Economics optional is generally considered one of the most difficult optional paper choice. The syllabus is vast and is not as scoring as the Sciences and Mathematics. And not to forget, considering the relative competition, people have been doing far better taking subjects such as Anthropology and Literature subjects.
Then why Economics ?
1. With strategic preparation, it provides you a very balanced score. Very limited scope of subjectivity in this paper. Hence one can expect scores to be in the range 275-325 with good preparation.
2. Major overlap with General Studies and Interview preparation. Polity and Economics literally form the major chunk of the UPSC syllabus.
3. Provides a good base score for Personality Test. People taking Economics as their optional always receive appreciation and respect from the Interview Board. Thus tackling few questions respectfully in the board is enough to set a base score of 165 for the Personality Test.

# My Economics score:

CSE 2017
CSE 2018
Economics Paper 1: 158
Economics Paper 1: 159
Economics Paper 2: 149
Economics Paper 2: 155

# Approach:
  • One must target 300+ with a balanced score of around 150+ in both the paper.
  • One requires around dedicated 5-6 months of preparation. So try finishing the notes and at least one round of reading before the prelims.

# How to prepare:

  • Note making and consolidating the models topic wise in your own words is the key. 
  • Book list and reading list for related topics in the syllabus are mentioned in the link below for respective paper strategies. 
  • During the initial phase, give a general reading of the books. You have to read all the relevant chapters which are mentioned in the syllabus or either a question has been asked in the past.
  • Once a first round of reading is done -> start making point wise notes for every topic.
    For eg: In Micro -> Market Structure -> Monopoly related topics can be summarised from Ahuja in around 10 pages. Similarly do that for all the topics. 
  • And the most important thing: Do all the past year questions. Do them thoroughly. See the favourite topics of UPSC. Questions and topics will get repeated without fail.
    eg: Knife edge in Harrod etc
# Primary Readings:

Advanced Economic Theory by HL Ahuja
- Macro Theory and Policy by HL Ahuja
- Froyen
International Trade
International Economics – Trade and Finance by Salvatore
Growth and Development
The Economics of Development and Planning – ML Jhingan
Macro Theory and Policy by HL Ahuja
Public Finance
- Public Finance by HL Bhatia
- Macro by HL Ahuja


  1. Sir please share ur economics notes.i will be vert thnqful to u.

  2. Thank you sir for sharing your strategies, especially considering the fact that coaching for Economics is limited.

  3. Sir please do share your notes

  4. As I observed, now a days ,weightage of "pre-independence" is increasing now a days ,also they are deliberately making 2-3 questions in compulsory part comparatively tougher (difficult to do during exam) , at-least for me, they are.How did you strategise then and there during examination ? I also had difficulty in "Growth and Development " part ,also saw video lectures of Ravindran Jha sir ,but still facing some issues.It would be much of help if you put special emphasis on nuances ,tweaks ,hacks(for instance ,name of economists ,research paper etc),and strategy that a non-economics background aspirant should follow.
    Your candid write-up on "insights" is reflection of your great character.Congratulations and Great wishes from this side for your journey ahead.

  5. Sir, kindly share your detailed strategy for IES as well, given that the exam is just a month away and there is presently a dearth of guidance for this exam. I would be extremely grateful, Sir.
    Thank you very much.

  6. Hello!

    First of all, congratulations on your success! :)

    I am aiming for CSE 2020 (preparing via self study) & have a few queries:

    1. I am in my final year of bachelors in Economics and want to take it as an optional. While looking for people who had cleared CSE with this optional, I found that most of them had completed or were pursuing further studies in it. However, I have no desire to go down that road. With this in mind, what would you suggest? Should I continue with economics or look at other options? Can one handle the syllabus well without higher studies in the field?

    2. I tried to find solved past year papers of Economics optional but I found only unsolved ones. How does one check whether one’s answers are correct or not because often there are contradictory answers on the internet?

    3. Does one need a very in-depth understanding of the math behind the concepts (say like DSE entrance level :P) or is it sufficient to be able to understand the basic derivations and graphs?

    4. Are there any good test series available? If no, then how does one test whether the answers one writes are up to the mark or not?

    5. Is it preferable to study optional and GS simultaneously or complete one of them first and then do the other?

    6. Should GS Economics and Economics Optional 2 be prepared simultaneously or separately? How does the approach to preparing and answering questions differ for in this case?

    1. Well i have the same confusion striking my mind as i am an Economics bachelor but not so good in mathematics but thinking to pursue Economics as my optional but i just need some guidance and searching for a Good Coching institute online or offline that i should join to clear my doubts and have better understanding of the level that UPSC. Requires if you have some Knowledge for any good guidance in Delhi please help me.

  7. Hi sir,congrats i am sandeep kumar from j&k .plz tell me any test series for mains economics optional which u joined

    1. I had joined test series at Bliss Point Studies at Karol Bagh, New Delhi. You can also solve past year papers extensively in case you are not finding it feasible to join any test series

  8. Sir please upload your notes and paper wise strategy.

    We students are waiting for it.

  9. sir plz share sources for paper 2

    1. Sir can you please share your bliss point test copies especially of paper 2
      It will be of great help to learn sir.
      Thank you.

  10. sir i m following hg mannaur for international economics and not salvatore,is it ok?

    1. go for Salvatore. It is sort of primary reading as per UPSC syllabus.

  11. sir..pls upload previous years model answers that you have prepared

  12. Sir can you tell me the importance of economics optional test series and how how many test you have written before actual exam ??

  13. Greetings Sir..Congratulations on your big achievement..from where did you get your economics optional practise papers corrected during your preparation?

  14. sir pls share your notes.

  15. sir, Is EPW is necssary to read ?

  16. Hello Sir, if possible can you upload answersheets from bliss point economic paper 2 ...It will be helpful for me ....thankyou...

  17. Sir, how good is bliss point studies video lectures for preparing eco optional?

  18. Sir, whether Maths (apart from graphs) is required for Paper 1 ? If yes,then of what level ?

  19. Sir please upload previous year answers which you have practiced, we will be grateful to you.

  20. Sir please upload previous year answers which you have practiced, we will be grateful to you.

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  23. Congratulations on your success Sir. I just wanted to know whether it is necessary to have a good foundation on maths to be able to take economics as an optional subject.

  24. Hi sir, plz guide us which part to read and which part to leave of these books. Eagerly waiting for u reply. Thank u very much in advance sir.

  25. Thank you so much Sir. Your notes helped a lot:)

  26. Which test series to follow & when, provided there are limited options?

  27. Sir from where we can get previous year solved economics papers?

    It will be very grateful if you share the source because it's very hard to find them.

  28. Hello Sir, Tell me the book which one best?
    In this book,
    Growth and Development
    A P Thirwall Todaro
    /M.L Jhingum

    Public Finance-
    HL Bhartiya/Musgrave &Musgrave

  29. Hello sir,would you please share your notes on economics optional.

    1. hello dear you can watch my channel for previous year exam questions its the economics and law research lab

  30. Hello sir,
    I am planning to write UPSC CSE 2022. I have decided to take economics as my optional as I did my graduation in economics but I am little confused if I should take coaching for optional or prepare on my own.
    Could you please share your experience with blisspoint? Is it worth taking coaching or just test series would be enough?
    Kindly guide me.

    Thank you

  31. Is any body have blish point coaching videos contact me 7708255233


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