One of the Optional Subjects in the Mains of Union Public Service Commission examination is Botany, and aspirants who are willing can opt for it. It is a specialised subject that’s why not many aspirants choose this elective subject. In this article, we will talk about the Botany subject for the Civil Service mains examination and provide tips on how to prepare for Botany optional.

How to Prepare for Botany Optional?

First of all, we should focus on who should opt for Botany? In college, the Aspirants who have studied Biology or Botany and have some knowledge about this subject can opt for this optional. Aspirants who have an interest in this subject even if they have not taken Botany at the time of their graduation can also choose this subject as their optional. Given below are a few advantages of Botany optional

Merits of Taking Botany as an Optional

# It can be scoring, as it’s a science subject.

# At the time of marking the paper the examiner’s personal point of view does not play any part, as there is nothing left to interpret.

# Most of the parts are static.

# Aspirants just need to have their basics and concepts clear to write decent answers.

# Aspirants can secure marks by making diagrams (in the questions where it’s required) in this subject.

# In this subject the questions are fundamental and direct.

Also Read: A Detailed Guide to Choose the Best Optional Subject for UPSC Exam: Find out WHich Optional is Best!

Strategy that You Need to follow for UPSC Exam

Given below are the strategies that you need to follow if you are opting for Botany as an optional in the Mains UPSC exam.

Strategy for Paper-I

# In this paper you need to focus on diagrams.

# For the species you need to give Indian examples also.

# For the short notes of 200 words the section of Microbiology is very important.

# In Phanerogams the main areas are:

Gymnosperms Concentrate on the types of fossil
Angiosperms Prepare formulas and floral diagrams
Embryology In this topic do not ignore diagrams

Strategy for Paper-II

# You need to give more importance to the topic of molecular aspect which is under cell biology.

# The very important areas where you can score the most are molecular biology, genetics and evolution.

# Aspirants must write answers giving importance to applications in human welfare and agriculture.

# In the section of Biochemistry and Physiology, biochemical physiology is extremely important. In topics like fruit ripening, flowering and seed germination, candidates are required to cover developmental physiology and hormones.

Books for Botany Optional

Given below are the list of books for the subject that will help you with your Civil Service preparation and clear your basics.

Book Author
Cell Biology De Robertis & Ambrose and Easy or Powar
Plant Anatomy B.P. Pandey
Botany for Degree Students; Pteridophyta (Vascular Cryptogams) P.C. Vashishta
Taxonomy R Nair; Datta
Microbiology Powar
Plant Anatomy Esau
Cryptograms B.R. Vasista
Economic botany in the tropics S. L. Kochhar
Ecology, Microbiology, Animal Behaviour, Pollution and Toxicology For B. Sc. Part III, Paper III Dr. Veer Bala Rastogi
Genetics Dr. Veer Bala Rastogi
Genetics Strickberger
Embryology Of Angiosperms S P Bhatnagar
Physiology and Biochemistry Salisbury and Ross or Fritz and Noggle

Botany Optional UPSC

This paper is a wonderful subject but the aspirants need to keep in mind that the paper is not going to be easy. Because it is wide, concepts based, paper corrections will usually be done by professors, they want precise, to the point answer and have to include all the key points. If you want to secure good marks in this paper you have to give a direct answer that is expected by the examiner. Read on to learn more about Botany Optional UPSC preparation.

UPSC Preparation

Given below are the six steps that you need to follow to prepare for this paper, so go through it thoroughly to get a better idea.

First Step

The first thing that you need to do is get yourself ready because you have to memorize a lot. First, you need to memorize the botanical names in a systematic classified manner. You have to read and revise every day in a systematic manner to avoid any confusion. You need to relate the whole process throughout your preparation.

Second Step

Do not take it in the wrong way but it is advised to read books which are written by foreign authors because they give a detailed explanation about the topics as compared to books that are written by Indian authors. Because Indian books are huge but the explanations are not that clear.

The main focus is on understanding the concepts. It doesn’t matter which source you are referring to but the source should be reliable. If you don’t study from a reliable source all your concepts will be wrong and you can’t expect the examiner to give you marks on the wrong answers. So check before you study.

Note:  You should read a single chapter a couple of times because each time you go through the chapter you will get a better idea about it and your concepts will be more clear.

Third Step

First, read the topic 4 to 5 or more after that make the notes so that you can jot down the important notes only. If you read once and make notes nothing will get into your mind it will just be like reading a book for the namesake. It is very important to do the comparative reading. For instance, if you are reading transcription, compare eukaryotic with that of prokaryotes while reading.

Keep in mind that your paper will be marked by highly qualified individuals; they expect more sure and technical answers. So you need to be precise and write answers to the point. You don’t have to worry much because most of the time questions are direct. So if you prepare well you will be able to answer the questions easily.

Fourth Step

Whatever topic you read, go through it carefully. Because sometimes you might get confused with the topic, you might write about something else instead of the correct answer, this kind of mistake can easily be recognised by the examiners. So it’s very important to understand every topic thoroughly.

Fifth Step

Manage your time, do not read too much that it leads to wastage of your precious time. Do effective reading. Read the concepts which are not clear to you and just go through the topics which you already have good knowledge about. As you already know how huge the syllabus is so focus on the important areas where you need to work more.


The short notes that you make during your preparation are very important for the revision. The key to effective preparation is revision.

Sixth Step

Try being your own mentor and your own student at this point in time, whatever you understand, try explaining it to yourself again. Try learning and understanding the topics through examples it will help you recall during the examination. Practice as much as you can, try test series to know where your preparation is going.

Apart from this, take care of your health and don’t overdo things. Take small and effective steps at a time. Don’t keep things to the last moment to study. If you do so you will put yourself under lots of stress.

Also Read: UPSC Optional Syllabus 2022: Know the Entire Syllabus with Important Topics to Prepare


Aspirants who are willing to opt for Botany as an optional in the Civil Service Mains exam should go for it. All you need to do is follow the above strategies which will help you with your preparation. To learn more about this paper or any other optional subject, join UPSC Pathshala. You will be provided with the help of trained experts to choose the best option for you.

Also Read: UPSC Optional Subject List: UPSC Toppers Recommended Best Optional Subject to Score High

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How to Prepare for Botany Optional? The Best Optional Subject for the UPSC Exam
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How to Prepare for Botany Optional? The Best Optional Subject for the UPSC Exam
The optional subject Botany can be scoring in the UPSC examination if you have proper knowledge about the subject. Read on to get help with the preparation of the Botany subject.
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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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