How to choose optional for UPSC in 2021 {Best and new tips}

Choice of optional is a crucial decision while your UPSC preparation. It is an deciding factor in the selection of yours in the civil service exam.

Today in this article I will provide you tips on How to choose optional for UPSC. Read this article till last to don’t miss any important tips.

How to choose optional for UPSC

Factors related while How to choose optional for UPSC preparation

The choice of optional subject depends upon the various factors such as –

  • Availability of study material
  • Your interest and confidence in that subject.
  • The scoring pattern in that subject.
  • Guidance
  • The subject in your graduation/post-graduation.
  • Coaching availability.

Six tips to consider while choosing optional for UPSC

(1) Make sure that you are not guided by others. while deciding the optional you should make sure that you are naturally inclined towards the subject.

Since you are going to study that subject for a year and this subject will be a deciding factor in your UPSC civil service examination, choosing the optional should be completely your own decision rather than taking suggestions from person to person.

(2) Analyze the past year questions and syllabus of your optional subject. Read all the questions from previous years and ask yourself can you able to score 300-325 marks in that subject? If your answer is yes then you can opt that optional.

(3) Don’t change the optional in between. Some candidates change their optional after an unsucessful attempt. Take your time while deciding your optional subject. After deciding stick to your optional honestly.

ALSO READ | How to crack UPSC in first attempt without coaching in 2021

(4) Make sure you are getting optimum guidance for your optional subjects like there must be available of plenty resources like coaching, notes, study materials, etc.

(5) You can also choose your graduation or post-graduation subjects. It totally depends upon you and this step is not mandatory as you must be aware of the importance of optional subject in UPSC. As it is seen that many professionals like doctors or engineers don’t choose their own subject optional and go for another optional subject.

(6) If your optional subject overlap with your GS paper then it is good, it can save your time and energy. For example. Subjects like Geography, History. But this step is also not mandatory. Choose your optional subject according to your area of intrest.

How to choose optional for UPSC [ step by step ]

(1) First decide whether you want to opt a technical or graduation subject for your optional.

If you are choosing your graduation subject then there is no problem in it and if you are confused with other subjects which one to choose then follow the next step.

(2) Read all the relevant NCERT and find out your interest and inclination towards which subject. So that you can narrow down your choices.

(3) Now analyze syllabus and previous year questions thoroughly before deciding optional.

(4) Now regarding strategy, plan, booklist go to google type toppers strategy with XYZ optional, you will get n number of results. Analyze them thoroughly and choose your optional wisely.


(1) Which optional has shortest syllabus?

ANS-  Philosophy has the shortest syllabus out of all the optional subjects for the IAS mains examination which explains its popularity among the UPSC aspirants.

(2) Which optional Subjects are most scoring in UPSC exam?

ANS- According to previous years’ results, these are the subjects in which candidates are scoring good marks-

  1. Political Science & International Relations.
  2. Sociology.
  3. Public Administration.
  4. Philosophy.
  5. Geography
  6. Agriculture

(3) How to choose optional for UPSC exam easily?

ANS- If you have read this article till now you must have got the answer to this question.

(4) Will history will be a good optional for UPSC?

ANS- History is a popular optional subject chosen by candidates in the IAS mains exam. It is a very important subject in the UPSC scheme of things because history is included in the IAS prelims exam and in the IAS mains general studies papers as well.

So that’s it. Hope you have liked this article on “How to choose optional subject for upsc mains

If I have missed anything regarding this article tell me in the comment section below.  

And don’t forget to share this article with your fellow UPSC aspirant’s friends and also on various social media.  

If you have any queries related to UPSC exam preparation feel free to ask me on Instagram.

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