How to prepare for Goegraphy questions in UPSC Pre & Mains

Goegraphy question in UPSC exams

Goegraphy questions in UPSC exam is a part of both UPSC Prelims and Mains. In Mains, it is an optional subject. In case of GS Paper (Prelims), the World and Indian Geography questions cover social, physical, economic Geography of India and the World. In case of UPSC Prelims, the number of Geography questions in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 was 11, 11, 14, and 15 respectively. These are the total number of questions out of 100. One-tenth of the questions in UPSC Prelims are from Geography, therefore, it is important to prepare well for the 10+ questions from Indian and World Geography.

Besides taking a preparation course, here are some study topics and tips to help you prepare for Goegraphy questions in UPSC exams.

What topics to study to answer the Geography questions in UPSC exams

As far as Indian Geography questions are concerned, it is primarily about Geophysical Phenomena such as cyclones, earthquakes, volcanic activity, and Tsunami. Geographical features and their location – that of water bodies and ice-caps, changes affecting flora and fauna, etc. is important.

For the Mains examination, Geography questions come from Geography of India, Physical Geography, and Human Geography. The syllabus for Geography of India, Human Geography, and Physical Geography is as follows:

UPSC Geography of India Questions topics

  • Physical setting
  • Resources
  • Agriculture
  • Contemporary issues
  • Settlements
  • Regional Development and Planning
  • Political aspects
  • Cultural setting
  • Transport, communication and trade
  • Industry

Geographical history of India is important in this context. It gives the history of plains and regions in India. This is about Pre-cambrian era – archaen and protozoic. Archaen rocks cover two-thirds of area. Proterozoic formations, the quaternary period are also the ones candidates needs to study. Major earthquakes and seismic zones are also a part of the syllabus. Books are available specifically for CSAT Geography, covering all these topics.

The UPSC Geography questions also talk of cultural settings – minorities, major tribes, tribal areas, demographic attributes, workforce, dependency ratio, longevity, etc. These are important for policy making. Health indicators as per demographics are also important to study. To make health initiatives reach all population segments, this is important.

UPSC Physical Geography Questions topics

  • Geomorphology
  • Climatology
  • Oceanography
  • Biogeography
  • Environmental Geography

Geomorphology, Channel Morphology, Economic Geology and Climatology are important study topics to prepare for the UPSC Geography questions. The questions covered under these topics include fundamentals of geomagnetism, geosynclines, vulcanicity and denundation chronology. Climatology is important for policy making. Whether it is the Kyoto Protocol or other policy initiatives, information is required on pollution around the world. The details go into the classification of world climates: Koppen’s, Thornthwaite’s and Trewartha’s and the global climatic change and climatic changes. Climatic changes are an important consideration for policy making. Therefore, applied climatology and urban climate are also part of the topics to be studied for UPSC Prelims.

UPSC Human Geography Questions topics

  • Human Geography: Human Geography
  • Economic Geography
  • Population and settlement Geography
  • Regional Planning
  • Models, theories and laws in human geography

As you are aware, the Civil Services exams select IAS, IPS and IFS officers. These are posted in ministries where policies on climate change are made. Those with knowledge of climate change, geography can certainly be the right people for the job.

Study Plan for preparation of Goegraphy questions in UPSC:

  • A study plan has to be devised both for Geography in UPSC Prelims and Mains.
  • In case of Civils Mains more work must be put towards Regional Planning; models, theories and laws, economic geography, etc.
  • Geomorphology and climatology are other aspects. Population and settlement geography is important for implementation of policies.

Tips for UPSC Geography preparations 

  • Apart from books for each of the topics mentioned for physical, human and Indian Geography, the sub-topics can also be covered through Classroom or online programs available from coaching institutes.
  • The kind of work that needs to be done depends on whether it is just Prelims or Mains you are preparing for.
  • For those preparing for Geography as an optional subject for mains a lot of work needs to be done. In case of Prelims, the importance of the subject is still there as out of hundred, more than 10 questions are from Geography. It is only the Indian and World Geography that is part of the Civil Services Aptitude Test.

Preparing for UPSC exams requires continuous hard work and we wish you the very best!