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ALS Geography Optional

Climatology Notes




ALS Geography Optional Climatology Notes

ALS Geography Optional
Geomorphology Notes




ALC Coaching UPSC Civil Service Mains Optional Geography

Geomorphology Notes

Mrunal Geography Material





Mrunal Geography Material Compilation

Geography Mains 2013 Paper 1
And 2
Geography Mains 2013
Sociology Paper 1 Mains 2013
Political Science paper 1
Political Science Paper 2
Geography Mains Booklist,
Study plan, Answer-writing
Tips and Maps Preparation for
UPSC by Mr.Abhiram AIR 4/CSE
For Free Geography Material Click Here
I received some emails & requests from fellow IO members
asking me about the strategy I followed for geography. This
short article is in response to those requests. I hope this
will be of at least some value to future aspirants.

Before that I’ll introduce myself – I’m Abhiram – cleared

CSE 2010 in my first attempt. My rank is mainly due to my
marks in geography (385 marks – 196+189 in papers 1 & 2).

Overview of Geography (Mains) Preparation

1. I think it is better to read the minimum possible number

of books, but it should be revised regularly. For eg: I
followed only savindra singh for physical geography, and
did not buy separate books for geomorphology, climatology
or oceanography. (i’ve attached the list of books I
followed at the end).

2. I did not prepare notes from standard text books, as I

felt it was redundant. Instead I wrote tips & headings on
the margins of the book for easier reference. I
concentrated on my class notes for proper structuring of

3. Use diagrams, maps, flowcharts & other innovative

illustrations in your answers. Diagrams simplify the detail
& improve the presentation also. I followed the thumb-rule
of one diagram for a paragraph (i.e. Approx. 1 or 2 figures
per page.) Even in questions where the need of a diagram
may not be apparent, try to draw at least one. Eg: for the
question on occidental culture realm, I just drew a rough
map & marked the corresponding area, which might have
caught the examiner’s eye. Eg: for a question on world
trade pattern, I drew a world map with arrows pointing out
the nature & flow of commodities between developed &
developing nations. This, I believe, leads to a better
expression of an idea which is either difficult or lengthy
to express in words.

4. As far as mapping is concerned, try to identify places

that appeared in the news for some reason (eg: jaitapur,
sanand, krishnapatanam etc.). Frankly speaking, luck was a
major factor that helped me in india map & I notched up 11
correct locations out of 15 given in the question. My
interest in wildlife/travel & my location in south india
helped me identify 6 locations.

5. I followed the deadline of (number of marks/2) minutes

for answer completion & did not take into account the
number of words. Eg: I put aside 10 minutes for a 20
marker. Even this strategy failed me in Geo paper 1 as I
was not able attempt around 15-20 marks.

6. For answering less specific questions (eg: problems &

prospects of agro-based industries in bihar), use
intelligent correlation to write comparatively good
answers. For eg: problems of agro industries are related to
geomorphology, climate, transportation, quality of manpower
etc. You can opt for either a bright or dull prospect, but
substantiate the stand. If you are positive, then suggest
the advantages of bihar with respect to agri production,
large pool of manpower, flat land suitable for road/rail
etc. Along with the conditionality like bridges, better
education & skill development of workforce etc.

7. Practice drawing of diagrams to increase speed & save


8. Mock tests conducted by Shankar sir, followed by

individual correction sessions greatly refined the quality
of my answers.

9. For ‘’contemporary issues’’ topic in the syllabus, I

mainly relied on my preparation for GS.
PS – I am heavily indebted to Shankar sir for motivating &
training me to think innovatively & answer creatively
during the exam. The credit for almost all the tips that
i’ve mentioned goes to him

List of major sources i followed. The list is definitely

not exhaustive, but i have tried to be just to your need.

Booklist for Geography Mains

Booklist for Geography

1. Physical Geography by Savindra Singh
2. Certificate Physical and Human Geography by Goh Che
3. Ncert 11th & 12th geography textbooks (can be
downloaded free online from official NCERT website.)
4. Human Geography by Majid Hussain
5. Evolution Of Geographical Thought by Majid Hussain
6. Indian Geography by Khullar
7. Geographic theories by K.Siddartha or Majid husain
8. The Orient blackswan Atlas
9. Oxford atlas
10. Spectrum’s geography guide for illustrations &
miscellaneous topics
11. Made Simple series of Rupa publication (2 books)
12. Shankar sir’s class notes

Paper 1
Geomorphology/climatolgy & oceanography – Physical
geography by savindra singh
Biogeography & ecology part of environmental
geography – Rupa series
Contemporary areas of bio/environmental geography –
no specific preparation. Just what i read in
magazines & newspapers
Human geo theories – Human Geography By Majid Husain
World agriculture in economic geo – Models, theories
& processes by Siddartha &
Certificate Physical and Human geography by goh cheng
Population geo – Human Geography By Majid Husain
Settlement geo – Spectrum’s geography guide (Ed. I
think author is “Rajiv Ahir”)
Regional planning – mainly handouts given by shankar
sir (photocopy from some textbook)
Models, theories & laws – Geographic theories by
Siddartha & parts from Majid husain

Paper 2 (Indian Geography)

Regional development & planning – mainly handouts
given by shankar sir (photocopy from some textbook)
Settlements – NCERT & Spectrum’s geography guide
Political geo – no specific material, just class
discussions with shankar sir
Contemporary issues – no specific preparation. Just
what i read in magazines & newspapers
For the rest about india, ncerts & Indian Geography
by Khullar is more than sufficient

Books for Hindi Medium

I do not know about Hindi medium books in geo, because i

wrote the exam in English. But savindra singh’s ‘physical
geography’ is available in Hindi. You can definitely buy
that. Ncert 11th & 12th geo will also be available in
Hindi. As for other books, i’ve no idea.
(Ed. Majid Hussain’s books under Tata MAcgrawhill
Publication are usually available in Hindi as well.)


Missing topics can be read from spectrum’s geography.

It is not absolutely necessary to take coaching, but in a
highly popular subject like geo, it always helps to be a
few steps ahead of the crowd which is possible if you get
good guidance.
Pls do not leave out any topic as a whole. Have a basic
idea of everything in the syllabus. But you can be
selective while studying in-depth.

Review on specific books

Indian Geography By Khullar

Khullar is mainly a reference book meant to support NCERT.

You’ll have to follow the whole book, but there is no need
to read line by line, or every page. Some chapters like
physical setting, soil, environment, etc. Need in-depth
reading in khullar. Others like minerals, agri, industry,
transport etc. Only need a cursory reading. But take a good
look at the maps & important places. For eg:, you must know
major mines in the important coal belts of india, major
national highways etc.

Majid Hussain

You don’t need to study the whole of majid husain, but only
those topics mentioned in the syllabus.

Physical Geography Savindra Singh

Chapters in Physical Geography- Savindra Singh are
divided into portions that mirror the mains syllabus
(paper 1 section A) like geomorphology, climatology,
oceanography & landform development. Take the
syllabus & compare the various topics in the former &
the book. Then you’ll know what to read & what not.
Newer editions even have a glossary of terms at the
end, which is useful for definitions.
I think the new edition of phy.geo. By savindra singh
has a portion on sealevel change, law of the sea &
marine pollution.
For marine pollution & sea-level change you can
definitely frame points out of your GS preparation.


You’ll need Orient Blackswan Atlas also, as some features

are better explained in it than in oxford atlas. Also, i do
not know about adhikari’s geo thought, but i’ve heard it is
a bit too lengthy.

Rupa Series
Btw, i don’t think i’d have said rupa series was “the
best” for soils & landform development. It was the
book i followed, that’s all! Made simple series is
very useful, esp. The soil geography & landform
development part.
Rupa’s series is also really good but you’ll need
only some of the chapters & not all.


I have never made notes from standard textbooks at any

point of preparation. I used to underline the important
points & also write hints on the margin of the textbooks.

How to write Answers in Geography (Mains)?

The intro & conclusion differ from question to question,

and also based on the marks allotted. Generally there’s no
need for long intros for 20 markers. It is the heart of
your answer that is most important as it contains “the

Generally speaking, most candidates will answer the direct

questions (like those relating to cyclones,earthquakes,
structure of earth, tides/coral reefs, landforms, erosion
etc.) With almost the same points, so try to maintain an
edge by introducing new diagrams or presenting your answer
in a more appealing manner.


For small questions underline just underline one or two

keywords. For the long ones you’ll have to underline just
the key points. Too much of it make your paper look ugly.


I used both headings (very frequently & only before

starting non-intro paras) & points (occassionally, but each
point consisting of minimum 2-3 lines each) in my geography
answer paper.

Open Ended Questions

Also, be careful with the open ended questions – you have

to write answers with a geographical perspective in your
mind. Moreover, these answers should be as broad as
possible in the sense that it should cover a wide range of

For example: In geo mains 2010 paper 2 we had to write a

short note on “ethnic diversity of north-east tribes“.
Instead of just describing the north-eastern tribes of
india straightaway, i took course to the following format.

Answer to above question as written by me:

small intro – drew map of NE showing the strongholds

of various tribes (bodo, apatani, naga, garo, khasi
description of the ethnic diversity – description of
how geography created & re-inforced this diversity
and divided the people into island-like communities
with each evolving its own distinct culture, all of
which contributed to NE becoming a ethnic diversity
(several mountain ranges like
dafla/abor/mishmi/garo/khasi, perennial & swift
flowing rivers like subansiri/dihang/lohit/kameng,
mountain gaps connecting
Tibet/myanmar/bhutan/chittagong with NE paved the way
for intrusion of mongolian races/languages, thick &
impenetrable forests etc.)
small map of NE showing the above-mentioned
geographic factors – conclusion (just a single line –
NE is a fine proof of how geography & ethnic
diversity go together)

Diagrams in the answers

Most of the diagrams were from the textbooks i followed,

but sometimes i had to innovate, as in the question
regarding WTO…it is not necessary that there be one diagrm
per para, but try to include atleast one per page to break
the monotny & improve presentation.

New places / Current Affairs

Q. F i get any new island name in news paper or any place

of dispute should i locate in the map?

Ans. YES. You have to do that. Also note the sea/ocean,

rival claimants’ names & presence of natural resources

Drawing the Maps

I donot use any specific Technic for drawing India’s

outlines ( boundaries). Just practiced free-hand drawing
and made sure that my drawing looked ‘similar’ to the
actual state interms of shape. That’s all!

State map

Q. If in any question i have to prsent map of any state for

example orissa..should i draw the map of india and inside
it should i show orissa or only i draw map of orissa
independently…if so..then remembring independent maps of
every state is going to be very difficult.

Ans. It depends on the nature of question asked. If it

specifically pertains to orisse, then you’ll have to draw a
rough map of orissa. It is not at all difficult if you can
remmeber something general regarding a state’s outline –
kerala (like a bitter gourd), tamil nadu (triangle), andhra
(rectangle with one long arm), square (sikkim, nagaland,
haryana, punjab, HP, uttarakhand), rectangle (UP, bihar),
amoeboid (chattisgarh, MP) etc.

World Map

Q. How to practices world map..for example i have to show

any country of middle east like libya which is in
should i show…should i draw the map of middle east and then
i should show libya inside or independent.

In world map, normally they provide the maps & you’re

supposed to mark the place/detail asked. They’ve not asked
for maps of other countries till now in my knowledge.

Suggestion (for world map) – go from macro to micro. Start

from the continent level landforms & boundaries. Then move
onto major countries. Then to any specific country in news
(eg: an oil producing town of libya can be asked!)

How to handle the maps questions?

You may face 4 situations in a map:

1. You know both the location & the description. (best case

2. You don’t know the exact location on the map but you
know about the place – then mark the spot where you think
the place might be (let it go wrong, no problem), but write
the exact description. You’ll definitely get marks.
3. You know the broad region in which the place is located,
but not the exact unique detail – here you can go for
intelligent correlation. I’ll give an eg: suppose kudremukh
is asked & you know it’s somewhere in the western ghats of
Karnataka but nothing special about it. First mark it on
the map. For the description, you can safely write anything
that’s common to the hills of w.ghats here & it will surely
be passable for an answer. Say, you can use points like –
one of the high peaks of ghats, orogenic monsoonal
rainfall, tropical evergreen forests, biodiversity hotspot,
non-perennial streams, potential for tourism/small hydro

Here the trick is to write a word or two about each topic

in the syllabus (ie whichever is applicable) linking it
with the place asked – ie. Importance/speciality of the
place from the point of view of geomorph/climatology,
oceano/biogeography, settlement, trade, agri, industry,
transport etc. This will give you enough material & may
even exceed 30 words. This method will not fetch you full
marks, but its better than a zero.

4. You neither know the place nor the description. (May God
can help you!) – Perform some guess work, which may range
from logical to ridiculous. If luck’s on your side, you’ll
get it. I got the entry for phalgu river (geo-2 2010)
correct in this fashion. It seemed like a Hindi name to me
& so I marked it in bihar, and wrote a description common
to all rivers of indo-gangetic plain – meanders,
floodplains, sandbars, alluvium etc. I came home, checked
wikipedia & found to my pleasant surprise that I guessed it
right. But 4 other guesses went wrong.

yes, i used at least one diagram per page. That surely

breaks the monotony of the examiner. You can use maps or
other figures as you feel fit…

Guideline for Geography Map pointing Questions

in Mains

Remaining part is copy pasted from MG Kumar Rao’s thread on


One of the reason for Geography have been popular in mains

,for map pointing in both the papers. Since 2007 Union
Public Service Commission has been doing various
experiments in map pointing to reduce its popularity mainly
to reduce the impact of coaching institutes.

Last Year map in both the papers is direct evidence for it.

First of all map needs rigorous practice, There is no doubt

in it.
But what kind of points to be practiced and how to write
info for the corresponding entry in various angles like
physical,human,economic,cultural,environmental etc is one
of the major challenging issue for all the serious

I have done 10 and 13 entries in paper 1&2 respectively in

all aspects the question being asked including GMT.

I can give guidelines, I would be happy if it works for any

of the aspirants.

1. Do all the entries in NCERT Books[6,7,8 class text

book Land and people,11th and
2. 12th class india and world]
3. Take a series of empty maps and try to locate all
physical features at on place and so on for various
4. Follow the hindu News Paper, Particularly for Indian
5. This Year almost 4 difficult entries were in News.
6. Try to assosiate on map with another map
7. For Eg:After completion on Physical India, impose the
map on political,Then economic , transport etc

If you dont know the info for any place try to associate
with the syllabus.

For ex: To write 40 words on Ken river.

A seasonal dendritic river of Bhundelkhand and tributary of
Chambal originating at foot hills of Vindhya. It is the
part of Indias first river linking project. Provides
irrigation, drinking water, electricity to this region.
Famous for highly eroded landforms Ravines.

This particular info on Ken coverd in all angles asked by

Union Public Service Commission.

1. Political————Bundelkhand
2. River charcters—-sasonal and Dendritic
3. Economic———–Irrigation,electricity
4. Environmaent——Ravines
5. Other—————River linking

I think this particular description will get 80% marks

When you are doing map point kindly respect the rules of
map pointing.

1. Corresponding symbols
2. Lettering(writing name)
3. Direction
4. Scale

Some more Gems by M G Kumar Rao

Problem with Geography

It is very much true that geography one of the most popular

optional in Union Public Service Commission both in UPSC
Preliminary Examination as well as in mains. This can be
directly infer from the selection list of each and every
year. One major advantage and limitations of geography
availability of plenty of material from various coaching
institutes ,text books and guides in the market. often they
have been misguiding students those who are not having any
strategy or planning. Therefore one must take care of these

Four important aspects

1. One important aspect in civils service is , person
must know what to read and what not to read.This
looks very simple but most of the people do mistake
at this, and often do mistakes.
2. second aspect in what way the material are to be
studied and how to balance both optional and gs.
3. how to prepare notes and and how much time is
required to allot for revisions
4. above all, the most important thing is how to write
the exam; Because i believe most of the people are
failed to clear exam even after well preparation.

What is required to succeed with Geography?

One must have complete grip on syllabus: the topics
which were given in syllabus of Union Public Service
Commission preliminary. I suggest at least read once
syllabus every day and try to digest each and every
sub heading.
One must look into old question papers in order to
understand the nature of questions and to know the
pulse of Union Public Service Commission for what
exactly they are demanding form student .
One advantage with geography is it requires both
analitical study and factual study (route
memorization);There fore this optional eqully
easy/difficult for arts and science background
Accuracy can come only with revision for atlast 5-6
times and reading with analysis and reasoning.

How to Read Geography Books?

While reading these books one must take care of syllabus

and nature of questions.
One must follow the map while reading these text books,
Because it develops your analytical ability.
Use Penguin dictionary where ever you’re not comfortable
with terminology of geography.

I think you may or may n’t get the subject in ur

first reading; but don’t stop reading.
I suggest you go through at least twice these books
so that you will come to know various links
associated between topics. There is no need for you
to read each and every text book from 1st page to
last page. I suggest you strictly bound to syllabus.
In your 3rd and 4th reading one must prepare notes
from these books. By this time you will come to know
pulse of Union Public Service Commission.
I strongly believe one who follows sincerely these
things at a time of 4-5Hrs per day for geography, i
think for all the 4 revisions including notes
preparation may take 85-100 days.
Understanding each and every word of syllabus
Minimum of 150 word notes on each and every sub topic
of syllabus
Connectivity, application and analysis
Diagrams, pictures and graphs
Books are necessary but not sufficient. Because mains
doesnot demand bookish knowledge alone. You need to
develop skill of linking, writing and application. It
will not come in a day but Keep on practicing the old
question papers- it is the only way to come out from

G K of World Geography For

Civil Service Exam
Download pdf

G K of World Geography For Civil Service Exam

Haiyan to Lehar: how storms

around the world are named
Phailin, Helen, Haiyan, Lehar and the rest get their names
from a list specific to their region

We all must have often wondered

from where cyclones, typhoons or tropical storms get their
names. Here
is a brief insight into why and how cyclones are named.

The practice of naming tropical storms began years ago with

motive to help in quick and error-free identification of
cyclones in
warning messages and to make it easier for media, which
otherwise had to
use numbers for longitudes and latitudes and other technical
Many also agree that the use of names also heightens interest
warnings and increases community preparedness.

A cyclone, typhoon and hurricane are all the same but are
differently in different parts of the world. Hurricane is a
term used
in Eastern Pacific belt while typhoon is used in Northern
Pacific Ocean
and the term cyclone is used in the South Pacific Ocean and
Indian Ocean

From the past

Initially, cyclones were named after the places where they

caused the
most damage. Past records show that it was in the mid 1900’s
that the
practice of using feminine names like Edna, Florence, Gilda,
Irene, Jill and Katherine for storms was adopted. Later, to
make the
process of naming storms more organised, meteorologists
decided to
identify storms using names from a list arranged
alphabetically and
accepted internationally. It was in 1973 that the forecasters
using male names for those forming in the Southern Hemisphere.

The process of naming cyclones is conducted by regional

bodies, each
known as Tropical Cyclone Regional Body, and is kept under the
aegis of
the World Meteorological Organization, a UN body. At present,
there are
five regional bodies, classified on basis of five ocean
basins, and each
body follows a strict procedure to annually or biennially
determine a
list of tropical storms which originate in the basin assigned
to them.
The names in the lists are proposed and decided by the members
of the
regional bodies.

While some regions have decided to repeat the lists after a

period of time, some use the lists only once and move on to
the next
list. World Meteorological Organization has decided that the
tropical cyclone names should be familiar to the people in
each region.

The Indian Ocean perspective

For the Indian Ocean region, the process of naming storms is

recent as 2004. After a series of deliberations, eight
countries in the
region contributed a few names to the list given below.

According to the list shown above, the first cyclone which

in the Indian Ocean in 2004 was named Onil. The second cyclone
to hit
the Indian Ocean was named Agni, a name submitted by India.
Since then,
the cyclones have been named according to the list approved by
regional body with the recent one being Cyclone Lehar. The
above list
clearly suggests that the next cyclone /storm will be called
Madi (a
name suggested by Maldives).

Important River Valley

Projects in India




Important River Valley Projects in India.pdf

Gist of NCERT Soils




Gist of NCERT Soils