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Taking Law Optional in UPSC Mains Exam

Updated: May 18, 2023

Many candidates take up this optional and it also has a very high success rate.

Here we would discuss law as an optional in UPSC Mains. We know UPSC has 3 tire testing system

PRELIMS – Which evaluates your basic knowledge

MAINS – Your problem solving nature and deep analyzation skills

INTERVIEW – Your spontaneity

Optional is a part of UPSC Mains examination, where UPSC gives liberty to choose your strong comfortable subject and test you on it via two papers ( OPTIONAL PAPER 1 and PAPER 2 ). Now Law is also allowed to be taken as an optional subject.

Yes! Today we would discuss how this law as an optional performs in UPSC Mains

Many say ……………….

Law Optional Syllabus is vast

Law is a very law scoring optional

Law is hard to clear

Now we are going to check whether above statements are myth or reality ?

Starting with law optional syllabus – take a look at it

We know law optional has 2 papers like any other optional and each paper has 2 sections viz, SECTION A and B


· SECTION A - Constitutional Law ( Including administrative law topics ) – 16 Topics

· ECTION B - International Law – 15 Topics



· Law Of crimes – 16 topics

· Law of Torts – 13 Topics


· Law of Contracts – 13 topics

· Contemporary legal developments – 8 topics


You can conveniently take 2 days to complete each topic, therefore you would need 162 days to complete above 81 topics. Which is hardly 5 and half months.

Final conclusion on quantitative analysis of the syllabus infers that law student or a non- law student, one can finish law optional actively within6 months with ease. Do you find the syllabus to be vast ???

In fact Law optional syllabus is quite definite and has predictable line of questions in actual mains , if one could think right. But at the same time it has many challenges too


1. From where should I read for above topics ? SOURCE CONFUSION !

2. How much and what all should I read under each topic ? Imagine the topic Fundamental rights, what to read where to start ? How to confine your study ? SCOPE CONFUSION !

3. How many cases should I read under each topic or concept ? CASE LAW CONFUSION !

4. Even if I read all, how can I revise 81 concepts just a day before examination ? REVISION CHALLENGE !

5. How can I predict the questions for law optional ? PREDICTION ISSUE !

6. How can I prepare law optional effectively along with prelims and Mains (GS) ? TIME MANAGEMENT ISSUE !



It would good to get introduced to few people before we analyze this statement.

Why suddenly these people ? Simply because they are toppers of CSE who had law as their optional subject across various timeline! Yes, law as optional can make you a topper. Take a look at the table below:

Above table is random collection of toppers with law as their optional it is not exhaustive list. But yet we can make following inference from them.

1. You can be a topper with law optional ( as you see many toppers up there )

2. Even non- law graduates can be a topper with law as optional if they have interest in law!

3. Best optional for law graduates will definitely be law

4. You can score around 300 in your law optional

Now lets have a look at official report published by UPSC. Yes! Every year UPSC do give us a report on how an optional performs and what was it success rate. The 69th annual report published by UPSC in 2018-19 is the latest one which gives us the following table

Law optional had a success percentage of 14.1% in 2017 UPSC Mains. What just 14.1% ???? is it good ???? For this lets check the inference given under this table by UPSC in the very same report.

Yep! By the latest UPSC annual report law optional highest percentage of successful candidates.

Do you still think law is a low scoring subject ?????

Although if you check previous year success rate which may be at times low but many a times law always have high success rate. Even popular optionals at times become law performing. Therefore law is no exception we must understand that too. If you are comfortable with the subject then you can be a topper !

HOW CAN YOU CHECK WHETHER YOU ARE COMFORTABLE WITH LAW AS OPTIONAL ??? Check our next post For UPSC Law Optional Guidance Call/ WhatsApp : 6382125862 E-mail : Website :

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Courses Offered

UPSC Law Optional Mains course - preferr
UPSC Law Optional Mains course - preferr


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