Pros and Cons of Commerce and Accountancy Optional in UPSC Mains Exam.

UPSC Exam. is among the most coveted jobs in India. Each year, thousands of students appear in the exam. in the hope of cracking it. However, only a few make it to the top. One of the best ways to score higher and crack the exam is choosing an optional subject that will help you perform well.

Among the subjects that are offered as optional, Commerce and Accountancy is one that is often left out. Students prefer subjects such as Geography and Public Administration over it. However, there are quite a few instances when candidates have passed with flying colours due to their high score in the Commerce and Accountancy optional. Now, let us take a detailed look into the pros and cons of taking Commerce and Accountancy as an optional subject in UPSC Mains exam.


Pros and Cons of taking Commerce and Accountancy as an optional subject


Similar to the core science subjects, Commerce and Accountancy is a technical subject. For the UPSC Mains exam, students will do good to only take it up as an optional subject if they have a background in it. As Commerce and Accountancy is a technical subject, it offers more chances of scoring higher. However, there are several drawbacks associated with taking it as optional.




  • Commerce and Accountancy offer you a lot of chances of scoring high marks since it is a technical subject. The reason behind it is that every year there comes about 150 marks worth of numeral in the exam. Therefore, if you have a sound knowledge of the subject, and you have covered the syllabus properly, scoring up to 250 marks will be quite easy for you.
  • The subject is not associated much with current affairs. Instead, most parts of the syllabus are static. This, in turn, makes questions repeated as well as straight-forward.
  • Since Commerce and Accountancy is a technical subject, there is not much scope for subjective interpretation of the examiner. It reduces the unpredictability and helps you in performing better.
  • Competition is much less in this subject, especially when compared to subjects such as Public Administration, Geography, and many more.
  • You can find various types of study material on the subject. Therefore, it makes it easier for you to prepare well for the upcoming exam. and increase your chances to score more.




  • The syllabus of Commerce and Accountancy  hardly overlaps with the General Studies papers. You need to study separately for both of them. It takes a lot of your time that you could have utilised otherwise.
  • Commerce and Accountancy have a very lengthy syllabus. Therefore, you will need to devote quality time to cover it in detail. It can come off as a disadvantage, especially since the syllabus of the UPSC Mains exam is already massive and time-consuming.
  • You need to read as well as practice a lot to get a firm grip over the subject. In addition to that, it is essential that you integrate study material from different sources as well. It requires undivided attention and time on your part.
  • Most of the questions that come in the exam. of Commerce and Accountancy are numerical. On the one hand, it helps you score higher marks than many other optional subjects, on the other hand, UPSC often asks you to do numericals that are quite tough and unpredictable. If you do them wrong, it can cause you to lose a lot of marks as well. You must be competent as well as accurate for scoring high in this subject.


The success rate of students with Commerce and Accountancy Optional from the year 2010 to 2015


Exam. Year Candidates appeared Candidates who cleared the exam. The success rate in percentage
2010 356 26 7.3
2011 232 16 6.9
2012 188 28 14.9
2013 200 15 7.5
2014 214 22 10.3
2015 152 21 13.8



There are several candidates with Commerce and Accountancy as an optional subject who have even become toppers. Below is a table mentioning some of them along with their rank and passing year.


Candidate Name Passing Year Rank
Raj Karan Agarwal 2013 474
Aayush Garg 2013 63
Sourav Jain 2016 161
Prashant Raj Shukla 2016 64
Gaurav Garg 2017 315
Sanket Agarwal 2017 257
Siddharth Jain 2017 11
Shivani Goyal 2017 15


Commerce and Accountancy, being a high-scoring subject, can help you perform better in the UPSC Mains Exam. and improve your chances of getting your desired job. However, just like everything else, it does not come without a few drawbacks. Therefore, put a good amount of thought on whether or not you want to choose it as an Optional Subject, do your research, and make a wise decision to get a hold of your dream job.


Author Bio:

Vijaya Kumar, Academic Head at Neostencil, an Ed-Tech startup funded by the Times Group.

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