Strategy:Geography optional

From CSE Wiki
This page is maintained by the toppers of Civil Services Examination.
This page contains general discussions on Geography as an optional subject. To see strategy for geography optional by individual toppers visit Geography Optional Strategy by Toppers.

Geography is one of the popular, but tricky optional subject. While most of the aspirants find it easy to study and understand (except a few topics), most find it difficult to score high marks. This strategy page is meant to give insights into what, why and how of geography as an optional subject in Civil Services Examination.

What is Geography?

In layman terms, anything that can be distributed on the face of the Earth is geography. Different places have different terrains, climates, vegetation, income levels, poverty, gender issues, environmental concerns, people's behavior, etc. Thus, all of these can be distributed on Earth's surface - all of these are geography. This is a powerful statement because it gives insight into the nature of the subject what you should except from it as an optional subject.

  1. Many disciplines in one. (Image is from class XI NCERT.)
    It overlaps with a lot of other disciplines (subjects). This means that you will have to study many diverse areas while studying a single subject. (Fellow aspirants from other optional subject with often exclaim,"What! You study this too in geography?") This also means:
    1. It is a bulky optional subject with a vastness that requires more time and effort.
    2. But it also creates a more wholesome point of view and opinion in you, thus, helping you along till you personality test.
  2. Because a lot of disciplines are covered, it also talks of their inter-relations. That means you will appreciate better how environmental issues, which are a consequence of economic systems, are leading to gender based deprivations and leading to poor health parameters in a society. See how many themes you'll be able to connect easily. This means that:
    1. Your depth of understanding of issues will be great and analysis will be more in-depth, particularly in essays.
    2. But you will be required to study the subject with patience - running through the subject will create only information-centered knowledge system that will not allow for such linkages to develop.
  3. Again, the feature of overlap is so wide that it covers science (application of some physics at least), social science (like sociology) and a little bit of humanities (like tiny bits of psychology in the topic of Geographical Thought). This means that:
    1. This subject is the Jack of All Trades. You don't need to be specifically expert in any of them.
    2. But it's good if you have a broad outlook that can adapt to all types of disciplines. If you're too much science-oriented (really good at maths, but not at sociology) or too much into humanities (philosophy is you cup of tea, not physics) then there are better optional subjects out there for you.

A student of geography will sum all this up as,"geography is a multi-disciplinary synthetic and scientific discipline." This statements become obvious as you study the subject further.


Click here for the Full Syllabus of Geography

Should I Choose Geography?

The basic advice anyone can give you to choose the optional based on your area of interest. Every year Geography paper comes with new surprises. Yet, many toppers from Geography score very high and get into top 100 ranks.

The toughness of any paper (either GS or Optional) is directly proportional to the level of preparation. For example, 2017 Geography paper 1 was considered to be one of the toughest papers of Geography, yet People scored high and got into top 5 ranks.

Everything in this UPSC CSE depends upon how you take it. So, It'd be better to make up your mind that with any optional you can clear this exam. You just need to follow your passion, interest for the subject and properly planned strategy for a certain period with consistency.

Is Coaching necessary for Geography optional ?

Question paper and pattern analysis

How to draw world map according to the demand of the question ?

World map has an important role to play in presenting your answers in the exam. It will be helpful in your General Studies as well as Geography optional paper. The maps add extra points to your answers. Maps can be used to illustrate a variety of things.

Depending upon the demand of the question, you have to decide what part of the map should be drawn in the answer. In exam, there will always be a time constraint. So, drawing a quick visible map with clear illustration will fetch good marks.

In this regard,

Here are a few video clips related to it, explaining how to draw world map. To watch this click here...

How to draw India map meeting the demand of the question ?

India map can be drawn in 12 to 15 seconds by practicing it. There is one video intentionally shoot on UPSC answer writing sample copy, to show what should be the size of India map and how to draw quickly to fetch good marks.

India map is useful not only for Geography optional people but also in GS papers. In this regard, it will be helpful to you if you learn this art or technique. You will have added advantage and your answer writing presentation will improve by a margin.

It will also help you in making notes. Or, writing any answer geographically. Sooner you adopt this technique, quicker your notes and answers will improve.

To watch how to draw India map on paper in real time click here...

How to do map pointing on India map question in Paper 2 ?

Coming soon

Despite books and sources, what are the video lectures/classes available freely for Geography ?

Geographical Thoughts - Perspectives in Geography (Play list)

Geography for GS and optional (good for beginners)- To begin, you can start from here after reading ncerts

SWAYAM - Massive open online course (MOOC)- Click here for MOOC portal for Geography of India