How Many Optional Subjects Are There in the UPSC Exam?


The UPSC Exam is divided into three sections: preliminary exams, main exams, and interviews.

The main exams comprise seven papers, two optional, and the examination date will be declared after the UPSC CSE exam notification 2023 is released.

Choosing an optional is difficult, but it is critical to determine whether you pass the exams. Before deciding on a topic to write about, review the previous year’s papers and the syllabus for each and determine the success rate. Optional subject papers 1 and 2 are worth 250 points each, for a total of 500/1750 points for the main exams. The decisions must be carefully chosen as the marks obtained are used to determine final merit.

This article discusses all the optional subjects a candidate can select and the best strategy.

How Many Optional Subjects Can You Choose?

According to the Civil Services 2023 Prelims Notification, there are 48 optional subjects ranging from subject-specific to regional literature. They are all subjective, and each exam will take 3 hours to complete.

List of Options

  1. Agriculture
  2. Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
  3. Anthropology
  4. Botany
  5. Chemistry
  6. Civil Engineering
  7. Commerce and Accountancy
  8. Economics
  9. Electrical Engineering
  10. Geography
  11. Geology
  12. History
  13. Law
  14. Management
  15. Mathematics
  16. Mechanical Engineering
  17. Medical Science
  18. Philosophy
  19. Physics
  20. Political Science & International Relations
  21. Psychology
  22. Public Administration
  23. Sociology
  24. Statistics
  25. Zoology
  26. Assamese
  27. Bengali
  28. Bodo
  29. Dogri
  30. Gujarati
  31. Hindi
  32. Kannada
  33. Kashmiri
  34. Konkani
  35. Maithili
  36. Malayalam
  37. Manipuri
  38. Marathi
  39. Nepali
  40. Oriya
  41. Punjabi
  42. Sanskrit
  43. Santhali

How to Pick the Best Optional Subject for UPSC Exam?

Please take into account the following suggestions before choosing an optional topic. Before choosing based on your genuine desires, give each one significant thought.

1. Review the Fundamentals

You should not choose a subject only because everyone else is doing so, and that would be a poor decision. Analyze and determine whether you are familiar with the fundamentals of the subject. For example, someone with a commerce degree but little knowledge of physics and math. As a result, you should assess your level of prior knowledge on the subject.

2. Based on Your Interest

What you like to read has a significant impact on your life. Even the simplest tasks appear to be a burden when one needs more interest. On the other hand, giving your full attention to your favorite subject increases your chances of success. So, decide what topic piques your interest the most.

3. Choose the Conflicting Syllabus

Several disciplines have overlapping syllabi with the General Studies papers, such as History, Political Science, Sociology, Economics, etc., which will give you more preparation time.

4. Consider the Accessibility to Resources

Each topic has a different source. Ensure your chosen subject has a solid foundational reference and a few in-depth guides. Last but not least, it’s critical to have access to information and training. For some papers, it can be challenging to get required texts, and other subjects might need to have tuition available. Self-study can be used to get ready for subjects that need to be more technical.


You can choose the most excellent optional subject with the help of the suggestions given in this blog. Create a short list, and then, based on that, decide on the topic you desire.

What are the subjects that receive the best results on the IAS exam? Has no right or wrong answer; there is just the best fit for each person. Using your judgment as opposed to what prior victors have done is desirable. You should put a lot of effort into studying whatever optional you choose to do well in the UPSC exam after the UPSC CSE exam notification 2023 is released.

We hope that this post will be helpful to you as you choose an optional subject for the UPSC Civil Services Mains. Whatever optional subject you choose, remember that it will only be a scoring subject because of your effort and diligence. Therefore, stick with your options once you’ve decided, and give it your all. You will undoubtedly experience success.


1. Which UPSC Optional Is Easiest?

The first thing is you can choose any of the optional subjects based on your interest. If you ask this question to know which optional subject has the least syllabus, Philosophy has the shortest syllabus of any UPSC optional subject. Other options, such as Anthropology, Sociology, and Public Administration, are thought to have a smaller syllabus than the others.

2. How Many Students Pass the UPSC on Their First Try?

According to statistics, only one out of every ten candidates is selected for the UPSC on the first try.

3. How Long Do UPSC Toppers Study?

UPSC toppers typically study between 4 and 16 hours daily, depending on their preparation strategy. Some candidates performed well in the UPSC exam despite devoting only three hours