Maths may not be a very popular optional among UPSC candidates, but if you are planning to choose maths, do not back away. Maths is a tough subject in general, but not to those that understand concepts. Unlike other subjects, there is less of remembering skills and more of application skills.

Clearing concepts may be tough, but once you do that, you can solve any kind of sum. This article will give you the syllabus and will suggest a few books that will help you solve maths from your UPSC exam.

UPSC Maths Optional Syllabus

With every optional subject, there are 2 papers. Each of 250 marks making it a total of 500. The syllabus for each paper is different, and the syllabus is divided into separate parts.

The UPSC maths optional syllabus for paper 1 is:

  • Linear algebra
  • Calculus
  • Analytic geometry
  • Ordinary Differential Equations
  • Dynamics and Statistics
  • Vector Analysis

UPSC Maths Optional Syllabus

Now the UPSC maths optional syllabus for paper 2 is:

  • Algebra.
  • Real analysis.
  • Complex analysis.
  • Linear programming.
  • Partial differential equations.
  • Numerical Analysis and Computer programming.
  • Mechanics and Fluid Dynamics.

Now you may be happy or in shock that the portion is very less but remember it is never about the quantity. You need to understand the toughness of each chapter and work accordingly. Do not underestimate the amount of preparation required.

Work on your syllabus beforehand. Yes, it will not help your prelims or other papers in mains but you need to practice daily. Practising daily will help you to score much better.

UPSC Maths Optional Books

One very important thing about maths is that resources are available in plenty. You can find books to study for your maths optional of UPSC. Below recommended are books that will boost your ability to score well in your maths exam.

The books are:

  • Linear Algebra by Hoffman and Kunze
  • Calculus and Real Analysis by S C Malik and Savita Arora, Shanti Narayan
  • 3-D Geometry by P N Chatterjee
  • Ordinary Differential Equations by Ian Sneddon
  • Complex Analysis by J N Sharma
  • Dynamics and Statistics by A.R. Vasista and M. Ray
  • Mechanics and Fluid Dynamics by J. K Goyal
  • Numerical Analysis by Jain and Iyengar

Also Read: Working Aspirant and UPSC? It is Possible!

UPSC Maths Optional Question Paper

 Going through the UPSC maths optional question paper of previous years like 2018 and 2019 is the secret ingredient to scoring well. This will help you to make sure that you understand how questions can be asked or how they expect answers.  Be it your optional subject or no, go through the previous year’s question paper and especially for maths.

Go through the Math-1 paper and Math-2 paper attached. This is from the official UPSC website and it is best to use official sources to acquire question papers. Practice this paper if you have the time. It can help you to gain confidence in approaching your exam paper.

Get used to the questioning scope and how you are expected to answer for the paper. Do not lose unnecessary marks.

Tips for Maths Optional

Maths like already mentioned is a tough subject but if you understand the concept you will score. Practising daily will help you cut down the doubts and will clear concepts for you.

Do not try to attack the theory, but only application. The questions for your exam will be based on your knowledge of application for every topic. So try all the different kinds of sums and do not stick to just tone book.

Use as many sources as you can to work for maths. It may not help your general studies exam, but unless you do not practice daily, you will not score well.

Take maths only if you have an interest in the subject. If you do not have any interest, it will be very hard for you. Make sure you think before taking it as an optional.

Also Read: Maths Syllabus in Details 


If you are confused about taking maths as an optional or want to know the syllabus for UPSC optional of maths then this article will help you.

A list of books that will help you to ease the content is recommended. Practice with these books every day for maths and use previous year questions for maths optional of UPSC.

Remember, work every day and do not underestimate the syllabus. It may be smaller than other subjects, but it has more in-depth details. Make sure you work for every bit of it.

Work hard and daily. All the best!

Also Read : Best Study Material for UPSC: A Guide to the Best Resources Available for Preparation

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