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Strategy for Zoology Optional subject in UPSC Mains

UPSC IAS Exam is conducted in three stages- Prelims, Mains and Interview. The marks one fetch in IAS Mains Exam decide his ranking in the final list. The UPSC IAS Mains exam has 9 papers, including optional papers. Candidate should choose their favourite subject and the right strategies to execute it. If you are choosing Zoology optional for your UPSC mains then you must read this article. 

Strategy for Zoology Optional subject in UPSC Mains


Zoology is a science subject, emerged as a scoring optional in UPSC Mains. Ideally, this subject cannot be taken by the students from any background. Aspirants must be a graduate in Zoology, Medicine, Botany, Life Science, agriculture, forestry etc. The students from non-science finds this optional as a difficult one. For scoring well, you need not choose an easy subject, but shed your sweat on that subject you have chosen. One must be thorough with the basic fact and concepts. The conceptual clarity will help you to answer an indirect and twisted question as well.

Syllabus for Zoology Optional:

The main topics covered in this subject include:

Paper 1:

  1. Non-chord and chord data
  2. Ecology
  3. Ethology
  4. Economic zoology
  5. Biostatistics
  6. Instrumentation methods

Paper 2:

  1. Cell biology
  2. Genetics
  3. Evolution
  4. Systematics
  5. Biochemistry
  6. Developmental biology
  7. Physiology(with reference to mammals)

Tips and Strategies:

INTENSE READING:  The Zoology optional syllabus includes diverse elements. After analysing, the various components in the syllabus one must pick out the right books. This optional paper demands an intense reading. The subject demands student to remember thing, facts and figures and hence multiple revisions brings confidence to an individual.


PREPARATION OF SHORT NOTES: Note making is considered as the essential part of UPSC preparation. The zoology optional subject is loaded with abundant information, facts and figure. To retain this one should make short and relevant notes during the preparation. Such short notes will ensure that your answers in the UPSC Main exam are covered all the points in a balanced manner and absolute.

This will also help to revise at the end moment as time required for revising entire syllabus is difficult to find.

ANSWER WRITING: Zoology is related to the animal kingdom and this gives wide opportunity to express our ideas. The aspirant should frame answer with necessary diagrammatic and keep your answers precise and relevant. Citing brief and brilliant introduction will capture the attention of the evaluator. Aspirants should give proper, diagrams, in depth and rigorous information to show your confidence and knowledge in the subject. While choosing the terminologies also, cite proper words and terms as it contains many scientific terms. Try to establish the relationships by using diagrams and flowcharts.


  1. Classification should be done thoroughly as it’s given in textbook.
  2. Pay attention to general essays rather than type studies.
  3. Always correlate things from evolutionary viewpoint -Draw as many diagrams and flow charts as possible.
  4. Students should cover all theories.
  5. Comparative anatomy diagrams should be coloured.
  6. To prepare Cell Biology and Genetics, students need to follow the same advice as provided for these two topics in Botany.
  7. In Genetics, student should also mention the possible human welfare applications.


  1. The most scoring parts are Economic Zoology, Bio Stats and Bio Instrumentation.
  2. Students need to focus on topics related to developments in India in Economic Zoology.
  3. Practical Bio-chemical pathway with structural formula of molecules are important.
  4. Prepare from medical bio-chemistry and physiology books.
  5. Represent most information through flow charts.
  6. Always draw relevant anatomical diagrams.
  7. If physiology and biochemistry are prepared thoroughly, then this part can be prepared only for short notes.
  8. Coloured drawings are a must. Students need to practice them properly.

Study Material for Zoology:

There are various books available for zoology and online material as well. Some of the most important and helpful books are:

  1. Cell and Molecular Biology – De Robertis, C.B. Powar
  2. Genetics – P.K. Gupta, Gardner, Ahluwalia, Vir Bala Rastogi
  3. Invertebrates – R.L. Kotpal, Nigam, Jordan
  4. Vertebrates – R.L. Kotpal, Nigam, Jordan and Varma
  5. Animal physiology – H.R. Singh, Vander


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