Topics on Geography are found as a staple portion in not only UPSC exams but also in a range of government recruitment and entrance examinations such as NEST exam, AILET exam, MPPSC exam, SSC CGL, AIEED exam and SCRA exam, amongst others. Geography for UPSC forms a part of the Prelims, by means of Paper I as well as in Mains, General Studies-I and as an Optional Paper. These exams are considered not only amongst the toughest exams in India but are also frequently named as one of the toughest exams in the world. This blog focuses specifically on providing you with a preparation guide on the section of Geography for UPSC across several exam levels.
This Blog Includes:
- Geography for UPSC Prelims
- Geography for UPSC Mains
- Geography for UPSC Optional Subject for Mains Exam
- Geography for UPSC: Books
- Tips to Study Geography for UPSC Exams
- Tricks to Memorize Geography Better
- How to Prepare Geography for UPSC?
- NCERT Notes for Geography for UPSC
- Important Questions for Geography for UPSC
- Previous Year Question Papers
Geography for UPSC Prelims
The Prelims section of UPSC exam tests a candidate’s foundational understanding and knowledge of geographical features and regions of India as well as the world. While the official UPSC syllabus for geography prescribes studying “Indian and World Geography-Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India & the World”, to tackle the range of questions asked in the prelims section, one needs to develop a solid overview of salient geography-related characteristics and peculiarities around the world. Some of the topics considered essential for Geography for UPSC are:
|Basics of India||Location, Neighbours, States, etc|
|Physical Features||The Himalayas, The Great North Indian Plains, Peninsular Plateau, etc|
|River Systems||Himalayan Rivers, Regional Development and Planning, Interlinking of Rivers, etc|
|Climate||Monsoons, Seasons, Cyclones, etc|
|Agriculture||Land Utilisation, Green Revolution, Animal Husbandry, etc|
|Natural Vegetation and Fauna||Rainfall Distribution, Red-Listed Species, Biosphere Reserves, etc|
|Economic Infrastructure||Power and Energy Sector, Energy Conservation, Transportation, etc|
|Human Geography||Demographic, Recent Issues, etc|
|Geomorphology||Origin of the Earth, Weathering, Landforms, etc|
|Climatology||Atmosphere, Pressure Belts, Major Climate Types, etc|
|Oceanography||Ocean Reliefs, Waves and Tides, Ocean Currents, etc|
|Biogeography||Ecosystem, Food Chain, Soil, etc|
|World Geography||Major Natural Regions, Regional Geography of Developing Countries, Regional Geography of South Asia, etc|
|Human Geography||Man, Population, Settlements, Economic Activities, etc|
Related Article: Government Exams after 12th Science
Geography for UPSC Mains
In the mains portion for Geography for UPSC, knowledge of advanced topics and in-depth understanding is tested. Further, the subjective nature of the test makes it highly complex and demanding. Major themes have been given a rundown below:
|Natural Resources Across Continents [India & South Asia]:
River Systems, Plains,
Vegetation, Soil, The Himalayas, Deserts, Western Ghats, Indian Desert, Climate,
Distribution of Agriculture, etc.
Regions, South East Asian Geography, Developing and
Developed Country Geographical Features, etc.
|Factors of Emergence of Industries:
Primary, Secondary and Tertiary in Specific Locations of India and Across the World, etc.
Water Bodies, Icecaps, Flora, Fauna, etc and their Location Shifts, Earth & its Formation, Climatology, Oceanography and Biogeography, etc.
Population, Demographics and Census, Tribes, Migration, settlements, etc.
Related Article: IFS Exam Pattern
Geography for UPSC Optional Subject for Mains Exam
Geography is one amongst the 48 optional subjects that students have to choose for the mains exam. It is one of the most favourite subjects for the optional paper. The syllabus of Geography for UPSC for optional paper would focus on the human and physical geography of India along with the economic aspects of it. As the optional paper consists of 2 exams, mentioned below is the distinct syllabus-
Optional Paper I: Principles of Geography
The topics covered under the Optional Geography Paper-I for UPSC have been tabulated below:
|Human Geography||Perspectives in Human Geography
Population & Settlement Geography
Models, Theories and Law in Human Geography
Also Read: UPSC Syllabus
Optional Paper II: Geography of India
Paper-II for Geography for UPSC can be said to be slightly more comprehensive though the difficulty level does not vary. Broad concepts tested are:
|Physical Setting||Neighbouring Countries, Physiographic Regions,
Indian Monsoons, Disaster: Floods, Cyclones,
Climatic Regions etc
|Resources||Land, Water, Energy, Minerals, Forest,
Wildlife, Conservation etc
|Agriculture||Infrastructure, Industry, Land, Cropping Patterns,
Green & White Revolution, Agro-climatic Zones etc
|Industry||History of Industries, New Industrial Policy,
Special Economic Zones, Factors of Occurrence of Jute,
Cotton, Paper, Fertiliser, Textile, Iron, Cottage, Agricultural
|Roadways, Railways, Waterways, Ports,
Export Processing Zones, Contemporary Roles
in Regional Development, Indian Space Program, etc
|Cultural Setting||Indian Society, Linguistics, Minorities, Tribes and
Tribal Areas, Cultural Regions, Population &
|Settlements||Rural & Urban Developments, Slums,
Town Planning, Urbanisation etc
|Regional Development &
|History of Planning, Five Year Plans, Rural
Development Programmes, Panchayati Raj,
Decentralised Planning, Regional Planning, etc
|Political Aspects||History of Reorganisation of States, Inter-state
Issues and Acts, Geo-Politics of South Asia &
Indian Ocean, International Borders, Cross-border
|Contemporary Issues||Ecological Issues, Environment Impact & Assessment,
Food Security, Sustainable Growth,
Globalisation & Indian Economy, etc
Also Read: Political Science Syllabus
Geography for UPSC: Books
To ease your research for preparations, we have curated a list of important books you must have on your table while preparing for Geography for UPSC.
|Geography for UPSC: Books||Link|
|NCERT Class XI Fundamentals of Physical Geography
NCERT Class XI India-Physical Environment
|NCERT Class XII Fundamentals of Human Geography
NCERT Class XII India-People and Economy
|NCERT Class X Contemporary India II||Buy Here|
|Geography of India by Majid Hussain [McGrawHill]||Buy Here|
|India and World Geography by Majid Hussain [McGrawHill]||Buy Here|
|Certificate Physical And Human Geography; Indian Edition by
Goh Cheng Leong
|Oxford Student Atlas for India – Third Edition||Buy Here|
|Magbook Indian & World Geography 2020 by Arihant Experts||Buy Here|
|Physical, Human and Economic Geography for Civil Services Examination||Buy Here|
|Geography Question Bank (For Civil Services Preliminary Examination)||Buy Here|
You can also read our blog on NCERT Books For UPSC Exams.
Tips to Study Geography for UPSC Exams
Here are some tips to cover entire Geography syllabus for UPSC exams 2021:
- NCERT books are considered the best to build a base. Therefore, start your preparation journey with them and then move to other reference books. It is advised to study class 6-12th books.
- Go through the previous year question papers to know which are the most important topics asked repeatedly over the years.
- Usually, the topics which are in news throughout the year are asked in the exam. Keep a tab on the latest news and have a thorough knowledge of the trending topics.
- Relate Geography with other subjects like History, Political Science, Economics, Social Science etc. For example, if you want to understand the crux of any geographical location, you need to evaluate that region from different lenses.
Tricks to Memorize Geography Better
Geography requires remembering names of cities, countries and continents. Here is a learning hack for you to do this in a fun way:
My Great Big Elephant Has No CRitical Problems
[ Countries lying between North and South America – Together, they form the shape of an elephant’s trunk]
- El Salvador
- Costa Rica
Kal (Z)Jana Padega Desh Se
[ Himalayan ranges from top to bottom ]
[ Oceans from largest to the smallest ]
- Pacific Ocean
- Atlantic Ocean
- Indian Ocean
- Southern Ocean
- Arctic Ocean
BSF GAME IN Toto
[ Countries through which the Prime Meridian passes ]
- Burkina Faso
- Nigera Toto
How to Prepare Geography for UPSC?
Here’s a time-tested strategy to begin your preparation for geography UPSC:
- Prepare from NCERTs: Start your preparation with NCERT books of class 8th to 12th. It will set your base strong. Also, questions straight from NCERT are being asked in the UPSC exam.
- Relevant Books: Books like Certificate Physical and Human Geography by GC Leong and Geography of India by Majid Hussain are some suggested books.
- Previous Year Question Papers: Go for solving questions from previous papers. This will help in identifying vital topics and for revision purposes.
- Mock Tests: Mock tests allow students to assess the preparation and identify the areas of weakness you must work on.
- Current Affairs: Read newspapers and for that matter have online applications of current affairs to keep yourself updated.
NCERT Notes for Geography for UPSC
Let’s take a look at some of the important geography NCERT topics for UPSC preparation:
- Stars and Solar system Class 8
- Geography Books
- Mineral and Power Resources Class 8
- Agriculture Class 8
- Industries Class 8
- Natural Vegetation and Wildlife Class 9
- Agriculture Class 10
- Minerals and Energy Resources Class 10
- Drainage Class 9
- Physical Features of India Class 9
Important Questions for Geography for UPSC
- Explain all the challenges faced by newly Independent India.
- What are seismic waves? Write in detail.
- Explain the various kinds of landforms under Karst topography.
- Discuss in detail about geophysical features of Circum-pacific zone.
- Explain the concept of geomagnetism.
- Explain the geological and paleontological evidence of continental drift theory.
- Write about the major factors responsible for the origin of ocean currents across the globe.
- Elucidate the term earthquake swarms and how they differentiate from aftershocks and foreshocks.
- What do you mean by tropical cyclones? Also explain how tropical cyclones differ from temperate cyclones.
- Discuss the statement – Landslides are more than just a natural phenomenon.
Previous Year Question Papers
Hence, we hope that this blog has helped you comprehend the key topics as well as study material that you need if you are choosing your optional paper as Geography for UPSC. For any competitive exam, it is important to have a well-planned approach and strategy in place. Consult the experts at Leverage Edu by registering for a 30-minute free career counselling session and let us guide you with the essential tips and tricks to ace your exam.