Strategy to Prepare Geography for UPSC Prelims 2022

By Hemant Kumar|Updated : May 13th, 2022

Strategy to Prepare Geography for UPSC Prelims is essential when the candidate is preparing for UPSC Prelims with full dedication. Geography is an important part of the UPSC Syllabus, both Prelims, and Mains. It is an interesting subject and is unavoidable since it holds a vital place at all the stages of the UPSC Exam.

In this article, we will be sharing the Strategy to Prepare Geography for UPSC Prelims, Trend Analysis of Geography in UPSC Prelims, Sources, Approach, and Important areas that need to be covered in order to prepare Geography for UPSC Prelims.

Table of Content

Geography for UPSC Prelims

Geography is an important part of the UPSC Syllabus and each year a considerable number of questions are asked both in UPSC Prelims and UPSC Mains Exam. Geography as a subject has a direct linkage with other subjects like Environment and Ecology, Disaster & Management, Agriculture, etc. Thus it becomes even more important to have a good understanding of the subject. To cover Geography for Prelims, one needs to have an integrated understanding of the UPSC Prelims Syllabus and the UPSC Mains Syllabus.

Many aspirants find geography difficult due to its vast nature, facts and figures, and sometimes the monotonous approach. In this article, we are providing you with a Strategy to Prepare Geography for UPSC Prelims and important areas to be focused on while preparing Geography for UPSC Prelims.

Trend Analysis of Geography in UPSC Prelims

From the trend analysis concluded through the UPSC Exam Analysis, it is clear that each year a considerable number of questions are asked from Geography in UPSC Prelims.

S. No.


Number of Questions Asked


































Sources of Geography for UPSC Prelims

It is important to understand that Current Affairs or Environment & Ecology have a direct linkage to Geography and the geographical concepts. Seeing the UPSC Exam Pattern, it can be said that UPSC has this habit of combining concepts of different subjects to frame a question to check the applied knowledge of the candidate.

To cover Geography for UPSC Prelims, a candidate must go through the following resources:



Physical Geography

Class XI NCERT (Fundamentals of Physical Geography)

Certificate Physical and Human Geography, GC Leong

Indian Geography

Class IX and X: Contemporary India- Part I & II

Class XI: India Physical Environment

Human Geography

NCERT Class XII: Fundamentals of Human Geography

NCERT Class XII: India – People and Economy


Orient Blackswan or Oxford School Atlas

These sources should be complemented with the basic UPSC Books, along with the NCERT Books for UPSC.

Approach to Cover Geography for IAS Prelims

  • Read the UPSC Syllabus thoroughly and understand it.
  • Shortlist the books that cover the syllabus in its entirety and stick to them.
  • Refer to UPSC Previous Year Questions to get the idea of what kind of questions are being asked by UPSC on any topics and then do the preparation accordingly.
  • In the second reading of the Geography Books for UPSC, start making short, crisp notes.
  • In the third reading, refer to your short notes and this should be used for your further revisions.
  • Solve practice papers, attempt mocks to access your level of preparation for the Prelims.

Important Areas in Geography for Prelims 2022

The Geography for Prelims 2022 can be divided into Physical, Human, and Indian Geography. These can be further divided into subtopics. Here’s a detailed list of sub-topics covered under the three broad topics.

Physical Geography for Prelims 2022

Physical Geography is an important part of the UPSC Prelims. Every year, many questions are asked from this section. The topics included in this section are:


  • Fundamentals of geomagnetism;
  • Geosynclines; Continental drift; Isostasy;
  • Factors controlling landform development;
  • Applied Geomorphology:
  • Earthquakes and Tsunamis;
  • Recent views on mountain buildings;
  • Plate tectonics;
  • Denudation chronology;
  • Geohydrology, economic geology, and environment.
  • Vulcanicity;
  • Physical conditions of the earth's interior;
  • endogenetic and exogenetic forces;
  • Concepts of geomorphic cycles and Landscape development;
  • Channel morphology;
  • Erosion surfaces;
  • Origin and evolution of the earth's crust;
  • Slope development;
  • Fundamentals of geomagnetism;
  • Geosynclines; Continental drift; Isostasy;
  • Factors controlling landform development;
  • Applied Geomorphology:
  • Earthquakes and Tsunamis;
  • Recent views on mountain buildings;
  • Plate tectonics;
  • Denudation chronology;
  • Geohydrology, economic geology, and environment.
  • Vulcanicity;
  • Physical conditions of the earth's interior;
  • endogenetic and exogenetic forces;
  • Concepts of geomorphic cycles and Landscape development;
  • Channel morphology;
  • Erosion surfaces;
  • Origin and evolution of the earth's crust;
  • Slope development


  • Temperature and pressure belts of the world; 
  • Heat budget of the earth; 
  • Atmospheric circulation; 
  • Atmospheric stability and instability. 
  • Planetary and local winds; 
  • Monsoons and jet streams; 
  • Air masses and frontogenesis;
  • Temperate and tropical cyclones; 
  • Types and distribution of precipitation; 
  • Weather and Climate;
  •  Koppen's, Thornthwaite's, and Trewartha's classification of world climates;
  •  Hydrological cycle; 
  • Global climatic change and role and the response of man in climatic changes; 
  • Applied climatology and Urban climate.


  • Bottom topography of the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans; 
  • Temperature and salinity of the oceans; 
  • Heat and salt budgets, 
  • Ocean deposits; 
  • Waves, currents, and tides; 
  • Marine resources: biotic, mineral and energy resources; 
  • Coral reefs, coral bleaching; sea-level changes; 
  • Law of the sea and marine pollution.


  • The genesis of soils; 
  • Classification and distribution of soils; 
  • Soil profile; 
  • Soil erosion, Degradation, and conservation; 
  • Factors influencing world distribution of plants and animals; 
  • Problems of deforestation and conservation measures; 
  • Social forestry; agroforestry; 
  • Wildlife; 
  • Major gene pool centers.

Environmental Geography

  • Principle of ecology; 
  • Human ecological adaptations; 
  • Influence of man on ecology and environment; 
  • Global and regional ecological changes and imbalances; 
  • Ecosystem their management and conservation; 
  • Environmental degradation, management, and conservation; 
  • Biodiversity and sustainable development; 
  • Environmental policy; 
  • Environmental hazards and remedial measures; 
  • Environmental education and legislation.

Human Geography for Prelims 2022

Human Geography is an essential part of the UPSC Prelims. Every year, many questions are asked from this section, either directly or indirectly. The topics included in this section are:

Perspectives in Human Geography

  • Areal differentiation; 
  • Regional synthesis; 
  • Dichotomy and dualism; 
  • Environmentalism; 
  • Quantitative revolution and locational analysis; 
  • Radical, behavioral, human and welfare approaches; 
  • Languages, religions, and secularization; 
  • Cultural regions of the world; 
  • Human development index

Economic Geography

  • World economic development: measurement and problems; 
  • World resources and their distribution; 
  • Energy crisis; the limits to growth; 
  • World agriculture: a typology of agricultural regions; 
  • Agricultural inputs and productivity; 
  • Food and nutrition problems; 
  • Food security; famine: causes, effects, and remedies; 
  • World industries: locational patterns and problems; 
  • Patterns of world trade.

Population and Settlement Geography

  • Growth and distribution of world population; 
  • Demographic attributes; 
  • Causes and consequences of migration;
  • Concepts of the over-under-and optimum population; Population theories, world population problems and policies, Social well-being and quality of life;
  • The population as social capital. Types and patterns of rural settlements;
  • Environmental issues in rural settlements;
  • Hierarchy of urban settlements; 
  • Urban morphology: Concepts of primate city and rank-size rule; 
  • Functional classification of towns; 
  • Sphere of urban influence; 
  • Rural-urban fringe; 
  • Satellite towns; 
  • Problems and remedies of urbanization; 
  • Sustainable development of cities.

Regional Planning

  • Concept of a region; 
  • Types of regions and methods of regionalization; 
  • Growth centers and growth poles;
  • Regional imbalances; 
  • regional development strategies; 
  • Environmental issues in regional planning; 
  • Planning for sustainable development.

Models, theories, and laws in Human geography

  • Systems analysis in Human geography; 
  • Malthusian, Marxian and demographic transition models; 
  • Central Place theories of Christaller and Losch;
  • Perroux and Boudeville; 
  • Von Thunen's model of agricultural location; 
  • Weber's model of industrial location; 
  • Rostow's model of stages of growth.

Indian Geography for Prelims 2022

Indian Geography is very essential for Prelims. Understanding the Geography of India will help the candidate, after selection to understand his/her work field better and formulate policies accordingly. The topics included in this section are:

Physical Setting

  • Space relationship of India with neighboring countries; 
  • Structure and relief; 
  • Drainage system and watersheds; 
  • Physiographic regions; 
  • Mechanism of Indian monsoons and rainfall patterns, Tropical cyclones, and western disturbances; 
  • Floods and droughts; 
  • Climatic regions; 
  • Natural vegetation; 
  • Soil types and their distributions


  • Land, surface and groundwater, energy, minerals, biotic and marine resources; 
  • Forest and wildlife resources and their conservation; 
  • Energy crisis.

River System

  • Infrastructure: irrigation, seeds, fertilizers, power; Institutional factors: landholdings, land tenure, and land reforms; 
  • Cropping pattern, agricultural productivity, agricultural intensity, crop combination, land capability; 
  • Agro and social-forestry; 
  • Green revolution and its socio-economic and ecological implications; 
  • Significance of dry farming; 
  • Livestock resources and white revolution; 
  • Aquaculture; sericulture, apiculture, and poultry; agricultural regionalization; 
  • Agro-climatic zones; 
  • Agro-ecological regions.

Industry: Evolution of industries

  • Locational factors of cotton, jute, textile, iron and steel, aluminum, fertilizer, paper, chemical and pharmaceutical, automobile, cottage, and agro-based industries; 
  • Industrial houses and complexes including public sector undertakings; 
  • Industrial regionalization; 
  • New industrial policies; 
  • Multinationals and liberalization; 
  • Special Economic Zones; 
  • Tourism includes eco-tourism.

Transport, Communication, and Trade

  • Road, railway, waterway, airway, and pipeline networks and their complementary roles in regional development; 
  • The growing importance of ports on national and foreign trade; 
  • Trade balance; Trade Policy; 
  • Export processing zones; 
  • Developments in communication and information technology and their impacts on the economy and society; 
  • Indian space program.

Cultural Setting: Historical Perspective of Indian Society

  • Racial, linguistic and ethnic diversities; 
  • Religious minorities; 
  • Major tribes, tribal areas, and their problems;
  •  Cultural regions; 
  • Growth, distribution, and density of population; 
  • Demographic attributes: sex ratio, age structure, literacy rate, workforce, dependency ratio, longevity; 
  • Migration (inter-regional, intraregional and international) and associated problems; 
  • Population problems and policies; 
  • Health indicators.


  • Types, patterns, and morphology of rural settlements; 
  • Urban developments; 
  • Morphology of Indian cities; 
  • Functional classification of Indian cities; 
  • Conurbations and metropolitan regions; 
  • Urban sprawl; 
  • Slums and associated problems; 
  • Town planning; 
  • Problems of urbanization and remedies.

Regional Development and Planning

  • Experience of regional planning in India; 
  • Five Year Plans; 
  • Integrated rural development programs; 
  • Panchayati Raj and decentralized planning; 
  • Command area development; 
  • Watershed management; 
  • Planning for the backward area, desert, drought-prone, hill, tribal area development; 
  • Multi-level planning; 
  • Regional planning and development of island territories.

Political Aspects

  • Geographical basis of Indian federalism; 
  • State reorganization; 
  • The emergence of new states; 
  • Regional consciousness and inter state issues; 
  • The international boundary of India and related issues; 
  • Cross border terrorism;
  • India's role in world affairs; 
  • Geopolitics of South Asia and the Indian Ocean realm.

Contemporary Issues

  • Ecological issues: 
  • Environmental hazards: landslides, earthquakes, Tsunamis, floods and droughts, epidemics; 
  • Issues relating to environmental pollution; 
  • Changes in patterns of land use; 
  • Principles of environmental impact assessment and environmental management; 
  • Population explosion and food security; 
  • Environmental degradation; 
  • Deforestation, desertification, and soil erosion; 
  • Problems of agrarian and industrial unrest; 
  • Regional disparities in economic development; 
  • Concept of sustainable growth and development; 
  • Environmental awareness;
  •  Linkage of rivers; 
  • Globalization and the Indian economy.

Importance of Maps for UPSC Prelims

Seeing the past trends, it can be concluded that maps do occupy an essential role in the Geography section of the curriculum. Questions are asked from static, dynamic, and Current Affairs parts.

Static Topics for Maps:

  • Rivers and their tributaries - right and left bank, major cities, dams, national parks on these rivers, glaciers, states that rivers flow through, etc.
  • Natural vegetation and Minerals - types of vegetation, soil, rainfall, etc
  • Mountain ranges and Passes - the Himalayas, Western ghats, eastern ghats, Northeast rang, etc
  • Islands - Andaman and Nicobar, Channels, etc
  • Neighbors - countries with which we share a border in order of length, areas of border disputes, like Lipulekh, Galwan valley, etc
  • States and Lines like Tropic of Cancer - know which states shares border with which states

Current Affairs:

For Current Affairs, along with the newspaper, one should keep the Atlas to mark places in the news are interlink them with the static and dynamic portion of the syllabus.

☛ Check:- Best YouTube Channel to Prepare Current Affairs


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FAQs about Strategy to Prepare Geography for UPSC Prelims

  • To prepare for Geography for UPSC Prelims, one should first refer to the UPSC Syllabus to understand the demand of the UPSC Prelims. Post this, resources should be referred such as the UPSC Books, Geography Books for UPSC and the NCERT Books for UPSC. This will form a solid base for further strengthening the concepts.

  • Geography for UPSC Prelims is an important topic for the UPSC Exam. To cover Geography extensively, one should refer to the NCERT Books for UPSC on Geography, along with G.C. Leong, complimented with any standard Atlas. These resources are more than sufficient for studying Geography for UPSC.

  • The important topics of Geography in UPSC Prelims are basically from three different portions, namely- Physical Geography, Human Geography and Indian Geography.

  • Yes, indeed. The NCERT Books for UPSC on Geography are enough for UPSC Prelims if one prepares through them diligently. The preparation should be complimented with solving mocks and practicing Previous Year Questions simultaneously. Map practice is also very important.

  • Yes, world geography is an essential part of the Prelims 2022 and of UPSC Prelims in general. For preparation for World Geography, it should be done in accordance with the topics of Current Affairs. 

  • The 11 and 12 NCERT cover UPSC Geography in depth. But, to form a solid foundation, it is always suggested to start with the class 6 Ncert and then move further. It will help in understanding the topics better and getting conceptual clarity. If one wants, they can refer to books written by G.C. Leong and Majid Hussain to understand topics better. Otherwise, NCERTs are sufficient for Geography.

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