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    How to Choose Optional in UPSC CSE

    Upto 2013, in Civil Services, we were supposed to choose 2 optionals but now its only one. In Forest Services we have to choose 2 optional out of 140 with certain restrictions on similar choosing and no literature available. In State Services pattern differs according to the states.


    Now coming to CSE, there are 24 +23 (Literature) options. The 24 options are subdivided into three parts:


    1. Engineering: which includes Civil, Mechanical and Electrical engineering. There is no overlap of the syllabus with the GS paper and also getting marks is difficult (median marks less).


    1. Pure Science: which includes Physics, Maths. There is certainty of overlap with GS paper. Also utility in Forest Services.


    1. Humanities(most popular): Paper 1: Western and paper 2 contains Indian society questions.


    Literature contains history, prose/poetry, prominent work of writers etc.

    Format of Optional Paper:

    Total marks=500

    Paper 1=250 marks, time: 3hrs and 8 questions (out of which 5 to be attempted)

    Paper 2=250 marks, time: 3hrs and 8 questions (out of which 5 to be attempted)

    There are two sections in each paper (Section A-4 questions and Section B-4 questions)

    Each question will have 5 sub parts and first question of each section is compulsory.

    Process for selecting Optional (Parameters):

    The two important parameters are:

    1. Interest
    2. Objective parameters


    Following things should be kept in mind while going with objective parameter:

    • Check syllabus+ resources available
    • Previous year question papers (Analyse both the papers)
    • Check the overlap with Essay and GA papers.
    • Take in consideration if giving other exams too like Forest, Engineering services etc.


    Also check the median marks of the subject. It should be around 300 (benchmark)


    For example: Anthropology is a very famous optional among topper students. There were around 4 students with Anthro in top 10 in 2018.Also the median marks is more than 300.


    For more Information Speak To Our UPSC Expert & Book Your Demo Lecture Today.


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