List of Most Scoring Optional in UPSC: Get Topper’s Optional Subject List

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UPSC Toppers Optional Subjects

A candidate’s success in the Main Exam (written stage) depends on their selection of the optional subject. Because the UPSC Mains scores count towards the final merit, candidates take advantage of every opportunity to improve their overall scores. Examine the optional subjects chosen by IAS toppers and the elements that influence their selection of the best option.

We include the optional subjects that UPSC top scorers in the most recent and prior UPSC exams. The success rate of optional subjects and how they impacted the final grades of the top scorers were also explored in this article. Candidates may choose one topic from the syllabus’s list of optional subjects, according to UPSC. Each subject has two papers, for a total of 500.

Success Rates of Optional Subject in UPSC

The following table shows the optional subject-wise distribution of candidates who took the 2019 Civil Services (Main) Examination and were recommended for an appointment based on their success rate. This information was taken from the UPSC’s 71st Annual Report, which was released on February 23, 2022.

Optional SubjectAppearedRecommendedSuccess Rate
2.Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science16318.8%
6.Civil Engineering1461510.3%
7.Commerce & Accountancy1832010.9%
9.Electrical Engineering200168.0%
16.Mechanical Engineering213125.6%
17.Medical Science2472610.5%
20.Political Science & International Relations16621378.2%
22.Public Administration705588.2%
26.Literature Of Assamese Language308.2%
27Literature Of Bengali Language1010.0%
28.Literature Of English Language3139.7%
29.Literature of Gujarati Language8533.5%
30.Literature of Hindi Language1911316.8%
31.Literature of Kannada Language1241713.7%
32.Literature of Maithili Language5323.8%
33.Literature of Malayalam Language1051312.4%
34.Literature of Manipur Language700.0%
35.Literature of Marathi Language600.0%
36.Literature of Oriya Language300.0%
37.Literature of Punjabi Language1815.6%
38.Literature of Sanskrit Language5323.8%
39.Literature of Sindhi Language2150.0%
40.Literature of Tamil Language7756.5%
41.Literature of Telugu Language3213.1%
42.Literature of Urdu Language18211.1%

Top 10 UPSC Toppers Optional Subjects

The following list of the Top 10 UPSC Optional Subjects is a reflection of their popularity and performance history among applicants. To ace the test, don’t forget to select an elective that plays to your interests and strong points.

The Top 10 UPSC topper’s optional subjects are listed below.

  1. History
  2. Public Administration
  3. Geography
  4. Political Science and International Relations (PSIR)
  5. Sociology
  6. Economics
  7. Anthropology
  8. Psychology
  9. Philosophy
  10. Literature Subjects (e.g., English, Hindi, etc.)

Optional Subjects of UPSC Toppers (Rank 1)

The list of optional subjects chosen by UPSC Toppers during the previous 21 years is shown in the table below.

YearName of UPSC Toppers (Rank 1)Optional Subject Chosen
2021Shruti SharmaHistory
2020Subham KumarAnthropology
2019Pradeep SinghPublic Administration
2018Kanishak KatariaMathematics
2017Anudeep DurishettyAnthropology
2016Nandini K. R.Kannada Literature
2015Tina DabiPolitical Science
2014Ira SinghalGeography
2013Gaurav AggarwalEconomics
2012Haritha V. KumarEconomics & Malayalam Literature
2011Shena AggarwalMedical Science and Psychology
2010S DivyadharshiniPublic Administration & Law
2009Shah FaesalPublic Administration & Urdu Literature
2008Shubhra SaxenaPsychology & Public Administration
2007Adapa KarthikZoology & Psychology
2006Mutyalaraju RevuElectrical Engineering & Mathematics
2005Mona PruthiEnglish Literature & Sociology
2004S. NagarajanGeography & Sociology
2003Roopa MishraPsychology & Public Administration
2002Ankur GargPhysics & Chemistry
2001Alok Ranjan JhaGeography
2000Vijaylakshmi BidariKannada Literature

You can select your chosen optional subject for the UPSC exam on an individual basis once you have determined the answers to these questions.

Common Mistakes to Avoid in UPSC CSE Optional Subjects

Besides considering the optional subjects of toppers, one must remember that choosing optional should be primarily based on personal choices. Selecting the optional for UPSC Civil Services turns out to be crucial. The optional subject gives the applicant more assurance that they will do well in the exams. Consider your answers to the following questions before selecting a topic.

  • To what extent does the optional topic you want to take have a syllabus?
  • What is the amount of time you have available to prepare?
  • How much graduate-level prior knowledge of the subject do you have?
  • Which section of the syllabus is related to General Studies?
  • Are the necessary educational resources easily available?
  • Have you reviewed the past year’s papers on the subject, the difficulty level, and the patterns in marks?
  • Do you have a desire to learn about the subject?

Complete List of 48 Optional Subjects in UPSC

Below is the list of 48 UPSC Optional Subjects that you can choose from.

  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 and 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. Odia
  41. Punjabi
  42. Sanskrit
  43. Santhali
  44. Sindhi
  45. Tamil
  46. Telugu
  47. Urdu
  48. English

Your success on the UPSC CSE exam might be significantly impacted by your choice of optional subject. We’ll now discuss several tips and factors to help you decide on this important course of action.

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This was all about the “Most Scoring Optional in UPSC”. For more such informative blogs, check out our UPSC Exams Section, or you can learn more about us by visiting our  Indian exams page.

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