Toppers Optional Subject in UPSC

toppers optional subject in upsc

Ever wondered what would have Toppers Optional Subject in UPSC? Here we are with an elaborated article on what optional toppers opt for and why they opt for. Let us go through the article to get some insightful information.

How to Choose Your Optional Subject in UPSC Mains

Here are the lists of optional subjects recommended by UPSC mains toppers from previous years and this year. You can find more information on how to choose your optional subject in UPSC Mains in the linked article. It also provides you with a few tips for choosing the optional subjects that you should take.

Previous Year Optional Subject List of UPSC Topper

The UPSC has published a list of 50 optional subjects & literature for the CSE Mains exam. Those who are aiming to crack this exam can choose from the subjects based on their aptitude and scoring pattern. It’s important to remember that the subjects you choose will affect your overall score. So, it’s important to choose carefully.

UPSC’s previous year’s optional subject list includes subjects chosen by the toppers of the previous ten years. Each topper chose one of the optional subjects from a list of 50. Each optional paper consists of two papers, each worth 500 marks. The four General Studies papers are mandatory, as is the Essay Paper.

List of UPSC Mains Optional Subjects by IAS Topper

RankYearName of IAS TopperOptional Subject
12019Pradeep SinghPublic Administration
12018Kanishak KatariaMathematics
12017Anudeep DurushettyAnthropology
12016Nandini. K.R.Kannada Literature
12015Tina DabiPolitical Science
12014Ira SinghalGeography
12013Gaurav AgrawalEconomics
12012Haritha V. KumarEconomics
12011Shena Aggarwal Medical Science & Psychology
12010S. DivyadarshiniPublic Administration

 Apart from the above table, there is a list of optional subjects of other toppers of UPSC IAS-

  1. Management: Saumya Sharma 2017 (AIR 9)
  2. Electrical Engineering: Kumar Anurag 2018 (AIR48), Prakash Rajpurohit 2009 (AIR 2)
  3. Physics: Pratibha Verma 2019 (AIR 3)
  4. Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science: Bilal Mohi-ud-din Bhat 2010 (AIR 10)
  5. Botany: Koya Sree Harsha 2017 (AIR 6), Sachin Gupta 2017 (AIR 3)
  6. Sociology: Shruti Jayant Deshmukh 2018 (AIR 5)
  7. Chemistry: Ashish Kumar 2010 (AIR 61)
  8. some others are-

Artika Shukla Medical Science, Bharti Dixit Medical Science, Gunjan Dwivedi Political Science, Anubhav Singh Mathematics, Anmol Sher Singh Bedi Political Science, Alok Ranjan Jha Geography, Ayush Sinha Geography, Devesh Kumar Chemistry & Geography Bihar IAS, Athar Aamir Ul Shafi Khan Philosophy, Ankita Jain Philosophy, Akshay Tripathi Mechanical Engineering, Abhishek Saraf Civil Engineering, Ashish Kumar Electrical Engineering, Abhilash Mishra Public Administration, Ashish Tiwari Public Administration, Pradeep Singh Public Administration, Anudeep Durishetty Anthropology.

Related – Famous IAS Officers List

List of Optional Subjects by UPSC Toppers 2020

The IAS Topper 2020 [AIR 1] Shubham Kumar selected anthropology as his elective topic. Considering their strengths, analyses of the scoring pattern, and the possibility of locating relevant study material, the following subjects were chosen by the following top 10 students after him.

RankTopper’s NameOptional Subject
2Jagrati AwasthiSociology
3Ankita JainPhilosophy
4Yash JalukaEconomics
5Mamta YadavPhysics
6Meera KSociology
7Praveen KumarCivil Engineering
8Jivani Kartik NagjibhaiGeography
9Apala MishraAnthropology
10Satyam GandhiPolitical Science International Relations

Tips On Toppers Optional Subject in UPSC

A UPSC Mains exam consists of 26 optional subjects. The choice of optional subjects is based on a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as their ability to gather relevant study material. Although choosing optional subjects is not compulsory, it can significantly affect final scores. Therefore, it is essential to know the importance of choosing the right subjects.

Here are some detailed strategies by UPSC Toppers which can help you choose an elective subject-

  1. Look for personal strengths – Since the optional papers are the only ones that the applicants choose themselves, this is where they must demonstrate their skills. Pick topics that have previously been covered in your graduation period and deep knowledge. This will motivate the candidates to learn it and raise their final results.
  2. Examine the syllabus- When choosing optional subjects, candidates should carefully review the syllabus of each subject, and after considering the benefits and drawbacks of each, make your decision.
  3. Make sure the availability of study material- Check if the subject you are choosing has sufficient and accessible study materials.
  4. Review the past information – Before choosing an optional subject, always look at past trends and data. The success percentage of each subject varies every year.
  5. Overlap with other subjects- Candidates may choose optional subjects whose curriculum overlaps with those of other exams as a result this will eliminate the need for separate preparation time for the mains.
  6. Scoring Optional- Try to do an analysis on the scoring optional course and make sure to choose the subject with a high success rate.

Toppers recommend choosing subjects depending on their interest and background in graduation, as well as the time they have to study them. Besides knowing the basics of the subjects, they also know how to write well. Students should not choose optional subjects if they are not comfortable with them.  

See Also – Optional Subjects of UPSC Toppers in the Last 7 Years: Is there a Pattern?

Success Trends of IAS Toppers’ Optional Subjects

The UPSC allows candidates to opt for optional subjects out of 50, each worth 500 marks. While some subjects are more likely to score well than others, the success rates of toppers have varied across the years.

The success rate of optional subjects varies with the candidate’s profile and ability. It is, therefore, crucial to choose the subjects that you enjoy studying. While it is advisable to choose subjects that you are familiar with, it is also crucial to select optional subjects that are relevant to the role you want to play in civil services.

The below table shows the success rate of IAS Toppers Optional Courses-

Optional subjectsNo. of Candidates AppearedNo. of Candidates RecommendedSuccess Rate Percentage
Assamese Lit.300
Nepali Lit.100
Commerce & Accountancy2242812.5
Bodo Lit.11100
Punjabi Lit.39615.4
Gujarati Lit.10187.9
Kannada Lit.11543.5
Marathi Lit.1700
Medical Sciences3133210.2
English Lit.2129.5
Urdu Lit.26519.2
Tamil Lit.10754.7
Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Sciences2328.7
Public Administration116511910.2
Sanskrit Lit.7057.1
Malayalam Lit.11187.2
Political Science & International Relations12461179.4
Telugu Lit.7211.4
Hindi Lit.267197.1
Electrical Engineering193199.8
Mechanical Engineering1701911.2
Manipuri Lit.1317.7
Maithili Lit.7856.4
Civil Engineering124118.9
Bengali Lit.300
Oriya Lit.500
Sindhi Lit.2150
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