The elective subject chosen for the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) sector can make or break the deal. It is essential to get good results in the civil service exam. Aspirants should therefore choose their option carefully and wisely to maximize their chances in both the main test and the personality test.

The questions asked to aspirants in personality interviews are often determined by the topic you choose. It is common knowledge that the interview committee of UPSC Mains will question you more about the subjects of your option. It is, however, important to note that each aspirant’s personality test is unique and therefore highly personalized. Nevertheless, it is essential to understand that your choice of option will not only follow you through the UPSC CSE selection process, but also throughout your life.

There is enough evidence to suggest that aspirants with almost all optional subjects are chosen and called for a personality test. As a result, no year has a preferred optional subject. Although some options are much more popular than others. These include History, Geography, Public Administration, Political Science and International Relations (PSIR), and Philosophy.

Here are some things candidates should think about before choosing an elective:

Interest in the subject: The most important factor is interest. The UPSC Mains program is already full, so it is essential that we maintain our interest in our subjects. This will facilitate your UPSC CSE preparation.

Knowledge of the subject: If you are new to a subject and want to take it as an option for UPSC, check out the standard textbooks. The best approach would be to review the program once and identify the standard textbooks. Read a few chapters of the book to see if this is something that interests you.

Review questionnaires from previous years: It is essential that you review the previous year’s questionnaires and assess your ability to handle them. If so, go ahead and do it. If not, think it over and take some time before making a final decision.

Overlap with other subjects: It is important that you consider the time available and your level of preparation for the exam. The curriculum is extensive and therefore choosing an option that is already part of one or other of the compulsory subjects can be a good strategy.

Search for grade and course availability for the option you want. Some options are chosen frequently, and so their grades and lectures are easily accessible. Popular electives at UPSC among students with a science and humanities background include subjects such as geography, philosophy, political science and international relations, anthropology, history, and more.

— Written by Shabbir A. Bashir, Co-Founder, Edukemy

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