Optional Subjects in IAS Exam

How Many Optional Subjects Are There in IAS Exam? 

Choosing an optional subject in UPSC CSE Exam is not that easy. It is a very crucial decision that can play an important role in determining your success or failure in the UPSC exams. The pattern of the Mains exam is so designed that candidates have the choice to pick optional subjects. 

IAS is the most authoritative designation among all other public services. Those who are planning to appear for the UPSC exams or have already appeared must be knowing that this exam consists of 3 stages. 

Before you decide the optional subject for IAS study the syllabus, go through previous year papers and find out the success rate of each of those optional subjects.

How Many Optional Subjects do you have to Choose?

We have already mentioned that in the second ie Mains stage of the UPSC exam, candidates are provided with the choice to select one optional subject out of the options available. For the mains exam, each candidate can choose 1 optional subject. IAS optional subjects will be tested by conducting 2 papers of 250 marks each. 

Exam for the optional subjects are subjective in nature. Each paper has to be done in the duration of 3 hours. All the question papers carry translation in both English and Hindi languages. 

So, you see that the selection of the best optional subject for IAS is very important and crucial. To help the young UPSC aspirants, the tips given here are very useful to make the choice of the best optional subject for IAS.

Tips For Choosing The Best Optional Subject For IAS

Choosing the best optional subject for IAS depends on a lot of factors. Considering these factors help you out to pick the right and suitable optional subject for you.

Do You Know The Basics of The Subject?

Not just because everyone else around you does prefer any particular subject, you should too take it. Nope! That would be the wrong decision. Analyze and check if you know even the basics of that subject or not. Let’s say for example if a person who has done his graduation with commerce, wouldn’t know much about the concepts of physics and mathematics. So, you should check how much basic knowledge of the subject you have.

What is Your Interest?

What you like to read makes a huge difference. Without interest, even the simplest things seem a burden. On the contrary, if you do the toughest task with the whole of your interest, the success ratio increases. So, check which subject attracts your level of interest.

Past Success Rate:

Yup! Studying the past success ratio will help. Analyze and identify subjects choosing which candidates score good marks. To make it easier for you, here’s the table showing the highest success rate in IAS and UPSC exams (As per the civil service examination held in the year 2016).

Table Containing The List of IAS Optional Subjects With Highest Success Rate 

Optional Subject

Candidates Appeared

Candidates Recommended

Success Rate (in %)

Agriculture

220

41

18.6

Medical Science

98

16

16.3

Animal husbandry and veterinary science

65

8

12.3

Economics

326

37

11.3

Psychology

1061

116

10.9

Anthropology

345

37

10.7

Public administration

3201

337

10.5

Political science

1320

85

6.4

Geography

4049

236

5.8

Sociology

1555

89

5.7

Chemistry

124

7

5.6

Commerce and Accountancy

266

15

5.6

History

3870

212

5.5

Law

365

19

5.2

Philosophy

2092

84

4

Zoology

484

18

3.7

Mathematics

277

8

2.9

So, the highest success rate is for the subject of Agriculture i.e. 18.6% and the lowest success rate is for Mathematics i.e. only 2.9%. 

Availability of Study Material

It is wise to choose a subject for which you can easily gather relevant and good study material.

Wrap Up

Honestly, there is no single factor you consider for deciding the best optional subject for IAS. You need to consider so many things like coaching, faculty, overlapping with GS papers, and other factors as we have given above. Your success or failure is by and large dependent on the IAS optional subject you choose.