[Studyplan] How to Choose Optional Subject for the UPSC Mains Exams ?

Why it is important to choose right subject ?
How to choose the right Optional subjects ?
Which subjects are more marks scoring/hot favouties ? etc..

There are so many questions and the Aspirants remains confused about it. I have noticed that Most
of the New aspirants remains confused about the optional subjects. So I tried to analyse  how to choose right subject. Hope it will help you.

Why it is Important to choose right subject ?

Optional Subject consist of almost 25 % of the total marks in UPSC CSE so it has a huge impact on Merit. 

Similarly in HPAS, Optional Subject consist of almost 30 % of the total marks. Again impact on merit is huge. 

How to choose the right Optional subject ?

It is very Important to choose right Optional so the question arises how to choose ?

So Here are the Points to remember before choosing the Optional:

  • Choose the Subject which is Interesting to You.
  • If you have studied a particular subject in your college then go for it, because it will be lot easier to you, also it will be easier to you to read advanced topics and analyse them. e.g. If you have studied Political Science then its better to choose it rather to choose a subject that you never read.
  • Choose the subject which is having small syllabus e.g. Public administration :D. Jokes apart. Small syllabus is a plus but one must have interest in it as well. 
  • Choose the subject with Good Study material Availability like if you don't have Enough and Good Study material of Forestry then don't choose unless you have read it in your graduation. So if you don't have Quality study material or books available of particular subject then don't go for it. If you have then go for it.
  • You can go through previous years Question Papers of optional Subjects and can analyse them it can give you better idea to choose. Make Sure you finalize two or three subjects if not clear about choosing one,  then analyse syllabus, previous papers and then make your mind. 
  • Student who are from Science backgrounds can choose one of their Optional like Physics, Chemistry, Maths, Zoology, Botany etc, Choosing One Science optional can give an edge rather than going for subjects you never read. But do it only when you are damm sure about your ability in the subject. 
  • Student who are from Engineering backgrounds can choose  one of their Optional like Physics, Maths, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Civil Engineering etc. But do it only when you are damm sure about your ability in the subject. 
  • Student who are from Commerce, Economics or Management backgrounds can choose one of their Optional subjects Commerce and Accountancy, Management and Economics. But do it only when you are damm sure about your ability in the subject. 
  • Students from Medical Backgrounds can definitely choose Medical Science.
  • Students of Law can choose law and Students of Agriculture and students of Forestry, and Animal Husbandry  & Veterinary Science can choose their subjects. Its always easier to deal with own subject. 
  • Students who have studied literature can go for literature Subjects like Hindi, English Literature.
  • Last and Important : Consult the Senior Players of the exams, Who have appeared in Mains Exams ask their Experiences and marks. That can help you a lot.
  • Analyse the trend of Scores of previous years, some subjects always do good and have a better chance of succeeding with proper study material.

Which Subject are more Marks Scoring or Hot Favorites ?

Although it depends upon on your hard work and interest in the subjects but there are few subjects which have edge over others due to short syllabus, availability of study material and questions papers. Some  most scoring, hot favourites, trendy subjects are:

Public Ad.
Political Science

How to Prepare for Mains Exams:

Optional Subject Studyplan and Books : Here


  • Go for the Subject you have read earlier.
  • Go for the Subject with Good Study material availability.
  • Go for the Subject which is interesting to You.
  • Go for the subject You have analyzed e.g. Question papers, Previous Years Scores.
  • Go for the Subject with short syllabus.
  • Go for the subjects which are More Scoring than others.
Still having any confusion Comment Below...


  1. Good morning sir,
    I just have one query. I want to opt zoology and botany. Is it right to take both of them because except physiology most of the part are interlinked. And I feel its easy to read by co-relating. But still want to know your opinion.

  2. I think if you have interest and have studied or studying these subjects them you must choose these both subjects, you are right that these two subjects are interlinked so surely it will reduce workload and help in co relating too. I have noticed that form these subjects student have cleared in the past so you don't worry about the selection of these subjects just go through the syllabus and work hard, although from next year i.e HPAS 2014 pattern is going to change and it will be like UPCS pattern, so they can remove one optional subject, but this is in process and its still not clear that it will be implemented from HPAS 2014 or HPAS 2015.

  3. dear sie
    I m a mechanical student.I want to opt animal husbandary and veternary and geography science since i m interested in this subject and have grown up in a farm. kindly suggest me. I m a bit confused.

  4. sir can i take horticulture as a subject along with geography.iam an arts student but have interest in horticulture.and what books to start with for horticulture.

  5. Sir, u can add zoology for animal husbandry as combo.....found it fruitful this year....although not recieved d detail marks sheet yet but my experience consider it a better combo as compared to other subjects (although depends on personal preferences and interests of aspirant) just an advice to aspirants......

  6. Why Geography and Agriculture is dead combination.Please explain

  7. is geology a good subject to take in ifs as optional

  8. I have complated MA Economics , sir please give me which subject is best optional .

  9. Helll sir.. i am an electronics engineer. So frm engineering point of view, here my subject doesnt exists... which is a good combo if i have to take on two unknown subjects... just randomly..

  10. Helll sir.. i am an electronics engineer. So frm engineering point of view, here my subject doesnt exists... which is a good combo if i have to take on two unknown subjects... just randomly..

  11. Hello sir I have filled the application form yesterday and on part 2 there is one question given that r u from himachal pradesh and All north east states then I chose NO option. Then chose the language option came what does it mean? I have chosen my mother tongue telugu. Pls tell me what does that option means

  12. Helo sir.I am a medical student.Is political science and public administration best as optional subjects?

  13. Respected sir.... I am from pharmacy background and there is no optional subject available from our field. What subject can i choose as optional. I have a lot of interest in chemistry.

  14. Thank you so much sir. ..But I would like to ask that I m having interest in both history and political science . .So which one would be more beneficial in these exams to score?