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Geography has become a very popular optional for the Civil Service Exam. The scores have also been good enough and many became successful with this optional.

The main advantages of Geography as an optional are:
• Availability of good material and guidance. There are many successful candidates with this optional, which makes easy access to strategy required.

• Geography is helpful for the GS prelims &mains, essay, interview and even for some other optionals.

• The map questions make it a very scoring subject.

• There is enormous scope for innovations in writing which can boost the scores.

• Students from science background find it easy to tune to this subject.

There are certain points, which should be kept in mind while preparing for geography:
• Read the basics well and then think on your own about how to make innovative answers.

• Because of availability of much material, there is a tendency to do a research kind of preparation. This is highly counter productive.

• Prepare basics well with good clarity. You may refer the standard book for this. Then if required just scan through other books for any different dimension. Do not start mugging each and every book from end-to-end.

• Take the topic, do intense questioning to get clarity. Then in a logical manner prepare a structure for the notes.

• Use lot of maps, diagrams, flow charts, graphs, etc. Be as innovative as possible.

World Map:
This question is highly scoring. The aspirant should spend good amount of time in mastering the world map. The examiner is only interested in testing the basics and important places. Finally it will be counter productive, as there is a chance of forgetting even the basics. While writing the 10 words, you need not put a sentence. Just put down as much info as possible using “;”. Also, underline the most significant fact.

For example - Rekjavik: Iceland; capital city; northernmost capital; very cold climate; midnight sun; geological studies; Mid-Atlantic ridge;

India Map: 
This question is highly scoring and the candidate should prepare well. Here also only the basics and important points are being asked. So, first analyse the previous questions and prepare accordingly. In writing the answer, try to put as much as you know.

Eg. Kaveri: Karnataka-Kerala-TN; Source-Talakaveri; Western Ghats; Delta in TN; major river; highly used for irrigation; Inter-state river water dispute; Mettur dam; Krishnasagar dam; Tiruchi; hydroelectricity; etc

Suggested Reading

Old NCERT books are better than the new ones for basic clarity. You should also go through the new books for the latest data and analysis.

• Savindra Singh- Geomorphology, Physical geography, Environmental Geography
• Majid Hussain- Physical geography, Human Geography, General Geography and geography of India.
• Climatology by Lal
• Oceanography by Vattal
• Rupa publications on Physical and human geography- vol 1&2
• Regional geography - Rai Choudhary, Puri
• India- Khullar
• Certified physical and human geography- Goh Cheng Leong , its very good for the basics.
• Spectrum Geography guide- it is quite a good compilation with lots of diagrams. It can be depended upon for many areas. Keep reading this for every topic. The only problem is lack of clarity, otherwise it is a helpful source.
• Urban geography- Ramachandran

• NCERT - prepare notes as you come across various points in the maps.
• Atlas- Ttk, Orient Longman


Paper - I
• Physical geography - Savinder Singh
• The Earth's dynamic surface - K. Sidhartha
• Physical geography - Strahler & Strahler
• Climatology - D.S. Lal
• Physical geography made simple - Rupa
• Oceanography - Sharma & Vital
• Biogeography - Savinder Singh
• Evolution of geographical thoughts - Majid Hussain and Adhikari
• Economic geography - K. Sidhartha
• Economic and social geography made simple - Rupa
• Urban geography - K. Sidhartha
• Human geography - Majid Hussain
• Geography of population - R.C. Chandra
• Regional Planning in India - hand & Puri
• Political geography - Dixit

Paper - II
• Physical environment - NCERT
• India: Physical aspects - K Sidhartha
• Geography of India - Mamoria
• Agricultural geography - Majid Hussain
• Agricultural problems in India - Sadhu and Singh
• Economic & Commercial geography of India - Mamoria
• India's urbanisation and urban systems - R. Ramachandran
• Regional planning in India - Chand and Puri
• Political geography - Dixit
• India: political aspects - K. Sidhartha


• NCERT Vol -1
• Physical Geography - Bunnett
• Certificate physical and human geography - Goh, Cheng Leong
• Physical Geography made simple

• Human and Economic Geography - NCERT
• Economic Geography, Economic and Social Geography made simple
• Penguim masters studies on geography
• The Cultural Landscape - Rubeistein

• Indian geography - Rammorthy Gopalakrishnan
• Physical geography of India - S.M. Mathur
• General geography - NCERT
• Mineral of India - NBT (Wadia)
• Resources and regional development - NCERT
• Catography - R.L. Singh
• World regional geography - Fellnan
• Work book - K. Siddhartha and S. Mukherjee
• Question Bank - Surendra Singh, 1000
• Geography quiz - Muthiah



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