When to change the optional - Sage IAS When to change the optional - Sage IAS

An aspirant preparing for civil services has a limited number of attempts, earlier it was 4 which is recently raised to 6. Therefore, one should review his preparation after each attempt and readjust. One failure may not indicate anything but more than that needs serious rethinking. The majority of the mains examination syllabus is General Studies, which is same for all the students, same is the case with essay too. Optional subject is the only part of the examination, which one can change. Changing the optional subject is more an emotional decision than a tactical one. It is generally the area where the student develops a sense of affinity. Also, he studied the optional subject in much greater detail than the General Studies portion. All this makes it very difficult for one to leave the subject and go for an entire new one. However, being emotional helps no one and after repetitive failures one must accept the larger truth.

If any of the following reasons are with you, please consider changing your optional subject (given you have tried at least two attempts with that subject already).

1.   Do not find it interesting anymore- This is the easiest situation for a student to change his optional subject. If a subject is not interesting for you anymore, do not pursue with it in hopes of making it interesting or due to the fact that you already had spent a large amount of time on it. Find a better subject for you (refer to the earlier post on ‘how to choose optional subject’) as it will make your preparation and life a lot easier.

2.   You have an opportunity for another subject- If your current subject is not giving you the desired output and you find a good teacher or coach of another subject in your vicinity, you can opt that subject. However, this should not be the prime criteria of choosing the optional and should be used only if you have already made up your mind of changing the optional.

3.   The concepts of the subjects are beyond you- If you are unable to make yourself at ease with the technicalities or the concepts of the subject, you could think over changing it. However, one must make sure that it should be done after giving proper time and efforts, as in earlier stages, every subject will look difficult.

4.   You took the subject after listening to some speculative hypothesis- If you picked an optional subject after listening to the hypothesis like, ‘it will take only a month to cover it’ or ‘it is the most scoring subjects’ etc., and the subject did not deliver for you, please change the subject and take one which could really help you

5.   You feel you are not lucky enough- If even after having a tight grip over the subject and having a considerable command over all its topics, you cannot score repetitively due to unforeseen reasons, please think over changing it. Your approach may not be matched to the needs of the examiners at UPSC or you may be writing too radical or critical or any other reason you cannot control. Its better change the subject and start afresh in such case.

One needs to sit down and think over the issue. Any decision should be taken after thinking over it for some time, i.e. not in haste. At last do make sure that decision is a tactical one and not emotional.

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