Most Popular Optionals in IAS Exam

Following is the Summary from the annual reports published by UPSC. The figures mentioned below are for the year 2008 and 2009 Mains and for reference purpose only.


Year 2008

Year 2009

Hindi Litt.

Candidates 954

Candidates 925

Pali Litt.

Candidates 249

Candidates 306

Tamil Litt.

Candidates 224

Candidates 195


Candidates 4003

Candidates 3901


Candidates 3823

Candidates 3822


Candidates 2048

Candidates 2025

Pol. Science

Candidates 1306

Candidates 1314


Candidates 1058

Candidates 1017

Pub. Admn.

Candidates 3165

Candidates 3779


Candidates 1527

Candidates 1581


Candidates 478

Candidates 428

As we talk about Hindi Literature, it was being chosen by more than 900 candidates in the year 2008 as well as 2009 which is not a matter of concern at all because large number of candidates from the Hindi-speaking states have given the IAS exam.

Pali is very popular owing to its limited syllabus and coaching options available. No matter its popularity is on the upswing with every Mains. Likewise Tamil Literature is opted by candidates from Tamil Nadu.

Amongst the conventional subjects, Geography is very preferred optional among IAS aspirants followed by History, Public Administration and Philosophy. While History and Pub Ad are popular choices among many aspirants, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Philosophy was opted by higher number of candidates than even Sociology and Psychology.

You can notice a huge jump in Pub Ad's popularity and by the time figures for the year 2010 and 2011 Mains.