Easiest Optional Subject For UPSC

easiest optional subject for upsc

“What to choose as an Optional subject for UPSC”? “What is the Easiest Optional subject for UPSC”? “Which Optional subject has a high success rate”? If you are looking for answers to these questions, then the article will attempt to solve your queries.

All these questions come to mind of a UPSC aspirant while preparing for the UPSC Mains exam. The query is valid since Optional play a significant role in deciding the merit of aspirants.

Hence, it becomes necessary to choose the right Optional subject for the IAS Mains exam. 

How To Choose The Easiest Optional Subject For UPSC

Optional subjects have two papers and each carries 250 marks in the UPSC Mains Exam. The final merit is determined by taking into account the marks earned in the optional UPSC subjects. Therefore, it is important to choose an optional subject for the UPSC carefully.

A lot of factors come into play while choosing the Optional subject for the UPSC CSE Mains exam. 

  1. First and foremost, the Optional should interest the aspirant. If the Optional subject does not bring the best out of the aspirant, the subject is not perfect for him/her.
  2. Secondly, aspirants should find out the scoring subjects. Just as there is changing pattern to everything, the fondness for Optional also changes every few years.
    1. For instance, students preferred Psychology as an Optional subject roughly ten years ago. However, the trend changed and Anthropology became the favorite Optional for students in the 1990s, while students most frequently chose Public Administration as an Optional subject in 2005–2006.
  3. Many students choose a subject that has less syllabus and a high success rate. In this way, they can give more time for overall preparation and improve their writing abilities. However, just for the sake of saving time, do not opt for unsuitable subjects.
  4. Look for the overlapping syllabus of the Optional subject with GS Papers. Higher the similarity, the greater the ease in preparing for the UPSC Mains Examination. For example, Law Optional shows greater similarity with the GS Papers, as a result, many aspirants prefer taking Law as an Optional.

UPSC provides 48 Optional subjects for the Mains exam. From the list, aspirants can only choose one Optional subject. Therefore, the aspirants must select the Optional which is good for them and not for anyone else. 

Many candidates opt for the same subject, thereby increasing the competition. Hence, aspirants should choose the subject wisely. In the end, it is the candidate’s personal decision.

Importance Of Deciding Easiest Optional Subject For UPSC

Choosing the easiest optional subject for the IAS mains exam is a difficult task for most aspirants. Though the Optional contains 500 marks, these are the marks that majorly decide the merit of an aspirant.

Let us simplify it for you. UPSC offers Compulsory subjects as well as Optional subjects. While Compulsory papers are common to all aspirants, Optional subjects are up to students to decide on them.

Around 25% of the UPSC Mains paper is devoted to the optional subject. So, if you can get approximately 25% of your grades from one subject, isn’t that a bonus? That’s even from a subject that interests you!

Making the incorrect choice of an optional subject significantly contributes to failure towards the accomplishment of UPSC CSE Mains exams. In the GS Mains exam, the gap between two serious applicants won’t exceed 10-15 marks, but in the case of optional topics, it typically rises to 40–60 marks.

Therefore, it becomes crucial to decide on the subject for the Optional exam as the subject can easily fetch you straight 500 marks.

Necessary Steps To Consider For Choosing Optional

The aspirants cannot just simply choose any random Optional and regret it later. So, better to analyze all the pros and cons beforehand so that aspirants can peacefully study for the Optional exam. 

All the aspirants should plan a strategy or steps for selecting the Optional. They can have their own minds behind the plan, however, here we are providing some necessary steps to follow before opting for the Optional subject-

  1. Scroll down to every Optional Paper available for the UPSC Mains exam. 
  2. Shortlist around 4-5 subjects according to your interest. Do not blindly follow Topper’s choice of Optional paper, as the decision should be solely yours. For some people, Psychology is easy, while for some History, Public Administration, Law, Political Science or any other subject is easy.
    Hence, follow your interest and shortlist the subject.
  3. Many aspirants prefer the Optional subject that they had at their Graduation level.
    • In simple words, if any aspirant had Technical subjects during his/her graduation, he/she is more likely to choose that subject in the Optional paper.
    • Similar to this, some people had literature subjects, hence they opt for these in the Optional.
    • Likewise, science graduates opt for science subjects for the UPSC CSE Mains exam.
  4. From the selected Optional, do a detailed analysis of the syllabus, question paper, Exam pattern, Availability of guidance, and study materials to better understand the subject and the UPSC Mains exam. This step narrows down the selection to 2-3 subjects.
  5. Another important criterion for scoring well in Optional is to look for subjects that show similarity in the syllabus with GS Papers. As GS is an important part of the Mains exam, syllabus similarity will help you in the preparation.
  6. Last but not least, gather opinions from people who passed the test on the subjects you chose as optional for the UPSC Civil Services Exam. Ask for preparation strategy, availability of resources, practice questions, Exam materials, and Coaching for that Optional paper.

All these steps are a guide toward choosing the best Optional paper for the Mains exam. 

UPSC Optional Subjects-

UPSC offers 48 Optional subjects for the Mains exam. The list is as follows-

PsychologyCommerce and AccountancyElectrical EngineeringGeologyHistory
LawAnimal husbandry and Veterinary sciencePhysicsMathematicsPolitical Sc. and International Relations
Civil EngineeringEconomicsAnthropologyGeographySociology
ChemistryPublic AdministrationBotanyZoologyPhilosophy
Mechanical EngineeringEconomicsManagementStatisticsMedical Science

UPSC also offers Literature of some languages as the choice for the Optional Exam. These are-


Top Easiest Optional Subjects For UPSC

According to the aspirants, some Optionals are easiest as compared to other subjects- These Optionals are based on Popular choices among candidates.

  1. Geography
  2. Public Administration
  3. Law
  4. History
  5. Medical Sciences
  6. Sociology
  7. Psychology
  8. Political Sciences
  9. Philosophy
  10. Agriculture
  11. Any literature subject

Optional Subjects- Overlapping Syllabus With GS

Many aspirants prefer those OPtional which have syllabus similarity with the GS Papers as this helps them in better preparation. 

Listed below are subjects that have topics common in both Papers-

  1. History
  2. Public Administration
  3. Geography
  4. Political Science
  5. Sociology
  6. Philosophy
  7. Law

All these subjects help the candidates in the Prelims, GS Papers I, II, III, IV and Essay portion. 

Optional Paper With Least Syllabus

UPSC offers many Optional subjects for the UPSC CSE exam. Each has different parameters and specialties. Among these, some Optional subjects have a small syllabus for easy preparation. These are Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science, Geology, Statistics, Mechanical Engineering, Management, Civil Engineering, Medical Sciences, Agriculture, Law,  and almost all the literature subjects(except Tamil, Hindi, and Telugu).

Related – Toppers Optional Subject in UPSC

Best Optional Subject For UPSC

There is no such thing as “Best” because each person has their own capabilities, interests and grasping power. There can be a comparison between the subjects but it is impossible to decide the best in the list of Optional papers.

Just like some subjects like Maths and Physics were high-scoring subjects in school, the same is the case with UPSC Optional subjects. Few subjects are more scoring than others. For example, Technical subjects like Maths and Engineering.

On the other hand, Non-technical subjects can lower their score as there are no definitive formulas or calculations in the paper, and they require more time for preparation. As a result, an examiner can cut the marks in the theory. It is not always necessary, but to excel in these papers, aspirants must study thoroughly.

There are some popular subjects such as Public Administration, Sociology, Geography, History, Political Science and Philosophy for the Civil Services Main exam. 

However, aspirants can opt for fresh subjects in case they have forgotten the basics of the subject they had at their graduation level. This mainly applies to students with technical subjects. With passing time, there might be a possibility that these students have lost the understanding of their core subjects, and they might need to start from scratch which can be a lengthy process.

In short, the choice of subject should be made only after analyzing all the aspects including preparation time and availability of study materials. For instance, If you understand the fundamentals of any technical or scientific field, go for it; otherwise, choose a social science subject.

See Also – 6 Best Optional Subjects in UPSC: Guide to Choose the Most Scoring Non-technical Subjects

IAS Optional Subjects Success Rate

The IAS Optional Subject success rate keeps on changing every year. It is never constant because of fact that every year new candidates also appear for the examination and they may have different preferences for each subject.

But, there are some Optional subjects which are more popular in terms of success rate, high-scorability, and Minimum rush. For example, subjects like Agriculture, Accounts, Medical Sciences, Political Sciences, Public Administration, Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science, Geography and Psychology have maintained their status of high success rates.

Recently, subjects like Law, Chemistry, and Accountancy have emerged in the race for popularity. Contrary to this, Engineering subjects are the average choice among candidates because it is more of a technical subject usually Engineering students prefer. Also, the Engineering disciplines have huge syllabi, thereby reducing the time for preparation.


 In conclusion, the choice for UPSC Optional is wholly an aspirant’s choice. They can decide on the subject according to different parameters such as a short syllabus, overlapping with GS Papers, availability of huge study material, popularity among candidates, high success rates, educational background, subjects of graduation days, favorite subjects and many more.

There are several subjects that you can choose for the UPSC Mains exam. You should spend some time analyzing all the available options before making a choice. Moreover, it is best to choose subjects that you’re interested in. This way, you won’t get bored while studying them.

The only thing matters, in the end, are the preparation strategy, practising the Previous year’s question papers, dedication and commitment. Without these ‘essential factors’, cracking any exam is difficult. 


1. Are there any easiest Optional subjects in the UPSC Mains exam?

    The definition of easy can differ from person to person. However, there are some popular subjects such as Political Science, Public Administration, Philosophy, etc. that have maintained their spot as the most preferred subjects in past years.

2. What should be the criteria for selecting the best Optional?

    The most important thing that matters is the fondness of that subject to the aspirant. If any aspirant does not feel good while studying that Optional, it is a waste of time. After this, analyzing the syllabus, text availability, coaching, and proper guidance are all essential factors to prepare for UPSC.

3. How many Optional subjects does UPSC offers?

    There are 48 Optional subjects that UPSC provides. Among them, 23 are in the form of literature subjects.

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