Preparing for exams can be stressful but with the right strategies in place, you can focus on the syllabus efficiently. Below we have compiled the strategies that you can use for preparing for the Geography optional. Also, keep in mind that this subject carries a lot of weight as it is a part of your prelims and mains as well.
Recommended books that would help you with the preparations:
- Stick to NCERT and GC Leong for your basic preparation. The former is easy to comprehend and would provide you with the basic concept of the entire syllabus. Apart from that try to focus and learn with the help of diagrams wherever possible. Research says that whatever you retain visually is memorized better as compared to words that you learn.
- Atlas is your best friend. Always have an atlas ready with you when you sit down to study as it will help you learn via your visual memory. Whatever you are studying can be retained better with the help of maps and locating places on it. Not just this it will also help you memorize the places associated with each topic that will be helpful for you in answer writing as it will support your answers better.
- Have the right note-making strategy. Geography is one of the vast subjects not just in terms of syllabus but also the concepts it deals with. This thus makes it important to prepare the right notes with the right strategy in mind. Do not copy down the entire book but stick to noting down the important definition, places, etc.
- Color code helps. You can use highlighters, sticky notes, or even colors pens to make your notes. This might seem like a hectic task but when you sit down to revise you know where the information is that you are looking for. For example - you can use red to write down important places, green for topics, and so on.
- Always set SMART goals for yourself when you begin. SMART goals mean they should be realistic and achievable. This not only motivates you but also helps to track your progress. So don't forget to have your study plan right in front of you.
- Keep a hand-over practice question papers and mock tests. As stated earlier the subject is a vast one thus it's the smart work that would benefit you. Make sure you practice as many mock tests, and previous years’ question papers. This not only gives you an idea of the important topics but also helps you with the practice of answer writing.
- Try to interlink topics whenever you can. Interlinking topics benefits you in many ways. Firstly, it will help reduce down the syllabus for you as you keep on preparing for topics that come along. Secondly, this will help you in answer writing as you will be able to set up a connection with various topics that you study.
The list of books here are the recommended ones for the Geography optional preparation and it starts from the very basics to the references.
- NCERT-XI & XII
- Made Simple Series by Rupa Publication-Vol-I & II
- A certificate course in geography by Goh Cheng Leong
- Physical Geography- By Savindra Singh (If one wants to avoid specialized books for Physical Geography syllabus. There are 5 specialized books by Savindra Singh that have certain specific chapters which are not covered through the above book. Coverage of the above Physical Geography textbook covers almost 80% of the physical geography syllabus). For the other topics of the Physical geography syllabus, one has to refer to about 2-3 chapters from each of the below books: One can take photocopies of the select chapters from libraries and study rather than buying these books
- Geomorphology- By Savindra Singh
- Oceanography- By Savindra Singh
- Climatology- By Savindra Singh
- Environment Geography-By Savindra Singh
- Biogeography- By Savindra Singh
- Indian Geography by D R Khullar
- Human Geography by Majid Hussain
- Models and theories by Majid Hussain
- Geographical thought by Dixit
- Geographical thought by Sudipta Adhikary ( A good supplement for Thought topics)
- NCERT Class X textbook, (Old Edition) is good for Economic Geography Coverage. It will also help GS geography topics like- World Industries, World Resources distribution, and trade.
- Settlement Geography by K Siddhartha
Like in all other subjects, and in GS, students must read up various magazines and current affairs-based enrichment. Some of the sources one can be regular with are:
- Geography and You
- NITI Aayog reports (particularly, those on Agriculture, Infra, Regional Development, Rural Development, etc)
- Select UN docs on Population, development & Env. (UNDP is most helpful)
That’s all about Strategy & Books for History Optional. Hope this reading will worth you.
Syllabus of UPSC CSE Geography Optional