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UPSC CSE Economics Optional

  • In the phase II of UPSC CSE an aspirant has to pick an optional subject.
  • Economics could be the optional subject as it aligns with the syllabus of other subjects.  

Have you chosen your optional subject for the UPSC Civil Servants exam (UPSC CSE) to be Economics? We at Ecoholics can help you win. Customarily the UPSC CSE examination allows an aspirant to choose from 48 optional subjects. Based on obvious variables, candidates select different subjects. 

Every year the Union Public Service Commission conducts Civil Servants Examination to recruit officers for various services like; Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Police Service (IPS) etc. The exam is conducted in three stages: Preliminary (Screening), Mains & Interview.

Understanding the Importance of Economics Optional Subject

The Preliminary stage is a screening test that consists of two objective papers namely General Studies & Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT). The Mains stage is a written exam consisting of nine papers: 4 General Studies, 1 Essay, 2 Language & 2 Optional Subject papers. 

Here it is very important to choose your optional subject carefully. Because this is the stage which would take you to the third and final stage, Interview. The Mains exam has two papers for the chosen optional subject, each worth 250 marks. Meaning if you choose Economics optional subject, then you have a chance to score big out of 500 marks.

Why Should You Choose Economics Optional?

Choosing Economics as an optional subject can give you a strategic advantage. Mainly because it also helps you in the preparation of General Studies paper III, because it has similar topics such as Indian Economy, agricultural, industry, infrastructure, banking, budget etc. Strategically it  can help you in preparing for two papers simultaneously. 

Moreover, the understanding of economy is beneficial for civil servant officers, as it provides them with critical knowledge on public finance, international relations, and a comprehensive working of the economy. It also enhances the practical knowledge of aspirants and sharpens the logical skills expected out of a civil servant.

  • Benefits vs Challenges of Choosing Economics

Benefits of Choosing Economics Optional

Challenges of Choosing Economics Optional

Economics overlaps with General Studies Paper III Syllabus

Requires good conceptual knowledge & numerical ability

Helps in generating good analytical & Logical skills.

Requires extensive reading & revision of theories, development & trends.

A well defined & concise syllabus

Demands high level of accuracy & precision in answer writing

Has clear objective marking scheme, reducing subjectivity and bias

Candidates must provide proper terminologies, with details and analytics. 

UPSC CSE Economics Optional Eligibility Criteria & Exam Pattern

Irrespective of their educational background, degree or stream, any aspirant can choose Economics optional. However the candidates must consider factors like, their interest, aptitude, familiarity & exposure to the subject matter. Mainly the availability and accessibility of the subject guidance. 

  • UPSC CSE Economics Optional Exam Pattern

  • Aspirant has to appear for two optional papers: Economics Optional Paper I & II. 
  • Each paper accounts for 250 marks. 
  • Duration for each paper is 3 hours. 
  • Questions will be divided in two sections: Section A & B. 
  • Out of eight questions, candidates have to attempt 5 questions.
  • Question number 1 to 5 are compulsory. 
  • Out of the remaining 3 questions, the aspirant has to choose one from each section. Each question carries 250 marks.
  • These questions may be analytical, theoretical, or numerical in nature. 
  • Candidates must use appropriate diagrams, graphs, equations, and examples to support their answers. 
  • These answers have to be written in English only. 

UPSC Economics Optional Syllabus

Please find the Economics Optional UPSC syllabus pdf.

Economics Optional Preparation Roadmap

A strategic roadmap is imperative for success, it becomes even more important if you are an aspirant preparing to be a civil servant. Ofcourse, every aspirant is eligible to prepare their own road map, but our experts using years of experience have curated the following roadmap. If followed to the T, it can immensely help an aspirant.

How Can Ecoholics Help in this?

We at Ecoholics leveraging on our years of experience and expertise can help you in Economics optional. Our experts provide extensive in-depth live classes, hard copy of study material, we conduct weekly tests, and access your model answers. Our expert mentorship sessions and unlimited doubt resolution can make the difference. 

Our test series encompasses 25 tests, live discussion on each and every test, to better access your position. We also provide model answers and unlimited doubt resolution facility along with free mentorship.


Frequently Asked Questions:

CSE stands for Civil Services Examinations in context to UPSC. Hence, jointly stated as UPSC CSE.

Economics as an optional subject has had a good success rate of success. Toppers like Gaurav Agarwal, AIR-I, for the Civil Service Exam in 2013, testifies that Economics as an optional subject can bring out good results. But it must be chosen only when an aspirant is really interested in the field.

Their are some of the commonly recommended books and study material for economics optional are:

  • For Paper I:
    • Microeconomics by H.L. Ahuja
    • Macroeconomics by H.L. Ahuja
    • Money and Banking by S.B. Gupta
    • Public Finance by H.L. Bhatia
    • International Economics by Dominick Salvatore
  • For Paper II:
    • Indian Economy by Uma Kapila
    • Indian Economy by Mishra and Puri
    • Economic Survey of India by Ministry of Finance
    • Economic Development and Policy in India by Uma Kapila
    • Statistical Methods by S.P. Gupta

Aspirants can also refer to NCERT books for clearing basic concepts. 

Aspirants need to have a degree level knowledge of economics. As it covers mathematical application to theories, a huge syllabus, and technically written books. However, a strategic approach can help any aspirant crack the code.  

An aspirant needs to aim for around 150+ in both papers taking their added score to 300+ for the optional paper. This strategy can increase your chance to clear the main exam and get selected for the interview. 

Important Books for Economics Optional

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