UPSC Conducts the Civil Services exam in three stages. While selecting the Optional Subjects which form a part of the Mains Exam (Second stage) many aspirants get confused about choosing the right one. Still, it is pretty natural to get confused given the nature of the UPSC Exam. This article may act as a helping hand in the process of Choosing the one Optional which is going to play a crucial role in clearing the Examination.

1. Agriculture 

 Agriculture is one of the preferred optional subjects in the UPSC Civil services Mains Exam. Candidates from Agriculture, Botany, and Zoology backgrounds prefer to select it due to its Scoring Nature. Paper 1 covers Ecology, Agronomy, Weed Science, Forestry, Soil Science and nutrient management, soil and water conservation, Agriculture economics and Agricultural Extension. 

While paper 2 covers cell Biology, Plant Breeding, Seed production and technology, Plant Physiology, Horticulture and landscape gardening, food production and nutrient management.

Image Depicting Agriculture Sucess rates over Past UPSC Exams

2. Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science

    Animal Husbandry is nothing but taking care of Farm animals by Humans. Veterinary Science is the treatment of Animals by Humans. People with veterinary science as a background with an Interest in Biology mostly Choose Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science as an Optional Subject.

Paper 1 of the optional Subject deals with Animal Nutrition, Animal Physiology,  Animal reproduction, Livestock production and management, genetics and animal breeding, and Extension. While paper 2 deals with Anatomy, Pharmacology and Hygiene, animal diseases, Veterinary Public health, Milk and Milk products Technology, meat Hygiene and technology.

Note: The Success of the year 2019 is 18.8%

3. Anthropology

    Anthropology is a popular choice among aspirants coming from Engineering or Science Backgrounds. Though the syllabus is compact, the subject demands a high conceptual clarity. The National Geographic describes Anthropology as the study of humanity through the application of biology, cultural studies, archaeology, linguistics, and other social sciences. The Subject has shot into huge famous after Anudeep Durisheety (AIR1), Sachin Gupta (AIR3), and Koya Sree Harsha (AIR6) Scored top ranks in 2017 with Anthropology as an Optional Subject. You can refer to his website where he has listed out his Plan and Book List - anudeepdurisheety

   Paper1 syllabus includes 
  • Meaning, Scope and development of Anthropology - Relationships with other disciplines, Main branches of Anthropology - their scope and relevance, Human Evolution and emergence of Man etc., Nature of Culture, Nature of Society, Marriage, Family, Kinship, Economic organization, Political Organization and social control, Religion, Anthropological theories, Culture, language and communication, Research methods in Anthropology, Human Genetics, Epidemiological Anthropology and Applications of Anthropology etc.
Paper2 Syllabus contains
  • Evolution of the Indian Culture and Civilization, Palaeo, Ethno-archaeology in India, Demographic profile of India, the Caste system in India, Indian Village, Tribal situation in India, Problems of the Tribal Communities.

4. Botany

   Botany is mostly considered for the Optional Paper by the students from Botany Stream and its allied backgrounds. Though Botany is a conceptual subject and is chosen by less number of aspirants compared to subjects like Geography, Public Administration, Sociology etc it stands as a good scoring subject. So, if you have a flair for plants and most importantly for science, you might consider it before finalising your optional subject.

   Paper-1 Syllabus includes 
  • Microbiology and Plant Pathology, Cryptogams, Phanerogams, Plant Resource Development and Morphogenesis.
Paper-2 Syllabus includes
  • Cell Biology, Genetics, Molecular Biology and Evolution, Plant Breeding, Biotechnology and Biostatistics, Physiology and Biochemistry, Ecology and Plant Geography.