UPSC Prelims 2018: Guide to study Geography

Geography is an important subsection in the topics you have to cover for the UPSC prelims 2018 for the GS Paper I. Just by sticking to the basics and knowing how to pick relevant topics, you can easily sail through this section. This article gives you a guide to study Geography for the UPSC prelims exam 2018.

Geography for UPSC Prelims

Important topics for Geography

  • Solar system
  • Latitudes and longitudes
  • Layers of the atmosphere
  • Global atmospheric wind, cyclones
  • Pressure belts
  • Revolution, rotation and seasons
  • Monsoons
  • Types of rainfall
  • Koeppen classification
  • Jet streams, ocean currents
  • El Nino, La Nina
  • India’s physical geography (NCERT)
  • Rivers, hills, soil (India)
  • Mineral resources (India), Geological history of India
  • Basics of agriculture (NCERT)
  • Map marking

Geography is a subject that is deeply related to current affairs. When you read the newspaper as part of your IAS preparation, you must know how to pick out issues and news that are relevant for Geography. This will help you streamline your preparation and help you answer most of the questions.

Given below is a topic-wise discussion of the important areas you have to study, followed by previous year USPC questions in that area.

Crisis areas of the world

UPSC generally asks questions related to disturbed areas across the world. For example, the Middle East is mostly in strife and questions have been asked from this region.

Q. The area known as ‘Golan Heights’ sometimes appears in the news in the context of the events related to (UPSC Prelims, 2015)

  1. Central Asia
  2. Middle East
  3. South-East Asia
  4. Central Africa

Answer: b

Q. Consider the following pairs:

Community sometimes mentioned in the news: In the affairs of

Kurd:                                                                                  Bangladesh

Madhesi:                                                                                Nepal

Rohingya:                                                                            Myanmar

Which of the pairs given above is/are correctly matched?           (UPSC Prelims, 2016)

  1. 1 and 2
  2. 2 only
  3. 2 and 3
  4. 3 only

Answer: c

Petroleum/gas discovery in any part of India

This is hugely important for the country and also from the UPSC prelims point of view.

Q. In which of the following regions of India are shale gas resources found? (UPSC Prelims, 2016)

  1. Cambay Basin
  2. Cauvery Basin
  3. Krishna-Godavari Basin

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 3 only
  3. 2 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Answer: d

Q. Shahgarh area in Jaisalmer district of Rajasthan was in news in the year 2006 because of which one of the following? (UPSC Prelims, 2007)

  1. Finding high quality gas reserves
  2. Finding uranium deposit
  3. Finding zinc deposit
  4. Installation of wind power units

Answer: a

Cyclones/naming of cyclones

If there had been a cyclone, you may get a question about it and its naming.

Q. In the South Atlantic and South Eastern Pacific regions in tropical latitudes, cyclone does not originate. What is the reason? (UPSC Prelims, 2015)

  1. Sea Surface temperatures are low
  2. Inter Tropical Convergence Zone seldom occurs
  3. Coriolis force is too weak
  4. Absence of land in those regions

Answer: b

National Parks

National Parks are another favourite topic in the UPSC exam.

Q. Which of the following National Parks is unique in being a swamp with floating vegetation that supports a rich biodiversity? (UPSC Prelims, 2015)

  1. Bhitarkanika National Park
  2. Keibul Lamjao National Park
  3. Keoladeo Ghana National park
  4. Sultanpur National park

Answer: b

Q. Which one of the following National Parks has a climate that varies from tropical to subtropical, temperate and arctic? (UPSC Prelims, 2015)

  1. Khangchendzonga National park
  2. Nandadevi National Park
  3. Neora Valley National Park
  4. Namdapha National park

Answer: d

Rivers in India

Rivers, their tributaries, their origins, course, etc. are important and you must study about them.

Q. Consider the following rivers: (UPSC Prelims, 2015)

  1. Vamsadhara
  2. Indravati
  3. Pranahita
  4. Pennar

Which of the above are tributaries of Godavari?

  1. 1, 2 and 3
  2. 2, 3 and 4
  3. 1, 2 and 4
  4. 2 and 3 only

Answer: d

Q. The Brahmaputra, Irrawady and Mekong rivers originate in Tibet and flow through narrow and parallel mountain ranges in their upper reaches. Of these rivers, Brahmaputra makes a “U” turn in its course to flow into India. This “U” turn is due to (UPSC Prelims 2011)

  1. Uplift of folded Himalayan series
  2. Syntaxial bending of geologically young Himalayas
  3. Geo-tectonic disturbance in the tertiary folded mountain chains
  4. Both (a) and (b) above

Answer: b

El Nino/La Nina

Q. La Nina is suspected to have caused recent floods in Australia. How is La Nina different from El Nino? (UPSC Prelims 2011)

  1. La Nina is characterised by unusually cold ocean temperature in equatorial Indian Ocean whereas El Nino is characterised by unusually warm ocean temperature in the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
  2. El Nino has adverse effect on south-west monsoon of India, but La Nina has no effect on monsoon climate.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: d


The UPSC also asks questions about agriculture and irrigation, various crops in India, etc.

Q. With reference to micro-irrigation, which of the following statements is/are correct? (UPSC Prelims 2011)

  1. Fertilizer/nutrient loss can be reduced.
  2. It is the only means of irrigation in dry land farming.
  3. In some areas of farming, receding of ground water table can be checked.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Answer: c

Q. The lower Gangetic plain is characterized by humid climate with high temperature throughout the year. Which one among the following pairs of crops is most suitable for this region? (UPSC Prelims 2011)

  1. Paddy and cotton
  2. Wheat and Jute
  3. Paddy and Jute
  4. Wheat and cotton

Answer: c


You must study about the various soil types in the country.

Q. Which of the following statements regarding laterite soils of India are correct? (UPSC Prelims 2013)

  1. They are generally red in colour.
  2. They are rich in nitrogen and potash.
  3. They are well-developed in Rajasthan and UP.
  4. Tapioca and cashew nuts grow well on these soils.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below.

  1. 1, 2 and 3
  2. 2, 3 and 4
  3. 1 and 4
  4. 2 and 3 only

Answer: c

Climates & Vegetation

Climate in physical geography is also important. You must study the Koeppen classification. Also, read about the biodiversity hotspots in India.

Q. The annual range of temperature in the interior of the continents is high as compared to coastal areas. What is / are the reason / reasons? (UPSC Prelims 2013)

  1. Thermal difference between land and water.
  2. Variation in altitude between continents and oceans.
  3. Presence of strong winds in the interior
  4. Heavy rains in the interior as compared to coasts.
  1. 1 only
  2. 1 and 2 only
  3. 2 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2, 3 and 4

Answer: a

Q. The Himalayan Range is Very rich in species diversity. Which one among the following is the most appropriate reason for this phenomenon? (UPSC Prelims 2011)

  1. It has a high rainfall that supports luxuriant vegetative growth
  2. It is a confluence of different bio-geographical zones
  3. Exotic and invasive species have not been introduced in this region
  4. It has less human interference

Answer: b

Also Read:

UPSC Exam Preparation: Revising World Geography through Maps
Syllabus of Geography Exam for IAS Exam
Free Geography NCERT PDF


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