GuidanceHow To PrepareThings to Keep in Mind While Choosing Optional Paper...

Things to Keep in Mind While Choosing Optional Paper for IAS Exam


Every year lakhs of aspirants appear for the prestigious Civil Services Examination which is conducted by UPSC Board and there are three stages, 1st one is Prelims, 2nd one is Mains and finally the Interview. Earlier there used to be 2 optional subjects, but now as per the latest syllabus you have to deal with only one. Selecting optional paper for IAS Exam is most important part but aspirants are still confused if they are making right choice or not.

The decision of selecting optional paper for IAS Exam is very crucial. If you are so strong in all your GS papers with consistent newspaper reading and note making habits, the decision of IAS Mains optional might not play a big difference in your results.

Here are some practical tips which will help you to decide optional paper for IAS Exam:

Familiarity with the subject

You need select an optional paper for IAS Exam in which you are comfortable to score high. The level of comfortness depends on many factors like – familiarity of the subject, availability of faculty, scope of peer discussion, recent trends of marks, and previous question papers etc. If the subject you took for graduation is available in the list of subjects given, in most cases the same option will turn out as a comfortable option. You may choose a subject, which you have already studied in school or college, as it will be easier for you to complete and score good marks.

Also Read: How to Write Essay for IAS Exam?

Liking for the Subject

Optional paper for IAS Exam are those which you have to study for couple of years during your preparation for this exam. So, if you don’t like the optional subjects, or if you have selected the subject only for scoring purpose, you won’t be comfortable in studying them. It should be based on your liking for the subject as the interest in the subject has to be carried till the time you clear the exam.

Familiarity with the syllabus

First before choosing the subject you have to see the entire syllabus of the all the optional subjects as there are many optional subjects given by the Civil Services Examination. Although you have already studied the subject in school or college, but it is also necessary to consider the syllabus, as state universities syllabus are totally different from national universities, and UPSC syllabus are based on national universities’ s syllabus. So when you select the optional subject, Be Clear & Go Through the Syllabus.

Easy Availability of Books and Materials

If you are considering a subject, which is easily not available in the market than you have to work harder for preparing the content. The advantages of available books and materials are that, it is prepared by expert and they have already invested their mind and time into it, so with that accumulated work you can easily finish your syllabus.

Must Read: How to Prepare General Studies for Preliminary Exam?

Dedicated friends’ study circle

Its advantageous to have group of people doing with same optional subject, not only it will make learning better but also reduce preparation time.

Overlap and utility in GS and Essay

Selecting optional paper for IAS Exam is covering the subject of GS and also helpful for essay than its a bumper choice, as it will improve you writing and essay skill simultaneously.

Conceptual subject

The benefit of conceptual subject is that, they are scoring, scientific and are not superfluous in nature. Even with decent preparation you can score better marks.

Contemporary nature

With the increase of current affairs portion in examination, it has become compulsory to integrate current and static topics of subjects, if your optional is like that, than some how it will prove advantageous for you.

Don’t care marks trends

Lastly don’t go with mark trends, it might have proved advantageous for some aspirants, but you have to do justice with your likes and preferences. Now a days questions are conceptual not factual and concept can be developed only with dedication in subject. So always choose a subject upon which you can invest your 100% dedication.

Writing Practice

Writing practice is very important and it is “Recommended” in Civil Services examination, because even if you know lot about the subject and if you are not able to complete the paper, it is not going to work. So, instead of reading more actually you have to Write & Practice more, and this is the Key of Success in Mains Examination. By writing more you improve your language, you learn time management and you also improve you handwriting if your handwriting is not good.

Don’t Miss: How to Improve your Reading Speed?

Articles are written and edited by the Syskool Staffs.


  1. Sir,which is the best subject to choose for scoring good marks?i am BE CIVIL graduate but i find it difficult to opt for that.pls suggest.

    • Civil Engineering Optional is in the list of Optional in Ias Exam but if you not comfortable then you can choose Geology or Geography. Because Geology is one of the subject in Civil Engineering. Geography is very much related to Science Subject.
      But most important is that everything is depending upon your interest and comfortablity…..

      • Sir, I am from a electrical engg. Background . I feel uncomfortable with it as optional subject , can i opt public administration as a opt. Subject

        • I Am a btech electrical graduate, I am in confusion, to opt an optional, I will take any optional u suggest, just I need less time for preparing that optional n it should not be difficult to understand please reply faster…

  2. Hello sir i studied m com i have to one dream i achieving IAS so which optional subject useful to me

    • Hi Chandra

      What was your major subject in Graduation? You may choose any of subject from the list provided by UPSC as per your desire, however before reaching the final decision make yourself familiar with the syllabus of these subjects. Public Administration, Geography, History, Sociology are some of the most opted subjects.

      • Hi sir, I am David Harry Johnson . Appearing for final sem examination in B.Com. what should be the good choice for optional in between commerce and accountancy & economics. While I had been so weak for accounts ! Suggest me plz

  3. Sir i m recently complete my grad. Now i m prep. For upsc so plz give sm tips to crack exam.also recmended books.

  4. Is political science a good option for optional subject.We all know that it’s very common and less scoring,will it work?

  5. I am an IES aspirant. I am preparing for mechanical engineering so I was thinking of carrying on with the same as my optional. But I to know more about the other papers and the exact syllabi of exam.

    • Sir…my graduation sbct was commerce so can u pls tell me wch sub is better fo me choosing optn…???

  6. Sir, I have a cleared my engineering in the stream of mechanical. I am confused to opt subject. Please suggest a subject that would be helpful to crack the exam.

  7. Sir i am 11std and want to become an ias officer sir i had taken commerce stream please tell me which subject should i study at this points of stage.

  8. I am student of nursing final year.. I am confused about opt suject… Can I select psychology & history???

  9. sir iam complited my graduation. iam studied BCA. i would like to preparing for civiservice examination. sir as your opinion which subject is more sutable for me?

  10. sir , mai is sal first time form fill krne jaa rha hu and I’m a general candidate so I have only 6 attempts and I’m 22 yrs old .so agar c-sat me continuous attempt count hote h ya jb dalo TBI count hoge

  11. Hello sir i am btech final year and want to prepare for this test can u tell me the subjects and list of subjects for preparing of test

  12. being mechanical which paper i should select so that i will score maximum marks

  13. Sir , i have completed my education till 12th from science background and now i want to do BA as i want to prepare for IAS further . So i am confused a lot in subjects as i dont have any knowledge about art subjects , so please suggest me subject that i could take in BA as well as i can go further with them for IAS prepration.

  14. Sir I’m computer science back ground and now confused about optional subject….so plss help me..

  15. hai sir
    i was complate MA Economics , now i want to go for civil s , please give me which subject is better to choose and how to prepare for get sucess .
    thanks & regards

  16. Sir I am hotel management graduate, what should be main subject as well as optional subject for me plz suggest me.

  17. i have an query in fill the ias pre form i am not able to choose correct subject request you to please suggest me i am an mba student i have read management but i did not want to choose management in ias because of its very lenghty i want to ho for public admin or sociology pls suggst me which one i choose lv to c ur reply

  18. Sir main electrical se kar raha hu but muje technical sahi nahi hai to muje kis tar se preparation karni chaiye

  19. Hi,
    I am Currently Pursuing BE in Electronics.
    But I had confusion in choosing the elective subject for the preparation …Can u suggest me?

  20. Sir … Last two times mene exam form fill kiya he but there was some problem our mai exam (pre) ni de paya…..can you tell me sir is sal form fill krte time No. Of attempts option me 0 (zero) fill kru ya 3 …..
    Sir also suggest me ki optional subject History is one of them good or not…?
    Sir abi mene PG (M.Sc.) complete kr liya he … Mathematics se so please tell me optional subject……..

    Roshan Kumar

  21. excellent…..sir one humble request, for an engineering background candidate which subject will best for optional.?

  22. Sir i have just completed my graduation in field of fire and safety . And i am not able to choose my optional subject can you help me out

  23. sir,i m an aeronautical engineering student ,i was selecting a agriculture as a optional subject. my father is a my question is i choosed agriculture it gd choice for me?

  24. sir i am in frist year in of my engineering nd i have mechnical branch .
    should i should go with mechnical engg. as optional subject .

  25. Dear Sir, I had Chemistry as Major subject in my graduation but for preparation of IAS mains, I m not comfortable with this subject. so plz suggest me an optional subject related to this.plz sir.

  26. Sir i am btech in electrical and electronics .and i find tough subject. in btech then suggest best subject to score good marks in upsc

  27. Hello sir I am bsc graduate with botany hons but I feel in comfortable to write this long question …so plz suggest me what optional subject should I take

  28. Hello sir I am bsc graduate with botany hons but I feel un comfortable to write this long question …so plz suggest me what optional subject should I take

  29. Dear sir,
    I did my graduation from yoga and therapy and now m preparing for civil services. M thinking to choose geograpy as my optional subject but i have not studied it after 10th. So pls suggest me as it will b good for me or not?

  30. sir i am studying in and i just wanna to choose physics as optional paper plsss….. tell me what is the medium hindi or english

  31. hello sir I,,, I am holding grad degree in agricultural science , would it b an option good enough for choice????
    also please tell under conditions of Availability of study material for upsc

  32. Sir I’ve done my graduation last year in Food technology. so can you please suggest me which subjects I should opt for and how to prepare for the exam.

  33. How is agriculture as an optional subject even if i had not taken it in my graduation but i am very much comfortable with the subject???

  34. Dear Sir, I had Chemistry as Major subject in my graduation but for preparation of IAS mains, I m not comfortable with this subject. so plz suggest me an optional subject related to scor good marks. plz sir.

  35. Being a MBA
    Is Management as a optional subject is good choice or go with other.
    Kindly guide sir.

  36. Sir i complete engg diploma ec branch and graduate with history , political,geography which subject best to expressed in main exam of upsc and i get higher score in history during graduation

  37. Sir,which is the best subject to choose for scoring good marks?
    I am graduated with bachelor of pharmacy..

    sir…plz suggest. .
    optional subject

  38. dear sir,
    I am graduate in geography & psychology but I found it uninteresting for me….
    now I am to start preparation for civil services…..
    what would be my first step
    which subject is more useful for mains for me as I am a country area’s student….
    please reply me …..
    I will hopeful for your replying. ….

  39. Sir
    I m done with Bsc in nautical science but but I m fond of reading newspapers and watching news channels. Can u please assist me in choosing the perfect Subject

  40. Mam/sir I m a Agriculture student which subject I have to choose as optional subject…
    Reply me plz I m waiting……

  41. Sir ,i hv completed my MBBS. In march 16,now m doing my internship…. i want to prepare for upsc….please guide me to select my optional subject….n how to prepare for upsc exam…

  42. Hello Sir ,I am Bcom graduate but I am not interested to take any commerce subject ,so choosing Political science and International relation is good for me or not ?Even I am interested in this

  43. hello sir m continue pg in psychology . Psychology is better optional paper for ias or not ? M only one dream to become a ias plz sir suggest me ?????

  44. Hello sir i m graduated with math n chemistry which subject i have to choose as optional subject. Pls rply sir

  45. sir, i have done ( commerce with computers) and masters in human resource management
    will you please suggest me for optional subjects.

  46. Sir, i am a commerce background student and which subject will be the best for mains exam as an optional?

  47. Hello sir am from electronics n communication background plz help which subject I need to choose as optional

  48. Thanks sir. I have choose the opt subject sociology. Pl tell me or guide and provide notes, text book for preparing of opt subject.

  49. i have studied plant biotechnology in my PG can I go for botany as an optional as I am much familiar with the subject

  50. Hello sir.
    I am in 12 th standard and I have taken arts stream my aim is to become an ias can u plz tell me the steps.thank u

  51. Sir I am 1st year b. Sc chemistry honour student pls suggest me which subject i should choose for optional paper

  52. sir im electrical engineering graduated student. sir I want to know that is electrical engineering as optional subject for mains is scoring or not. if not then please suggest me some subject that is scoring and easy to understand.

  53. U r doing great job sir ..
    U hv mad a platform for all the upsc aspirants who can clear their doubt.
    This site is realy vry helpful..
    Thnku so much sir for contributing ur time for us.

  54. Hello Sir, I am a law Graduate… Can u suggest me a subject for optional paper? is it suggestible to choose law as an optional??

  55. Hallo sir,
    I completed B.E. from electonics n communication engg. Write now i sm teaching maths and physics.
    Please suggest me which opt. subject i should prefer. My basic field of intrest is science but in science particular i am intrested in physics. Can i select this subject. Thank you

  56. Sir
    I am Kulvinder singh from kanpur and i m take Punjabi as optional subject. It is better for me or not.

  57. Sir..i am pursuing graduation…i am very impatient about doing upsc… I have immense retention to crack upsc.. So Which books should I read to start preparation..

  58. I am computer science post graduate person. plz tell me which subject is good for me. As we know CS is not in a Civil Services Exam

  59. Sir I am a BDS graduate which subject should I choose I don’t want to take medical science can u guide me please sir

  60. Sir, m graduate and persuing MBA in finance, and my intrest for optional subject is geography, will it be helpful for me being an IFS(foreign) or IAS.

  61. I have a master degree in Bengali from a top state university. should I take it as optional?? I am comfortable with it. but will it be number catching in upsc exam??

  62. I hv been preparing since past 3 months but couldn’t start my optional preparation as I am still unable to carve out the suitable optional paper for me .
    I am PG in physics with Hons. In Physics( undergraduate) but after seeing the previous Yr question trend of Physics I feel Taking Maths as optional would be a better choice as it has comparatively less of theory .as in physics and also the topics in maths seems relatively easier to me .
    But having all my qualifications in physics and still going for a different subject , would it be right decision or not I don’t know .
    Also as I hv not started my preparation I am not sure whether I will be able to carry maths till last or not .
    I am In a Huge Ambiguity regarding this .
    Kindly guide !!

  63. Sir, Can I choose Mathematics as an optional subject. Are there chances of good scoring. Its because I have a keen interest in mathematics.

  64. Sir I am a class 12th student.Iam interested in physics & wish to pursue physics for higher studies.I wish to take the preparations for civil service seriously.I would like to know whether pursueing physics would help to crack the civil service.

Comments are closed.

Latest news

China’s Three Child Policy

After China’s census data showed population growth slipping to its slowest rate since the 1950s, China has announced that...

Rare Colour Video of 1947 – Indian Independence

This rare documentary having original video clips from 1947. These rare videos and narrations of Indian Independence were taken...

Hockey’s Jadoogar – Dhyan Chand

Dhyan Chand popularly known as hockey's jadoogar. Dhyan Chand was born on 29th August, 1905 at Allahabad. His father...

Harmful Effects of Eutrophication

Eutrophication is one of the several ecological problems visible on the surface of water bodies. Eutrophication is characterized by...

Start a fresh after a failed attempt in Civil Services

The true measure of success is how many times you can bounce back from failures. Failure is a teacher and...

Must read

China’s Three Child Policy

After China’s census data showed population growth slipping to...

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you