Pros and Cons of Economics Optional for UPSC Mains

Economics is one of the optional subjects offered by the UPSC in the civil services mains exam. Though not as popular as some other subjects like Public Administration or Geography, Economics has a good success rate among candidates. There have been toppers with this optional also. For instance, in Civil Service Exam 2013 the first rank holder, Gaurav Agrawal had economics as his optional. This article discusses the pros and cons of economics optional for IAS mains exam, i.e., the advantages and disadvantages of economics as optional for IAS mains exam. Economics is an important part of the UPSC GS papers syllabus as well.

Economics optional Advantages/Pros
  • It is a rational and logical subject.
  • It is generally scoring.
  • Economics optional would cover about 60% of UPSC syllabus for GS paper III, hence the overlap is significant. Also, in the prelims paper, at least 30 marks can be covered by this optional subject.
  • Economics books and study material are widely available.
  • This subject is recommended even for aspirants having a science or technical background since the subject is rational. Candidates with no previous knowledge of this subject can also take this up.
  • UPSC syllabus for economics is specific and clear-cut.
  • Candidates can form good answers in this paper if they have conceptual clarity.
  • If candidates have a good knowledge of using and understanding graphs, they can get high marks in the economics papers.
Economics optional disadvantages/cons
  • It requires a real love for and interest in this subject if you are to study it well. There are some who find this subject a bit dry.
  • To excel in economics, you need to be decent in mathematics as well.
  • Graphs are aplenty in economics, there is no getting away from them. So, you need to be comfortable with them.
  • Being a technical subject, you need to be precise and accurate in your answers.

So like any other subject, economics too has its share of strengths and weaknesses. You should assess your own interest and aptitude before selecting economics as your optional. Go through the economics syllabus and also  UPSC previous year paper and then decide your optional subject.

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