Selecting the right CSE optional subject is a daunting task for civil services aspirants for beginners or those who attempted multiple times. The new exam pattern since 2013 for the UPSC exam has done away with second optional subjects. So, now candidates have to choose only one optional subject for UPSC Mains, which has two papers for 250 marks each. Additionally, specific subjects at the preliminary level have been eliminated. It may have relieved some of the pressure for APSC aspirants and UPSC exam candidates. However, it is still recommended to choose the CSE optional subject for mains well in advance. So, it allows enough time for collecting study material and forming a study group.
Despite having to choose only one CSE optional subject, many civil services aspirants still struggle to make the right choice. Therefore, before joining any APSC or UPSC coaching institute in Guwahati, aspirants must inquire about which optional subject to choose. These are some of the primary reasons that IAS aspirants consider when selecting a CSE optional subject for the Mains exam. Depending on their individual preferences and goals, candidates may choose one or multiple criteria for selecting their optional subject. Let’s explore each of these reasons in more detail and analyze how they affect the categorization of optional subjects into “scoring,” “popular,” and other categories. In this blog, we shall offer a guide for beginners for UPSC Mains. Also, those who have attempted but are still unsure of choosing optional.
Reasons for struggling to choose optional
During recent counseling sessions with UPSC aspirants, we came to know that many were struggling with choosing the right optional subject for the UPSC Mains exam. Here are some recurring reasons:
- Opting for a subject that is considered high-scoring
- Choosing the most popular optional subject
- Selecting an optional subject that is easy to understand or personally interesting
- Choosing a subject for which study materials and notes are readily available
- Opting for a subject with the best coaching options
- Choosing a subject in which they have a background from their graduation or post-graduation
- Choosing a subject that has helped most candidates crack the UPSC mains exam
How does a CSE Optional become scoring?
For many UPSC beginners, choosing an optional “scoring” subject is a top priority. And it’s not hard to see why – who wouldn’t want an advantage when it comes to scoring well in such a competitive exam? Subjects like Geography and Public Administration are often seen as the go-to options for high scores. But what is it about these subjects that makes them so successful?
Past UPSC mains exams, candidates who chose Geography or Public Administration as their optional subject have been known to score 400+ and 340+, and 350+ respectively. These impressive results were due to many factors, including the availability of study materials, the quality of coaching, and the interests of aspirants.
But here’s the catch – just because a subject is considered “scoring” doesn’t guarantee success. It ultimately comes down to the performance of the candidate. While choosing a scoring subject can certainly give an edge, it shouldn’t be the only factor to consider when making a decision.
Criteria to consider for CSE optional subject
Many UPSC aspirants face the dilemma of choosing optional every year. Some of the popular optional subjects include geography, public administration, history, sociology, and anthropology. But what makes them so popular?
Anthropology is not only interesting but also a scoring subject that is easy to grasp for science students. It requires the memorization of diagrams. Also, it focuses on tribal issues and current affairs. Public administration has a limited syllabus, which makes it easy to cover in a short time.
Geography is a bit vast, but it has a definite syllabus. Candidates with this optional need to focus on conceptual questions that require deep analysis. It is also important to be aware of current affairs and have a good understanding of India and World Maps. Geography is a semi-scientific subject, and most candidates prefer it for its laws, principles, and map-related questions.
History is quite popular simply because everyone has studied it in school. It is an interesting subject and even scoring. However, it requires more understanding and interpretation. Moreover, questions are in such a way that candidates have to link the concepts with facts in their answers.
Sociology is easy to understand and covers topics related to humanity and society. It requires the ability to distinguish between abstract theories and concepts.
However, just because a subject is popular or scoring doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for you. Some candidates have cracked the toughest exam by choosing not-so-popular optional subjects. The key is to choose an optional subject based on your interests and background.
Tips to help you make the best choice
When it comes to choosing an optional subject for UPSC, can be overwhelming. With so many options available, how do you pick the right one?
- First and foremost, choose a subject that excites you. It should be something that you’re passionate about and eager to learn more about. So, you will get motivation during your preparation.
- Additionally, the subject should challenge you and make you think outside the box. This will help you develop critical thinking skills, which are essential for the UPSC exam.
- Make sure that there are plenty of resources available for the subject, such as books and study materials. This will make it easier to prepare and stay on track.
- Finally, do not give importance to the idea of a “scoring” subject. While some subjects may have higher average scores, ultimately, your success depends on your own preparation and performance.
- If you’re still unsure about which subject to choose, consider seeking guidance from a coaching institute or signing up for free counseling. With the right guidance and preparation, you can excel in any optional subject you choose.