Why Choose PSIR as an optional subject for the UPSC Civil Services Exam?

why choose PSIR optional

At Rau’s IAS Study Circle, we believe that the choice of an optional subject is an essential factor that may significantly impact your success in the UPSC Civil Services Examination. Among the wide range of subjects available, Political Science and International Relations (PSIR) has consistently emerged as a popular choice.

PSIR as an optional subject

However, like any other subject, PSIR carries both potential advantages and challenges.

It is important to make a well-informed decision considering your interest, prior knowledge, availability of resources, and how it correlates with the general studies papers.


Interlinking with General Studies: One of the greatest advantages of PSIR is its interlinking with various parts of the General Studies (GS) papers, especially GS Paper-II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International Relations). The overlap can result in a significant saving of time and effort.

Dynamic Syllabus: PSIR is a highly dynamic subject, and it mirrors the contemporary changes in international politics and relations. For aspirants who keep abreast of current affairs and enjoy understanding the nuances of global geopolitics, this subject could be interesting and scoring.

In-depth Understanding of the Democratic System: As future civil servants, having a comprehensive understanding of the Indian political system, governance, and the Constitution is of utmost importance. PSIR enables aspirants to gain a deep understanding of these aspects.

Availability of Study Material: Due to its popularity among UPSC aspirants, there is a wealth of resources available for PSIR, including standard books, coaching notes, online study material, and mock test series.

Less Reliant on Memorization: Unlike some subjects that require extensive rote learning, PSIR relies more on conceptual understanding and analytical skills.


Dynamic Nature of Syllabus: While being a pro for some, the dynamic nature of the syllabus can also be a disadvantage. The constantly changing international relations scenarios can be challenging to keep up with, requiring consistent attention to current affairs and editorial analysis.

Subjective Evaluation: PSIR involves a considerable degree of subjectivity. While this offers space for aspirants to express their analytical skills, it also means that marks can vary significantly based on the examiner’s perspective.

Competition Level: As PSIR is a popular subject, the competition level is high. To secure top marks, aspirants need to provide unique insights and value-addition in their answers, which demands a deeper understanding and thorough preparation.

PSIR as an optional

In conclusion, while PSIR as an optional subject for the UPSC Civil Services Exam can prove to be an advantageous choice due to its interlinking with GS papers, dynamic nature, and ability to provide a better understanding of the governance system, it also poses challenges such as a dynamic and extensive syllabus, high competition, and a subjective evaluation method.

At Rau’s IAS Study Circle, we recommend that you should not just follow the crowd or trends while choosing an optional subject. Instead, consider your interest in the subject, your academic background, and your ability to maintain long-term preparation with the subject. Remember, the optional subject can be a game-changer, so make this choice wisely.

Here are some classes which can help you understand how Rau’s IAS teaches PSIR

Political Science & International Relations | Lecture #1
Political Science & International Relations | Lecture #2

See also:

Constitution & Polity NotesGeography Notes
Modern History NotesIndian Society Notes
Free UPSC MasterClass
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