How to Prepare Geography for UPSC IAS Prelims 2017 in 1 Month!

By Mahendra Singh|Updated : May 4th, 2017

Geography is a very vast, slightly technical but very important subject for UPSC Prelims IAS Exam. If you understood the concept you will understand the chapter very easily. The knowledge of geography can also be used to solve several other questions, which are not directly from geography. So, it is essential that we prepare geography thoroughly. We are presenting a strategy which would help student in preparing Geography for UPSC prelims exam 2017.

Geography for UPSC CSE (IAS Prelims)

Recent trends of questions

In UPSC IAS prelims exam, the number of questions coming from geography has decreased in recent times. In last 4 years i.e. 2014, 2015 and 2016 there were 20, 14 and 12 questions respectively from geography portion.

Moreover, the question asked from geography portion in recent times are not direct and easy. To solve a question one requires converging knowledge from several portions. So, to solve geography questions one has to very clear with the concepts of geography.

One main advantage of geography is that the it overlaps with Environment portion and the question are mostly conceptual, so if you know the concept, you will be able to solve the question easily.

What to read?

The best source for geography is NCERT books. Depending on the level of understanding, one can read NCERT books from 6th to 12th class.

If one faces lot of difficulty in understanding geography, then one should read it from the 6th class. But if one find geography quite easy and already has decent knowledge about geography, he/she can directly read 11th and 12th NCERT books.

Apart from that, map reading should also be made a regular practice. One should take an school atlas book and should daily look at the maps for at least 20 minutes.

How to read?

One main thing about the 11th and 12th NCERT books is that they are in very concise language i.e. in every line there is lot of information, which one may not be able grasp out in one reading. So, it is required that one should read these books at least 2-3 times. Whenever one will read the book again, he/she will find something new, which he/she might have missed earlier.

If there is any topic, which student finds very difficult to understand, then student can go for selective reading of that chapter. For example, Chapter on rocks, is sometimes very difficult to understood, so students can go for the selective reading of that chapter.  The benefit of this move is that:

  • Whatever one will read, will read properly.
  • It will save the time.

Studying Maps:

While studying map, one should read it feature wise, for example- if the rivers of India are being studied then on that day all the rivers should be studied. This will help in developing a holistic understanding. Apart from that revision is also important.

One should remember that, map is a very vast area, so one cannot read all and have to be selective. For example, India has large number of rivers, one cannot remember all, so first try to remember the larger ones or that are important than go for less important ones.

For better remembering of maps:

  • After studying map, one should close the book and try to visualise the location in the mind.
  • Try to draw a rough map on the blank sheet of paper and mark on it whatever one has studied.

If one will follow these properly, then one will also be able to recall the location during exam also.

Practicing mock test:

One main thing for geography preparation is along with reading the NCERT books one should try to solve mock tests also. This will have two fold impact:

One, whatever you have studied, are you able to solve questions or not. If not then it means chapter has not been read thoroughly.

Two, it will help you in understanding how to attempt questions in the exams. If you don’t know the answer than try to have an educated guess, after eliminating one or two option.

Important topics in Geography:

  • India Physical Environment- NCERT (Class 11th) is very important.
    • Unit I, II and III are important. Even direct factual questions can be asked from this section.
  • Fundamental of Physical Geography (Class 11th):
    • Unit II, III IV and V are important. They are basic conceptual chapters should be read thoroughly.
  • Fundamental of Human Geography (Class 12th):
    • It is not that important from prelims purpose. But still one time reading should be done
  • Other important topics:
    • Climate of the world and their distribution.
    • Natural vegetation of the world and their distribution.
    • Biomes of the world.
    • Ocean currents name.
    • Name of local warm and cold winds like chinook, fohn etc.
    • Resource Distribution especially in India:
      • Distribution of some major mineral like Coal, Iron, Manganese, Copper etc.
    • Jet Streams, Rossby waves.
    • Tropical Cyclone, Temperate Cyclone, Thunderstorms etc.
    • Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep islands and North Eastern India should be read in detail. They are important for map purposes also.

Important Map topics:

  • India
    • Mountain ranges and peaks
    • Rivers and tributaries
    • Dams/ lakes/ waterfalls
    • Islands especially Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep Islands.
  • World Location
    • Islands in Mediterranean Sea.
    • Countries in the middle east.
    • Other countries or place in news recently.


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Nilam Patil
Thanks for information related to geography study
Sajal Paul

Sajal PaulAug 6, 2017

Thank u so much sir...
Divya Johri

Divya JohriSep 25, 2017

Is this strategy useful for mains???

SscJan 25, 2018

thank you
Amit Kumar

Amit KumarSep 22, 2019

Thanks sir

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