How to choose optional for mains
The most challenging part about UPSC is to choose optional. If aspirants go with the right one, it will result in icing on the cake but if it goes wrong, entire preparation hampered. So deciding optional is a crucial part of the preparation. Many of candidates trouble, even already attempted aspirants think once before going with the optional. So, before choosing it, make sure you understand that subject.
With the exam pattern changed in 2013, now a candidate has to choose only one optional subject for mains: two papers= each 250 marks. Also, UPSC has eliminated specific subjects in preliminary. Yet, it is advised to choose the optional subject for mains well ahead of time, so that you will get sufficient time to acquire knowledge in it.
Tips to choose an optional subject
• Role of Optional Subject in General Studies syllabus:
Start preparing for GS and then decides to choose optional. You will get to know about various optional subjects after studying GS.
This will aid you to determine your inclination to a specific subject. Every subject has its own demand (i.e. thinking pattern, writing style, presentation techniques etc).
• Interest and academic background:
Grasp your interest in a subject by exploring NCERT’s (Class 11th and 12th preferably), and find your interest in subjects.
• Analysis of the optional subject previous paper:
Analyse the syllabus and previous years’ question papers of the shortlisted subjects.
• Writing style and presentation techniques:
It is suitable for a particular option which you choose.
• Coaching available in the subject:
Check the best coaching classes available for your convenience is available or not. It will guide you in a particular subject.
• Time Management:
A candidate should decide on how much of time he/she would be able to spend on studying an Optional Subject.
• For professionals:
If you are professionals and have been working, you may have lost touch with your core subjects. In such a case, it is advisable to take a new subject which is easy to comprehend.
• Try to avoid rush:
Decide a subject that has the least rush, there are opportunities for scoring good marks is more.
• Acquire knowledge from toppers of your subject:
Grab some directions of the toppers on the subjects they had taken as optional for mains.
What does the best optional mean to the IAS candidates?
General thoughts behind choosing the subject:
© Most popular
© Easy to understand and interesting
© Choose subjects which notes and study materials are easily available
© Optional for which best coaching is available
© The subject of graduation or post-graduation.
What makes an Optional a scoring subject?
Most aspirants choose optional due to its scoring nature like:
– Public Administration.
When we see the scores of these subjects of previous years, we find scores 400+ in geography, while in Public Administration, it is found 340+-350+.
It depends on how the candidate performs! Now, you may think that just based on scoring criteria, one can choose the optional subject for the Mains exam.
Most popular subjects
The most popular as well as scoring and interesting subject, easy to grasp for science students. They can easily memorize diagrams, importance to tribal issues and relate topics to current affairs.
@ Public Administration:
It has a definite syllabus and quite limited, especially for Paper-II and one can cover it within 5 months or so, it requires limited coaching and most syllabus involves self-study.
Have definite syllabus and candidates with this optional need to concentrate on conceptual questions with deep analysis. Students should also be aware of current affairs as well as an expert in India and World Maps. It is a semi-scientific subject and a preferred among Science aspirants.
It is quite popular among aspirants. Also, as an interesting subject along with scoring. History needs more understanding and interpretation as its questions asked in the exam are factual.
Easy to understand and interesting as topics covered concern humanity and society. It requires the ability to distinguish between abstract theories and concepts.