For more details, reach out to us at +91 9773890611 Available in English only
For more details, reach out to us at +91 9773890611
Available in English only

Geography Optional by Shabbir Sir - Foundation Course

"I didn't have any idea about Geography, It is all due to Shabbir Sir" - Preksha (Rank 30)

"I got to know about Edukemy in Pratham Kaushik's (327 marks, 2017) strategy and liked the format where foundation, enrichment & Test Series was being covered before Prelims" - Shubham (Rank 41)

"I learnt Geography as well as a lot of other things about life from you. Grateful to Edukemy" - Nitin Singh (Rank 32)

Not only is Geography Optional one of the most chosen options among UPSC Aspirants, it is also more loved because of its classes being offered by Shabbir Sir!

The unique, module-wise, marathon-focused, and mission-oriented Geography Optional Classes by Shabbir Sir focuses on pedagogical elements like initiation classes, moving to foundational principles, and then ultimately to the Enriched/Advanced part of learning!

 

150+

PDF Notes

150+

Live Classes

6

Months

"I didn't have any idea about Geography, It is all due to Shabbir Sir" - Preksha (Rank 30)

"I got to know about Edukemy in Pratham Kaushik's (327 marks, 2017) strategy and liked the format where foundation, enrichment & Test Series was being covered before Prelims" - Shubham (Rank 41)

"I learnt Geography as well as a lot of other things about life from you. Grateful to Edukemy" - Nitin Singh (Rank 32)

Not only is Geography Optional one of the most chosen options among UPSC Aspirants, it is also more loved because of its classes being offered by Shabbir Sir!

The unique, module-wise, marathon-focused, and mission-oriented Geography Optional Classes by Shabbir Sir focuses on pedagogical elements like initiation classes, moving to foundational principles, and then ultimately to the Enriched/Advanced part of learning!

 

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No Cost EMI Plans available for all modes of courses.
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No Cost EMI Plans available
No Cost EMI Plans available for all modes of courses.
Select a batch below to know more details about EMI plans.

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New batch starts from 3rd Jul, 2024
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Classroom

  • 150+ Live Interactive classes with Class Notes
  • Learning Art of Synopsis Writing
  • Module Based Approach
  • Completion through Module Wise Workbooks
  • 200+ L1 & L2 Level Questions with Model Answers (PDF)
  • 14 Geography Optional Booklets (PDF)
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Geography Optional Online - (Foundation August Batch - 2025)

₹17,434/month for 3 months
Full Course Fee: ₹52,300 ₹56,300
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Geography Optional Online - (Foundation July Batch - 2025)

₹17,434/month for 3 months
Full Course Fee: ₹52,300 ₹56,300
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Geography Optional Online - (Foundation June Batch - 2025)

Full Course Fee: ₹34,999 ₹56,300
Batch started: 14 Jun’24 Schedule File Details
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Geography Optional Online - (Foundation May Batch - 2025)

₹17,434/month for 3 months
Full Course Fee: ₹52,300 ₹56,300
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Geography Optional Online - (Foundation March Batch - 2025)

₹14,075/month for 4 months
Full Course Fee: ₹52,300 ₹56,300
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Know more about the Geography Optional Course!

Know more about the Geography Optional Course!

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Preksha Agarwal - Rank 30

Topper Copy 1

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Geography Optional PYQ Sample

Geography Optional PYQ 2023 - Solved Sample

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Synopsis Sample

Synopsis Made by a Student at Edukemy!

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Geography Optional Strategy

How to Prepare?

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Geography Optional – Syllabus given by UPSC

Syllabus of Geography Paper – I (PRINCIPLES OF GEOGRAPHY)

Physical Geography

  1. Geomorphology: Factors controlling landform development; endogenetic and exogenetic forces; Origin and evolution of the earth’s crusts; Fundamentals of geomagnetism; Physical conditions of the earth’s interior; Geosynclines; Continental drift; Isostasy; Plate tectonics; Recent views on mountain building; Volcanicity; Earthquakes and Tsunamis; Concepts of geomorphic cycles and Landscape development; Denudation chronology; Channel morphology; Erosion surfaces; Slope development; Applied Geomorphology; Geomorphology, economic geology, and environment.
  2. Climatology: Temperature and pressure belts of the world; Heat budget of the earth; Atmospheric circulation; Atmospheric stability and instability. Planetary and local winds; Monsoons and jet streams; Air masses and fronts; Temperate and tropical cyclones; Types and distribution of precipitation; Weather and Climate; Koppen’s Thornthwaite’s and Trewartha’s classification of world climate; Hydrological cycle; Global climatic change, and role and response of man in climatic changes Applied climatology and Urban climate.
  3. Oceanography: Bottom topography of the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans; Temperature and salinity of the oceans; Heat and salt budgets, Ocean deposits; Waves, currents, and tides; Marine resources; biotic, mineral, and energy resources; Coral reefs coral bleaching; Sea-level changes; Law of the sea and marine pollution.
  4. Biogeography: Genesis of soils; Classification and distribution of soils; Soil profile; Soil erosion, Degradation, and conservation; Factors influencing world distribution of plants and animals; Problems of deforestation and conservation measures; Social forestry, agro-forestry; Wildlife; Major gene pool centers.
  5. Environmental Geography: Principle of ecology; Human ecological adaptations; Influence of man on ecology and environment; Global and regional ecological changes and imbalances; Ecosystem their management and conservation; Environmental degradation, management, and conservation; Biodiversity and sustainable development; Environmental policy; Environmental hazards and remedial measures; Environmental education and legislation.

Human Geography

  1. Perspectives in Human Geography: Areal differentiation; regional synthesis; Dichotomy and dualism; Environmentalism; Quantitative revolution and locational analysis; Radical, behavioral, human, and welfare approaches; Languages, religions, and secularisation; Cultural regions of the world; Human development index.
  2. Economic Geography: World economic development: measurement and problems; World resources and their distribution; Energy crisis; the limits to growth; World agriculture: a typology of agricultural regions; Agricultural inputs and productivity; Food and nutrition problems; Food security; famine: causes, effects, and remedies; World industries: location patterns and problems; Patterns of world trade.
  3. Population and Settlement Geography: Growth and distribution of world population; Demographic attributes; Causes and consequences of migration; Concepts of the over-under-and optimum population; Population theories, world population problems and policies, Social well-being and quality of life; Population as social capital. Types and patterns of rural settlements; Environmental issues in rural settlements; Hierarchy of urban settlements; Urban morphology; Concept of primate city and rank-size rule; Functional classification of towns; Sphere of urban influence; Rural-urban fringe; Satellite towns; Problems and remedies of urbanization; Sustainable development of cities.
  4. Regional Planning: Concept of a region; Types of regions and methods of regionalization; Growth centers and growth poles; Regional imbalances; regional development strategies; environmental issues in regional planning; Planning for sustainable development.
  5. Models, Theories and Laws in Human Geography: System analysis in Human geography; Malthusian, Marxian and demographic transition models; Central Place theories of Christaller and Losch; Perroux and Boudeville; Von Thunen’s model of agricultural location; Weber’s model of industrial location; Ostov’s model of stages of growth. Heartland and Rimland theories; Laws of international boundaries and frontiers.

Syllabus of Geography Paper – II

Geography of India

  1. Physical Setting: Space relationship of India with neighboring countries; Structure and relief; Drainage system and watersheds; Physiographic regions; Mechanism of Indian monsoons and rainfall patterns; Tropical cyclones and western disturbances; Floods and droughts; Climatic regions; Natural vegetation, Soil types and their distributions.
  2. Resources: Land, surface and ground water, energy, minerals, biotic and marine resources, Forest and wildlife resources and their conservation; Energy crisis.
  3. Agriculture: Infrastructure: irrigation, seeds, fertilizers, power; Institutional factors; land holdings, land tenure and land reforms; Cropping pattern, agricultural productivity, agricultural intensity, crop combination, land capability; Agro and social-forestry; Green revolution and its socio-economic and ecological implications; Significance of dry farming; Livestock resources and white revolution; Aquaculture; Sericulture, Agriculture and poultry; Agricultural regionalisation; Agro-climatic zones; Agroecological regions.
  4. Industry: Evolution of industries; Locational factors of cotton, jute, textile, iron and steel, aluminum, fertiliser, paper, chemical and pharmaceutical, automobile, cottage, and ago-based industries; Industrial houses and complexes including public sector undertakings; Industrial regionalisation; New industrial policy; Multinationals and liberalisation; Special Economic Zones; Tourism including ecotourism.
  5. Transport, Communication, and Trade: Road, railway, waterway, airway, and pipeline networks and their complementary roles in regional development; Growing importance of ports on national and foreign trade; Trade balance; Trade Policy; Export processing zones; Developments in communication and information technology and their impacts on economy and society; Indian space programme.
  6. Cultural Setting: Historical Perspective of Indian Society; Racial linguistic and ethnic diversities; religious minorities; Major tribes, tribal areas, and their problems; Cultural regions; Growth, distribution, and density of population; Demographic attributes: sex-ratio, age structure, literacy rate, work-force, dependency ratio, longevity; migration (inter-regional, intraregional and international) and associated problems; Population problems and policies; Health indicators.
  7. Settlements: Types, patterns, and morphology of rural settlements; Urban developments; Morphology of Indian cities; Functional classification of Indian cities; Conurbations and metropolitan regions; Urban sprawl; Slums and associated problems; Town planning; Problems of urbanisation and remedies.
  8. Regional Development and Planning: Experience of regional planning in India; Five Year Plans; Integrated rural development programmes; Panchayati Raj and decentralised planning; Command area development; Watershed management; Planning for backward area, desert, drought-prone, hill tribal area development; Multi-level planning; Regional planning and development of island territories.
  9. Political Aspects: Geographical basis of Indian federalism; State reorganization; Emergence of new states; Regional consciousness and inter-state issues; International boundary of India and related issues; Cross-border terrorism; India’s role in world affairs; Geopolitics of South Asia and Indian Ocean realm.
  10. Contemporary Issues: Ecological issues: Environmental hazards: landslides, earthquakes, Tsunamis, floods and droughts, epidemics; Issues related to environmental pollution; Changes in patterns of land use; Principles of environmental impact assessment and environmental management; Population explosion and food security; Environmental degradation; Deforestation, desertification, and soil erosion; Problems of agrarian and industrial unrest; Regional disparities in economic development; Concept of sustainable growth and development; Environmental awareness; Linkage of rivers; Globalisation and Indian economy.

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About the Faculty

Shabbir Bashir
Shabbir Bashir

Shabbir A Bashir is one of the co-founders of Edukemy and industry’s most lauded professor in UPSC preparation. He has been in the industry...

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Frequently Asked Questions

UPSC CSE Geography Optional by Shabbir Sir is meant ideally for the Students who are preparing with Geography Optional. It would help students understand static and dynamic concepts with in-depth understanding with our best faculties on board.

  • Course Duration: 9 Months
  • Course Commencement Date - 29-1-2024
  • Complete coverage of the syllabus with high quality content & best faculty
  • Class Summary after each class

  • The program would help an aspirant clear the most important concepts asked in the UPSC CSE Geography Optional
  • Development of analytical skills through spontaneous interaction in live classes & mentoring the students on test feedback
  • Cover all the important exam static topics.
  • Follows the changing trend of the syllabus, hence comes with a well-crafted pedagogy for the same.
  • Course topics would be treated according to their relevance and importance

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Geography Optional Strategy

Geography is one of the most chosen optional among UPSC aspirants, along with History, Sociology, PSIR & Public Administration. Annually, 3000 students write Mains Exam, who have Geography as their optional!

In the journey of becoming a civil servant, the selection of an appropriate optional is important. Optionals account for 500 marks on the Mains Exam, and Geography Optional has produced toppers with marks ranging from 298 to over 320 marks.

Here are the toppers along with their marks

 

Year

Geography Optional Topper

Marks

2022

Shubham

298

2021

Yasharth Shekhar

306

2018

Ajay Jain

324

2018

Junaid Ahmed

321

2017

Pratham Kaushik

327

2016

Shweta Chauhan

326

2014

Ira Singhal

305

Geography, no doubt, is a comprehensive subject, with topics all over General Studies. Be it Indian Society, International Relations, Disaster Management, Environment - we have Geography as a part of all major General Studies subjects. Here, we will tell you exactly how you can manage Geography Optional as a subject, with the right strategy to guide you.

Going through the Geography Optional syllabus!

You need to ensure that each and every topic mentioned in the UPSC Geography Optional Syllabus is known to you. This will assist you in reading only what is relevant, instead of going through a lot of sources and keeping your preparations unorganized!

Here are the major heads and sub-heads of the Geography Optional Syllabus:

Physical Geography has the following topics:

Human Geography has the following topics:

Indian Geography has the following topics:

Why is it important to understand keywords in the Geography Optional Syllabus?

It is really important to know the keywords mentioned in the Syllabus. This is because, many questions are directly asked from picking up topics which is mentioned in the syllabus. Let's understand it with a few examples!

Question - The concept of Plate Tectonics has been derived from the  Isostasy and Continental Drift Theory. Elaborate citing  suitable examples. (2021)

Question - Explain the techniques to calculate potential  evapotranspiration suggested by Thornthwaite. (2019)

Question - Examine the relevance of the Central Place Theory of  Christaller in the present context. (2021)

Question - Drainage pattern in Peninsular India is a result of its geological structure and topography. Elaborate. (2017)

Question - Critically examine the relevance of Ravenstein’s law of population migration with reference to India. (2021)

Can you see the reference we are trying to make?

Most of the questions have topics that are mentioned in the syllabus. So, it is important that you have notes for each topic mentioned in the syllabus.

What is the trend of Questions being asked in Geography Optional?

The questions asked in Geography Optional can be divided into Direct Questions, which are L1 level questions, Open Ended Questions which are L2 & L3 level questions, & Map-Based Questions.

What are the current trends in Geography Optional Questions?

Let’s look at this question for example:

“Automation is rapidly changing the economics of labor and will affect trade patterns in significant ways”. Clarify? (CSE 2022)

Let’s look at this question:

“Explain how various aspects of channel morphology are used in transportation settlement, land use planning, flood control, and flood management. (CSE 2022)

The same is the case with Geography Optional, where questions, more so in Paper 2, are being asked from dynamic and contemporary issues about global and regional trends.

Look at this question for example:

“Climate change is serious problem to global food security and eradication of poverty”. Critically examine. (CSE 2022)

For example, compare these two questions based on the same theme - Climate Change.

"Discuss the trends in migration focusing on its major thrust. (CSE 2014)"

"Critically examine the relevance of Ravenstein’s Law of Population migration with relevance to India. (CSE 2021)"

We can clearly see, that instead of asking questions just based on the theme and topic or a direct question, UPSC has shifted to more in-depth concept-based questions. You cannot write an answer if you don’t exactly know about Ravenstein’s Law of Population Migration.

Doing an Analysis of UPSC Previous Year Questions in Geography Optional

Analyzing the Geography Optional Previous Year Questions is an important task in Exam Preparation. It helps an aspirant understand the pattern, the language, and the concepts that UPSC is repeating. One can be closest to the syllabus when he understands the pattern of the Previous Year Questions.

We have collated the Module-Wise Questions for Geography Optional in our Blog Section.

Select the right sources for Geography Optional

If you want to master Geography Optional, it is important that you don't overload yourselves with excessive study material and limit your sources.

The subject is vast - it's like covering 3 years of Bachelor's, and 3 year's of Masters in one go.

The only way to be able to cover the portion is to stick to the syllabus, PYQs, and limiting your sources.

If you want the Booklist to be followed for Geography Optional, you can check this out!

Dealing with Current Affairs for Geography Optional

We need a structured approach to be able to cover required current affairs topics in Geography Optional. Geography Optional is highly current affairs based. While UPSC may ask you a static topic, if you are able to link it to a current event, it's highly possible that you will fetch extra marks because of that.

It is also important to note that Current Affairs shouldn't be focused only on for Paper 2. It holds equal importance in Paper 1.

Following are some of the important current affairs topics to look at:

So, as Geography Optional is changing the pattern, we are getting more and more dynamic questions. Apart from that, it is also important to use case-studies, examples, and contemporary issues to get the extra 1-2 marks in the Geography Optional Mains Exam. Hence, we recommend you to read dedicated Current Affairs for Geography Optional. 

We thus, recommend – KOSMOS Magazine, a feature magazine for Geography Optional including Environment & Ecology.

We try and consolidate all important current affairs relevant for Geography Optional, from popular magazines like EPW, The Hindu, Indian Express and Down to Earth.

How to write effective Geography Optional Answers?

To get high scores, it is important to write an answer that is both distinctive and detailed. This includes offering a thorough examination of both the question at hand and the proposed solution.

It is important that you are not writing Geography Optional answers like a simple Geography GS Answer. The following are the ways in which you can do that:

1. Use names of Geographers and their concepts.

2. Use definitions given by Geographers. Example - Areal differentiation by Hartshorne.

3. Use examples that are used by Geographers. Example - Julian Wolpert's Swedish farm.

4. Use recommendations, reports, and committees. Example - Gadgil Committee report.

5. Debate quoting Geographers instead of writing your own understanding or philosophy!

6. Use of Definitions - We need to write precise definitions. For example, Areal Differentiation can be defined in a number of ways, but if we write the definition mentioned by by Richard Hartshorne, the impact would be more.

7. Quote Examples which credible Geographers. Example, for Behavioralism, quoting Julian Wolpert's 1964 paper on Swedish farmers relating to behaviouralism can fetch us more marks!

8. Quote Important Scholars and their work. Example, quoting Weber to explain Theory of Industrial Location.

9. Use flow charts, diagrams, maps, & schematics in answers.

10. Link concepts with Current Affairs - For Example - Try linking Joshi Math News to Geomorphology.

11. Use Case Studies - Example, quote Marathawada region for a question on Agragriam Crisis.

12. Integrated Learning and Linking of Paper 1 and Paper 2 - Always try and link Paper 1 and 2. Example, topics like Population, Climatology, Environment & Settlement Geography can be quoted in both papers. More specifically, incorporate aspects from both Physical and Human Geography.


To conclude

Geography Optional, over the years, has evolved - both in quantity of how much is to be read, and quality of what is to be covered.

Geography Optional requires more than just rote learning - it also requires conceptual understanding. Prepare well for the exam. The above strategy, if applied well, will definitely do wonders for your Geography Optional Preparation!

 

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