From Confusion to Clarity: A Comprehensive Guide to Selecting UPSC Optional.

Hey, if you are stuck at debates like what optional should I choose or how to choose optional and need some help you’re in the right spot. Let’s figure this out together and make it easy for you!


First, let’s answer the above question…..and the answer is… the right Optional will make or break your success or selection in the UPSC exam.


If you have gone through the UPSC exam pattern you know that the Optional consists of two papers (Paper1 – 250 marks and Paper2 -250 marks) and the total score of both papers is 500 marks.

Your score out of these 500 marks means a lot as it differentiates you from other aspirants as everyone gets average marks in GS and Essay papers like 400-450 marks and it is also difficult to score above 400-450 marks in GS as it involves lots of subjects like history, polity, geography, economy, ethics etc.

Suppose you have less score in GS and you have prepared your optional well and your score in Optional is high, you are still able to clear the exam. So your score in optional decides whether you will get selected or not, as you have to also score at least 280 marks in optional despite having a good score in GS. So choosing the right optional is crucial.

Now let’s talk about how to choose optional or what factors should be considered while choosing optional.


  1. SCORING POTENTIAL :- This is the most important factor whether the Optional is scoring or not. You can find out this by analyzing the previous topper’s score or the highest score ever scored in particular Optional by students so far. You have to also pay attention, from which optional, students are getting selected and what were their scores. This will give you an idea about the scoring potential of optional subjects then you can decide whether I should take this optional or not, as in the end, it is the score that matters.
  2. Interest :- The second factor is also important to consider, Let’s suppose you have decided Maths Optional by considering first-factor i.e. scoring potential, as students have scored up to 375 marks in Maths but you are not interested in studying Maths so deciding Maths Optional based on scoring potential will not be a right choice for you as optional requires extra effort and you will be able to give those extra efforts only when you are interested or at least have familiarity with the subject.
  3. Availability of Resources :- Availability of Resources is also an important factor you should consider as if you have not the required resources or study material or guidance from teachers, available to study, how will you study or seek guidance if needed.
  4. Overlap with GS :- If the optional you have decided overlaps with GS subjects it is good. But if it does not overlap, don’t worry as in optional subjects you have to write answers in depth, and in GS, you have to write general answers.
  5. Graduation Subject :- If you are thinking, should I take my graduation subject as an optional in UPSC or not. If I take it, it will be easier for me as I have already studied the subject in my graduation. You should look for the above-stated factors, if the above factors are fulfilled, you can take your graduation subject as an Optional.

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