The IFoS exam is conducted every year, and optional papers are a major part of the forest officer examination and are intended to assess your knowledge of certain subjects that you select. It also influences the questions asked during the interview round.

The most commonly chosen subject is forestry because it is closely related to the work of an IFoS officer. The majority of engineers and science graduates or even others are not familiar with fundamental forestry themes; nevertheless, they can also choose other optional subjects.

General Optional Subjects Available for IFoS

The following is a list of optional subjects that can be chosen for the IFoS main test (two to be chosen). You can refer to these points to determine what will be the best optional subject for you:

#1. Forestry

# Forestry is a specialised subject with a lot of room for improvement.

# As it is a well-known optional subject for IFoS preparation, there is a wealth of information accessible.

# Because the curriculum is short and accurate, it may be finished fast.

# There is some coaching and assistance available for the subject, but it is not abundant.

# It is regarded as one of the most popular IFoS optional subjects.

#2. Zoology

# In zoology, the ability to gather marks is extremely high.

# There are several decent publications available for the topic, which is taught in nearly every college and institution across the country.

# The zoology curriculum is extremely extensive.

# Coaching and advice are readily available since there are many IFoS qualified candidates with zoology in combination who are willing to assist.

# As this is one of the most popular subjects, the success rate is also rather high.

#3. Geology

# Candidates who choose geology as an optional topic will find the subject to be fairly scoring.

# Good geology books are hard to get by, and even though geology is a well-established topic, the resources are tough to come by.

# The curriculum is not too long.

# Many applicants have acquitted themselves on the exam using the geology option; thus, help is readily available. Coaching centres, on the other hand, are few.

# The topic has an average success rate, with most graduate students in geography who took it as an elective making it to the final merit list.

#4. Botany

# Botany is a high-scoring topic; therefore it’s a popular choice for electives.

# Because it is one of the fundamental science disciplines taught at most national colleges and universities, there are several books and ready-made notes accessible.

# Botany has a relatively long curriculum.

# There is a good deal of coaching and support available on this topic, which is a popular choice for many scientific students for graduation.

# This is one of the most popular optional examinations, and many botany and zoology graduates who take it are chosen for the final list each year.

#5. Agriculture

# Agriculture receives a fair rating in scoring.

# As the subject is taught at many national colleges, there are a plethora of high-quality study materials freely available.

# In comparison to the other optional topics, the syllabus is brief.

# There are few coaching centres but plenty of detail-oriented internet resources for the topic.

# In IFoS, this is one of the optional subjects with the highest success rate. Many agricultural graduates, as well as many non-agriculture graduates, make the final merit list.

Optional Subjects Available for IFoS for Engineering Students

Although engineering students can choose from the above subjects as well, the following subjects are more closely related to their field. People not from engineering backgrounds can also choose subjects like mathematics and statistics.

#1. Chemical Engineering

# The subject receives a reasonable grade, although it is not a high-scoring subject.

# Although there are decent and conventional books on the market for this topic, it is more difficult to get ready-made notes and resources.

# The course outline is fairly extensive.

# Although no formal training is offered on this topic, you can seek advice from other eligible applicants who are also chemical engineering graduates.

#2. Civil Engineering

# Civil engineering, as a highly technical topic, is highly scoring if your preparation is up to standard.

# As it is a basic engineering subject taught at nearly every technical institution and college, there are a plethora of resources accessible on the market.

# In comparison to other optional topics, the curriculum is relatively long.

# There are several coaching centres and resources available for this topic.

# This topic has a high success rate. However, only civil engineers will have a chance of finishing the preparation before the exam because it is such a specialist subject.

#3. Mechanical Engineering

# The subject’s capacity to get excellent grades is extremely impressive.

# Because this subject is taught at many national universities, the resources and books are of high quality and easily available.

# Mechanical engineering has a relatively long curriculum.

# When opposed to some of the other optional disciplines, coaching and advice are plentiful.

# The success rate is likewise rather good, but because it is such a specialist topic, it is generally only mechanical engineering graduates that succeed.

#4 Chemistry

# Chemistry has an average capacity to obtain marks.

# Chemistry is a well-established science topic that is taught at most national institutions. Therefore you may discover some excellent resources and reference books for it.

# The syllabus, however, is rather extensive.

# Due to the prominence of the topic, there is a lot of coaching and advice accessible for chemistry optional subjects.

# It is also one of the most popular topics with a high success rate since many chemistry graduates who take this subject as an elective make it to the final merit list.

#5. Physics

# The subject is extremely scoring since there is no room for free interpretation of the answers.

# Given that the subject is well-established and taught at most major institutions, there are plenty of useful resources and publications accessible.

# The course outline is fairly extensive.

# For physics, there is a fair deal of tutoring and advice accessible.

# Physics has a relative success rate, and many botany and zoology graduates choose it as a major.

#6. Mathematics

# This topic has a high potential for getting good grades since it is entirely logical—you can either be correct or wrong.

# Math is a well-established topic that is taught at virtually all of the country’s institutions; thus, there are plenty of decent resources accessible.

# The curriculum is not too long.

# For this subject, there is excellent mentoring and advice available.

# Math is one of the topics with the highest success rate; therefore, many students choose it.

#7.  Agricultural Engineering

# For agricultural engineering, the marks fetching ability is rather good.

# However, materials and publications on the subject are difficult to come by.

# The curriculum is not too long.

# For this subject, there is virtually little mentoring and advice available.

#8. Statistics

# Although statistics is a high-scoring topic, it is also a difficult one.

# For this subject, there are several resources accessible on the market.

# The statistics curriculum is rather extensive.

# There is a good deal of advice accessible.

# Because of the subject’s complexity, the success rate is average.

#9. Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science

# This is a high-scoring optional subject as well.

# Materials aren’t plentiful, but they’re also not scarce. Because the topic is offered as a graduation requirement in numerous universities across the country, a standard for books and prepared notes is maintained.

# The syllabus is quite extensive.

# This is another topic where there are few coaching centres, but online help is available through several education portals, YouTube, and blogs of successful IFoS candidates.

# For this particular subject, the success percentage is modest to good.


According to the rules published in the UPSC announcement, applicants must be aware of the subject combinations that they can’t select. These are the combinations:

# Agriculture and Agricultural Engg.

# Agriculture and Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science.

# Agriculture and Forestry.

# Chemistry and Chemical Engg.

# Mathematics and Statistics.

# Agricultural Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering are the only engineering topics that can be taken as an elective.

The “best” mix of subjects will always be a matter of opinion. It will differ from one person to the next. It’s all about the aspirants’ passions and abilities, which will help them do better in specific courses. However, we can assist you in determining how to decide so that you can pick and choose the combination that best suits you– except for those that are not permitted.

The aspirants may follow these suggestions to select the optimum combination of optional subjects:

# Begin by assessing the advantages and disadvantages of each subject. Check to see if they have a track record of success in the past, the availability of study tools and coaching, the length of the curriculum, and so on.

# Subjects that have no bearing on your academic background should be eliminated. To pass an examination, a person must specialise in specific subjects.

# In most situations, combining two heavy and tough courses would be a poor option. The candidate must consider selecting at least one subject in which they are confident, have a strong interest, or find it simple. This will keep the applicant from feeling overwhelmed or underutilised.

# Candidates should evaluate their topic competence as well as their availability of time for preparation. At this stage, making a preparation calendar might be beneficial.

# Examine the curriculum and assess its scope and difficulty level. There are several occasions where themes in optional subjects overlap with issues in the general and preliminary syllabuses.

# If the candidate has never studied the topic before, his or her enthusiasm and eagerness to study it might be quite useful. With this one, the applicant must consider time limitations.

# The candidate should not be afraid to select unusual themes or unorthodox pairings. Subjects that appeal to them may not appeal to everyone else, and vice versa.


Only the applicants themselves can choose the “optimal mix”/best optional subject based on their unique skills, skill set, hobbies, and academic background. There are several sites available online that assess the various advantages and drawbacks of each topic, such as their success rate, difficulty level or scoring ability, availability of study materials, and so on.

Visit UPSC Pathshala‘s official website, which offers a wide range of materials for better preparation and strengthening your prospects for admittance to Indian Forest Services.

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Which Optional Subject is the Most Suitable for Engineering Students Aspiring to be in IFos?
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Which Optional Subject is the Most Suitable for Engineering Students Aspiring to be in IFos?
Get the proper guidance for determining the best optional subject for IFoS Examination. Understand which subject is high scoring for you and clear the Indian Forest Services Examinations.
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Shilpa is a professional web content writer and is in deep love with travelling. She completed her mass communication degree and is now dedicatedly playing with words to guide her readers to get the best for themselves. Developing educational content for UPSC, IELTS aspirants from breakthrough research work is her forte. Strongly driven by her zodiac sign Sagittarius, Shilpa loves to live her life on her own notes and completely agrees with the idea of ‘live and let live. Apart from writing and travelling, most of the time she can be seen in the avatar of 'hooman' mom to her pets and street dogs or else you can also catch her wearing the toque blanche and creating magic in the kitchen on weekends.

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