UPSC Exam Preparation: Geography Tips from Shweta Chauhan

Geography is one of the more popular optional subjects in the UPSC civil service exam. The 2016 UPSC Topper Shweta Chauhan had opted for Geography as her UPSC Optional Subject. She scored 171 and 155 marks in her two optional papers putting her in the 2016 Toppers’ List. This article gives you Shweta Chauhan’s preparation tips for Geography optional in the IAS exam.

Geography Preparation Tips from Shweta Chauhan, AIR 8, UPSC CSE 2016

Geography as an optional can help you to score good once you align your preparation on the right track. UPSC IAS Topper Shweta Chuahan shares few tips to ace the subject:

General tips for Geography optional

  • Go through the UPSC Syllabus for Geography The geography syllabus is quite extensive, so you need not worry about anything being asked outside of it.
  • Solve previous years’ UPSC questions on a topic after finishing that topic. According to Shweta, it helps you assess how much you have learnt and also helps you spot any sub-topics you might have missed.
  • There are diagrams aplenty in Geography and it is important that you practice them. Diagrams enhance your answers and help you fetch more marks.
  • Always study by making notes for every topic. They increase your recall of the stuff learnt and also make revision easier. IAS Note making is especially important for topics that are not available directly in standard textbooks.
  • Indian Geography in Paper II is an integral part of GS paper I also. So, when you prepare for current affairs, keep the topics in Geography optional paper II in mind.
  • For the maps section, Shweta’s piece of advice for aspirants is to mark all the places asked in the UPSC exams for the last 20 years for practice. She also suggests marking any two important places read in the daily newspaper.

Also read How to Prepare Indian Geography through Atlas/Maps

Answer writing tips for Geography

  • For direct questions in this optional which cannot be answered without adequate knowledge about the topic, Shweta suggests using more geographical terms and also including relevant diagrams in the answers.
  • For open-ended questions, you must take care to make your answers multi-dimensional. For example, such questions in Indian Geography can be answered by using relevant theory from the paper I.
  • Shweta’s four pointers to write amazing answers in Geography:-
  1. Use relevant and labelled diagrams.
  2. Use examples from India and the world.
  3. Use various philosophers’ thoughts.
  4. Use geographical terminology.

Shweta Chauhan’s Booklist for UPSC Geography

For IAS Geography Optional Paper I

  • For Geomorphology: Geomorphology by Savindra Singh
  • For Climatology and Oceanography: Physical Geography by Savindra Singh
  • For Biogeography and Environmental Geography: Physical Geography by Savindra Singh, Rupa Made Simple Book on Environment, newspapers, Down To Earth Magazine
  • For Human Geography: Evolution of Geographical Thought by Majid Husain, Human Geography by Majid Husain, Economic and Social Geography Made Simple by Rupa Publishers, Regional Planning by Chand & Puri

For IAS Geography Optional Paper II

  • India – A Comprehensive Geography by D R Khullar
  • Newspapers and current affairs material

For IAS Geography Mains

  • Certificate Physical and Human Geography by Goh Cheng Leong
  • NCERT Geography textbooks – classes XI and XII

Download free NCERTs from this link.

World map- link to Geography through maps revsion

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