How to Prepare Geography
Geography as an optional
subject has become very popular since the introduction of new scheme in 1979 for
Civil Services Examination. The subject has a scientific flavour and is
objective and analytic. It is this scientific nature of subject which has made
geography a very popular optional. The past performance of candidates clearly
reveals that the subject is highly scoring and reliable. Also, unlike common
belief, the subject is not vast and can be easily prepared in 2-3 months time if
The syllabus for the Mains examination has two papers : Paper-I deals with the
Principles of Geography whereas Paper-II encompasses Geography of India. Very
often, these two papers are taught or studied in isolation, which is a wrong
approach. In fact, the two papers are intricately related. In Paper I
fundamental principles of Geography are to be learnt and in Paper-II the
fundamental principles learnt in Paper I are to be applied in the context of
India. Thus, Paper I is concerned with understanding of concepts and Paper II
seeks the application of those concepts. Prepared this way, the subject becomes
objective, analytic, less time-consuming, very little or no mugging is required,
and gives advantage over all other subjects of humanities and social science.
Geography can be taken as an optional by any candidate who has a scientific
temper and average level of intelligence. Elementary understanding of concepts
of everyday science is an asset. It is specially recommended to Science and
Social Science graduates and also for those who do not have very good command
Like any other subject, guidance by properly trained subject experts, i.e.
Geographers; specially those teaching in universities and who have a feel of
Civil Services Examination system can greatly help students in the preparation
and getting best and of limited time. Fortunately, proper guidance in geography
is available in most of the major cities of India. But students must take
guidance from the right persons, otherwise guidance from untrained,
self-proclaimed geography expects can even harm their interest.
Besides understanding the concepts, more important from the point of view of
Civil Services examination is writing answers and, if possible, getting them
Five questions are to be attempted; out of which two questions are
compulsoryÃ¯Â¿Â½one on map and the second on short notes. Three full length
questions to be attempted Ã¯Â¿Â½ two from one section and one from the other
section. For question on map, the student is given the option of World or India
map. If you have familiarity with world, then you may opt for World map
otherwise concentrate on India. For question on map, students should practice
map filling on blank maps. Try to learn using proper symbols for map filling.
Also, one has to write in 10 words about the location asked. For this, one
should write the most salient feature of the location.
For other four questions students should first understand all the basic concepts
given in the syllabus and then focus on the more important concepts that can be
found out from past years question papers or from a proper guide.
Three full length questions are to be attempted. Students should try to attempt
two questions from Section A (Physical Geography) as these questions are
comparatively more scoring. The important topics are Geomorphology, Climatology,
Eco-System, Settlement Geography and Economic Geography. Some questions on
Political Geography and Human Geography are also very scoring.
As mentioned earlier, Paper II is to be taken as the case study of India i.e.
application of the geographical concepts in Indian context. Thus, students
should try to examine and explain the spatial patterns in India with the help of
concepts learnt in Paper I.
Traditional Geography books on India are far from satisfactory; specially with
respect to socio-economic aspects as books on Geography of India have narrow and
limited vision and data are not recent. The students need to develop a holistic
view and here a proper guidance can help a lot. In Paper II, for getting high
score, a holistic approach plays a very important role. Also, students should
understand and study any one region of India in detail as many questions ask to
write your answer with reference to any region with which you have familiarity.
The important topics in Paper II (keeping in view scoring as well) are Physical
aspect, Resources, Agriculture, Industry, Regional Development and Planning.
A.N. or Strahler & Strahler : Modern Physical Geography.
2. NCERTÃ¯Â¿Â½11th and 12th class Geography books.
3. Geography Made Simple series by Rupa publications.
4. Rama ChandranÃ¯Â¿Â½Urbanization and urban systems in India.
5. Five Year Plan document.
6. Yojna/Kurukshetra/Employment News.
1. Small, R.J.Ã¯Â¿Â½Study of Landforms.
2. EyreÃ¯Â¿Â½Soil, Vegetation and Climate.
3. Trewartha, G.T.Ã¯Â¿Â½An Introduction to Climate.
4. Sharma & VatalÃ¯Â¿Â½Occanography for Geographers.
5. Adhikari, S.Ã¯Â¿Â½Fundamentals of Geographical Thought
6. Dikshit, R.D.Ã¯Â¿Â½Political Geography
7. NorthernÃ¯Â¿Â½Urban Geography
8. Hurst, M.E.Ã¯Â¿Â½Geography of Economic Behaviour.
9. Symons or Moryan & MuttonÃ¯Â¿Â½Agricultural Geography
10. Leong, G.S. & MorgenÃ¯Â¿Â½Human & Economic Geography
11. Sharma & ContinhoÃ¯Â¿Â½Economic & Commercial Geography of
12. Chand, Mahesh & PuriÃ¯Â¿Â½Regional Planning in India.
13. Leong, G.S. Certificate to Physical Geography
14. Critch field, Elements of Climatology
15. Singh G., Geography of India
1.(a) Subject is Scoring, reliable.
(b) Subject has Scientific Flavour
(c) Subject is not lengthy
(d) Time required for preparationÃ¯Â¿Â½2-3 months.
2.(a) Paper-I is understanding of fundamental concepts.
(b) Paper II is application of fundamental concepts
(c) In paper I, two full length question to be attempted from section
(d) For Paper II, holistic view needs to be developed.
(e) Question on Map in both papers, quite moving
3. (a) Guidance should be seeked from only trained Geographers.
(b) Prefereably by Geographers teaching in Universities with a feel
of Civil Services Examination system.
(c) Guidance must not be sought from untrained, self proclaimed geography
expects as it may prove harmful.
4. (a) Write answers of important questions that have come in the
past, get the answers properly evaluated.
(b) Rewrite your answer in the light of comments from evaluation and get