How to Study Geography for IAS Exam

How to Study Geography for IAS Exam
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Most asked questions are answered in this article. The right approach for How to Study Geography for IAS Exam?


What is Geography?

Geography is one of the major disciplines that help fulfill people’s quest for knowledge about their surroundings. Many a time, it is geographical phenomena, which influences the social, cultural, political, economic and technological landscape. Whether it is the social practice of migration & transhumance; cultural aspects related to art and crafts or food and clothing; political dimensions like geopolitics and geostrategy; economic dimensions related to the primary, secondary or tertiary sectors or technological aspects related to innovations in the field of mining, climate control, and transportation etc. These are all primarily related to Geographical dimensions. We can unarguably say that Geography gives us fundamental knowledge of spatial dimensions related to whatever is happening around us.

Why in Examination?

Thus it is hardly any surprise that UPSC has included Geography in the General Studies section of both Prelims and Mains. A good understanding of Geography not only helps civil servants better understand the underlying reasons of the many happenings in the world but also evolve better plans and ensure efficient execution geared towards a more inclusive and sustainable development.

The Examination Perspective

Discussing the Geography section from an examination perspective and looking at the syllabus of Prelims and Mains in detail, as well as past few years’ papers (preferably since 2007), one gets a fair bit of idea on what and how to prepare for the exam. The new NCERTs of Class IX to XII along with G.C. Leong and a good school atlas forms the fundamental reference sources.

Given below is the list of books and other reference sources:

How to Study Geography for IAS Exam, How to Study Geography for IAS Exam

If one can get hold of the old Land and People series (published in the nineties), class VI, VII, VIII, and IX NCERT books, then these could be referred for the World geography section (anyways we will be taking care of these sections in the online classroom and the content provided).

There are some secondary reference sources along with content on some current issues, which could also be covered for a comprehensive preparation. We shall discuss this later.

Keeping the Focus Right

One important thing that needs to be constantly kept in mind is that one must go through the syllabus along with the questions asked in Prelims as well as Mains, before and after completing each section. This will help in ensuring that based on your understanding; you pick up the most relevant aspects from the examination perspective. This will also help in building confidence that you would be able to answer the questions UPSC has asked from those sections. If you could answer the present set of questions, there is no reason why you will not be able to answer the questions that would be asked in the future. Just one more important thing – you also need to practice answer writing and hone your presentation skills. This is where we will help you to overcome the initial inertia, and put you in a disciplined routine of regularly answering in the online classroom program

How to Study Geography for IAS Exam, How to Study Geography for IAS Exam

Another note of caution is that the data available in these books are generally old. So one should not pick the data from NCERTs and should rather refer the latest India Year Book (published by the Government of India, Publication Division) and Economic Survey of the given year, Latest Census and updated government sources (websites)

Regarding the trends in recent years, the questions have not been too factual, rather mostly conceptual and application oriented ones. So our focus should be more towards developing conceptual clarity and the application of these concepts.

A Plan of Action (for the Online Classroom Students)

Now arises the question of how to complete these readings. One way to cover these would be to design your personal study program. Try to create a schedule: an orderly, systematic approach is not only beneficial but also critical in an examination like the UPSC CSE. Preferably dedicate a consistent block of time every day of the week. You can also set a few learning outcomes for a chapter after browsing through it quickly. Then go for a thorough reading. Once you complete it, see whether the learning outcomes you predicted made sense and helped you answer the questions given at the end of the chapter.

Online Classroom students are suggested to read the following NCERT Books before attending the particular class so that the class discussion will prove to be more fruitful.

Class 1

Tentative list of topics to be covered: The Universe, solar system, origin and evolution of the earth, earth movements and related aspects, geological time scale, the interior of the earth, formation of earth’s crust, oceans, and atmosphere

Basic References ( BR): 1. Chap. 1 – The Earth and the Universe, Chap. 2 – The earth’s crust, G.C. Leong; NCERT Class 11 fundamentals of Geog. – Chap. 2. The Origin and Evolution of the Earth, 3. Interior of the Earth.

How to Study Geography for IAS Exam

Class 2

Tentative list of topics to be covered: Continental drift, seafloor spreading, endogenetic and exogenetic forces and basics of plate tectonics, some ideas about supercontinents etc., seismicity, volcanicity, Tsunami etc. and associated formations.

BR: Chap. 4 – Distribution of Oceans and Continents -NCERT Class 11 fundamentals of Geog.; G.C. Leong – Chap. 3 – Vulcanism and Earthquakes.

How to Study Geography for IAS Exam

Class 3

Tentative list of topics to be covered: Continued from the previous class, mountain building, island formations, hotspots etc. , rock types and formations, geomorphic processes, groundwater.

BR: Chap. 5. Minerals and Rocks, 6. Geomorphic Processes – NCERT Class 11 fundamentals of Geog.; G.C. Leong – Chap. 4 – Weathering, Mass Movement, and Groundwater

How to Study Geography for IAS Exam

Class 4

Tentative list of topics to be covered: Continued from the previous class, different types of landforms and landscape formation

BR: Chap. 7. Landforms and their Evolution, NCERT Class 11 fundamentals of Geog.; G.C. Leong Chap. 5,6,7,8,9,10. ( Note: these chapters will take time so plan accordingly)

How to Study Geography for IAS Exam

Class 5

Tentative list of topics to be covered: India: Physical formation, physiography, drainage, structure and relief and basics of soils etc.

BR: Chap. 2. Structure and Physiography, 3. Drainage System NCERT class 11- India Physical.

Class 6

Tentative list of topics to be covered: Composition and Structure of atmosphere, weather, and its associated aspects.

BR: G.C. Leong chap 13 – weather; NCERT: 8. Composition and Structure of Atmosphere – class 11 Fundamentals of Physical Geog.

Class 7

Tentative list of topics to be covered: insolation, earth’s heat balance, different atmospheric circulations – global winds, cyclones,

BR: NCERT- class 11 Fundamentals of Physical Geog. 9. Solar Radiation, Heat Balance, and Temperature, 10. Atmospheric Circulation and Weather Systems

Class 8

Tentative list of topics to be covered: continued from the previous class, Precipitation types, and climate and different world climates.

BR: NCERT- class 11 Fundamentals of Physical Geog. – 11. Water in the Atmosphere, 12. World Climate and Climate Change G.C. Leong – 14. Climate, and climate-related parts of the following chapters – 15. The Hot, Wet Equatorial Climate, 16. The Tropical Monsoon and Tropical Marine Climates, 17. The Savanna or Sudan Climate, 18. The Hot Desert and Mid – Latitude Desert Climates, 19. The Warm Temperate Western Margin (Mediterranean) Climate, 20. The Temperate Continental (Steppe) Climate, 21. The Warm Temperate Eastern Margin (China Type) Climate, 22. The Cool Temperate Western Margin (British Type) Climate, 23, The Cool Temperate Continental (Siberian) Climate, 24. The Cool Temperate Eastern Margin (Lauren-tian) Climate, 25. The Arctic or Polar Climate.

Class 9

Tentative list of topics to be covered: continued from the previous class, miscellaneous other topics like el Nino, la Nina, enso, urban climate, applied climatology, heat island etc.

BR: refer to the internet and our content

Class 10

Tentative list of topics to be covered: Indian aspects of climate

BR: NCERT class 11 – India Physical environment – chap. 4. Climate

Class 11

Tentative list of topics to be covered: basics about oceans and ocean resources

BR: NCERT- class 11 Fundamentals of Physical Geog. – UNIT V: WATER (OCEANS) -chap. 13. Water (Oceans), 14. Movements of Ocean Water. G.C. Leong: 12. The Oceans

Class 12

Tentative list of topics to be covered: continued from the previous class, coral reefs, islands and Indian ocean-related aspects ( India specific)

Class 13

Tentative list of topics to be covered: organisms, Ecology, ecosystem, food chain

BR: NCERT – Biology Class 12 – Chap 13. Organism and population, chap. 14 Ecosystem

Class 14

Tentative list of topics to be covered: biodiversity, environmental issues, and climate change.

BR: NCERT – Biology Class 12 – Chap 15. biodiversity and conservation, chap.16 Environmental issues

Class 15

Tentative list of topics to be covered: International conventions and related national and international developments.

BR: See some basics on the Internet about the above-mentioned issues.

World Geography: 6 Classes

Note:
  • Here we will cover the different aspects either continents or we will take up specific dimension and see the global spatial pattern.
  • Cover the following G.C. Leong section as per the class topics covered, preferably before these world Geography classes start, as the chapters have mixed the continents taking up a specific climatic region in all continent.

G.C. Leong – Non-climate related parts of the following chapters – 15. The Hot, Wet Equatorial Climate, 16. The Tropical Monsoon and Tropical Marine Climates, 17. The Savanna or Sudan Climate, 18. The Hot Desert and Mid – Latitude Desert Climates, 19. The Warm Temperate Western Margin (Mediterranean) Climate, 20. The Temperate Continental (Steppe) Climate, 21. The Warm Temperate Eastern Margin (China Type) Climate, 22. The Cool Temperate Western Margin (British Type) Climate, 23, The Cool Temperate Continental (Siberian) Climate, 24. The Cool Temperate Eastern Margin (Laurentian) Climate, 25. The Arctic or Polar Climate.

  • Here one can read the Old Land and People series Geography class 6 -8 NCERT books, if available

Class 16

Tentative list of topics to be covered: Continent-wise ( Physical factors and resources, vegetation etc.) coverage: Asia, Austalia, and Pacific

BR: Old Land and People series NCERTs of class 6 and 8; Related sections from G.C. Leong book.

class 17

Tentative list of topics to be covered: Continent-wise ( Physical factors and resources, vegetation etc.) coverage: Africa, Europe

BR: Old Land and People series NCERTs class 6 and 7; Related sections from G.C. Leong book.

class 18

Tentative list of topics to be covered: Continent-wise ( Physical factors and resources, vegetation etc.) coverage: North and South America and the Poles

BR: Old Land and People series NCERTs class 6 and 7; Related sections from G.C. Leong book

Class 19

Tentative list of topics to be covered: population, Settlement, and development.

BR:NCERT Class 12 – Fundamentals of Human Geography: Chap. 2. The World Population Distribution, Density and Growth, 3. Population Composition, 4. Human Development 10. Human Settlements ; Related sections from G.C. Leong book.

Class 20

Tentative list of topics to be covered: factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary industries in various parts of the world

BR: NCERT Class 12 – Fundamentals of Human Geography: Chap. 5. Primary Activities 6. Secondary Activities; Related sections from G.C. Leong book.

Class 21

Tentative list of topics to be covered: Services sector, International trade. 8. Transport and Communication 9. International Trade

BR: NCERT Class 12 – Fundamentals of Human Geography: Chap. 7. Tertiary and Quaternary Activities, 8. Transport and Communication, 9. International Trade; Related sections from G.C. Leong. Indian Geography : 4 Classes – Students who face some difficulty in starting with class 11 and 12 India section can also refer to class 9 and 10 Geography NCERT books.

Class 22

Tentative list of topics to be covered: Resources & Primary Sector

BR: NCERT Class 11 – Indian Physical Environment: Chap.5. Natural Vegetation, 6. Soils, NCERT Class 12 – India, People and Economy: Chap. 5. Land Resources and Agriculture, 6. Water Resources, 7. Mineral and Energy Resources

Class 23

Tentative list of topics to be covered: Secondary and tertiary Sectors, International trade

BR: NCERT Class 12 – India, People, and Economy: Chap. 8. Manufacturing Industries, 10. Transport and Communication, 11. International Trade

Class 24

Tentative list of topics to be covered: population, urban and rural issues, settlement, migration

BR: NCERT Class 12 – India, People, and Economy: Chap. 1. Population: Distribution, Density, Growth and Composition, Chap. 2. Migration: Types, Causes, and Consequences, 4. Human Settlements

How to Study Geography for IAS Exam

Class 25

Tentative list of topics to be covered: Human development, planning and development, Natural hazards, disasters and their management

BR: NCERT Class 12 – India, People, and Economy: Chap. 3. Human Development, 9. Planning and Sustainable Development in Indian Context, 12. Geographical Perspective on Selected Issues and Problems, NCERT Class 11 – Indian Physical Environment: chap.7. Natural Hazards and Disasters

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