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Optional Subjects Programme for UPSC

Optional Subjects for UPSC Civil Services Exam Course

Optional Subject in the UPSC CSE is a critical component that plays a significant role in your chances of selection and Legacy IAS Academy is committed to provide its expertise to the students in the most sought after Optional Subjects through the Optional Subjects Programme (OSP).


The coaching programme for Optional Subjects is designed to progressively increase the subject expertise on every step (from NCERTs to Advance levels). It is a meticulously designed plan to manage one’s preparation of GS subjects and keep one on track towards covering the optional syllabus extensively.


The course for Optional subject is constructed to facilitate a candidate to attain maximum marks, without much emphasis on the academic discipline of the candidate’s graduation in the subject, by using detailed-analytical deconstruction of the subject syllabus and its previous question papers.

Importance of the Optional Subjects in UPSC Civil Services Exam

The Optional Subject in UPSC CSE Mains is indubitably the most critical component that acts as a deciding factor in, not only the success potential of the candidate, but also the level of success regarding the rank that an aspirant can achieve. We are so confident when we say that the optional subject holds a very important position in the exam because – there are 2 papers to be attempted in the UPSC CSE Main Examination for the Optional Subject of your choice, each carrying 250 marks (a total of 500/1750 would mean 28.5% of the marks in the Main exam). In comparison, the General Studies (GS) papers carry only 250 marks even though each paper includes more than 3 static subjects.


Another important point to note is that – although the weightage of the optional paper is 500 marks out of the 1750 marks are located for the main examination of the UPSC CSE (i.e., about 28% the total marks in Mains), most of the candidates at times score more than 35 to 40% of their total marks obtained in the optional subject papers alone.


Also, the contribution of Optional marks in the total score obtained in the Main Examination relative to marks obtained in the General Studies (GS) papers is higher. It means, on an average a successful candidate scores 35%-45% of the maximum marks in GS papers, while they score 55%-65% (280-310 out of 500 marks) in the Optional Paper. This variation is probably due to the fact that the knowledge base for GS is the same for all students who have cleared Preliminary exam.


Since the impact of the optional subject on selection is skewed, it becomes extremely important to select the right optional subject for you after careful consideration.

Choosing the right Optional Subject for UPSC

In most cases, before joining an IAS coaching institute, students ask various questions like “Which Optional Subject do I choose?” or “Which is the best Optional Subject to pick for Mains?”. Before considering any answer to these questions, you should remember that it is very difficult for the counsellor to decide the optional paper on the student’s behalf and each student will require a different answer depending on the strengths and background knowledge. Reading through this section will help you deal with the Optional dilemma to a great extent.


Upon enquiring students as to which optional subject they are willing to opt for and on what basis, we came to know that a majority of students choose the Optional subject on the basis of parameters like – the Optional papers chosen by the toppers in the previous years, Optional subjects that are considered to be more scoring, Optional subjects with a larger overlap of syllabus with GS papers etc. These parameters are VERY MISLEADING and are not to be relied upon for choosing the right optional for you.


The right parameters to be considered before choosing the ideal Optional Subject for your UPSC CSE attempt are:


  1. Your interest in a subject should be the first parameter that you consider for deciding your optional subject in UPSC civil services exam. Without the right level of interest, it becomes a futile attempt to reach the depth of understanding and the put in the amount of hard-work that is required for successfully scoring more than 50% of the marks in the optional paper.
  2. The extent of the syllabus is the next parameter that is to be considered in close consideration with the available length of time for your preparation. One should consider the vastness of the syllabus, the extent of overlap with the general studies subjects and the level of difficulty in sufficiently completing the the preparation for the optional subject in the time that is available for the student.
  3. The discipline of graduation degree is another factor that can help in choosing the right optional for the candidate. For a candidate who chooses the same subject as that of his/her graduation for the Optional subject of choice in Mains, preparation becomes much easier. However, it is to be kept in mind that you have to choose your graduation subject as the optional subject only if it evokes interest in you and you are confident in the level and quality of expertise that you have achieved in the subject through your graduation degree.
  4. The nature of the subject another parameter that can be considered as well. For this exercise, a student needs to go through the previous years’ question papers and answer sheets of toppers along with the syllabus, and perhaps, even one or two standard books that are recommended for the optional subject. The aim of considering this parameter is to determine whether the student is going to be comfortable with his or her preparation in terms of the level of understanding, memorization, analytical thinking etc., that is required for the optional subject.
  5. The availability of study material and mentorship is another factor to be considered. Without the right guidance and reliable sources of information it becomes an uphill task to begin preparation for the optional subject in the right direction.

Optional Subject Programme (OSP) provided by Legacy IAS Academy

The Optional Subject course provided at Legacy IAS Academy is constructed to facilitate a candidate to attain maximum marks, with/without prior background in the subject by using detailed-analytical deconstruction of the subject syllabus and its previous question papers and with the help of expert faculty who will ensure that your preparation for the two papers on the optional subject is at the maximum potential.

Optional Subjects available at Legacy IAS Academy

The following optional subjects will be made available at Legacy IAS Academy:


  • Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology
  • Public Administration


Availability of all other Optional Subjects will be dependent on the criteria of requisite number of students for a particular batch. The other optional subjects that may be availed are:


  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Geography
  • Kannada Literature
  • Duration of the Course will be from September 2024 to February 2025 (5 months).
  • The Optional Subject will be covered in 3 hour classes held on Saturdays and Sundays during the 5 months.
  • There will be 5 Full-length Tests along with Daily Answer writing practice as a part of the Optional Course.
  • Our expert faculty and guest faculty for each of the Optional Subjects, viz. Psychology, Anthropology and Sociology, have more than 7 years of teaching experience.
  • The Classes for the Optional Subjects will be held in Offline + Live-and-Interactive Online mode.
  • The Tests for Optional Subject can be attempted in both Online and Offline modes as well.

The fee for any optional subject you choose will be INR 30,000.

For registration: Visit

Offline + Live-and-Interactive Online Classes for Optional Subject

  • ur classes are made accessible through 3 modes –
    1. Offline Physical Classroom Sessions,
    2. Live and Interactive Online Sessions and
    3. Recorded Sessions.
  • Our platform ensures that the Offline physical classroom sessions and the Online Interactive sessions run simultaneously to the effect that even in the situations, such as the ones exposed by the pandemic, where you are bound to to be absent in the classroom – you can attend the Live and Interactive Online sessions from anywhere without missing out on asking doubts and answering questions.
  • In case you are unable to attend even the online sessions, recorded sessions will be provided WITHOUT any unreasonable caveats such as ‘deletion of recorded sessions within a few days’.

Optional Subjects are also included as a part of the Foundation Course and 2-Years Integrated Course offered at Legacy IAS Academy. These courses will integrate coaching for the Optional Subject along with the General Studies subjects and include a plethora of features such as Test-series, Mains Answer-writing Practice, Personal Guidance Programme (LRP), Study Materials etc., that are included in the course.


Click Here to read more about the Foundation Course 

Click Here to read more about the 2-Years Integrated Course

FAQs regarding Optional Subject Program

The tests for the Optional Subjects will be held in both Online and Offline modes.

  • A student can visit the institute and attempt the test in offline mode to get an experience akin to that of sitting in the exam hall.
  • A student can also opt for attempting the test on Legacy IAS Academy’s Online e-Test platform.
  • For attempting the tests online, a student has to login to the Online test portal and navigate to the Optional Subject test series. Here a student can access the question paper for which they must write the answers in A4 sheets.
  • Within the stipulated time, the student much scan the answers written on the A4 sheets using the smartphone camera or a scanner, and upload the PDF file on the Portal.
  • The uploaded PDFs will be evaluated by the faculty and uploaded back on the platform for the students to view the feedback that they have received for their Optional Subject answers.

Students enrolled for the Optional Subject Course will be signed up to access the Live and Interactive Online Sessions on our platform along with Offline Physical-classroom sessions.


  • The Online classes platform works effectively in supporting the projection of content in the offline physical classroom as well as displaying the chat box to the faculty taking the class. Hence, it directly broadcasts everything the faculty ‘writes on the board’ in the classroom to the live online class while also displaying the doubts asked by online students directly to the faculty.
  • The platform also allows for recorded sessions to be made available throughout the course duration for a student missing out on attending the class in both offline and online modes. However, to ensure accountability and diligence, a student must provide for valid reasons to avail access to the recorded sessions
  • The online platform also allows for the recorded videos to be accessible along with the other files such as PPTs and PDFs in an organized manner.


Recorded Videos of Classes Legacy IAS Academy Online Coaching for UPSC

Recorded Sessions as viewed on Legacy IAS Academy’s portal


The Foundation Course is Legacy IAS Academy’s flagship programme to guide you from the very basics all the way to the absolute breadth and depth of the UPSC syllabus in an integrated manner.


The Foundation Course provides a comprehensive physical classroom + online platform to holistically foster aspirants through all three primary stages of the UPSC Civil Services Exam, viz., Preliminary exam, Main exam, and the Interview. This programme includes every segment of the syllabus in its entirety such as CSAT, Essay, and Optional Subject enabling the YOU to achieve the pinnacle of YOUR POTENTIAL.


The Foundation Course is NOT designed like any other ‘9-months course’ or ‘1-year course’ that boasts about completing the syllabus within that course duration. The course is tailored to accommodate classes till the commencement of your Mains Exam from the starting day of your batch, with the focus on accounting for every single micro-topic and effectively spreading it across the batch duration to have maximum clarity and retention along with efficiency.


The Foundation Course also includes a Daily Schedule that breaks up your preparation down to an hourly basis for imparting that EXTRA-INTENSIVE routine to effectively cover every nook and corner of the syllabus along with the understanding of importance levels.


Comprehensive, Relevant and Updated Study Materials for each of the Static Subjects will also be provided as a part of the Foundation Course.


Along with the Prelims and Mains Test-Series, Class Tests on Weekends, Surprise testsDaily Mains Answer Writing Practice (D-MAP) etc., will be a part and parcel of the Foundation course to keep you on your toes and aware of your progress.


In the Foundation Course, the optional subject classes will commence from the month of September each year (September 2022 for the UPSC 2023 Foundation Course) and this period is accommodated for in a such a manner that it goes hand in hand with the completion of ‘GS Mains Exclusive Topics’ and the commencement of GS Mains Test Series, to maximize the effective utilization of time for a comprehensive coverage of all 9 papers of the UPSC Mains Exam.

No, the SLP program does NOT include coaching for Optional Subject and only covers the test series and study-materials for the General Studies subjects by default. SLP does NOT include classes for the GS subjects by default as well. However, as an add-on feature, recorded classes for every GS subject as well as live theme-wise essay classes can be availed with the SLP upon request.


Under the SLP Program the study materials required outside of the standard books for an aspirant to prepare for the UPSC exam will be provided along with the Prelims Test series consisting of 48 tests and the Mains Test series consisting of 21 Tests.


SLP also provides a Daily Schedule that breaks up your preparation down to an hourly basis for imparting that EXTRA-INTENSIVE routine to effectively cover every nook and corner of the syllabus along with the understanding of importance levels.


Click Here to know more about the Self Learning Program (SLP)

No, the Legacy’s Real’IAS’ation Programme (LRP) is reserved exclusively for the Foundation Course, Prelims-cum-Mains course and 2/3-Years Integrated course students.


The Legacy’s Real’IAS’ation Programme (LRP) is the most intensive programme that any institute can aim to provide – with the target of “leaving no stone unturned” when it comes to covering the syllabus of the exam.

Some features of LRP that will boost your rates of success are:


  • Blueprint for success broken down to an hourly-schedule for each day
  • Applying knowledge from the exam perspective through Special Assignments and tests
  • Regular progress checks and monitoring of gaps in improvement
  • Individual Attention taken to the next level with doubt clearance and answer writing guidance
  • Covers every single concept at a ‘micro-topic level’ along with the understanding of importance levels
  • Special Graded tests with increasing difficulty levels for both Mains and Prelims
  • Special sessions for Current Affairs coverage and Prelims bits in Static Subject