Optional subject chosen for Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) Mains can make or break a deal. It is important to score well in the Civil Services Main Examination. So candidates must choose their option carefully and wisely to maximize their chances in both the Mains and Personality Test.
The questions asked to candidates in personality interview are often determined by the topic you choose. It is common knowledge that the interview board in UPSC Mains will ask you more questions about your optional subjects. However, it is important to note that the personality test of each candidate is unique and thus highly individual. Nonetheless, it is important to understand that your choice of choice will not only follow you through the UPSC CSE selection process, but also throughout your life.
There is enough evidence to suggest that candidates with almost every optional subject are shortlisted and called for a personality test. As a result, there is no preferred optional subject in any year. However some options are far more popular than others. These include history, geography, public administration, political science and international relations (PSIR), and philosophy.
Following are some of the things that candidates should consider before deciding on an optional subject:
Interest: The most important factor is interest. The UPSC Mains syllabus is already extensive, so it is important that we maintain our interest in our subjects. This will make your UPSC CSE preparation easy.
Getting acquainted with the topic: If you are new to a subject and want to take it as an optional subject of UPSC, consult standard textbooks. The best approach would be to look at the syllabus once and identify the standard textbooks. Read a few chapters of the book to see if it’s something you’re interested in.
Check Previous Years Question Papers: It is important that you go through the previous year question papers and assess your ability to handle them. If so, go ahead and do it. If not, take some thought and time before making a final decision.
Overlap with other topics: It is important that you consider the availability of time and the level of preparation for the exam. The syllabus is comprehensive and hence opting for some optional which is already a part of one of the compulsory papers can be a good strategy.
Check availability of notes and courses for your desired elective. Some options are frequently selected, and thus their notes and class lectures are readily available. UPSC Mains Optional, popular among students from both science and humanities background, includes subjects like Geography, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations, Anthropology, History etc.
– Shabbir A. Written by Bashir, Cofounder, Educami
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