Deciding Optional for UPSC IAS Mains-Marking Scheme and Optional Popularity

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Most appropriate IAS Mains Optional needs to be selected before beginning preparation. All optional subjects are high scoring if you have knowledge in the subject and if you can answer the questions in an analytical frame in UPSC exam.

UPSC Mains Pattern and Marking Scheme

UPSC Pattern and Scheme
No.PaperSubjectMarks
1Paper AIndian Language (Qualifying)300
2Paper BEnglish (Qualifying)300
3Paper IEssay250
4Paper IIGeneral Studies – I250
5Paper IIIGeneral Studies – II250
6Paper IVGeneral Studies – III250
7Paper VGeneral Studies – IV250
8Paper VIOptional Subject Paper 1250
9Paper VIIOptional Subject Paper 2250
Total1750
Interview (Personality Test)275
Grand Total2025

Popularity of Some Optional Subjects

Certain optional subjects are very popular in IAS exam preparation. Below table gives an average estimation for the coming years based on past year trends of optional subjects.

Optional Subject and Probable Candidates
Optional SubjectProbable Number of Candidates select subject
GeographyAround 3000
HistoryAround 3000
SociologyAround 3000
Public AdministrationAround 3000
Philosophy + Psychology + Political Science + Economics< 2000
All other science/art subjects (in total)< 1000
All literature subjects (in total)< 1000
TotalAround 15,000

Choosing the Correct IAS Mains Optional

  • First go through the list of all the Optional Subject and invest a maximum time in reading and understanding the syllabus.
  • Select more interest subject and in which you scored the most.
  • Make a list of 4 to 5 interested subjects.
  • Go through the previous year question papers (at least 3 years) of the shortlisted Subjects.
  • Analyze the syllabus and consider over the fact that whether it will keep you interested throughout your preparation. it՚s very important.
  • For some subjects it is difficult to get standard books and coaching may not be available.
  • Non -technical subjects can be prepared by doing self-study provided you regularly practice writing.
  • Consider the above points and now, you have to choosing the subject best suited for you.

Things to Avoid While Choosing an Optional

  • My friends and family have suggested it.
  • Most students choose for it.
  • it՚s a popular IAS Mains optional subject.
  • Topper choose this subject last year.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)