"Which optional/subject should I take ?" is the most often asked query in the
comments section of this blog. This question like any other important question
does not have a simple answer. The choice of optional may prove to be one's
undoing in this exam as optionals carry huge weightage in terms of marks in all
three stages. But if anyone thinks that just by choosing a safe optional one
will clear all stages then one is just fooling oneself.
At the same time choosing an optional in which you have more than a passing
interest and one which you feel you have the aptitude for ,may prove to be an
invaluable asset in this exam.Go through the syllabus and prelims/mains question
papers of 2-3 subjects that you would have shortlisted from the unending list of
UPSC optionals.Just see for yourself what kind of questions are being asked and
whether you feel you will be able to answer them once you are thorough with the
syllabus.Selecting optional remains more of an art and if you have to go by
something then go by your interest in the subject alone,everything else should
take a backseat.
Some of the basic factors that one must consider before zeroing down on an
1.Never choose a subject solely because everyone else is going for
it.Consider your own interest and inclination for the subject especially if it
is going to be your first optional as you will have to read it in much detail
and get clarity of concepts.
2.The availability of resources in terms of books,guidance,coaching etc.For
popular subjects ,resources are more easily available but it should be
considered after you satisfy the first criterion.
3.Your subject in graduation or post-graduation should be considered if you
are really comfortable with the subject.But do not go for it just because you
have read it in college.
4.Once you decide on an optional ,fully back yourself to clear the exam with
it no matter what others may say.In this exam individual performances only
matter ,general trends count for little.
Finally, no optional is safe or unsafe despite what the coaching institutes
or other experienced people might say.It is your preparation level which will
determine whether the optional that you have selected will have one more
successful/unsuccessful candidate.Listen to others,but do your own thing.All the
very best !!!
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