Are you a future civil servant looking to ace the geography portion but wondering how to prepare geography for UPSC?
Preparation is the key to success, and with the right strategy and techniques, you can easily crack the geography section of the UPSC exam.
In this article, we will guide you through preparing for geography for the UPSC exam, providing tips and tricks to help you score high.
From understanding the syllabus and exam pattern to selecting the best study materials and practising mock tests, we will cover all the essential elements to help you get ahead in your UPSC geography preparation.
Get ready to expand your knowledge and impress the examiners with your exceptional performance!
- 1. Divide The Geography Syllabus
- 2. Subject Wise Strategy
- 3. How To Remember Terminologies
- 4. Link Geography Stories To Other Subjects
- 5. How To Prepare World Geography And Indian Geography
- 6. Study Geographical Themes
- 7. Stay Updated with Current Affairs
- 8. Practice with Maps
- 9. Linking Physical and Human Geography
- Why Do We Need To Study Maps For UPSC CSE?
- Preparing Indian Geography Through Maps
- How Can You Prepare Geography With Atlas/ Maps For UPSC CSE?
- What is the UPSC geography syllabus?
- How much weightage does geography have in the UPSC exam?
- How many marks is the geography portion in the UPSC exam?
- How many hours should I dedicate to geography preparation for the UPSC exam?
- What books should I refer to for geography preparation for the UPSC exam?
- How important are current affairs for geography preparation for the UPSC exam?
- How important is map work for geography preparation for the UPSC exam?
- How important is linking physical and human geography for UPSC geography preparation?
- Can geography be studied online for UPSC preparation?
- How much time does it take to prepare geography for the UPSC exam?
Geography Syllabus in UPSC Exam Preparation
|Geographical Themes in Indian and World Context||100|
|Geopolitical and Economic Aspects of Geography||100|
Geography – An Important Portion in the UPSC preparation
Geography is an important portion of the UPSC syllabus for several reasons:
- Relevance to Current Affairs: Geography is a crucial component of the UPSC syllabus as it is closely linked to current affairs and the understanding of various environmental, social, and economic issues affecting our world today.
- Understanding the Physical World: Geography helps in understanding the physical world and its various features, including topography, climate, natural resources, and the distribution of plant and animal species.
- Understanding Human Activities: Geography also plays an important role in understanding human activities, including settlement patterns, demographic trends, and the impact of human activities on the natural environment.
- Linking Physical and Human Geography: The UPSC geography syllabus integrates physical and human geography, providing a comprehensive understanding of the interrelationships between the physical world and human societies.
- Global Perspective: The UPSC geography syllabus provides a global perspective, exposing candidates to the geography of other countries and the challenges and opportunities faced by different regions.
5 Ready To Use Strategy For Speedy Preparation Of Geography For UPSC Exam
Though everyone has different strategies, no one knows which will work for you.
Henceforth some of the useful strategies are mentioned below. These tips will help you to answer how to prepare geography for UPSC Exam.
Before strategizing your preparation, remember to go through the UPSC Syllabus and previous year’s papers to have a knowledge of the weightage of each topic of Geography.
1. Divide The Geography Syllabus
Divide the vast UPSC Syllabus of Geography into micro topics that will help you have a basic understanding of basic concepts in a precise manner.
As questions in General Studies Paper 1 are usually conceptual, factual, analytical based, and also based on logical reasoning. Hence the level of clarity of concepts should be at par for an IAS Aspirant.
Also Read: Geography Optional Syllabus For UPSC
2. Subject Wise Strategy
If IAS Aspirants follow the same strategy for every subject that they made for History (say) then it might be possible that they feel History is easy to understand but are lagging in Geography or in any other subjects.
Henceforth some strategies to study Geography are mentioned below:
- Understand the concept of Geography in a clear-cut manner, i.e. get 100% clarity of concepts.
- Try to seek ‘why and how’ about the topics while going through the books for preparing for UPSC.
- Soil types, river systems, various climatic regions, etc. are the topics of Indian Geography that need top priority while preparing for UPSC Prelims.
- Study Geography by integrating its theory into the map. In short, use an Atlas while covering the syllabus of Geography.
- Physical Geography is a prime important topic in both the Indian subcontinent and World Geography. Study this topic of Geography from the fundamentals. Also, go through the formation of landforms, study the Universe and Earth, and so on.
- Keep an eye on the latest news throughout the year and gain a thorough knowledge of such trending topics. Study geographical features, the type of climate, etc., of the latest topics if it is about any place. As questions on such topics are asked in UPSC Prelims.
3. How To Remember Terminologies
Terminologies in Geography while preparing for UPSC can be retained with the help of acronyms, and mnemonics.
You can also remember the terminologies by revising them a couple of times. Even flashcards or sticky notes are very useful in remembering. For instance, on one side of the flashcards, you can write the terminology and the other side writes its meaning.
At the time of the revision, the whole process is made easier and streamlined.
4. Link Geography Stories To Other Subjects
Go through your study material and map your Geography with other subjects like History, Economics, Political Science, etc. In this way, you are able to evaluate different topics from different angles.
5. How To Prepare World Geography And Indian Geography
Physical, Social, and Economical Geography are the sub-topics of both World and Indian Geography.
Before commencing your studies, prioritize these sub-topics (from top to bottom) in both World and Indian Geography according to the UPSC Syllabus and paper pattern.
This will enable you to give a fresh start to top-priority topics so that you are able to understand their topics in a reliable way. A fresh mind grabs things easily compare to a tired one.
6. Study Geographical Themes
Themes play a crucial role in the UPSC geography syllabus, and it is important to have a strong understanding of these themes and how they relate to each other. Here is a closer look at some of the key geographical themes you should focus on:
- Population and Settlement Patterns: This theme covers topics such as population growth, migration, urbanization, and rural-urban relationships. It helps in understanding the distribution of human settlements and the factors that influence settlement patterns.
- Economic Activities: This theme covers topics such as agriculture, industry, and trade and provides an understanding of the economic activities carried out in different regions and their inter-relationships.
- Impact of Human Activities on the Natural Environment: This theme covers topics such as deforestation, desertification, soil erosion, and pollution, and helps in understanding the impact of human activities on the natural environment and the measures that can be taken to mitigate the effects.
These themes are interrelated and interdependent, and it is important to have a comprehensive understanding of how they impact each other. For example, economic activities can have a significant impact on the natural environment, and in turn, the natural environment can influence economic activities.
By studying these geographical themes in-depth, you can develop a comprehensive understanding of the relationships between physical and human geography and the factors that influence them. This will help you in your UPSC geography preparation and provide a strong foundation for answering questions in the exam.
7. Stay Updated with Current Affairs
Staying updated with current affairs is a crucial aspect of preparing for the UPSC geography exam. Geography is closely linked to current affairs, as it provides the context and background to understand the various environmental, social, and economic issues affecting our world today.
By staying updated with the latest news and events related to geography and the environment, you can deepen your understanding of the topics covered in the UPSC geography syllabus and develop the ability to apply your knowledge in a real-world context.
Here are a few ways you can stay updated with current affairs related to geography and the environment:
- Follow News Sources: Subscribe to reliable news sources that cover geography and the environment. This could include online news portals, magazines, and TV news programs.
- Read Geography-related Books and Reports: Read books and reports related to geography and the environment to deepen your understanding of the topics and issues covered in the syllabus.
- Attend Workshops and Conferences: Attend workshops and conferences related to geography and the environment to stay updated with the latest research and developments in the field.
- Participate in Online Discussions: Participate in online discussions and forums related to geography and the environment to learn from others and share your knowledge and insights.
- Use Social Media: Follow experts and organizations on social media to stay updated with the latest news and developments related to geography and the environment.
By staying updated with current affairs related to geography and the environment, you can be well-informed and prepared for any questions that may arise in the UPSC exam. Additionally, this will also help you to develop a broader and more comprehensive understanding of the world and the issues affecting it.
8. Practice with Maps
Practicing with maps is a key aspect of preparing for the UPSC geography exam. Maps play a crucial role in geography as they provide a visual representation of the physical and political features of a region. Understanding the different types of maps and their uses is essential for success in the UPSC exam.
Here are some tips to help you practice with maps:
- Familiarize Yourself with Different Types of Maps: Get to know the different types of maps, including physical maps, political maps, topographic maps, and thematic maps. Each type of map serves a specific purpose, so it’s essential to know what information each one provides.
- Practice Reading and Interpreting Maps: Practice reading and interpreting maps, including physical and political maps, and become familiar with the different symbols and legends used. This will help you understand the information presented on maps and how to extract relevant details.
- Use Online Resources: Utilize online resources to practice interpreting maps. There are many websites that offer interactive maps, quizzes, and other resources to help you develop your map-reading skills.
- Create Your Own Maps: Create your own maps to help you understand the process of constructing maps and how to present information in a clear and concise manner.
- Study Atlas: Invest in a good atlas and study it regularly. This will help you to become familiar with the geographical features of different regions and to understand how they relate to each other.
By practising with maps regularly, you can develop your map-reading skills and become confident in using maps as a tool to understand and analyze geographical information. This will be essential for success in the UPSC geography exam, where map-based questions are an integral part of the syllabus.
9. Linking Physical and Human Geography
- Study Physical and Human Geography Separately: Start by studying physical and human geography separately to gain a strong foundation in each aspect. Then, work to integrate your understanding of the two by looking for connections and interrelationships.
- Use Real-world Examples: Use real-world examples to illustrate the interdependence of physical and human geography. For example, consider how climate change affects human societies and how human activities contribute to climate change.
- Analyze Case Studies: Analyze case studies that highlight the interrelationships between physical and human geography. This will help you to understand how these factors impact each other in specific situations.
- Read Geography-related Articles: Read articles that focus on the interrelationships between physical and human geography. This will help you to stay up-to-date with current developments and to see how these interrelationships are being studied and analyzed by experts in the field.
By linking physical and human geography in your preparation, you can develop a comprehensive and integrated understanding of the subject. This will be essential for success in the UPSC geography exam, where questions may require you to integrate your knowledge of physical and human geography to analyze real-world issues.
More Important Tips To Learn Geography Through Maps For UPSC CSE
Map-based questions are quite common for UPSC CSE. Every year, 4-6 questions are asked in the form of Maps in the UPSC prelims exam.
“How to study maps for UPSC?” is one of the most asked questions by UPSC aspirants. “What should you cover to prepare maps for UPSC ?” comes after that.
These sorts of questions and the presence of map-based questions almost every year make it very clear that these things are important to learn for the UPSC Prelims exam. Not just for the Prelims exam, it can also help you in your Mains exam.
Detailing your answer is the key to success in the Mains examination and detailing with the maps is a sure-shot way of getting more marks. Questions that demand a sound knowledge of maps are often asked.
Most aspirants find it very difficult to solve map-based questions and learning maps is a Herculean task. There are other subjects also other than Geography that might not ask questions from the map directly but the knowledge of maps helps in better framing of answers.
However, here we will also talk about learning geography only through maps. This article will also give you some pointers on how to effectively use the maps for the preparation of Indian Geography along with World Geography.
There are 4 to 6 questions based on maps but learning the whole subject of Geography through maps will be the best thing for any aspirant.
Why Do We Need To Study Maps For UPSC CSE?
- Make Geography easier to learn without memorizing unnecessary stuff.
- Mapping out something is the best way to learn anything and it will definitely enhance your answers.
- In UPSC CSE, maps cover your Physical and Human Geography portion.
- Enhances your ability to recall names of places, physical features, and various important political places.
- Even in the Mains exams, writing your answers with facts and figures along with maps will surely enhance your quality of answers.
Preparing Indian Geography Through Maps
UPSC asks mostly two types of map-based questions –
- The question is from the static part that every aspirant is supposed to know.
- Another one is dynamically mapped with current affairs.
A very standard and expected question from a world physical geography point of view.
Q1. Turkey is located between (2014)
a) The Black Sea and The Caspian Sea
b) The Black Sea and The Mediterranean Sea
c) Gulf of Suez and The Mediterranean Sea
d) Gulf of Aqaba and The Dead Sea
This question is dynamically linked due to Mercury pollution caused by HUL and has been in news for quite some time.
Q2. Which one of the following is an artificial lake? (2018)
a) Kodaikanal (Tamil Nadu)
b) Kolleru (Andhra Pradesh)
c) Nainital (Uttarakhand)
d) Renuka (Himachal Pradesh)
How Can You Prepare Geography With Atlas/ Maps For UPSC CSE?
Now we know why maps are important. The next question that arises is how can we prepare for it. Here are some tips and tricks that you might find useful.
Political Map Of India
- Focusing on the location of states and cities will help you as these things are static and UPSC asks it every time.
- You can learn about different states and international borders.
- Marking major cities in India and their chronology from North to South or from East to west will enhance your learning.
- States which border the maximum number of states.
- Knowledge of the Tropic of cancer and the states and cities from which it passes is necessary.
- Various cities are situated on the banks of important major rivers.
There can be a lot of knowledge that is important for Prelims and answer writing in UPSC Mains.
Physical maps are somewhat different from Political maps. Here you get to know about various rivers, mountains, mountain ranges, islands, and soil.
- Mountain ranges are very important for the exam. Map or ATLAS gives us the idea of areas like mountains in the northern region, then in the central parts or of the peninsular regions.
- One of the most important mountain ranges in the country is divided into three: Greater, Middle, and Little Himalayas. With the help of a map, you can easily study the extent of the Himalayas on the map.
- Locating and remembering important peaks like Mt.Everest, Kanchenjunga, Nanda Devi, and the biggest glaciers are important from the exam point of view.
- Hills are also located in Southern India that are important for the exam like Nallamalla Hills, Ngari hills, Javadi hills, etc.
- Rivers, coasts, National Parks/ reserves, natural regions, and Highways are some of the important parts of Geography and not only Geography but also other subjects like Political Science, International Relations, and so on. Answer writing with opinionated answers can sometimes demand these facts and figures that are responsible for various Political, Economical, and Geographical issues.
Having a rough idea of the position of all the important countries, capitals, important trading locations, and various International ports or Airports are important. Here are some points that you can consider for the preparation of Geography for UPSC CSE.
- Trading locations and Hotspots: Canal, sea routes, or any important Historical trade locations are important for answer writing and MCQs. These small but important facts and pieces of information further add to larger information. Keeping a note of important canals and sea routes can help you both in Geography and International relations.
- Important lines: Keeping a track of various lines such as tropic of cancer, tropic of Capricorn, equator and the countries lying on it not only helps you in Geography but also gives you an idea of the economical condition or political condition of the country. Everything is interrelated with each other and UPSC demands this quality of integrating every subject to write a standard answer.
Important Atlases To Refer
- Oxford Student Atlas
- Orient BlackSwan School Atlas
- Concise Atlas of the World – Collins
- National Geographic Concise Atlas of the World
- Atlas by Study Today Publication – this is good for a detailed study of regional geography since it has district-wise maps of India.
Studying the entire map is very time-consuming in itself and requires a lot of patience and frequent revisions. One of the best things to do is to divide and structure the things to learn and stick them on the wall or table where you study so that you can constantly refer to them and get reminded.
How To Be Consistent While Doing Geography Preparation For UPSC
For maintaining consistency in subject preparation for UPSC, the following tools will be useful:
Perseverance is a key factor in the preparation for the UPSC Civil Services examination. You have to be prepared to put in more time and effort than your peers if you want to succeed.
It is important to understand that success in Civil Services is not something that happens overnight. You need to be determined and devoted to your goal.
So, don’t fall prey to the illusion that you will become eligible after a few months of preparation or that you can get through with just one attempt. If you want to succeed in Civil Services, then you need to start early and keep going until you reach your goal!
Practice makes everyone perfect. You must practice as much as possible so that you can get rid of all your doubts and develop confidence in your abilities.
Proper practice helps you become familiar with the subject and build speed as well as accuracy in answering questions.
3. Repetition or revision
The more often you revise, the better prepared you are on exam day! The best way to revise is by doing practice papers again and again until they become second nature to you.
Remember, mugging up the topics will not be fruitful. Try to seek a reason behind any topic or concept while preparing Geography for UPSC.
Geography is similar to any other science subject which implies you must seek a question of ‘how and why’ of a given theory or concept.
Hence being well prepared in Geography will uproot the cause of missing any Geography questions in UPSC Prelims and Mains.
Since every subject acquires some weightage, one should not ignore any subject especially when the exam is UPSC (the most targeted and competitive).
We hope we were able to guide you on how to prepare geography for UPSC. For hassle-free geography preparation for UPSC, how about trying out Examarly!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the UPSC geography syllabus?
The UPSC geography syllabus covers physical geography, human geography, and the relationship between the physical world and human societies. It includes topics such as landforms, climate, natural resources, population and settlement patterns, economic activities, and the impact of human activities on the environment.
How much weightage does geography have in the UPSC exam?
Geography is one of the optional subjects in the UPSC exam, and its weightage varies depending on the specific year’s pattern. However, geography is considered an important and scoring subject, and candidates are advised to study it thoroughly.
How many marks is the geography portion in the UPSC exam?
The geography portion of the UPSC exam is divided into two papers, each worth 250 marks. The total mark for the geography portion of the UPSC exam is 500 marks.
How many hours should I dedicate to geography preparation for the UPSC exam?
The amount of time you should dedicate to geography preparation for the UPSC exam depends on your level of familiarity with the subject, your strengths and weaknesses, and your overall study plan. On average, it is recommended to dedicate around 3-4 hours of daily study to geography preparation for the UPSC exam.
What books should I refer to for geography preparation for the UPSC exam?
There are several books recommended for geography preparation for the UPSC exam, including “Geography of India” by Majid Hussain, “Certificate Physical and Human Geography” by Goh Cheng Leong, and “Geography for Civil Services Main Examination” by Khullar.
How important are current affairs for geography preparation for the UPSC exam?
Current affairs are very important for geography preparation for the UPSC exam as geography is closely linked to current events and developments. Candidates are advised to stay updated with the latest news and events related to geography and the environment to perform well in the geography portion of the UPSC exam.
How important is map work for geography preparation for the UPSC exam?
Map work is a crucial aspect of geography preparation for the UPSC exam as maps play a significant role in the subject. Candidates are advised to practice reading and interpreting maps, including physical and political maps, and to become familiar with the different symbols and legends used.
How important is linking physical and human geography for UPSC geography preparation?
Linking physical and human geography is an important aspect of UPSC geography preparation as the syllabus recognizes the interdependence of the two aspects. Candidates are advised to understand the interrelationships between physical and human geography and how they impact each other.
Can geography be studied online for UPSC preparation?
Yes, geography can be studied online for UPSC preparation. There are several online resources available, including videos, online courses, and study materials, that can help candidates prepare for the geography portion of the UPSC exam.
How much time does it take to prepare geography for the UPSC exam?
The amount of time it takes to prepare geography for the UPSC exam depends on several factors, including your level of familiarity with the subject, your strengths and weaknesses, and your overall study plan. On average, it takes around 4-6 months to prepare for geography for the UPSC exam.