Why UPSC Aspirants Choose Optional Subjects Outside Their Academic Background

choose optional subjects

Why UPSC Aspirants Choose Optional Subjects Outside Their Academic Background

Choosing an optional subject for the UPSC exam should be taken with a lot of consideration. It is advisable that one should choose the subject for their optional paper that they have an academic background in. However, it has been seen a lot of UPSC aspirants choose optional subjects outside their academic background. Why so? Do you want to know? Read this blog because we will tell you the secret behind choosing the right optional subject. It is not just about opting for the subject you took in your graduation but a lot of things are considered. Let us get into it.

Why Do Science Background Students Choose Social Science Subjects For UPSC Optional?

A lot of the candidates who sit for the UPSC CSE exam choose optional subjects outside of their expertise. This might be because of a lot of reasons. Some take optional subjects outside their academic background because they want to learn something new. Some choose because they have an interest in that particular subject. While some might opt for a subject thinking a particular subject might give them an edge in their preparation for the UPSC CSE exam.

According to the report released by the UPSC board, around 60% of the students chose a different stream than what they had studied in their graduation. Among these reports was also one that said 45% of the candidates who had a science background took social science subject for UPSC optional paper.

Some of the reasons why candidates choose social science subjects for their optional paper are:

Interest in the subject

Many science students are genuinely interested in social science subjects like History, Geography, Polity, etc. Subjects one had studied but couldn’t pursue further, UPSC gives them a platform to study that.

Scoring subjects

Some of the popular subjects that many aspirants go for are – Geography, Sociology, PSIR, History etc. This is also because the social science subjects are interrelated and relatively scoring. With social science as optional subjects for the UPSC CSE exam, students are able to score better.

Availability of study resources

Social science preparatory books can be found practically anywhere. There are many different writers to pick from. Be it for the conceptual understanding or for advanced study, you will have a huge variety of books to choose from.

Overlap with science

Subjects like Geography Anthropology, Environmental Studies overlap with science. The interconnection of the science part with the social studies and human nature makes it interesting and relevant. Relevant because you learn about human nature and stay informed about the world. These subjects also help you write better answers in the Ethics paper.

Relevance to Currernt Affairs

Subjects like PSIR, Geography, etc are highly relevant to current affairs. This can help science background students to stay informed about the world around them and to write better answers in the UPSC exam.

You must know that the UPSC exam is not easy, especially if you are choosing a different subject with no academic background in. Choosing coaching for IAS preparation will help you efficiently prepare for the exam. Plutus IAS is the best IAS coaching in Delhi, with an excellent track record of helping aspirants crack competitive exams.


Overall, the percentage of science background students choosing social science subjects for the UPSC CSE exam is increasing. This is a positive development, as it shows that science background students are not limited to studying science subjects for the exam. They are also open to studying social science subjects, which can help them to develop a more well-rounded understanding of the world.

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