Geography is one of the most recommended and chosen optional papers in the UPSC Mains exam. It is specifically famous among those aspirants who are from a science or engineering background. Many candidates select Geography as an optional subject because most of the syllabus of geography optional overlaps with General Studies of both prelims and main exams. In addition to this, the geography optional syllabus also coincides with other subjects like environment, ecology, and economy which in turn improve the preparation of other subjects as well. Even in the UPSC Interview round, geography can help candidates in acing the round as the interviewers can ask questions related to the local geography of their hometown like soil type, Soil pollution, climate, vegetation, etc which can be answered efficiently with basic knowledge of geography. Only with the right preparation strategy, the candidates can score high in the geography optional. On this note, let’s discuss the best strategy for Geography Optional in this article.

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Know the Geography Optional Syllabus

The Geography Optional syllabus covers two papers and the syllabus together is quite vast. Candidates should be well-versed with the syllabus and analyze previous year trends to determine the topics asked repeatedly in the exam. The major highlights of the geography optional syllabus is shared below:


Give Equal Priority to all the topics

After going through the syllabus, the first and foremost thing a candidate should do is that they should create a personalized study schedule and make sure to include all the topics in that timetable. Divide the syllabus for both papers such that one can cover all the topics thoroughly in the decided time. Also, the candidates are advised to start preparing for the Geography optional paper parallelly with the prelims preparation.


Refer Best Books and Study Material

Candidates should read NCERTs to understand the concepts of geography in simple and understandable language. For every topic, refer to at least two sources to make sure that you are most reliable and there is no confusion in the future. For example, if you are preparing a topic like Pollution and Its Types, then you should read NCERTs first and then refer to a standard book to strengthen the foundation.

Practice Maps

Candidates will find a wide variety of questions based on the maps of the world and India in the Geography optional paper. Hence, practicing maps is beneficial because if its questions are answered correctly in the actual exam, then they can obtain maximum marks. They are advised to practice regional and country maps from general books that cover topics like monsoons, agriculture, resources, terrain, rivers, etc.

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Preparing notes

Since the UPSC Geography Optional is vast, it is important that the candidates prepare handy notes of the important topics for constant revisions. Make sure to create notes in digital format and prepare short notes of only those topics for which no information is available in the textbook to avoid wastage of time. There are numerous questions asked in geography optional that are linked to current affairs. Thus, candidates should keep a separate notebook or file for current affairs related to Geography. Candidates should write down all the important points of current affairs on topics like agriculture, wildlife, climate change, etc from newspapers, magazines, and other relevant sources. Also, include diagrams and maps in the notes for better understanding.

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