Which is the most scoring optional subject in UPSC ?

Students are allowed to choose one optional subject in UPSC civil service Mains examination. Do you want to know which is the most scoring optional subject in UPSC?

In the IAS exam process of scaling across optional subjects to ensure parity.

So, taking any particular optional does not mean that you will score high.

For example, one candidate may find history very hard while the other one may find it an easy one.

Follow this process while choosing UPSC mains Optional subject:-

Check the previous year’s question paper for at least 3 of the optional subjects you want to opt for and also go through the syllabus of these optional subjects and think about which subject you feel comfortable with.

  • Whether the optional is your graduation subject or not?

  • Will you be able to find the right study material and practice question paper?

  • Do you have a genuine interest or passion for that subject?

  • All these factors should be considered while opting for Mains optional subjects.

Can I choose the subject of my graduation as an optional subject

As per the recent trend, candidates prefer humanities subjects as an optional irrespective of their backgrounds in Medicine, Science, Engineering or Humanity.

Analysing the previous year’s trends, aspirants from different backgrounds such as engineering and medical science, opted for the humanities optional

We can see most aspirants have chosen easier or scoring subjects irrespective of their original stream.

Why do students prefer the humanities optional subject?

Most of the coaching centers provide guidance for a few optional subjects like Public Administration, Sociology, History and Geography. They will suggest you take these optional subjects whatever be your academic background. They make the confusion that these optional subjects are high scoring while others are not.

Let us talk about the most scoring optional subject in the UPSC  main examination.


  • Every year, Most candidates prefer geography as the optional subject qualified to write the UPSC Mains exam.

  • Geography is the most scoring and preferable among the subjects chosen by the students.

  • History, Public Administration, and Sociology are also the most scoring and favorite subjects of UPSC candidates.

Which is the most popular optional subject

  • Candidates who are preparing for the Civil Service exam may find it difficult to choose IAS optional.

  • They must choose the optional subject for the UPSC exam carefully as it carries 500 marks out of the 2025

  • marks. The marks of optional papers are the deciding factor in realizing the final ranks.

  • So, you must check your interest, educational background, and knowledge of the optional subject before selecting any.

  • Scoring good marks depends on the preparation plan and study methodology that differ from individual to individual.

  • Hence, it is good considering these factors to choose optional subjects for the IAS exam.

  • Most of the students choose Geography Optional to score more marks on the IAS exam.

  • Geography and Public Administration are considered the best subjects that can fetch more marks in the IAS exam.

  • Most candidates have scored 350 marks in Public Administration in the past few years.

  • Some most popular and scoring optional subjects in the IAS Mains exam are Geography, History, Psychology, Public Administration and Sociology.

  • The topics covered in Sociology are related to the society that we live in so it is very easy to understand.

  • We are aware of History from our school days so it is also the most popular optional.

  • Choosing the subject that you have studied for your graduation or master’s degree will really help the aspirant to crack the exam as they are already familiar with the subject.

Factors that might help you in choosing the right optional subject

  • The subject makes you think out of the box and excites you.

  • The study material, books and test series are readily available.

  • The subject should not be boring and it makes you know more about the subject.

  • Availability of study material and coaching institutes are also important factors to be considered while selecting the optional subject.

  • Without having proper study material and guidance from a mentor, it is not possible to crack the civil service examination.

  • Analyse your requirement if you really need coaching for the UPSC exam before joining any.

  • Never choose an optional subject blindly without checking the syllabus.

  • Some subjects might be interesting but can take up a lot of your preparation time.

  • So, check the syllabus topic-wise and choose the optional very carefully. Analyse 4-5 optional subjects and read the syllabus of those subjects before making a decision

  • Avoid choosing an optional subject just because most of the students have opted for that.

  • Choose the optional subject based on your area of interest, don’t go for any because your friends are choosing it or based on the decision of the first-year toppers.

  • Optional subjects like History, Public Administration, Geography and political science also help General Studies papers as the syllabus overlaps.

  • choosing Sociology and Psychology as optional may help you in essay writing and with the Ethics paper.

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