How to select IAS mains optional – Detailed Guide

Choosing / Selecting a right optional for IAS is a nightmare for the students those who are preparing for the civil service examination. Some aspirants always kept on changing their optional subjects without any proper knowledge. This is because they took the optional without knowing their own interest. 

Even though when I started my preparation I took public administration as my optional without knowing about the subject. I took Pub Ad because my friend took this subject. 

That’s the mistake.

But after some time, I came to know that I don’t have much interest in this optional subject even though its a well scoring paper. So I changed my optional paper. Currently, my optional paper in Tamil Literature. 

Most of the common aspirants select optional in this way

  1. His/Her friend select that optional. So he selects that optional.
  2. Last year the particular optional Question paper was so easy and scoring.
  3. It’s a very good scoring optional paper.
  4. More guidance and material available in the market.

The above common mains IAS optional selecting method is not totally wrong. But it’s partial. because every subject is a good subject. The thing I am trying to stress you all is, You should have an interest in that particular optional.   

You all know that IAS examination is considered as one of the hard exams to clear and get the distinction.

As you, in the civil service examination,  there are three different types of tests will be conducted namely

  • Preliminary Examination (Objective)
  • Mains Examination (Subjective)
  • Personality Test (Verbal)

Preliminary Examination:

This exam focuses on the reasoning and thinking consistency of each applied ones. The questions are MCQ’s and hold 400 marks in total. Check out the Preliminary Examination Syllabus here. 

Mains Examination:

The IAS Mains is the toughest part of the examination consists of 9 subjects as syllabus here you have to choose any two subjects as your choice.

In this part only most of the IAS aspirants will probably in the chaos of how to pick out the IAS optional subjects and which subjects will help them to score highest marks. That’s why this article has been provided with the end to end details regarding the selection of optional subjects in IAS Mains. This information will helpful for the fresher candidates also who not even attend any examination in the IAS.

  • Look for best coaching:

The place where you acquire coaching for the IAS examination is so vital. You have to concentrate more on it previously then you can obviously select the IAS optional subject in Mains. Since without any perfect platform you can’t able to cross any test in IAS examination. But the fact is don’t completely depend on your coaching alone. It may help you in some criteria only apart from that you have to put little bit proactive preparation on your interest. But for the candidates who have already chosen the reputational coaching for Mains then you can learn according to your requirements.

The coaching will help you in the full-fledged way that’s why the selection of choice is essential.

  • Subjects which assist more marks:

Public Administration and Geography are the desirable subjects chosen by all the IAS candidates. Since their consideration is that these subjects will aid them to score more marks. As like almost candidates have got more than 400 in Geography and 340 to 350 in Public Administration. Also, the report of 2008 reveals that the average marks are off 266 in Mains Public Administration subject. At last the fact is the Mains preferable subjects are not based on the underlying scores. So have to go for some other options.

  • Pay attention to interest than scores:

The aspirants who apply for IAS examination will most probably choose the subjects like Geography, Public Ad, Sociology, History, and Psychology. Apart from these subjects there 22 remaining subjects are unnoticed by the candidates. Also by the candidates preference these 4 subjects are stated with 50 percentages in Mains pie chart.

The reasons behind the selection of these 4 subjects as Mains optional are given below. They are:

  • First of all the subjects like Public Administration and Geography, the Public Administration‘s syllabus is somewhat easy to prepare and the Geography’s syllabus is finite at all. The time taken to prepare these subjects in the p2 set will take only 5 months.
  • Also, the Public Administration subject doesn’t need any IAS coaching classes even studying by you is more than enough.
  • Next optional subject is History since the aspirants like History postgraduates and graduates will surely select the IAS optional subject as History. At the same time, History is the subject which you have been feed from the school so candidates choose History as a part of curiosity and well-known subject too.
  • The candidates who belong to the stream of Engineering and even Doctors will desire to select Geography since this subject is based on info about science. The questions which have been asked during the examination is also related only to the laws, principles, and map-based. That’s why they pick for easy scoring.
  • To know about the current state of the society some candidates will choose Sociology since it will cover some apt info about the society.
  • Finally, the purpose of choosing Psychology is that which has the whole syllabus of the entire things.

On the whole, the selection of your Mains IAS optional subjects must be of your passion not because to score marks alone. You can also search about some topped IAS officers they all selected the optional subjects based on their interest not depend on the scores. When you pick the subjects of interest means such interest will drive you to good marks.

  • Go for some research before selecting an optional subject:

Mostly the candidates who applied for IAS are advised to choose the optional subject in which they are studied or studying. Since choosing your degree subject as the IAS Mains will help you definitely. This method is applicable for both post and master IAS optional graduates. When you are an Arts degree candidates means to select the optional subjects in Arts it is a good idea. So, then you can get the coaching from your degree syllabus and Mains syllabus.

Why you have to push your degree subject as such in the IAS Mains is that as the subject can be chosen based on interest as well you will have some knowledge regarding the syllabus and its pattern. So, it is an appropriate method of selecting the IAS Mains. The subjects like Literature, Veterinary Science, and Mathematics are the likely subjects chosen by the IAS candidates which also make them gain more marks.

It’s all because of the interest and passion towards those subjects. All the top scorer IAS candidates are revealing that they choose the Mains IAS optional only on their interest apart from scores. So passion pays more than score.

So finally if you really meant to become an IAS officer on your interest and want to do something to the society means then select the Mains optional on your complete interest and passion towards the subject which will definitely help you in scoring both marks and knowledge. So give some chance to learn something about the subject instead of going through it.  

About the Author: GetintoIAS Team helps civil service aspirants, those who are trying hard to get into IAS.
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