Which are the easiest optional subject for UPSC mains? - Everything you need to know!


The Union Public Service Commission is a commission, one we know as UPSC. The UPSC conducts the IAS pre and mains exams. This article deals with which is the easiest optional subject for UPSC for you.

Some very common questions which come to everyone’s mind when he/she starts preparing for the IAS main exam is –

  • Which is the easiest optional subject for UPSC available for this exam?
  • Why prefer this subject over that?
  • Which is the easiest optional subject of UPSC for me?
  • How to choose, how to decide?

Lakhs of student across the country register to appear in this exam, however, a very few of that lot are able to qualify this exam. You don’t just require rigorous studies for this exam. You need to work hard as well as smartly to get to the desired result. In this article, all your doubts on how to prepare for UPSC exams will be resolved.

One more question which comes to one’s mind is, we can select only one optional subject and it holds a weightage of just 500 marks out of 2025 marks. So how much importance should one give to it?

optional subject for upsc
January 7, 2022
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Don’t worry, you will understand the answers to all such questions after reading the article!

You will also learn about an exciting part-time job opportunity which will help you learn new concepts and grow your knowledge along with a fair amount of earnings.

You can also read our article on Best Optional Subject for UPSC.

Importance of choosing a best or easiest optional subject for UPSC?

500 marks out of 2025 are around 25% of marks. And 25% marks fully depend on one subject that too of your interest. A truly smart person will try to not lose a single mark out of it.

All other parts are common and the part of General studies holds the maximum of 1000 marks. But, with the note-making trend, this part isn’t difficult to crack. Choosing the optional subject wisely so that your interest in the subject is maintained and you don’t lose a single mark in it is a very crucial decision.

This decision could be made by considering the following factors:

  • Deep interest in any of the subjects.
  • Based on the past statistics, the easiest subject.
  • Choose the subject that doesn’t have an extensive syllabus-  Since the main exam already has a vast areas of studies you need to finish, its wise to choose an optional subject that isn’t as lengthy and can be covered in a much shorter period of time. Otherwise, you will have to dedicate an ample amount of your preparation to it, which wont be advisable.
  • Any subject which was part of your graduation and you excelled in it – For example, if you are an English literature graduate, then it is preferable that you take up English as one of your optional subject. Since you studied the same during your graduation period, you will be well-familiarised with the subject and have a good grasp on it.

Some of the subjects like History, Sociology, Political Studies, Public Affairs, International Relations, etc overlap with the main syllabus. If you choose a subject out of the above mentioned, it will prove to be very time saving. You wont have to study something from the scratch. Moreover, you will get to understand the subject with an in-depth knowledge, overall increasing a lot of your preparation time.

These are some of the factors which you should use to shorten the long list of subjects, say to 5 subjects.

How to select the easiest optional subject for UPSC from the list I have made after shortlisting?

So firstly, understand and analyze the previous trends in results and recommendations.

Note: The below lists are sorted based on student recommendations.

The following list contains the non-literature subjects.

S.No Subject Number of Candidates appeared Recommended by a number of candidates Rate of Success(%)
1. Public Administration 3201 337 10.5
2. Geography 4049 236 5.8

3. History 3870 212 5.5
4. Psychology 1061 116 10.9
5. Sociology 1555 89 5.7
6. Political Science 1320 85 6.4
7. Philosophy 1061 84 4
8. Agriculture 220 41 18.6
9. Economics 326 37 11.3
10. Anthropology 345 37 10.7
11. Law 365 19 5.2
12. Zoology 484 18 3.7
13. Medical Science 98 16 16.3
14. Commerce & Accountancy 266 15 5.6
15. Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science 65 8 12.3
16. Mathematics 277 8 2.9
17. Chemistry 124 7 5.6

The following list contains literature subjects.

S.No Literature Optional Subject Number of candidates appeared No. of candidates recommended Success Rate (%)
1. Assamese 5 2 40
2. Punjabi 19 5 26.3
3. Gujarati 42 7 16.7
4. Kannada 84 14 16.7
5. Marathi 42 7 16.7
6. English 40 6 15
7. Urdu 29 4 13.8
8. Tamil 225 29 12.9
9. Sanskrit 122 10 8.2
10. Malayalam 67 5 7.5
11. Pali 255 18 7.1
12. Telugu 147 9 6.1
13. Hindi 974 56 5.7

S.No Optional Subject No. of Candidates Appeared No. of Candidates Recommended Success Rate Percentage
1. Medical Science 235 55 23.4
2. Economics 269 51 19
3. AnimalHusbandry & VeterinaryScience 52 12 23.1
4. Law 246 42 17.1
5. Agriculture 122 20 16.4
6. Commerce & Accountancy 188 28 14.9
7. Management 167 24 14.4
8. Geology 28 4 14.4
9. Botany 104 12 11.5
10. Zoology 228 29 12.7

11. PoliticalScience & International Relations 1107 121 10.9
12. Chemistry 104 11 10.6
13. CivilEngineering 47 5 10.6
14. Sociology 2490 230 9.2
15. Philosophy 1116 99 8.9
16. History 2090 174 8.3
17. Psychology 1163 92 7.9
18. Geography 4351 314 7.2
19. Anthropology 579 38 6.3
20. Mathematics 325 23 7.1
21. Physics 266 17 6.4
22. ElectricalEngineering 126 8 6.3
23. PublicAdministration 7077 359 5.1
24. Mechanical Engineering 64 3 4.7

I think you have analyzed.


Confused, I know.

To decide which subject is hard and which one is easy is a difficult task in itself. I know, it all depends on your fields, from which background you come from, your areas of interests. What are the resources available with you also plays a role in deciding the easiest optional subject of UPSC for you.

Meanwhile, make sure to read our article on the Ultimate Guide for UPSC Mains.

Shortlist the list of optional subjects:

  • The aim is to make a list of 4-5 easiest optional subject for UPSC.
  • Some factors you may consider for choosing the easiest optional subject for UPSC are:
  • Field of your graduation and subjects you excel.
  • Your areas of interest.
  • Resources available.
  • Your analysis from the above data.

What after shortlisting the subject?

The main aim of our whole discussion is to know which is the easiest optional subject for UPSC  mains for me. So it’s time for a decision, now we are going to finalise our optional subject.

  • Check out the syllabus of all the 4-5 subjects selected. While going through the topics of the syllabus if you feel you know about them or you are interested in reading, learning about them then mark the subject.
  • Repeat the above process for all 4-5 subjects. I am sure you will be able to pick 2 subjects out of them in which you have deep knowledge and interest.
  • If you can pick one subject after the above process then congratulations your task is complete.

The last factor you must consider is going through previous year papers. Pick the last 3 year papers and go through them. You must keep 2 things in mind while analyzing previous papers:

  1. You already know many things as you have chosen the optional subject

2. Mark out the questions for which you know the answers or you have some knowledge about.

Once you have marked and analyzed the previous year papers of both subjects. You will know which one to choose and why to choose it.

List of some easiest optional subject for UPSC based on toppers choices.

Optional Subject (Approx) Number of Aspirants Syllabus Overlaps with
History 3500 Prelims, GS I
Geography 3500 Prelims, GS I and GS III
Public Administration 3000 Prelims, GS II
Political Science 1800 Prelims, GS II
Sociology 1800 GS I, GS II, Essay
Philosophy 1000 GS IV. Essay

One more significant question which comes to one’s mind is – Easiest Optional for UPSC with least syllabus too-

  • Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science
  • Geology
  • Civil Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Agriculture
  • Statistics
  • Medical sciences
  • Management and
  • Almost all the literature subjects(except Tamil, Hindi, Telugu).

Guide to prepare for UPSC

UPSC Civil Services or the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) exam is usually conducted in 3 phases :

  • Preliminary exam (objective)
  • Main exam (written)
  • Interview (personality test)

The first and foremost thing you need to do is get well acquainted with the exam syllabus. Get a better understanding on the exam pattern. After that, you can start filtering out the important topics. The topics from which the most number of questions are frequently asked. You can do so by going through the previous year question papers. This way you will be able to jot down the repetitive and the difficult questions of the syllabus. Focus on the segments of the exam that carry more weightage.

Make sure you go through the sample or the practice papers. This will prove to you how much prepared you are and which all areas you need to work more on. These papers will not only help you in your preparation for mains but also will be a great aid for you to learn how to manage your time during those 3 hours.

Strategize and plan out your preparation

Now that you are well acquanited with the syllabus and where to study from. The next important thing on the agenda is to come up with a time-table that will help manage your preparatory days quite efficiently. Since you are applying for a very high rank officer job, its better if you start preparing yourself beforehand with a well-organized schedule. Start by setting small goals and achieving them. Build up a time table that’s comfortable according to you and follow it strictly. Make deadlines for yourself. This give you an ample amount of time to finish your syllabus as well as revise it well before the exam.

In addition, you must be aware that current affairs across the globe constitute an integral part of the exam. Hence, it is essential that you devote around 25-30 minutes daily for newspaper reading. You can pick one national newspaper and read it daily till the day you give your exam. Cover all sections of the newspaper including the pages incorporating International issues as well.

Don’t go on and set over the head goals for yourself. Start by setting small goals, and slowly slowly increase them. Don’t be too hard on yourself in case you fail to achieve any of them. It’s okay to take a rest in between. Just like your body, your mind needs to be relaxed as well.

Salary/Perks of an IAS/IPS Officer

The candidates who achieve the higher ranks are offered the position of IAS or the Indian Administrative Service and IFS or Indian Foreign Service officer.

The starting salary of an IAS officer is INR 56,000 per month. It goes on to reach about INR 2,25,000 per month depending on promotions and seniority. Moreover, you earn a plethora of perks that you won’t get with a job in the private or corporate sector. You get huge houses at very low rent. You would also be allotted with transport. Also, you would be provided with a vehicle or two with chauffeurs for official purposes. Your bills are also subsidised. Even when you got out on vacations with your family, you can get free accommodations at guest houses that are available all across the country.

Everyone remains intimidated by the high perks, salary package, job profile that comes along with this job. Not to mention the ample amount of respect you earn. Becoming a high ranking government officer is in itself the biggest perk you could get. Even after you retire, the perks don’t seem to end, you will keep getting the pension. However, the most important aspect of this position definitely has to be the job security.

Also read – Know more about upcoming Government Exam, Notification And Syllabus

Final Thoughts

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They have options for various subjects which are similar to the easiest optional subjects o f UPSC:

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★ Civil Engineering

★ Mechanical Engineering

★ Electrical Engineering

★ Physics

★ Chemistry

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