Importance of Optional Courses in Cracking WBCS Main Exam

It is always difficult to choose optional subject for WBCS main exams. But it is one of the most important decisions to take which may ultimately affect your chances to pass this exam in various groups. One subject may be suitable to one person; another is same for other person. Post-graduates in any discipline, generally prefer taking up their parent subject for optional. Though such selection is quite logical, aspirants with any science discipline as their base subject must ponder over the issue more seriously. Aspirants with a science subject must judge themselves correctly regarding their own capability.

Some of the social sciences (e.g. History, Economics, Public Administration) opted by quite a significant majority can, however, be a much safer bet, particularly for those (ordinary science graduates) who do not have any specific parent subject or for those who are not able to develop confidence in their parental subject. In either case, the formal preparation must start from the basic fundamentals, even if a person is already a post-graduate in that subject.

Here are some best tips to choose optional subjects for WBCS mains -

  1. Availability of Study material

It should be the first criteria when you opt for any particular subject. You should understand the examination standards and examiners’ expectation which clearly indicate that anything of average quality will not work here. Basic books do not suffice the purpose and as these are printed with some gap, these fail to update you on current and evolving issues. Many a time even standard set of books do not fully cover the syllabus. So, you need relevant, up-to-date and crisp content which covers syllabus fully and takes care of newly added topics as well.

  1. High scoring subjects to choose

No doubt, there are few subjects which are considered to be highly scoring by aspirants based on hearsay. Many a time, candidates fetch really high scores in subjects like Mathematics, Physics, some Engineering subject and even some language literatures such as Sanskrit, Pali etc. Don’t fall in trap of those coaching institutes which show promising scores of 300+ in the optional they are offering. It is what I call juggling as I feel every subject is scoring and candidates get good marks and succeed with almost all subjects.

  1. Your interest in the subject

Being familiar with any subject doesn’t mean that you develop interest in it.You need to have proper understanding of the subject, till the time you don’t have interest, how can you continue preparation as you move ahead from the basics.

  1. Aptitude for the subject

How so ever interesting the subject is or you are familiar with that subject, till the time you don’t have aptitude, you can’t move. Skills and knowledge can be built up over time. Interest can be developed once acquaintance grows and learning progresses. History is a very interesting subject but you don’t have aptitude for remembering facts and figures, how can you attain a level which ensures success? It is said higher the aptitude; better the chances of an outstanding performance. These days History may not be that scoring, you cannot complete writing all the answers in time too. It does not help much in compulsory subjects too.

  1. Ability to grab information related to subject

This becomes important as you have to manage preparation for General Studies and one optional subject you are going to decide with this exercise. You fully understand your capabilities and despite interest and aptitude for any particular subject, if you find any subject has staggering demand, think again before opting for such subject. If any subject requires such extraordinary efforts which are beyond your capacity, better to ignore that subject and review another from the rest.

  1. Less time to require for preparation

Each and every subject has its own requirements and special demands which you need to execute. You can’t escape as you have to reach the examination level. It is not that examination will adjust to your level. Again, how much time it will require to reach examination level and do you have sufficient time to do that. You can have best of the study material and even top rated coaching, if you feel that you will not be able to do justice with it, better take any other subject.

  1. Overlapping a portion of General Studies

Yes, it is logical to opt for some subject part of which gets covered with your rest of preparation. History and Geography may help you a little in General Studies preparation. Anthropology, Political Science, Philosophy & Psychology helps in interview stage. Few subjects have got syllabus overlapping. Take a look at the subjects you have short listed and see if any falls in this category. Pick it up for further review.

  1. Size of syllabus

On the face of it, it may seem so but look at the past years’ question papers and trends before finally deciding about any subject. Few subjects like Philosophy, Hindi Literature, Pali Literature etc are some of the optional subjects which are being promoted by coaching institutes on this parameter.

PSCWB does not allow such discrimination based on syllabus size. Again, not every aspirant opt these optional subjects is able to succeed. Still you find any optional subject which can work to your benefit; you take your own judgment.

  1. Gap between two subjects

Previously for some aspirants this was a criterion to select second optional where they can get opportunity to revise during this gap. If you are stick between two subject to decide second optional judge you decision on this factor. Those who are hard pressed for time and don’t have much time left before examination can consider such combination where they can get some break. But, this alone should not be the basis for your subject choice. Because now whatever optional subject you choose, will be taken on same day as there is one optional subject only from 2014.

  1. Guidance availability

It is an important factor as in last few years, the examination has become innovative and much above the level it used to have. When you are hard pressed for time and wish to achieve a competitive edge, you can always reach out to the experts who can take you to the level this examination requires. Look out for the subjects where you have trusted coaching institutes who innovate, follow the latest trend and fulfil you examination related requirements. Good guidance can always be a deciding factor, if you desire or require, single out from the subjects you have picked up.

WBCS Main Exam Pattern Details

Papers Marks
Group ‘A’ Group ‘B’ Group ‘C’ Group ‘D’
Language Paper (Bengali/Hindi/Urdu/Nepali/Santali) 200 200 200 200
English Paper 200 200 200 200
General Studies – Paper I 200 200 200 200
General Studies-Paper II 200 200 200 200
Constitution of India and Indian Economy 200 200 200 200
Arithmetic and Test of Reasoning 200 200 200 200
Optional Subject – (One subject: Two papers of 200 marks each) 400 400 NA NA
Personality Test 200 200 150 100
Total Marks 1800 1800 1350 1300

WBCS Main : List of Optional subjects for the exam

Subject Code
Bengali 1
Hindi 2
Sanskrit 3
English 4
Pali 5
Arabic 6
Persian 7
French 8
Urdu 9
Santali 10
Comparative Literature 11
Agriculture 12
Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science 13
Anthropology 14
Botany 15
Chemistry 16
Civil Engineering 17
Commerce and Accountancy 18
Computer Science 19
Economics 20
Electrical Engineering 21
Geography 22
Geology 23
History 24
Law 25
Mathematics 26
Management 27
Mechanical Engineering 28
Medical Science 29
Philosophy 30
Physiology 31
Physics 32
Political Science 33
Psychology 34
Sociology 35
Statistics 36
Zoology 37


RICE SMART is about to start online classes on four optional subjects for the WBCS Main exam. History, Geography, Anthropology ,Political Science and SociologyThere are multiple benefits including high quality study materials, online classes of experienced teachers, mock tests, time management methods, good scoring tips etc. Here are the courses details:

At RICE Education we provide coaching for all types of Government Exams, to get expert guidance from our academic counsellors enquire here: