Selection of Optional Subjects
Under the scheme of examination aspirants need two select two
optional subjects in the Mains Written examination. Earlier in the older pattern
of examination aspirants had to select one optional subject in the Preliminary
examination also. Selection of option subject one of the toughest nuts to crack.
One can say this is door to final selection. The very much selection of the
candidate is depend on this selection. Nowadays competition involved in the
civil services exam has been on rising. This huddle of competition will only
pass through proper planning, hard work, perseverance and patience. Selection of
optional is comes under proper planning. The selection of optional subjects must
be done most carefully, if it goes wrong, everything will go in vain. In the
field of this battle choosing optional is half won. Normally candidates select
that optional subject in which they are familiar with, or have at least studied
till graduate level. This is not hard and fast rule anybody can select any
subject from the 24 optional subjects but its better in the candidate that they
should be judious while selecting optional subject. If you are not comfortable
with the subject, you should not select the subject as an optional. In my
opinion optional subject should be chosen on the basis of own interest in that
subject and performance of subject in previous few years as scoring pattern,
candidate got qualified from that optional etc. Availability of study material
in that optional will also taken into account. Any optional subject may be
evaluated on the basis of a number of parameters. These parameters are: some
optional are considered scoring while others are preferred for their relevancy,
relevant in either the General Studies paper or in the essay. Some candidates
are chosen optional for their comparatively short, clearly defined syllabus.
Availability and access of good and study material is yet another consideration.
There is a vast choice of optional subject. There are 24
optional subjects available to choose for the aspirants. By the stream the whole
optional may be broadly categorised as science subjects such as Physics,
Chemistry, Botany and Zoology; Humanities subjects like History, Political
Science, Public Administration, Geography and Sociology; and languages like
Hindi, English, Urdu, and Pali. The UPSC also allows for subjects like
Anthropology, Psychology and Philosophy.
Among the optional subjects History, Psychology, Sociology,
Public Administration etc has been widely selected, the very reason for this is
the nature of subject, any candidates those not having special or additional
educational qualifications have been doing reasonably well, whereas the optional
subjects like Mathematics, Physics, and Engineering are considered as tougher
subjects and the candidates with exceptionally good preparation only may expect
to do well.
History is one of the optional subjects which are widely
selected by the aspirants. Because of the nature and resources available in the
market this subject has been chosen as safe optional subject. One of the other
reason that candidates select this optional because it is easy to grasp, it
doesn’t matter what your background is you can easily understand and do well in
Public Administration is another subject which is popular
among aspirants. Public Administration can also be coupled with other optional
like History or Sociology etc. This optional also covers significant areas of
the General Studies papers. This optional subject does not require any previous
background in the subject this is added advantage.
Philosophy is another subject that may be taken with other
humanities subjects. This subject maybe coupled with Political Science or
Sociology as there are several similarities between them. It is also very useful
for the essay papers. The subject has been considered as scoring one and also
requires no previous background.
Geography is another optional that is open to candidates from
varied academic backgrounds. The nature of the optional is objective - with its
tables and maps – it makes it highly scoring.
Economics is another optional that is often eschewed by candidates as it is
considered as a difficult subject. However in the past Economics has helped some
students topped the rank list. However care should be taken while selecting this
subject. One subject is Sociology, which is very useful in the "social issues"
section of the General Studies paper and in answering essay questions.
However, it is believes that the primary criteria should not be the nature of
the subject or whether it is comprehended as scoring or not. Student interest in
the subject should be given predominant importance. It should be correctly
understood that any optional can be scoring if the student approaches it
strategically and systematically.