• Good Performance in the optional is a necessary condition to achieve success at the civil services examination.
  • In general studies, securing a score of 45% is rare, while in optional 60%  and above is attainable.
  • The optional subject helps you shape your outlook & personality. which is vital for scoring in both Main Exam + Personality Test.
  • GS or other papers have some sort of saturation level regarding marks but not the optional subject papers.
  • In this 25% section, you can think of scoring more than 60%.

Why has Anthropology become the most sought after optional for UPSC aspirants from all academic backgrounds ?

  1. It has a great track record in the Civil Services Exam. It’s success rate (ranging between 10 % – 14.8%) is comparable with that of the most coveted optionals.
  2.  Attaining a decent score (300+) in the exam is relatively easy. Anthropology has been witnessing an upward trend since 2016, with a rising number of aspirants scoring 300+ and securing selection in the AIR Top 10 consistently.
  3.  In terms of marks awarded, Anthropology has largely been stable and not seen drastic upheavals.
  4. Anthropology takes limited amount of time to prepare and attain a desired level of competence. Attending Classes, Reading prescribed books/notes, developing own notes, joining a test series, taking corrective action and developing answer writing skills can be done in appx 5-6 months concurrent with GS preparation. This leaves ample time to prepare for the General Studies & Essay Paper.
  5. Anthropology has a “clear syllabus” and there is a direct correlation between the syllabus and questions asked in the exam. It thus requires lesser effort to master.
  6. The subject Matter of Anthropology is deeply relevant for any civil services aspirant –as it helps to develop macro and perspectives on all conditions concerning and affecting human beings no matter view how vital or insignificant.
  7. Anthropology is a ‘Neutral Discipline –this means that it does not confer any distinct advantage to graduates belonging to a certain academic background. Our Experience has indicated that both Science graduates and those from humanities backgrounds, without any prior experience with Anthropology have scored above 300 in anthropology.
  8. The Diverse perspectives and knowledge gained through anthropology deeply enhances capability to handle the dynamic General studies and Essay Papers. There are a lot of areas in the Anthropology optional which directly overlaps with GS Papers 1 to 4 and the Essay Papers (See below).

If you are is curious enough about human beings (their origin, evolution, physical, cultural,
and behavioural diversity all over the world) and if you seek to develop a deep
understanding of conditions affecting humans –our problems, our conflicts from both the
macro and micro perspectives, Anthropology as an optional is perfectly suitable for you.


Areas of Overlap between Anthropology & GS/Essay Papers:

Paper-I : Indian Pre-history, Demographic profile of India & Cultural diversity, Human & Economic Geography,
Paper-II: Social Issues and Social Justice, Indian Villages- aspects of Indian culture and tradition, Constitutional Protection for minorities, SC/ST and their welfare, issues in governance and administration of rural areas; scheduled & tribal areas; rural development challenges to administration;
Paper-III: Development, Displacement and issues which arise out of social exclusion; Advances in Human Genetics and evolution; Tribals, their relation to the environment; Destruction of natural habitats, wild life conservation and impact on tribal life, livelihood, Joint Forest Management and Sustainable development;
Paper-IV : Case studies of Ethical Practices of Civil Servants, Corporate bodies, NGO’s involved in administration in rural and tribal areas.
Essay : Humanistic perspectives and dimensions in any essay topic.


Anthropology is a comprehensive, holistic & inter-disciplinary enquiry into every aspect concerning human beings all over the world (Space) from the time our ancestor species emerged among the
primates, till today. As an applied social science it explains the Physiological, Cultural, Psychological & societal Diversity across space and time.
The rich body of knowledge acquired through basic research is used to develop solutions to address chronic human problems, end human conflict, suffering and enhance human capability for progress.