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Home » IAS Exam Subjects » Geography » Syllabus

Geography - Strategy


Here are some tips and strategies to handle your Geography paper in the mains exams for the IAS. First heres how you should write your answers.

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  • You should first understand the question and only then attempt to answer it. The question could be discussion-based or analytical or you need to elaborate or elucidate. As a result you are needed to answer according what the question wants. Whatever the query is, you are required to give an orderly and logical presentation of information.
  • There should not be any contradiction within or between the answers. What the examiner is looking for in your answers is concept and how organised your thinking is. Thinking pattern is best reflected in the structure of an answer.
  • There should not be any extreme views when you are debating an issue.
  • There is no need to quote anyone.
  • Answers should be well balanced. Every component of the question should be given equal weightage.
  • The idea is that you might know about all topics but you should develop your own language to write them.
  • Focus should be on memorising facts and then back up with your language. Your expression does not require you to write difficult English words. It should be as simple as possible.

Listed below are some of the main topics that should be covered. Since some sections come only on alternate years, please follow the trend and exclude a topic if it has been majorly covered in the previous year and choose another in the same category. This does not mean short question may not come.

Paper 1

Plate tectonics, earthquakes and volcanism are significant sections in Geomorphology. The Union Public Service Commission keeps on alternating queries between endogenic and exogenic forces every year.

In this section, you can expect significant number of questions from tropical cyclones and climatic changes.

Marine resources, which include biotic, mineral and energy resources and ocean currents are few of the important areas in Oceanography.

Perspectives in Human Geography

Economic Geography
Energy crisis

Population and Settlement Geography
Distribution of world population Causes and consequences of migration Functional classification of towns

Regional Planning
Growth centers and growth poles

Models, Theories and Laws in Human Geography
Systems analysis in Human Geography Central Places theories of Christaller and Losch Laws of international boundaries and frontiers


Paper II

Physical setting
Structure and relief Natural vegetation

Energy crisis

Agricultural intensity Agro and social forestry Livestock resources and white revolution

Location factor of cottage industry

Transport, Communication and Trade
Growing importance of ports on national and foreign trade, trade balance Developments in communication technology and its impact on economy and society

Morphology of Indian cities Conurbations and metropolitan regions Urban sprawl Slums and associated problems

Regional Development and Planning
Decentralised planning Multi-level planning Geography and regional planning

Political Aspects
Geographical basis of Indian federalism India and geopolitics of the Indian ocean

Contemporary Issues
Environmental hazard like landslide Changes in pattern of land use Principles of environmental impact assessment and environmental management

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