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Learn from IAS and IFS officers, how to choose optional subject in UPSC

Are you also preparing for Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)? If yes, then you must know how important it is to choose the right optional paper for Civil Services Examination (CSE). CSE is one of the toughest competitive exams in India. To crack this exam one has to do extensive preparation for a lot of subjects, especially General Studies.

The syllabus of CSE is very detailed. If you choose the right optional subject, then stability and confidence is created in you. In such a situation, the decision of choosing the subject for the optional paper is very important for the UPSC aspirants.

For the better preparation of civil services aspirants, Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Kajal Javala (AIR-28), and Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer, Ankit Kumar (AIR-31) have given some important tips:

choosing the right topic

IFS Ankit Kumar Vane said, “While choosing your optional paper, pay attention to how good your grip is on that subject. It is better that you choose a subject which you have studied during graduation.

He said, “You should also pay attention to whether you will get the material easily to prepare for the subject you are choosing or not. Also, it is very important to have interest in the chosen subject. This will help you in preparation and focus on the subject.”

Ankit says, “You need to have a good knowledge of the optional subject till you reach the interview stage, so choose the appropriate optional subject wisely for yourself.”

Solve Old Question Papers

Kajal Jawala, IAS

At the same time, IAS officer Kajal advised the CSE candidates that before choosing the optional paper, go through the previous years question papers thoroughly.

She says, “If you spend enough time solving previous years question papers, a pattern starts forming in your mind. Same happened to me with my optional paper (zoology), every year there were some subjects which were repeating continuously. I focused on those subjects and insisted on getting a grip on them and understanding them better.

how to choose Best optional subject?

Keep these things in mind while choosing the most suitable optional subject for you:

  • Initially, read the NCERT books related to the subject you are planning to take as an optional. Go through at least some of their introductory chapters completely, so that you can understand whether that topic interests you or not.
  • After this, see what kind of questions are being asked, do those questions require a lot of thinking or are they direct and more theoretical?
  • Choose the optional subject according to your ability.

Customize your study schedule

What should be the study schedule, it depends on the preparer. That’s why both Ankit and Kajal insist that the candidate should prepare his/her schedule accordingly.

When Kajal was preparing for CSE, during that time she also used to do full time job. She says, “Every day I used to travel from Delhi to Gurgaon for work. But still, I used to always make an outline of how much syllabus I have to complete in a week at any cost. It helped me make better use of my preparation days, and at the end of the week, I was satisfied that I had accomplished what I thought was possible.”

“It is very important to set aside eight hours for studies every day,” says Ankit. He says, “Choose the time of day to study, which is best for you. For example, if you are working during the day, make sure to take out a few hours every day in the morning to study before going to work.”

Prepare notes and study material smartly

Books for UPSC Preparation.
Book list of IFS Officer Ankit Kumar

Make the most of your free time. Experts recommend that working people should make maximum use of the time spent in commuting for studies and lunch breaks.

Ankit says, “Don’t be in the trap of making notes from newspapers. Try to take some time to understand what is important from exam point of view and what topics should be covered.” He says that after going through the UPSC question papers of previous years, candidates will be able to make a better decision about the optional paper.

recognize your weaknesses

Kajal insists that if the candidate decides to study only a part of the syllabus, revision becomes very important for success. He says, “If you have been able to complete only 60 per cent part, then make sure that you revise that part completely and score maximum marks with that part only.” Keep working on mock tests apart from revision. Analyze the mock test results and work on your weaknesses accordingly.

Kajal, cycle of events She also recommends reading a book called. In this, question papers of the last 20 years have been given, which are divided according to the subject. It gives a good idea to the candidates as to what may come in the paper. He said, “I used this book for history, politics and geography. Along with the questions, the answer key and complete explanation of each answer are also given in this book. This helped me in objective type questions and also strengthened my grip on the subject.

Original article: Vidya Raja

Editing: Archana Dubey

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