Zoology Optional For UPSC

zoology optional for upsc

If you are a science graduate and have been planning to take UPSC exams, then you can choose Zoology as an optional subject. Broadly, zoology is a science subject. This subject focuses on animal physiology, anatomy, and biochemistry. It also covers habitats and conservation. It is a high scoring subject. The syllabus is clearly defined, and the questions are easy to answer. Zoology optional for UPSC is also considered safe and is very well-defined.

The syllabus of this optional subject is very similar to the syllabus for graduation. So, you will have an edge if you already know the subject. Moreover, it will take less time to study for the exam. However, it is important to not base your choice on the success ratio of the subject. Instead, make a study plan that suits your interest and ability to understand the subject thoroughly.

Zoology as UPSC optional has a low competition level, despite its specialized syllabus. As a result, candidates should focus on preparing the topic thoroughly. In particular, they should solve more questions from the previous years’ UPSC question papers and mock tests. The syllabus includes topics like classification, ecology, cytology, genetics, and theoretical Zoology.

How Many Opt Zoology Optional For UPSC?

Zoology Optional Success Rate

The success rate is not so impressive over the last few years. The previous year’s data has been mentioned below:

  1. In the year 2017, out of 55 candidates who had zoology, only 1 candidate cleared the exam with a success rate of 1.8%.
  2. In 2016 and 2015, it was a bit higher than earlier. The success rate was 3.7% and 6.9% respectively.
  3. 2014 and 2012 saw the highest success rate with 11.4% and 12.7% respectively.
  4. In 2011, 19 out of 269 candidates cleared the exam. The success rate was 7.1%

UPSC Zoology Optional Toppers

Candidates with Zoology that emerged as toppers are listed below:

  1. Kajal Jawla emerged as the recent topper in the year 2018 with a rank of 28.
  2. Preeti Malik was the topper of 2016 with a rank of 265.
  3. In 2015, Neha Bhardwaj emerged as the topper with 32nd rank.
  4. Rachit Raj was the 2013 topper with 3rd rank.
  5. In 2012, Arun Thamburaj came as a topper with 6th rank.
  6. Himanshu Sharma emerged as a topper in UPSC CSE in 2010 with AIR 49.
  7. Adapa Karthik was a topper in UPSC Exam in the year 2007 with AIR 1.

Pros Of Zoology Optional 

Zoology is a good subject to choose as an optional subject for UPSC. Its advantages are mentioned below:

  1. The syllabus of zoology overlaps with many other subjects from the science stream, so it will be easier for those with a science background to do well in the examination.
  2. This subject also has a 12.7% pass percentage, making it ideal for those who have studied science at school or college.
  3. UPSC Zoology Optional is a high scoring subject, especially in the mains exam.
  4. The syllabus is clearly defined, which makes questions easier to answer. There are two optional papers in Zoology, each worth 250 marks. The questions in these papers are easy to answer and generally don’t cover topics that are peripheral to the subject.
  5. Students can also take advantage of figures and diagrams in Zoology because this subject is so visual, and students can benefit from this in the exam. For example, they can draw a picture of a zoological organ and compare it to the human organs in the body. They can also use color to identify the parts of an animal, such as a bird.
  6. Zoology questions are very direct. There is no need to brainstorm much. One can simply start reading the question and start writing.
  7. Unlike some of the Humanities subjects, this science subject does not require to be updated on a regular interval.

Cons Of Zoology Optional 

  1. Due to its technical character, only candidates with any of the following educational backgrounds like zoology, medical science, botany, forestry, life sciences, agriculture, and linked topics prefer zoology.
  2. Although not entirely absent there is very little overlap with the GS papers.
  3. You will need to delve deeply into the topics because the syllabus is extensive.

Zoology Optional Syllabus

The zoology syllabus is very much vast and covers a variety of topics. Equal weight is given to all topics by UPSC.

The UPSC exam pattern includes two optional papers. Each paper has a maximum of 250 points, for a total of 500 optional points.

You can check out the Zoology Optional Syllabus For UPSC by clicking on the linked article.

Who Should Opt For Zoology Optional Paper In UPSC?

  1. Zoology is a branch of biology concerned with the studying of animals and their kingdom. So basically candidates with this background should opt for this subject to attempt UPSC Civil Services Exam.
  2. It requires a lot of preparation and is a lengthy paper. For this reason, it is vital for aspirants to familiarize themselves with the syllabus. This will help them prioritize their studies accordingly.
  3. Zoology is one of the most popular optional papers in UPSC and is particularly popular among students who have studied life sciences. However, it can be difficult for non-science students. The syllabus is long, and studying for it takes up to four or five months.
  4. However, the amount of time required for this subject to be fully prepared will depend on your retention of the concepts from your graduation.

How To Prepare Zoology Optional For UPSC?

  1. The first step for the Zoology optional UPSC exam preparation is to understand the topic thoroughly. Though it is a lengthy paper, it can be mastered if you have a strong grasp of the material. Detailed knowledge of the subject will help you prioritize your study and prepare for the paper in a reasonable amount of time. 
  2. Writing skills can also make or break your chances of selection as the subject needs a lot of detail. If you have extraordinary writing skills, you can definitely ace the exam. Hence practice answer writing beforehand.
  3. The zoology syllabus includes questions based on the study of animal anatomy, physiology, conservation, evolution, behavior, and biochemistry. This subject offers ample scope on the UPSC exam for those who have a strong background in life sciences. 
  4. Economic zoology, bio stats, and bio instrumentation have the highest score sections. Prepare these sections properly to score high.
  5. Understand the nature of questions asked and practice as much as possible.
  6. Diagrams are important in understanding this subject, so make sure to use them and color the comparative anatomy diagrams. This will be your advantage to increase your chances of selection.
  7. Developmental biology is a challenging and vast subject. Practice diagrams from this area work quite well. Thus give ample time towards this section to prepare for the civil services mains exam efficiently.

Books for Zoology Optional 

Some of the preparation material and the most recommended books of zoology syllabus are mentioned below:

  1. Modern Zoology – Ramesh Gupta
  2. Organic Evolution (Evolutionary Biology) – Veer Bala Rastogi
  3. Ganong’s Review of Medical Physiology
  4. Guyton and Hall Textbook of Medical Physiology
  5. Cell Biology – CB Powar
  6. Genetics – PK Gupta
  7. Modern Textbook of Zoology – Invertebrates – RL Kotpal
  8. Modern Textbook Of Zoology: Vertebrates – RL Kotpal
  9. Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry – David Nelson, Michael Cox
  10. An Introduction to Embryology – AK Berry
  11. Ecology And Environment – PD Sharma
  12. Applied And Economic Zoology – V.B. Upadhyay and G.S. Shukla
  13. Animal Behaviour – Reena Mathur

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Zoology is a vast syllabus and covers a variety of topics. Topics including categorization, ecology, cytology, genetics, and theoretical zoology are covered in the course program. Equal weight is given to all topics by UPSC. You may be able to get a high rank on the Civil Services Exam if you do well in this topic. Many previous top performers did remarkably well in this topic.

Despite having a specialized syllabus, there is little competition for the UPSC optional in zoology. Candidates should therefore concentrate on thoroughly researching the subject. They should specifically attempt to answer more questions from UPSC practice exams and question papers from prior years. If you have taken zoology in high school or college, zoology is a good elective.


Is Zoology A Good Optional For UPSC?

Zoology is a good optional subject if you have studied zoology at school or college. Its questions are static and straightforward and you can easily present your answers with diagrams. The syllabus for Zoology overlaps with the General Studies Papers which makes it even better.

Which Optional Is Better Zoology Or Anthropology?

If zoology UPSC Optional is your area of expertise, you should pick that as your optional subject. The questions in this topic typically come directly from the curriculum and don’t call for sophisticated reasoning. They are also simple to respond to. The most effective strategy to get ready for zoology is to practice papers from previous years and also mock papers as much as you can. This will help you in building concepts step by step.
An alternative that may be preferable for pupils with a science background is anthropology optional. Because of its emphasis on contemporary concerns and extensive curriculum, anthropology optional can boost your grade. Although it is not on the UPSC main syllabus, anthropology is growing in popularity among candidates.
In short, basically, the choice depends upon your interest, and familiarity with the subject knowledge.

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