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
UPSC pattern and scheme for each paper and subject

No.

Paper

Subject

Marks

1

Paper A

Indian Language (Qualifying)

300

2

Paper B

English (Qualifying)

300

3

Paper I

Essay

250

4

Paper II

General Studies – I

250

5

Paper III

General Studies – II

250

6

Paper IV

General Studies – III

250

7

Paper V

General Studies – IV

250

8

Paper VI

Optional Subject Paper 1

250

9

Paper VII

Optional Subject Paper 2

250

Total

1750

Interview (Personality Test)

275

Grand Total

2025

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 subject and corresponding probable candidates

Optional Subject

Probable Number of Candidates select subject

Geography

Around 3000

History

Around 3000

Sociology

Around 3000

Public Administration

Around 3000

Philosophy + Psychology + Political Science + Economics

<2000

All other science/art subjects(in total)

<1000

All literature subjects(in total)

<1000

Total

Around 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.

Sail through IAS Mains and Prelims: Fully-explained Prelims (Both GS & Aptitude) problems with detailed solutions. Notes & detailed answers for Mains GS, Essay, Complulsory (Hindi and English) papers and optionals.