Best Optional Subject for UPSC: 10 Top Scoring UPSC Optional Subjects

Best Optional Subject for UPSC exam can significantly contribute to achieving high scores in optional papers two parts each carrying 250 marks. These papers hold a weightage of 500 marks out of the total 1750 marks in the UPSC Mains, underscoring the importance of selecting a scoring optional subject. Such a choice can potentially have a substantial impact on an aspirant’s overall ranking in the examination.

This article aims to provide valuable guidance to candidates by presenting data on the success rates of various optional subjects in previous years’ IAS exams. This information becomes immensely helpful when making an informed decision about the right optional subject. We have compiled a list of the Best Optional Subject for UPSC, while also highlighting the crucial factors that candidates should consider before finalizing their choice for this demanding examination in India.

Best Optional Subject for UPSC

There is no definitive “easier” optional subject for the UPSC exam. The suitability of an optional subject depends on the candidate’s skills, learning abilities, and interests. It is crucial for candidates to select an optional subject for which study materials are readily accessible, whether through the market or online platforms.

  • According to the most recent patterns for the civil services exam, the weightage of the optional subject is 500 marks out of 1750 marks.
  • You need to decide and pick the best scoring optional subject as it is an integral factor in determining your final rank.
  • There are many parameters to choosing the Best Optional Subject for UPSC, such as the knowledge of the subject and the availability of study materials.
  • Most of the candidates opt for a subject from their graduation course. But this is not always the case or the only deciding factor.
  • If the subject you studied in your graduation is not part of the optional subject, then no need to worry. You can choose any subject and still succeed on the very first attempt.

Most Opted UPSC Optional Subject

A scoring subject and the best optional subject for UPSC are two different things. As per the past records of toppers, it is observed that candidates can score high marks in every subject.

  • Technical subjects such as mathematics have the potential to yield high marks in the UPSC exam due to the presence of definite answers to each question.
  • Conversely, humanities subjects rely on the preferences of the examiner, making it more subjective in nature.
  • Some subjects are often perceived as low-scoring because candidates may not invest sufficient effort or may not have chosen the most suitable optional subject according to their abilities.
  • Considering the broader perspective, it can be observed that UPSC toppers have achieved scores of 320+ in both technical and non-technical subjects.
  • This highlights the significance of excelling in all aspects of the exam.
  • Opting for non-technical subjects that overlap with the UPSC General Studies (GS) syllabus can offer an advantage to candidates.
  • Such subjects provide additional time for preparation and access to a wide range of reading materials.
  • This advantage can help candidates enhance their overall Mains score.

Which factors should be consider while choosing Optional Subject is for UPSC?

Based on the below factors, you need to make your choice and come up with the best optional subject for UPSC. Things you need to consider while choosing the best optional are:

  • Check if the syllabus is vast;
  • If you have enough time for preparation;
  • If you have studied this subject at your graduation or post-graduation level;
  • Understand if the syllabus overlap with the GS part of Prelims/Mains;
  • Are there enough study materials available?

Which UPSC Optional Subjects with Highest Success Rate in UPSC/IAS Exam 2022

The success rate of the optional subjects for the 2022 UPSC exam is given below.

Success-Rate of Optional in UPSC 2022
Best Optional Subject for UPSCNumber of Candidates in the final list out of 127 Candidates
Political Science & International Relations25
Hindi Literature8
Electrical Engineering4
Commerce & Accountancy2
Public Administration2
Medical Science2
English Literature2
Kannada Literature2
Punjabi Literature2
Mechanical Engineering1
Malayalam Literature1

Top 10 Optional Subjects list for IAS Exam 2023

Though choosing the UPSC optional subject is an individual choice, however, as analyzed the aspirants mostly prefer the following subjects as the best to opt as their Optional Subject. If confused to choose from 26 subjects.

we have prepared a list of the top 10 best optional subjects for UPSC, which are as follows.

  • Political Science & International Relations
  • Sociology
  • Anthropology
  • Geography
  • Mathematics
  • Hindi Literature
  • Economics
  • Electrical Engineering
  • History
  • Psychology

UPSC Exam 2024

FAQs: UPSC Optional Subject For UPSC 2023

Which optional subjects are easiest for UPSC?

The perceived difficulty of optional subjects in the UPSC exam varies for each individual. However, subjects like Geography, Public Administration, and Sociology are often considered relatively easier by many aspirants.

Which optional subject has shortest syllabus?

The optional subject with the shortest syllabus in the UPSC exam is Anthropology.

Which is the least chosen optional subject in UPSC?

The least chosen optional subject in the UPSC exam is generally Sindhi Literature, as it has a comparatively low number of takers.

What are the compulsory subjects in UPSC Prelims Exam?

The compulsory subjects in the UPSC Prelim exam are: 
General Studies Paper-I 
General Studies Paper-II (CSAT) 

What are the compulsory subjects in UPSC Mains Exam?

The compulsory subjects in the UPSC Mains exam are: 
English Language (Qualifying) 
Indian Language (Qualifying)
General Studies Paper-I 
General Studies Paper-II 
General Studies Paper-III
General Studies Paper-IV
Optional Subject

How many marks in UPSC interview /Personality Test?

It is the final stage of the selection process of the UPSC Exam. The interview consists of 275 marks which makes the grand total of maximum marks 2025.