It is important to note that UPSC has given substantial weightage (i.e. 500 out of 1750) to optional paper in the main (written) exam. So, it is evident that Optional plays an important role in the final selection of the aspirants.

Choosing optional from the lists given in UPSC CSE notification demands a well-considered thought. One should take adequate time to decide, since covering optional demands huge amount of time (around 4 months) and once decided, it may become difficult to change the optional mid-way.

Following factors should be given due consideration while deciding optional:

  1. 1. If the aspirants plan to opt their graduation paper as Optional, it might offer some advantages such as:
    • ● Core knowledge and thorough understanding about that subject
    • ● Probability of having high level of interest as compared to other subjects.

    However, the aspirants should also consider various other parameters before arriving at any decision. Some of them are:

  2. 2. Interest: It is a significant factor as covering vast syllabus of optional might become difficult if one does not have much interest in that paper. The aspirant should go through the syllabus, broad topic, past year papers etc. of few shortlisted optional papers. It will help them to explore their specific interest in that particular paper.
  3. 3. Commonality with GS and Essay Syllabus: Some of the optional papers such as Sociology, Political Science, Philosophy etc. have certain topics which has similarity with GS syllabus. It will make their preparation easy in terms of topic coverage and content enrichment while writing GS answers & Essays.
  4. 4. Recent marks trend of shortlisted optional papers:It helps students to get an idea about the recent performance of respective optional papers and analyse whether those subjects are scoring or not.
  5. 5. Availability of resources: Aspirants must look whether they can get enough study materials, good teachers/mentors, proper guidance etc. for respective optional papers.

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