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Tips & Tricks To Prepare Geography For UPSC Prelims

Sep 02, 2021

Tips & Tricks To Prepare Geography For UPSC Prelims

The UPSC syllabus has comprehensive coverage of all essential areas of a state such as Economy, History, Polity, Geography, Science & Technology, Environment & Ecology, etc.

Among them, Geography is one such subject that has a significant weightage in the Civil Services Examination.

As a Civil Servant, you are expected to have a sound knowledge of Indian and World Geography.

For instance, if you are posted as a Deputy Commissioner of a district in a hill state, it becomes imperative to know everything about the district. You should be well aware of the characteristics of that region, such as the soil of the area, agricultural activities of the region and the major crops grown in it, rivers flowing through it, morphology, etc.

Hence, studying Geography and gaining an in-depth understanding at the Prelims level is indispensable. There is no denying that Geography is a scoring subject with a limited syllabus, and one can easily fetch good marks in it with consistent efforts. It is also included in General Studies Paper I of the Mains exam.  

This article will address the most common question of the IAS aspirants, "How to study Geography for UPSC" and throw light on some tips that will assist you in effectively preparing for the UPSC Prelims Geography exam. But before that, let’s have a look at its syllabus.

Also read: How to Prepare for UPSC Prelims CSAT?

Syllabus of UPSC Prelims Geography

At the Prelims level, the Geography syllabus is divided into the following topics:

1. Indian Geography: Physical, Social, and Economic Geography

2. World Geography: Physical, Social, and Economic Geography

Moreover, it has overlapping topics such as Economics (like Iron Steel industries), Agriculture (Soils, Irrigation), Environment (Types of Vegetation, National Parks), Demography with Map and Current affairs.

You can also expect a question on Geography in the Final Interview round. Hence, you should study it holistically.

Focus Areas of Indian Geography

Basics of IndiaLocation, latitude, longitude, time zone, etc. Neighbours
States and their position
States with international boundaries
Physical FeaturesThe Himalayas – geological formation, climate, vegetation, soil, biodiversity, physiographic divisions, major passes, significance.
The Great North Indian Plains – geological formation, physiographic divisions, climate, vegetation, soil, biodiversity, significance
Peninsular Plateau – geological formation, Central Highlands, Deccan Plateau, Western Ghats,
Eastern Ghats
Indian Desert
Coastal plains and islands
River SystemsHimalayan rivers
Peninsular rivers
River basins
Regional development and planning
Hydropower projects, Major dams
West-flowing and East-flowing rivers
Interlinking of rivers
ClimateMonsoons – driving mechanism, El Nino, La Nina
Minerals and IndustriesMineral Distribution
Industrial Policies
AgricultureLand utilisation
Types of agricultural practices
Green revolution
Soils and crops
IrrigationLand reforms
Animal husbandry
Government schemes
Flora and FaunaClassification of natural vegetation
Rainfall distribution
Biosphere reserves, national parks, etc.
Red-listed species
Economic InfrastructureTransportation (highways, inland waterways, etc.)
Power and energy sector
Conventional and non-conventional sources of energy
Energy conservation
Human GeographyDemographics (Poverty, Hunger, Literacy Rates, Unemployment, etc)
Recent Census

Also Read : Nature and Scope of Human Geography

World Geography

While preparing for world geography, one should study Major natural regions, Regional geography of developed countries, the Regional geography of developing countries, and the Regional geography of South Asia.

Physical Geography

GeomorphologyOrigin of the earth
Interior of the earth
Types and characteristics of rocks
Folding and Faulting
Volcanoes, earthquakes
Interior of the earth
Landforms formed by fluvial, aeolian and glacial actions
ClimatologyAtmosphere – structure and composition
Pressure belts
Wind systems
Clouds and types of rainfall
Cyclones and anti-cyclones
Major climatic types
OceanographyOcean relief
Temperature, salinity
Ocean deposits
Ocean currents
El Nino and La Nina
Waves and tides
Biogeography Soil – origin and types
Major biomes of the world
Ecosystem, food chain
Environmental degradation and conservation

Tips to Effectively Prepare Geography for UPSC Prelims

Being one of the primary and essential subjects of the UPSC Civil Services Examination, here are some of the tips that will help you to prepare better for Geography:

# Refer NCERTs for a Basic Understanding

To comprehend difficult topics further, it is necessary to lay a strong foundation for Geography by studying Class VIII to Class XII NCERT books. They help to cover all the basics and fundamentals on all topics in a simple and easy language.

# Get Advanced Understanding with Advanced Books

Once you have a stronghold on the fundamentals, get an in-depth understanding of Geography by reading the below-mentioned books:

  • Certificate Physical and Human Geography by Goh Cheng Lehong
  • India: A Comprehensive Geography by D R Khullar
  • Physical Geography by Savindra Singh
  • Models in Geography by Majid Husain
  • Geographical Thought by R D Dixit

# Practice Maps

Maps are the vital aspect of Geography, and most of the questions are directly or indirectly linked with Maps. Hence, a thorough knowledge of Maps (India and World) location is crucial to score good marks.

# Connect Dots with Current Affairs

Be a smart candidate and try to connect the static part of the Geography subject with Current Affairs. You will come across many news and editorials that have direct relevance to the subject. Hence, being up to date with current affairs with the help of newspapers (The Hindu/The Indian Express) is inevitable.

Also read: How to Prepare for Current Affairs in UPSC

# Refer to Previous Year Questions

By doing so, you will get a fair idea of the types of questions asked in the previous year’s examinations. It will further help you focus more on the topics repeatedly asked in the exam.

# Make Notes and Revise Timely

While preparing, make a habit of jotting down important topics. Having self-prepared notes will save you crucial time during the last few days before the exam. Also, make sure you revise everything you study on a regular basis. It will help you to retain information for a more extended period.

Following the above-stated tips with perseverance will give you an edge in your Geography preparation and help you ace the UPSC Prelims with ease.

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All the best for your exams. Stay tuned to our Telegram Channel for more updates. 

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Auther Details

Raminder Singh

Raminder is a Content Manager at PrepLadder. He has worked in several aspects of the education industry throughout his career and has assisted numerous candidates in cracking major competitive exams.


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