– “Salient features of world’s physical geography”
– “Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian sub-continent); factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India)”
– “Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location- changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.”
Above we have reproduced the exact geography syllabus for UPSC civil services mains exam. It is also very relevant for prelims. Geography prelims questions can be roughly categorized as follows –
- Maps – this includes questions like arranging the given mountain ranges in a north-south order. How do you prepare for this? The ATLAS! Specifically the Orient Blackswan School Atlas is recommended for studying maps. Take 30 mins every day to see various physical features, look up the countries which appear in the news in the atlas and you should reach proficiency in this section. If you don’t then you can lose out on some pretty easy questions.
- Indian geography – what kind of climate, soils, vegetation etc are present in India? Essentially you must know the geography of India.
- World geography – what are the characteristics of Mediterranean climate? Not just India, UPSC also likes to give questions on world geography.
- Physical geography – what is the composition of atmosphere? What are ocean currents? How are cyclones formed?
There is no need to write down the detailed syllabus, you simply need to cover your 6th to 12th NCERT’s well. All topics given in these NCERT’s must be understood and remembered. As you read these NCERT’s you may find that many topics are mentioned again and again. You may want to compile notes, on lets say the types of vegetation in India, from multiple NCERT’s in one place. That way you could avoid confusion and save time in revision.
Now I am sure we’ll get mails like “sir, TS5 on geography is going live in a few days, what are the important topics?” – well the answer is that all topics in geography are important. UPSC can and does change its pattern every year, so don’t go by this years paper and ignore certain topics. Furthermore, it’s a very important subject from the point of view of mains also.
Are you having trouble understanding any geography concepts? Let us know in the comments.
Here’s a sample question with explanation from the upcoming test
Q. Which of the following are left bank tributaries of Ganga?
Select the correct code
a) 1, 2 and 3
b) 2, 3 and 4
c) 1, 2 and 4
d) 1, 2, 3 and 4
– The Son is its major right bank tributary.
– The important left bank tributaries are the Ramganga, the Gomati, the Ghaghara, the Gandak, the Kosi and the Mahananda.
[Source: Chapter 3, Page 25 India Physical Environment Class XI]