7 Effortless Cue: How To Prepare Mathematics Optional For UPSC

how to prepare mathematics optional for upsc

UPSC Mathematics Optional Paper is one of the popular subjects among the optional Papers of UPSC. Choosing optional is not an easy task. Your decision should be well based on some of the factors to think about which optional paper for UPSC Mains is to select. The common and basic things that should always be considered while choosing the subject are your keen interest and the background you have.

Read:  UPSC Syllabus to know mathematics syllabus.

This article addresses the question revolving around the tips on “how to prepare mathematics optional for UPSC?”

Note: Optional subject has two papers, namely Paper I and Paper II in UPSC Mains Exam. Each paper is 250 marks, hence making a total of 500 marks of optional paper.

Plus Point Of Taking UPSC Mathematics Optional Paper

It doesn’t matter if the exam is UPSC or some other exam, Math is always a scoring subject. If you are well versed in this subject and have answered correctly, then you will most probably score high marks. So before jumping into the answer for “how to prepare mathematics optional for IAS?”, let’s look at the merits of choosing Mathematics optional for IAS.

  1. Doable Question: Questions often come from textbooks with easy to medium degrees of difficulty. If you are well equipped in this subject then the questions are doable for you. With practice and understanding, you will be well versed in no time in UPSC mathematics paper.
  2. Competition is limited: Compared to papers such as history or geography, mathematics optional has minimal competition or is limited. As most of the aspirants are not fond of mathematics.
  3. Have a clear picture: After writing a paper, you have a clear picture in your mind about how you have done the paper or how correctly you have written the paper. In short, either you have correctly attempted or wrongly attempted which means either you attract marks or repelled them. In other subjects, say humanities, two examiners might give you different numbers for the same answer due to the involvement of subjectivity along with the examiner’s own perspective. But in mathematics, this is not the case.
  4. The syllabus is static in nature: Current affairs have no role in this subject. This means if you have completed the syllabus, you have to keep practicing instead of updating your knowledge with the help of current affairs. The more you practice, the more firm will be your grip on this subject.
  5. Scoring in nature: This paper is scoring in nature. Questions are not opinion-based in this optional paper as there can be only one correct answer. Scoring in mathematics is rather straightforward – if correctly solved you get a mark. In short, mathematics is a scoring paper as far as the optional papers in UPSC are concerned.
  6. If you have studied mathematics in the under graduation or post-graduation, then already you have knowledge about the concepts/ facts which means you only need to brush up and requires only practice to be skilled in working out the solution.
how to prepare mathematics optional for upsc
Pros of choosing mathematics as optional in UPSC

Minus Point Of Taking UPSC Mathematics Optional Paper

UPSC CSE mathematics optional paper has no such cons that will refrain someone from choosing this paper as optional. As Plus points are suppressing the minus points in this mathematics paper. Some of the minus points of selecting mathematics as the optional paper in UPSC CSE are given below:

  1. Preparation may take time: Being a logical subject, it is practical in nature. That means to cover its syllabus you need to figure out the solutions rather than cramming.
  2. Not useful for GS paper: Since the syllabus of mathematics does not overlap with GS paper preparation of UPSC mathematics will not be helpful for GS preparation like other subjects do.
  3. Marks are not given for attempting: For wild attempts marks are not given, unless and until the solution is correct and rightfully directed by you.
make your upsc preparation faster with examarly

Who Should Opt For Mathematics Optional For UPSC?

Mathematics optional for UPSC should be chosen by those who are interested in this subject as well as are well versed in this subject. If you don’t have prior knowledge of this subject, or you are not good enough in mathematics, or this subject is not part of your stream, then chose any other optional subject for UPSC CSE.

If you are interested in mathematics and want to take it as an optional subject for UPSC, then you should have a clear concept of the subject. The best way to do this is by solving a lot of question papers. The more questions you solve, the better will be your chances of getting selected for the post that you are going to apply for. If you opt for mathematics, then all you need is to practice and practice again. Practice makes a man perfect, so keep practicing till you become perfect at it!!

Effective Method To Prepare For Mathematics Optional Subject For UPSC

Basic yet most effective methods on how to prepare mathematics optional for UPSC are given below:

Know UPSC Mathematics Complete Syllabus: Before commencing your preparation for UPSC mathematics optional paper go through the syllabus of mathematics optional subject to know what to cover and what to skip. This will help you to prepare yourself accordingly.

Opt for Best Standard Books for UPSC Mathematics: After knowing about all the topics involved in the paper, you need to select some good books from which you can study each topic in detail and can practice. The booklist is provided here from where you can choose the book to prepare for UPSC mathematics optional paper.

Draft a Study Plan: Now, break your syllabus into sub-topics and make a study plan accordingly. In this way, you can easily manage your time and complete the syllabus according to your sketched schedule.

Cover all important topics so that you can score good marks in UPSC’s mains optional subject. Else you can lose the marks. So practice more to brush yourself on important topics.

Solve Previous Year Paper: Solve previous papers as this will help you get an idea about how questions are asked in these exams and what type of answers should be given while answering them.

Tips On How To Prepare Mathematics Optional For UPSC

Many of the aspirants who have chosen mathematics as an optional paper must be pondering on “how to prepare mathematics optional for UPSC”. So we are here with the tips that will quench your thirst regarding “how to prepare mathematics optional for UPSC”. Some of the tips on “how to prepare mathematics optional for UPSC” are discussed below:

  1. Practice: One of the most important tips on how to prepare mathematics optional for UPSC is Practice as practice makes everyone perfect. If you practice, you will not only polish your skills of solving the problems efficiently but also increase the speed of solving. It will also help you focus more and avoid small addition/subtraction mistakes. One other way of practicing is to attempt the questions asked previously. This way you will also be familiar with the nature of questions in your actual paper on UPSC Maths.
  2. Keep your eyes open: Another tip on “how to prepare mathematics optional for UPSC” is to keep your eyes open. Avoid silly mistakes, while writing an answer, like copying wrong numbers or having missed the symbols which will cost you marks. Hence help you to score better.
  3. Work out the problem systematically: Always write the solution neatly and write an answer step by step. Alongside the correct approach, a good and systematic presentation will fetch you marks. Don’t skip any important steps in a buzz, else you will repel the marks in UPSC CSE Mains mathematics optional paper. Attempt the question and write the solution with the proper steps.
  4. Understand the concepts: Instead of learning the working of difficult topics, try to make a study plan and understand and practice them on your own to get well versed in them. Once you understand the logical nature of the flow of argument, you will be able to solve any type of questions asked in the UPSC optional paper of mathematics. The more grip you have on concepts, the probability of solving the problems in maths optional paper is more, hence the chance of scoring better is greater.
  5. Before commencing to write the solution, read the question carefully. As you will lose precious space if you have started writing an inaccurate answer. Later if you figure out the right solution, you will be unable to reframe(restructure) due to space crunch/constraint.
  6. Have a formula sheet handy with you and memorize it. This trick will be helpful while solving a question. It will supercharge your ability to answer writing.
  7. Be relaxed: Being relaxed is another important tip on how to prepare mathematics optional for UPSC. Instead of panicking or being confused, keep your mind relaxed while solving to perform well in your optional paper. Otherwise, things will head towards the worst. Practicing a good time management routine during your preparation for the paper will help you immensely while sitting an exam. Panicking will only increase your chances of marking a wrong answer and make you lose marks.

Book List To Prepare Mathematics Optional For UPSC

Book List That Will Help You with Your Quest of how to prepare mathematics optional for UPSC are mentioned below:

  1. Linear Algebra: A.R.Vasista, Schaum Series
  2. Algebra: Joseph A. Gallian, Shramik Sen Upadhayay
  3. Calculus and Real Analysis: S.C  Malik and Savita Arora, Shanti Narayana
  4. Ordinary Differential Equations: M.D. Raisinghania
  5. Vector Analysis: A.R.Vasista, Schaum Series
  6. Complex Analysis: Schaum Series, J.N. Sharma, Ponnu Swami
  7. Numerical Analysis: Jain and Iyengar, K. Shankar Rao, S. S. Sastry
  8. 3-D Geometry: P.N. Chatterjee
  9. Dynamics & Statics: M. Ray, A.R.Vasista
  10. Mechanics and Fluid Dynamics: M.D. Raisinghania, R.K. Gupta, J.K. Goyal, and K.P. Gupta
  11. Linear Programming: Shanti Swarup, S D Sharma
  12. Computer Programming: Raja Raman


The only formula to success is to practice, practice, and practice. As this paper demands your time to practice. Relentless practice will ensure that you can work out effectively. Although scoring, Maths can be difficult for some of us. So choose it as your optional subject if you like the subject. We hope this article on how to prepare mathematics optional for UPSC will help you while making your decision.

make your upsc preparation faster with examarly

Previous Article
how to prepare for indian polity for upsc

A Complete Guide On How To Prepare For Indian Polity For UPSC CSE

Next Article
how to use internet for upsc preparation

How to Use Internet For UPSC Preparation Effectively In 2022