Jagran Josh Logo
  1. Home
  2. |  
  3. Civil Services|  

How to choose right Optional Subject for IAS Main Exam?

Jul 2, 2018 12:02 IST
  • Read in hindi
IAS Exam 2018: How to choose right Optional for Main Exam?
IAS Exam 2018: How to choose right Optional for Main Exam?

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has released the notification for the Civil Services Examination 2018. As in the last few years, the Main written exam will consist of one optional subject along with four general studies papers and one essay paper.

For many, the selection of optional subject for the Main written exam is difficult. Though the weightage for the optional paper is only 500 marks out of the total 2025 marks (i.e. 25% of total marks) allocated for the Main, it plays a deciding role in the final selection due to the unpredictability associated with the essay and general studies papers and the personality test.

For the benefit of IAS aspirants, who are going to appear for the Civil Services Examination 2018, Jagran Josh is providing a useful checklist that helps in choosing the right optional subject. It is given below.

IAS Topper Ranks 3 Jasmeet Singh Sandhu Prelims Video

Academic background

Academic background plays an important role in optional selection. By taking the same optional subject that you have studied in your under graduation or post graduation, you can save a lot of time and energy. Since, the questions asked in the Main examination are of the honours level, it eliminates the necessity for coaching. If you are not comfortable with your academic subjects, it is advisable to choose an optional on the basis of your interest areas.

Economic Survey 2017-18 Analysis: Climate, Climate Change, and Agriculture Part 1

Interest areas

The next best method to choose the right optional is on the basis of your interest areas. Despite having mathematics or general science background, we find many people are inclined towards subjects offered in humanities such as psychology, literature, history, political science, etc. By choosing the subjects of your interest, you can complete the studies at a faster pace.

However, aspirants should not choose the optional for Main exam solely on the basis of the academic background or interest areas. The other important factors to be considered for choosing the right optional subject are given below.

Most scoring

Majority of the candidates deny the role of ‘scaling factor’ in the allocation of marks in the Main exam. However, we often hear that the candidates with a particular optional subject getting marks in double digits despite  performing well in a exam. Some may attribute this to high standard of question papers in a particular year. However, aspirants don’t have the privilege to experiment with those optional subjects that are not performing of late. So, aspirants are advised to choose those optionals with which many candidates cleared the exam in recent years.

The distribution of successful candidates across different optional subjects for the CSE 2014 and 2015. The data is taken from the annual reports of the UPSC. Those optionals that are choosen by more than 200 candidates are taken for the consideration.

S.No.

Optional Subject

 Success Rate (Percent)

2014

2013

1.

Law

17.0%

 

2.

Medical Science

19.9%

16.4%

3.

Psychology

15.8%

9.8%

4.

Economics

12.1%

 

5.

Anthropology

11.0%

11.8%

6.

Sociology

10.6%

9.1%

7.

Commerce &Accountancy

10.3%

7.5%

8.

Mathematics

10.0%

6.1%

9.

Geography

7.3%

5.6%

10.

Philosophy

7.0%

7.9%

11.

History

6.5%

7.7%

12.

Political Science & International Relations

6.3%

6.1%

13.

Literature of Hindi Language

5.4%

4.2%

14.

Public Administration

5.3%

6.2%

The distribution of appeared and recommended candidates in CSE 2013 and CSE 2014 among various optional is give in the below table. Those optionals that are choosen by more than 200 candidates are taken for the consideration.

Optional Subject

                  CSE 2014

               CSE 2013

Appeared

Recommended

Appeared

Recommended

Law

235

40

144

35

Medical Science

356

71

293

48

Psychology

373

59

348

34

Economics

214

26

188

38

Anthropology

619

68

449

53

Sociology

1819

193

1647

150

Commerce & Accountancy

214

22

200

15

Mathematics

351

35

329

20

Geography

3515

255

3158

178

Philosophy

908

64

736

58

History

1560

102

1303

100

Political Science & International Relations

907

57

651

40

Literature of Hindi Language

407

22

284

12

Public Administration

2852

151

2840

176

Availability of guidance

Even if an optional is of your interest and also performing well in recent years, you should not check the availability of guidance before arriving at the final decision. Availability of study material and access to selected candidates with same optional and affordability of coaching should be taken into consideration before choosing the optional. Remember, preparation can’t be done in isolation and one must have a supporting environment to sail through the exam successfully.

Conclusion

By taking the above mentioned into consideration, you should shortlist at least 2-3 optional subjects that are most suitable for you. Before shortlisting, one should analyse the syllabus and the question papers of the previous years. With this, you can understand the standard of the questions asked in the exam and the extent of the syllabus.

In the next step, write pro’s and con’s for each and every optional, and finally choose the right optional for you.

Best wishes from Jagran Josh!

IAS Preparation: Questions for Prelims 29 January to 2 February 2018

Civil Services Exam Preparation 2018: Best Books suggested by IAS Toppers

Latest Videos

Register to get FREE updates

    All Fields Mandatory
  • (Ex:9123456789)
  • Please Select Your Interest
  • Please specify

  • By clicking on Submit button, you agree to our terms of use
    ajax-loader
  • A verifcation code has been sent to
    your mobile number

    Please enter the verification code below

Newsletter Signup
Follow us on
X

Register to view Complete PDF