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DIRECTION IAS  “Where Geography Excellence Meets Holistic Preparation” Neetu Singh Geography isn’t just an option; it’s our specialization. Our belief in our unique ability to convey Geography concepts is unwavering. Yet, we understand that General Studies and interview preparation are equally essential. Our all-encompassing package programs are designed to help students realize their dreams. We pride ourselves on fostering unique personality development and confidence-building techniques that transform students into confident individuals, fully prepared for success in the competitive world of exams and interviews.

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  • General Studies (GS – Geography)
  • GS Geography Mapping
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How to clear UPSC with Geography Optional

General Outline

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.

Well begun is half done!!

So the beginning of your optional preparation must be with extensive reading of prescribed syllabus. This must include not just the main headings but also the sub-topics.

While comprehending the syllabus, integrate NCERT – 11th and 12th standard along with certificate to Physical & Human Geography by G.C. Leong.

For preparing each topic, take basic references (mentioned later), Class notes and also the model answers. Selection of 2-3 sources caters static and dynamic part of syllabus sufficiently.

Coverage of every topic (with multiple revisions) must be followed on by analyses of question trend. This can be done by referring Question Paper Analysis. This helps in comprehension of question trends.

It is strictly not advisable to be selective in your preparation as natures of questions are more integrated and open-ended.

Making notes/pointers for every topic is always advisable as it helps in quick revision and answer formatting.

As approached in the classroom, best way to prepare the syllabus is the swing,e. integration of Paper-I and Paper-II topics.

With nature of questions asked becoming unpredictable, class room coaching and test series help cannot be ruled out.

Strategy and sources of preparation

The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today

The Physical Principles of Geography covers maximum of static and core segment of syllabus. This part can be divided into

  1. Geomorphology
  2. Climatology
  3.  Oceanography
  4.  Biogeography (with some parts of Environment Geography)

Geomorphology – is the study of relief. It requires aspirants to be aware of processes forming and modifying relief feature (Paper-I). Its application is in Paper-II – Relief features of India.

To prepare this topic, which is both technical and applicable,Suggested sources are

  • Physical Geography – Savinder Singh
  • Physical Geography – Strahler and Strahler
  • Geography of India – Khullar
  • Class notes (Model answers)

Climatology- is the study of atmosphere and weather mechanism. This topic is also more technical in nature and requires strong and clear comprehension in Paper-I. Its application in Paper-II is as Indian climate, rainfall pattern, cyclones, western disturbances, etc.

Involving same technical and applicable dimensions, the suggested sources are

  • Physical Geography – Savinder Singh
  • Physical Geography – Strahler and Strahler
  • Geography of India – Khullar
  • Class notes (Model answers)

Oceanography– the study of oceans and marginal water bodies, is less technical and least prominent part of Physical Geography. The natures of questions are comparatively easy to comprehend. Suggested sources are

  • Physical Geography – Savinder Singh
  • Physical Geography – Strahler and Strahler
  • Geography of India – Khullar
  • Class notes (Model answers)

Biogeography – including fundamental principles of ecology, is the most sought after topic of syllabus. Its contemporary aspect makes it far more overlapping in nature – Biomes, vegetation, soil, Gene pool centres as the topics involves strong foundation for applicable parts as sustainability.

Paper II Indian vegetation, biome, soil, wildlife relates to the same in regional perspective. Suggested sources are –

  • NCERT Biology XII Std.
  • Class notes (Model answers)

Environment Geography – It is applicable part of biogeography and ecology. It is about degradation, climate change, causes, consequences, mitigation and adaptation strategies – World and India.

Extremely dynamic and marks-fetching topics are sincerely advised to be prepared in minutest details for both papers. Suggested sources are –

  • UNEP Report
  • IPCC Report
  • Terra Green
  • Down to Earth
  • Annual Report of MoEFCC
  • Class notes (Model answers)

The Fundamentals of Human Geography – It is the most dynamic part of syllabus which has feedback links with physical principles of geography as well.Also it is the scoring part of the syllabus as individual approach to answer writing is given higher remuneration.

Perspective in Human Geography- It is the most sought after and difficult topic of syllabus.It is about genesis and development of Geography as a discipline. It provides aspirants the understanding of Geographers and their contributions.

The prescribed syllabus though is more approaches and methods oriented, rather than scholar’s contributions.  Chronology of development of ideas is a must, in its preparation.

In last few years, the questions from this topic has not just increased (2018 Main as example), it has also been made applicable.

While preparing this topic, it must be considered that it grooms aspirants’ capacity to the maximum in writing good answers as it helps in quoting examples of Geographic contributions.

It do include the topics as language, Religion, Cultural Regions, HDI as applicable aspects of thought.

Suggested sources are

  •   Fundamentals of Geographical Thought – Sudeepta Adhikari
  •   Geographical Thought – R.D. Dixit
  •    Class notes (Model answers)

Population Geography and Cultural Setting- Based on UNFPA and Census data table, population geography includes static nature for 10 years for both Papers I and II.

However, population as social capital, social well being and quality of life makes applicable topics in Paper I.

Similarly, health indicators, population problems and policies of Paper-II are applicable topics. Suggested sources are

  •   Class notes
  •   Model answers
  •   Fundamentals of Contemporary Human Geography – Mona Domash

Settlement Geography- In Paper-I, syllabus is more theories-oriented. Absolute clarity of terms and scholars is required.

However in Paper-II, Contemporary thus open ended dimension of town problems and planning makes it marks fetching.

Suggested sources are

  • Human Geography – Majid Hussain
  • Urbanisation & Urban systems in India – R. Ramachandran
  •  PIB for town planning and problems
  •  Class notes

Economic Geography- In Paper-I, the syllabus is less extensive though includes topics that are dynamic in nature as World Economic Development, Food & Nutrition Problem, Patterns of world trade

It is more extensive and applicable in Paper-II involved with significance of all Government policies and programmes.

Divided into Agriculture, Industrial Geography, Trade transport and communication. Syllabus has an absolute applicable dimension.

Suggested sources are

  •   PIB
  •    Class notes (Model answers)
  •   Economic Geography – Leone & Morgan
  •   FAO Report
  •  World Development Report

Regional and Political Geography- These topics in Paper-I again has static, theoretical dimensions in combination to dynamic aspects as planning for sustainable development and geopolitical significance of different geographic regions, i.e. application of geopolitical theories.

Paper-II involves overlap of entire syllabus with these topics as both physical and human aspects influences level of development, thus planning also a political significance.

Suggested sources are

  •   Yojna and Kurukshetra magazines
  •    Political Geography – S. Adhikari
  •    Rupa made simple Part-II
  •    Class notes

Models, theories and Laws in Human Geography- This topic of Paper-I holds its significance at par with perspectives in development of Human Geography.

It includes all the major theories and models of human geography. Application aspects of these require understanding of  present scenario of human geography sources.

Suggested sources are

  •     Class notes
  •    Political Geography – S. Adhikari
  •     Human Geography – Majid Hussain


Toppers Answer Copy 

Pratham Kaushik (Rank 5 CSE 2017)


Why Geography Optional Popular

The study of Geography is about more than just memorizing places on a map. It’s about understanding the complexity of our world appreciating, the diversities, and in the end, it is about using all that knowledge to crack Optional and GS requirement.

‘Geography is the subject which holds the key to our future.’ As “Geography is Everything & Everything is Geography!!”

Technically the content matter of Geography has three approaches, viz.

  • Theoretical –Geographical Thought and Physical Geography build up the theoretical and ideological foundations of Geography.
  • Methodological – Methods applied for Geographic studies i.e. integration of content matter to strengthen the methodological and quantitative foundations of Geography.
  • Systematic Approach –Environment and Ecology, Human Geography address the contemporary issues in Geography

Geographers strive to understand Earth’s surface and the processes that shape it, the links between humans and the natural environment, and the spatial linkages among humans and their activities.  The geographer is concerned with the how, why, and where of these reciprocal relationships.

Geography as an Academic Discipline

The word geography originates with the Greek words geo, meaning Earth, and graphia, meaning to write about or describe. Literally, geography is the description of Earth. On the surface, this definition seems pretty straightforward, because “description of Earth” seems to indicate that geography is concerned with the “what of where”—the location of the world’s mountains, rivers, deserts, countries, cultures, and so on. But with any discipline, geography is not so simple. There multiple, and oftentimes complex, ways to describe the earth and the people who inhabit it.

Geography is both very old and fairly new. In one sense, geography is as old as humanity itself. Knowledge about Earth was as much about survival to our ancient ancestors as it was about curiosity. The scholarly origins of geography can be traced to ancient Greece. In the other it is evolving everyday

Geography is a true liberal art in that it spans the natural sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities.

Generally, the field breaks down into two main sub-areas: the examination of spatial patterns and processes in the natural world, and in the examination of spatial patterns and processes of people. Thus geographers oftentimes describe themselves either as “physical geographers” or “human geographers.”

Physical geographers examine Earth’s physical processes and how these processes not only transform Earth’s surface but also how they and affect the distribution of ecosystems. Human geographers focus on the patterns of human activity: our settlements, cultures, politics, economics, and countless manifestations of our existence and interaction.

Geography is also spatial. By spatial, it mean that geographers study the connections between people and the environment in the context of physical space and through time.

Geography is concerned with places and regions. Geographers are keenly aware how our lives and identities are connected to individual places and to regions. Because the term “region” is used frequently, it is worth discussing its use in geography. In one sense, regions are a way for geographers to organize information. Regions are defined by spatial criteria. They occupy space and are defined by internal characteristics.

There are formal regions which are defined by internal homogeneity, like German-speaking Europe or the Corn Belt. We have functional regions, which are defined by interaction between a core location or activity and the surrounding hinterland.

Geography is concerned both with environment and society. We study the reciprocal linkages that exist between humans and the environment. We study how physical systems affect humans, such as the impacts of Hurricane  the earthquake/tsunami events .

Themes of Geography.

  • Location – specific location, where?
  • Place – unique properties of a place
  • Movement – diffusion, communications
  • Region – an area’s uniform characteristics
  • Human-Earth Relationships – human interaction with the environment

The first area of inquiry is how to understand and respond to environmental change.

  • How are we changing the physical environment of Earth’s surface?
  • How can we best preserve biological diversity and protect endangered ecosystems?
  • How are climate and other environmental changes affecting the vulnerabilities of human—environmental systems?

The second area of inquiry is how to promote sustainability.

  • How and where will 10 billion people live?
  • How will we sustainably feed everyone in the coming decade and beyond?
  • How does where people live affect their health? Added to this question is how the interconnectedness of people affects health—particularly in the context of regional and global health epidemics.

The third area of inquiry is how to recognize and cope with the spatial reorganization of economy and society.

  • How is the movement of people, goods, and ideas transforming the world?
  • How is economic globalization affecting inequality?
  • How are geopolitical shifts influencing peace and stability?

Each of these questions is broad and complex. In order to answer any of them, one not only needs a broad, strong background in the liberal arts, one needs geography. Geography is a bridge connecting the liberal arts, and geographic inquiry will be particularly relevant for researchers and policy makers grappling with these issues.