IAS Exam Preparation

Best 4 Scoring & Non-Technical Optional Subjects in IAS Exam

UPSC exam offers the list of 25 optional subjects. You must choose anyone that best fits your requirements. These are again classified...

Written by Abhinash Chaudhary · 5 min read >
4 Scoring & Non-Technical Optional

UPSC exam offers the list of 25 optional subjects. You must choose anyone that best fits your requirements. These are again classified into technical and non-technical subjects.

Generally, the IAS aspirants opt for non-technical subjects. The main reason is candidates can easily score good marks. Both the science background and arts background applicants prefer non-technical subjects.

So, it is the perfect time to explore the scoring optional subject. Are you ready? Read thoroughly before making up the final decision.

1. Anthropology

Anthropology is one of the common choices among UPSC candidates. The subject promises excellent scoring. So, students tend to go for Anthropology while choosing an optional subject.

However, the previous year toppers have not taken Anthropology. Other candidates who have taken this subject have got the highest score.

So, performing well only in an optional subject is of no use. You should have a overall balanced score in the UPSC exam. Otherwise, you cannot be a topper.

Unique Features Of Anthropology

  • You must understand this point very clearly. Anthropology is a static subject. In other words, the course content is constant for many years.

The consistent research does not happen in this subject. As a result, there are no updates to the information. You will not have any addition of new concepts.

All you need is understanding the different concepts. Then, remember all the points you studied.

  • Anthropology seems to be very interesting. The subject revolves around topics like man, his evolution, culture, etc. Do you love reading new information?

If yes, then this subject best suits you. Go ahead with it without any second thought. Majority of the topics are new to you. So, you will not get bored while preparing.

Unlike other subjects. the topics never overlap. The candidate will never feel lazy about the subject.

  • Are you a science student? Do you want to take up a non-technical subject that has a science background? Go for Anthropology. Definitely Yes! It is the best choice for you.

The subject is the blend of social science and science. Don’t worry! It is not the same as any other arts subject. You need not focus on framing creative answers.

It is okay if you have average writing skills. Generally, the answers are expected to be precise. Explain it with the help of flow charts and diagrams.

Things To Remember Before You Choose Anthropology

In the first place, read the complete syllabus carefully. Go for it only if you find the topics interesting. Check whether you own a good reading and understanding speed.

By doing so, it helps you to cover the entire syllabus without any distractions. Prepare your mind! You might have to draw many diagrams while writing an answer.

The questions might not directly ask for you to draw the diagrams. But, an answer supported by a pictorial representation will seek you good marks.

If the drawing of too many diagrams disturbs you, then do not go for this subject. It would be wise to drop the idea of considering Anthropology as an optional subject.

2. Political Science and International Relations

This is a very famous non-technical optional subject among UPSC aspirants. More number of students started opting this subject after Tina Dabi scored AIR 1. She had chosen Political Science as her optional subject.

Unique Features Of Political Science and International Relations

  • The part 1 of this subject is about Indian Government and Politics. The topics included are Federalism, organs of government, and constitution. How do you feel about these topics?

Do you remember? You have already come across these topics in Prelims Phase itself. All the efforts you had put during the prelims preparation will still help

  • Part 2 of this subject covers India and The World. Most of these topics are already covered during current affairs preparation. Don’t you think it is easy to prepare? As the topics are repeated, you will need less time for preparation.
  • Irrespective of the education background, you can understand this subject well. It is not compulsory to have a political science background. If you have, it provides a positive grip on the subject.
  • Do you have the basics of general awareness? Did you follow current affairs on a regular basis? Did you read editorials regularly?

If your answer is yes, then it is possible to know the answer to any question asked in the UPSC exam.

  • Do you have a passion for writing? Then you must opt for this subject. Here, you will have to present the answers creatively. Most of the questions will be of essay type.

In case you possess good writing skills, you can always go with this option. However, it is also possible to practice writing skills if you possess an interest in the subject.

Things To Remember Before You Choose Political Science

Both parts demand theoretical knowledge. Are you ready to take it up? If you are comfortable in mugging the information, this subject is the best choice.

In case you do not like theories, please drop the idea of choosing this subject. It will consume a lot of your time and energy. Please do not give it a chance.

The syllabus is huge. It is because of the dynamic current affairs topics. So, it demands you to update the knowledge on a continuous basis.

3. Sociology

Sociology is the only optional subject which has attained consistent high scores from the past few years. IAS aspirants prefer this subject than any other.

Unique Features Of Sociology

  • Sociology is one of the simplest and easiest optional subjects in UPSC. Why does it seem easy? The topics in the subject directly interlink with society.

Most importantly, you will not require any kind of prior knowledge. Candidates need not have special skills to understand the subject. Many topics are already familiar to you.

You might not know the technical aspect of the topics. However, one-time reading is enough to grasp the concepts.  You can always write the unknown answers with the help of your base knowledge.

  • You will have a limited syllabus to study. Most of the topics are static in nature. Paper 1 and paper 2 topics are interconnected. So, it demands less preparation time.

The whole UPSC exam syllabus is India centric. As a result, you are aware of the changes happening in society. It helps you to prepare for the dynamic concepts smoothly.

  • This subject gives you complete knowledge about Indian society. If you pay attention here, it helps a lot in the interview stage. You will have a good idea about the problems of the country. In turn, it will help you to solve the question with better ease.
  • You will find a lot of study materials for Sociology. There are many live examples who have scored top ranks choosing this as an optional subject.

It is also easy to find good subject matter experts. Seek mentorship from them. This helps you to save a lot of time. Follow the strategy as guided by your mentors.

Things To Remember Before You Choose Sociology

You are expected to write subjective answers in Sociology paper. Do you find it easy to write elaborated answers? In turn, take care of including the information only required by the examiner.

You need a specific skill while writing answers. It is very important to write within the word limit and also provide complete information.

Are you from the science background? It is extremely easy for you to understand the entire Sociology syllabus. It might be non-scientific. But, do not worry!

Opt for sociology only if you feel good to study theoretical subject. Otherwise, go with any other suitable choice.

4. Public Administration

Public Administration is the non-technical optional subject added to the list in 1987. Since the beginning, it has attracted huge popularity.

Of course, it is one of the favorite options among the IAS aspirants. We have found that the success rate for Public Administration is higher.   

Compare this subject with others on the list. The success ratio is better.

Unique Features Of Public Administration

  • The perfect subject that suits your future role of IAS officer. The topics you study helps you to understand the Indian administration. So, you will feel it to be a practical and interesting subject.
  • Most of the topics overlap with the prelims syllabus of current affairs and Political Science. Is it not easy to study the same topics for which you have already prepared?
  • Some topics also overlap with General Studies paper – Polity and Governance.

Things To Remember Before You Choose Public Administration

Ensure you feel happy to read the repeated information. In case you get bored, this subject is not for you.

According to me, it is extremely beneficial to find the subjects having similar topics. Don’t you feel the same? Ultimately, such a choice of subjects saves your time and energy.

In addition, you will get plenty of study materials. Grab different ideas to write impressive answers. All you need is understanding of the same topic from a different perspective.

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Written by Abhinash Chaudhary
Abhinash Chaudhary is a Passionate blogger, Entrepreneur & Digital Marketer in India. He has been blogging since 2013 & writes about Education, Web Design, Web Development, SEO and Technology. Profile
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