trends, here are the top 10 optional subjects chosen by most candidates in no particular order:

  1. Geography: This subject has a significant overlap with General Studies and is considered scoring. It is also a popular choice among candidates from all backgrounds.
  2. Public Administration: This subject is popular due to its relevance to the civil services and overlap with General Studies.
  3. Sociology: This subject is considered scoring and has a significant overlap with General Studies.
  4. Political Science and International Relations: This subject is popular due to its relevance to the civil services and overlap with General Studies.
  5. History: This subject is popular due to its overlap with General Studies and the interest of many candidates in the subject.
  6. Anthropology: This subject is considered scoring and is popular among candidates from science backgrounds.
  7. Philosophy: This subject is considered scoring and is popular due to its relatively shorter syllabus.
  8. Economics: This subject is popular among candidates with a background in the subject. It also has some overlap with General Studies.
  9. Psychology: This subject is considered scoring and is popular due to its relevance to the civil services.
  10. Mathematics: This subject is popular among candidates with a strong background in the subject. It is considered scoring but has a vast syllabus.

Remember, the “best” subject varies from person to person. It’s crucial to choose a subject that you are comfortable with and confident in your ability to understand and recall the material.

Success Rate Of Candidates With UPSC Optional Subjects

Success Rate of Candidates with General Optional Subjects

SubjectNo. of Candidates AppearedNo. of Candidates SelectedSuccess Rate (%)
Accounting1,908331.74
Ancient History649121.83
Anthropology1,1891089.1
Botany2827.1
Chemistry156138.3
Economics2432610.7
Geography19161055.5
Geology3000
History751516.8
Law1861910.2
Mathematics539458.3
Philosophy439276.2
Physics165127.3
Political Science & International Relations16621378.2
Public Administration705588.2
Sociology126312610.0

List of literature optional subjects in UPSC

UPSC candidates can choose a Syllabus of Literature Optional Subject in UPSC as their optional for the UPSC Mains, even if they didn’t study that language during their graduation. The optional subject consists of two papers, each carrying 250 marks. It’s worth noting that the languages specified are those listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution.

List of Literature Optional SubjectsNo. of Candidates AppearedNo. of Candidates SelectedSuccess Rate (%)
Arabic10110
Assamese300
Bengali100
English3139.7
Gujarati8533.5
Hindi267197.1
Kannada11543.5
Malayalam11187.2
Marathi1700
Pali400
Persian600
Punjabi39615.4
Sanskrit7057.1
Tamil10754.7
Telugu7211.4
Urdu26519.2

Key Points About UPSC Mains Optional Subjects

How many optional subjects are there in IAS Mains 2024?

In IAS Mains, candidates are required to choose one optional subject, which consists of two papers.

What are the optional subjects available for IAS Mains 2024?

There are 26 optional subjects available, including Agriculture, Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science, Anthropology, Botany, Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Commerce & Accountancy, Economics, Electrical Engineering, Geography, Geology, History, Law, Management, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Medical Science, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science & International Relations, Psychology, Public Administration, Sociology, Statistics, Zoology, and Literature of any one of the languages listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.

Which optional subject has the highest success rate in IAS Mains?

The success rate of optional subjects varies each year. Candidates should choose subjects based on their interest, academic background, and availability of study material and guidance.

Can I choose my graduation subject as an optional in IAS Mains 2024?

Yes, candidates often choose their graduation subject as their optional as it gives them an edge due to their familiarity with the subject.

Are there any changes in the optional subjects list for IAS Mains 2024?

As of now, there are no announced changes in the list of optional subjects for IAS Mains 2024. Candidates should check the official UPSC notification for the most accurate information.

How should I choose my optional subject for IAS Mains 2024?

Choose based on interest, academic background, overlap with General Studies, availability of coaching and study material, and previous years’ question paper analysis.

Is it mandatory to choose an optional subject in IAS Mains 2024?

Yes, choosing an optional subject is mandatory in IAS Mains, and it plays a crucial role in the overall score of the candidate.

Can I change my optional subject in the next attempt of IAS Mains?

Yes, candidates are allowed to change their optional subject in subsequent attempts.

How many Optional Subjects in UPSC?

There are 48 subjects in the UPSC optional subject list, and candidates need to pick one. The choice of an optional subject depends on individual interests and abilities. Some popular UPSC optional subjects are:

  1. History: Dives deep into India’s cultural heritage, world history, and socio-political developments.
  2. Geography: Covers physical, human, and environmental geography, offering insights into Earth’s diverse landscapes and the impact of human activities.
  3. Public Administration: Focuses on how public institutions function, administrative theories, and governance mechanisms.
  4. Political Science and International Relations: Explores political ideologies, international relations, global issues, and the dynamics of governance.
  5. Sociology: Examines social structures, institutions, and the dynamics of social change and interaction.

Conclusion

Consider your interests, background knowledge, availability of study material, coaching and guidance, scoring potential, syllabus overlap, and time commitment before making a decision. Choosing the right optional subject for the UPSC Main Examination is a crucial step toward success. Read out the tips and tricks mentioned above before making a decision.

More UPSC Preparation Articles

FAQs on UPSC Mains Optional Subjects

How many optional subjects can I choose for the UPSC exam?

From the recent information, candidates are required to choose any one optional subject as a choice for the UPSC Civil Services Examination.

Is it beneficial to choose the same optional subject as my graduate degree?

It will provide you the advantage to choose a subject that is related to your graduation, as you may already know about the subject well and understand its fundamental concepts. So, it will ease your learning.

Are some optional subjects considered more scoring than others?

There is no definitive answer regarding the scoring potential of different subjects. Scoring in the UPSC exam depends on various factors such as your preparation, understanding of the subject, and answer presentation.

Can I change my optional subject after submitting my application?

No, you cannot change your optional subject. once you have submitted your application.

What are the 26 Optional Subjects in UPSC?

The UPSC offers a diverse range of 26 optional subjects for aspirants. These subjects include Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science, Anthropology, Botany, Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Commerce and Accountancy, Economics, Electrical Engineering, Geography, Geology, History, Law, Management, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Medical Science, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science and International Relations, Psychology, Public Administration, Sociology, Statistics, Zoology, and Literature in various languages. Choose the subject that aligns with your interests and strengths to enhance your preparation for the UPSC examination.

How many optional subjects for IAS?

In the updated IAS exam pattern, candidates now choose one optional subject for the Mains exam, down from the previous two. General Studies papers contribute 1000 marks, while each Optional Paper is worth 250 marks. Hence, careful consideration of the pros and cons is crucial before finalizing an optional subject for IAS Mains.

How to choose the right optional subject for the UPSC IAS Mains exam?

Aspirants often struggle with choosing the right optional subject for the IAS exam. They typically consider several criteria when making this decision:

  • Opting for a scoring subject
  • Choosing a popular subject
  • Selecting a subject that is easy to understand or personally interesting
  • Ensuring availability of comprehensive study materials
  • Picking a subject with excellent coaching options
  • Selecting a subject related to their academic background
  • Considering subjects with a track record of success among IAS mains exam candidates


Last Updated : 30 Jan, 2024
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