“You need to know generally about any topic for General Studies because the name itself says ‘GENERAL’ - Gaurav Agarwal – AIR 1 – 2015.
Every year, thousands of aspirants like you aspire to become civil servants and all of them have certain doubts during their UPSC preparation journey. Over the years of interaction with these candidates, we realized that the questions are almost the same, so we’ve tried to answer most of them in this document.
Q. Are these books enough?
Ans. Yes, the books mentioned in Advice to Aspirants: Geography is more than enough. One thing you have kept in your mind while preparing for GS modules is “You are not here to master but to know about it in a general sense.” Once you go deep into the subject, you will get confused and feel like everything is important. That is the common mistake every aspirant makes and we urge you to not do it and stuck in the loop. So, keep your books to a minimum and revise them again and again.
Q. Should we read other books like Khullar, Savindra Singh, etc.?
Ans. Yes, only if you want more examples to fill in the answer. These books are written to be useful for the optional point of view and deal with the subject in depth. You can read them once or twice but not follow them on a regular basis as they are big and not easy to revise.
Information provided in the NCERTs is more than enough for this exam from a Geography perspective.
Q. Where to study maps from?
Ans. There are two atlases from which you can prepare - Orient Black Swan and Oxford. UPSC asks questions from atlas generally from the topics such as River and its tributaries, States passing through tropic of cancer or IST meridian, National parks and their arrangement from north to south please keep an eye for such things in current affairs as UPSC tends to ask questions which were trending that year in the news. Keeping this in mind we have specially made tests on maps, which can be accessed here - ATLAS: Map-based Learning section in the Geography for UPSC (Civil Services) Prelims
Q. Is Geography that important for Prelims?
Ans. Yes, the Geography core syllabus weightage in the exam is around 15% and topics related to geographies such as environment, geopolitics, and natural disasters account for an overall 35%. The UPSC Syllabus for Geography Prelims and Mains that you read for Prelims is 90% the same as the mains examination and a few extra topics will be added.
Q. Do we need to mug up all the facts?
Ans. No, UPSC doesn’t play around with facts when it comes to Geography. There is a difference between facts and knowledge. Knowing Kodaikanal Lake is a human-made lake is knowledge, and Vembanad Lake is the longest lake in the country is a fact. You cannot remember all the facts so no need to worry if you don’t remember all.
Q. How in-depth should I go about this topic?
Ans. Let’s take a topic: Physiography of India;
1. Characteristics – Example: the Himalayas are young, weak, flexible
2. How were they formed? Example: The peninsula block was formed by various vertical movements and block faulting
3. Climate and Rainfall in these regions
4. Vegetation or Type of Forests found
5. Soil along the slopes
6. Biodiversity in the region
7. Here's an example of previous year question to help you understand the
1. Deep gorges
2. U-turn river courses
3. Parallel mountain ranges
4. Steep gradients causing land-sliding
Which of the above can be said to be the evidence for the Himalayas being young fold mountains?
1. How Indian Plate moved toward Eurasian Plate?
2. What was the climate of India 30,000 years ago?
3. What is the total catchment area of the rivers?
4. What is the total number of National parks in India?
5. What is the chemical process in the formation of the rocks? Etc.,
You just need to study what is there in the NCERTs and not beyond it. If you go deeper there is always a little more to it and which makes you go deeper but of no use. For general studies restrict yourself to not dig deeper and have a general perspective.
Q. Is there an interrelation of Geography with other subjects?
Ans. Yes, Geography has mixed with a lot of the areas compared to other subjects in the Civil Services Examination. But the subjects vary from Prelims to Mains. The relation of Geography with other subjects is explained accordingly;
Environment: Environment is mixed with Geography is both Prelims and Mains phase? Why? The preliminary examination of Indian Forest Services and other All India services is the same. A major portion of Forest services includes environment and geography. Here's an example to help you understand the same:
1. Global warming
2. Fragmentation of habitat
3.Invasion of alien species
4. Promotion of vegetarianism
Select the correct answer using the codes given below:
UPSC Mains question: Not many years ago, river linking was a concept but it is becoming a reality in the country. Discuss the advantages of river linking and its possible impact on the environment. (2017).
UPSC Mains Question: Mumbai, Delhi, and Kolkata are the three megacities of the country but air pollution is a much more serious problem in Delhi as compared to the other two. Why is this so? (2015)
Though these questions are part of the Current affairs of the Environment but have a direct correlation with Geography.
Disaster Management: This topic is mixed in mains examination when there are questions asked on Tsunami, Forest Fire, Cyclones, Earthquakes, etc., and another natural phenomenon, which is disasters and also covered in Geography syllabus.
International Relations: This topic is mixed in mains examination and questions are framed around Geopolitics and Boundary disputes where geography is involved.
UPSC Mains question: The South China Sea has assumed great geopolitical significance in the present context. Comment. (2016)
Economy: This topic is asked in both prelims and mains examination in correlation with Geography. Topics include agriculture, trade, industries, etc.,
You can refer to the document of Previous Year Questions for Geography Prelims & Previous Year Questions for Geography Mains to help you understand the types of questions which are being asked in recent years.
Q. Do we have to go through current events for geography?
Ans. Yes, you have to be in touch with the current events and news related to natural disasters, climate change, geopolitics, etc., UPSC in the past 5 years has been asking questions in relation to the current events.
Q. Why is solving multiple questions important?
Ans. The purpose of solving questions is to check yourself and is there any lacking of understanding of the concept. Geography is one subject, where, once you have conceptual clarity, there is very little chance that you will select the wrong option. Geography is vast but it can be covered with proper planning and schedule.
The Geography for UPSC (Civil Services) Prelims course on EduRev offers 100+ tests for your practice and helps you in continuous revision during the UPSC preparation.