BEST OPTIONAL KAISE CHOOSE KAREIN ? WHAT ARE THE FACTORS WHILE DECIDING YOUR OPTIONAL ? how to study smart and choose best optional
IAS UPSC PCS STATE PSC KE LIYE BEST OPTIONAL KAUN SA HOGA ?
BOOKS KAUN SI PADHEIN ? STUDY MATERIAL KISKA LEIN ?
HOW TO STUDY OPTIONAL SUBJECT FOR MAINS , ANSWER WRITING PRACTICE KI KITNI IMPORTANCE HAI MAINS MEIN ?
Selecting the Best Optional Subject for IAS the Right Way
what does the Best Optional for IAS mean?
I am sure it means differently to different people but what does it mean to you:
A scoring optional?
The most popular optional?
Easy to understand or which you find interesting?
Subject with easy availability of study materials like books and notes?
Optional for which one ‘best’ coaching is available?
Subject with some previous base in graduation or post-graduation?
The optional with the best results in the IAS exam?
I hope I have covered all the points that majority of the IAS aspirants consider before selecting the right optional for Mains. Obviously, you might consider only one of the above points as the basis for selecting your Mains optional or consider multiple criteria.
A Scoring Optional
Most IAS beginners choose an optional simply because it is considered ‘scoring’. Some of the optionals that are considered scoring are Public Administration and Geography. While Geography has returned marks with 400+ in IAS Mains, many candidates have been scoring 340+ and 350+ in Public Administration in the past few years. In fact the average marks scored by Mains candidates in Pub Ad in 2008 Mains was 266 which is quite high considering that it is the most preferred optional among IAS aspirants.
But should score be the sole criteria for selecting the Mains optional or are there other related basis for selecting your mains optional
A Popular Optional
Optionals that come within this definition are Geography, Public Ad, Sociology, History, and Psychology. These four IAS optionals alone account for about 50 percent share of the Mains pie and the rest 22 optionals, taking Literature subjects as one, for the rest.
This gives you some idea about the ‘popular optionals for IAS’. But why are these optionals so popular while the rest aren’t so popular? Here are some reasons:
Subjects like Pub Ad and Geog have definite syllabus and Pub Ad has quite limited syllabus especially for P2 so you can cover it within 5 months or so.
You require limited coaching for Pub Ad as most of the syllabus involves self-study.
The History optional for IAS is quite popular simply because there are so many History post graduates and even graduates with history as a subject. Also we all studied History as part of our school curriculum and most of us found it interesting and some, even scoring.
Geography is a semi-scientific subjects and a favourite among Engineers and Doctors for its laws, principles, and map-based questions. No wonder so many IAS aspirants opt for it.
Sociology is easy to understand and very interesting as the topics covered concern the very society we are a part of.
Psychology has pulled, I feel, simply because it is a combination of all the above attributes and also due to the fact that it is probably the only optional where only one name prevails for coaching: Mukul Pathak of Vajiram.
With this we come to another related question, are all popular optionals scoring or to put it another way are the not-so-popular optionals for IAS not scoring as well?
Let me put it bluntly. Popularity has actually got nothing to do with the scoring potential of an optional. If you want proof, read on. Shah Faesal topped the 2010 IAS exam with Urdu Litt. as one of the optionals, second being Pub Ad. Mona Pruthi, the 2006 IAS topper chose English Litt. and Sociology. Mutyala Raju, the 2007 topper took Electrical Engineering and Mathematics. Karthik Adapa aced the 2008 IAS exam with Zoology and Psychology.
What’s common to all these IAS toppers? Except one, all opted for one non-popular optional. And let me also mention that if you read their interviews they chose the optionals based on their interest and background and not because they were scoring or popular.
The fact that they have scored well in both the optionals (that’s why they topped) and not just the popular ones proves that all subjects are equally scoring. So choosing an optional based only on the scoring criteria is incorrect.
So how about the coaching criteria?
Before deciding to select an optional on the basis of the coaching available first determine whether you require coaching in the first place? You must’ve realized this can only be determined after you’ve selected an optional, not before it. So I feel selecting an optional simply on the basis of the coaching available is like saying ” I can never clear the Civil Services exam without coaching”. And once you become completely dependent on coaching then good luck to you as I have already written in my Mains 2010 GS analysis how unpredictable the