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The subject options obtainable in the UPSC mains exam can be divided into technical besides non-technical subjects. Generally, applicants go for the non-technical issue from equal Arts and Science backgrounds.

Here, we will debate the best optional subjects in UPSC among so many options. We will tell you more about the best elective subject in UPSC so you can choose from it.

Applicants must choose optional subjects very carefully as it overall moves the score on the UPSC exam. These are the maximum-scored UPSC optional subjects in the UPSC exam.


Geography is non the highest-scoring UPSC optional subject. Therefore, it is maximum popular among the candidates. In the fresh past, there were a lot of toppers with Geography optional. Geography is a good grouping of technical as well as non-technical. Therefore, it is equally general for both art and science background students.

Why Must You Choose Geography?

A massive amount of information is available about Indian geography and then World geography as well. The abundance of online and offline analysis material on Geography makes it the top optional subject for the UPSC mains exam.

A decent portion is already covered in the General Studies paper; this revenue will consume less time preparing this subject. You will recite the same topics again while preparing Geography optional, then revision helps increase retention of key terms and ideas.

Geography is not fascinating to read but very scoring too. It is easy to understand for science as well as humanities-related candidates.

There will be no dull minute while preparing geography, which is very scoring due to its primary technical nature.

Geography is linked to international relations, the environment, current affairs, Ecology then even Economics to an approximate extent. Most UPSC optional subjects are interlinked, but no one enjoys the commanding location of geography.

How to Prepare – Geography

There is tremendous stress on models and theories in the Mains paper, even the lesser-known ones. So you must refrain from erroring even on the seemingly unimportant approaches that lead to amplified study hours.

There is tremendous pressure on regional planning and contemporary issues in the paper second, which brands it very dynamic and hugely increases its scope. The rough part with it is not so much the content but rather the massiveness of it.

The idea of charting seems an onerous task for many candidates. But a deep knowledge of maps is obligatory for Geography Optional.

Political Science and International

Political Science and international relations are marking and popular non-technical subjects. There are many reasons why this is measured as the best optional subject in UPSC. It does not need a Political Science context and can easily be understood by any candidate. Candidates must have a primary consciousness and follow current affairs and editorials frequently. After this, you will have ample information about the little questions asked in the exam.

This subject needs creatively elucidating the information, so if you have decent writing skills or a flair for writing, this subject is flawless. Questions are almost like theses in this paper and need you to define specific terms where good writing skills are precious.

This subject contains a section, namely the Indian Government and politics. Also, it includes issues like federalism, organs of government, and the constitution, which are already set in the UPSC prelims exam.

In the second paper, you will take India and the world and the topics you have now covered in the current affairs section.

How to prepare – Political Science and international Relevance

Both papers include subjects that require theoretical knowledge so if you are skillful at mugging up information and writing it well this is an excellent selection for you. It may consume a lot of your valuable time in retaining and understanding if you are new-fangled to them.

A lot of emphases is placed on current affairs due to the vast UPSC syllabus and dynamic elements. So, you will have to often update your notes and keep a track of contemporary events connected to the topics.

Public administration

It gained vast popularity when it was first added to the UPSC Mains on UPSC optional list in 1987. The success rate for this subject is higher likened to other non-technical issues which is why it is a hot favorite amongst the candidates. Since it is highly pertinent to your future role as an administrator, it is naturally one of the scoring and the best UPSC optional subjects. It concealments topics like personal and financial administration, answerability and organization, etc.

You are going to be a part of the Indian Direction and the entire subject matter of the paper second will be helpful to in empathetic the setting of same. All these make the topic significant.

A large portion of the second paper overlays with your Political Science and current affairs training for the UPSC Prelims exam. It covers topics like Union Government and Administration, public sector undertakings, and urban local government besides a philosophical and constitutional outline of government that has already been covered in the General Studies paper.

Also, the subject matter intersections with the polity and governance paper in General Studies. It not only saves your time and liveliness but also provides abundant study substantial that is helpful to write better answers from different perspectives.

How to prepare – Public Administration

The UPSC syllabus is very compact but shouldn’t be discouraged by this point. There will be a lot of reading and understanding of the topic because public administration is all about perspectives. The subject is well distinct but the same topic may be viewed from many points of view. Mugging up will not work but requires conceptual clarity.

The questions asked in the paper from time to time may be tricky and the topics are interlinked so you will have to be unquestionably clear about every concept to avoid being misled by the question. Consequently, refer to the best public administration books for this determination.

There is a lot of race since a large number of candidates go for this Optional. So you have to shine in your answer to slash good marks. The ambiguous and confusing nature of the question types it tough, generally. Therefore, read the question correctly before replying to it.


There is no need for any prior information or special skills to understand the subject it’s good if you have one. It is all about what we see in our civilization. It includes topics like the structure and alteration in Indian society, caste, kinship agrarian structure, religion, etc. We are already alert of them. So candidates can always write something based on shared knowledge if they don’t have a good technical answer to a question.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. Which optional is the highest scoring in UPSC optional List?

Ans. Based on the general drift, the subjects which have the potential to help you score about 330 marks in optional exams (with your immense commitment, of course) are Mathematics, Anthropology, Sociology, Literature, and Public Administration besides Geography.

Q2. Who scored the highest marks in the UPSC optional subject?

Ans. Gaurav Agarwal, an engineer from IIT and MBA from IIM topped UPSC Civil Services Exam with Economics as his UPSC optional subject. He tenable 296 marks out of 500 in his UPSC optional subject.

Q3. Which is the most scoring on the easy optional subject for UPSC?

Ans. Sociology, Geography, and Public Administration are relaxed subjects to score. Many candidates have scored more than 400 marks in these optional subjects from the earlier year’s results.

Q4. Which optional has the UPSC smallest syllabus?

Ans. The answer is Philosophy It has the shortest syllabus available for all UPSC optional subjects for the UPSC examination, which is why it is a popular choice among UPSC aspirants.