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UPSC Geography Optional Courses

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UPSC Geography Optional Courses




Geography Optional for UPSC


Geography optional is one of the most sought-after optional for UPSC aspirants. It's more appealing because the topic overlaps with general studies (GS) papers. While the geography syllabus is extensive, ample resources and materials are available to prepare for the exam.


Edukemy is the best upsc coaching in Delhi for the geography optional exam preparation. We offer online and offline geography coaching classes. Our experienced faculty provides comprehensive mentorship throughout your UPSC journey.

Best Geography Optional Teacher for UPSC 

Mr. Shabbir A. Bashir, the co-founder of Edukemy is the best geography teacher for UPSC preparation. With experience of over 25 years in the industry, he provides exceptional guidance to each & every student in his/her upsc journey. The geography optional classes taken by Shabbir sir follow a module-wise approach. His pedagogy involves initiation classes, moving on to foundational principles, and ultimately to advanced/enriched learning.

Watch this YouTube video in which Shabbir sir, the best geography optional teacher for upsc on YouTube, guides the students on how to prepare for the geography optional for upsc exam..

Geography Syllabus in UPSC

 To best prepare for the geography optional exam, you should be well-versed in the geography optional syllabus in UPSC.

 Here’s a broad view of the geography optional syllabus for the civil services examination:

Geography Optional Paper 1

  • Physical Geography
  • Human Geography

Geography Optional Paper 2

  • Indian Geography

 Physical Geography contains the following topics:

  • Geomorphology
  • Climatology
  • Oceanography 
  • Biogeography 
  • Environment Geography

 Human Geography contains the following topics: 

  • Perspectives in Human Geography 
  • Economic Geography 
  • Population and Settlement Geography 
  • Regional Planning 
  • Models, Theories, and Laws in Human Geography 

Indian Geography contains the following topics: 

  • Physical Setting
  • Resources 
  • Agriculture
  • Industry
  • Transport, Communication and Trade
  • Cultural Setting
  • Settlements
  • Regional Developments and Planning
  • Political Aspects
  • Contemporary Issues

Download the Complete Geography Optional Syllabus PDF! 


Geography Optional Foundation Course


Edukemy’s Geography Optional Foundation Course, led by Shabbir sir, offers:


  • 150+ Live Interactive classes with class notes.

  • Learning the 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).

Geography Optional Integrated Course


Edukemy’s Geography Optional Integrated Course offers:


Comprehensive Test Series with 9 Tests

  • 5 Sectional Tests (Evaluation of all)

  • 4 Full-Length Tests (Only evaluation of 2)

  • 10 Practice Tests (No Evaluation)


This is In addition to the offerings covered in the Foundation Course.


Geography Optional Demo Kit


Edukemy’s geography optional demo kit is for UPSC CSE aspirants planning to take Geography as their optional subject for mains.


The free demo course offers demo videos with snippets of concepts taught by Shabbir sir.


Additionally, you can download free resources - the official syllabus and topic-wise & year-wise Geography Optional PYQs (2013-2023).


Geography Optional Notes by Shabbir Sir


Ace the Geography Optional exam by preparing with carefully curated notes by Shabbir sir.


  • Comprehensive coverage of the entire Geography syllabus.

  • Additional 90 questions with model answers to enhance your understanding.

  • Visual representation with flowcharts and diagrams for better retention. 


Strategy for Geography Optional


To ace the geography optional for UPSC, you need to have a solid strategy for geography optional!

 Here are a few steps you must take to enhance your geography preparation for UPSC. 

  • Understand the keywords in the syllabus: Many questions are directly asked from the topics mentioned in the syllabus. For example, a question from 2021 - Critically examine the relevance of Ravenstein’s law of population migration with reference to India. (From module - Cultural Setting, keyword - migration)
  • Develop in-depth & interdisciplinary perspective: The latest patterns in geography optional questions show questions from other disciplines like Environment, Economics, and Sociology. The aspirant must develop interdisciplinary thinking ability.
  • Applied thinking: Many optional exams including geography are becoming more applied rather than having direct L1 questions. To tackle application-based questions, the candidate must develop critical thinking and logical ability to connect contemporary concepts with current affairs. 
  • Stay updated on current affairs: UPSC is focussing more on dynamic and contemporary issues about global and regional trends. We are seeing more questions connected with current affairs in geography optional paper 2.
  • Conceptual understanding: UPSC has shifted towards more in-depth and open-ended questions. To answer these, you need to have a deep conceptual clarity and not rely on just fact-based learning.
  • Analyse PYQs: Analysing the geography optional previous years' questions helps the aspirant to understand exam patterns, the language, and the concepts that are being repeated. 

Access the module-wise geography optional PYQs!

  • Be smart about your learning sources: Excessive study material in the market can feel overwhelming. It’s best to limit yourself to the best sources. Make your own notes and synopsis. We recommend you supplement the synopsis with Shabbir sir’s notes!

Following the above-mentioned points will help you be strategic with your geography preparation for IAS!


Geography Optional Answer Writing


To crack the code for geography optional answer writing in upsc, you need to learn how to write effective answers! Your answer needs to be both distinctive and detailed.

 Here are 12 ways to make your upsc geography answer writing thorough: 

  1. Use the 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. Quote geographers instead of writing your own understanding or philosophy.
  6. Write precise definitions. For example, Areal Differentiation can be defined in a number of ways, but it would be more impactful to write the definition mentioned by Richard Hartshorne.
  7. Quote examples from credible geographers. For example, for Behaviouralism, quoting Julian Wolpert's 1964 paper on Swedish farmers relating to behaviouralism can fetch you more marks!
  8. Quote important scholars and their work. For example, quoting Weber to explain the 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. For example, quote Marathawada region for a question on Agrarian Crisis
  12. Always try to link Papers 1 and 2. For example - topics like Population, Climatology, Environment & Settlement Geography can be quoted in both papers. More specifically, incorporate aspects from both Physical and Human Geography 

Geography Books for UPSC

Here are the geography optional books you need to study to ace the geography optional exam in UPSC:

Basic Readings 

  1. NCERT (old edition) – Class 6th to 10th
  2. NCERT (new edition) – 11th and 12th
  3. Certifiable course in Geography – Goh Cheng Leong
  4. Geography Made Simple Series (vol 1 and vol 2) – Rupa Publication 

Reference books/Standard Books

  1. Geomorphology – Savindra Singh
  2. Climatology – Savindra Singh
  3. Oceanography – Savindra Singh
  4. Env Geography – Savindra Singh
  5. Human Geography – Majid Hussain (5th edition )
  6. Models and Theories -Majid Hussain
  7. Geographical Thought – RD Dikshit
  8. Fundamentals of Geographical Thought – Sudipta Adhikari
  9. India – Comprehensive Geography by Khullar (2018 edition)
  10. Orient Blackswan School Atlas
  11. Oxford School Atlas

Check out our Booklist for Geography Optional for more learning resources and FAQs!


Geography Optional Coaching - Online & Offline


To conquer the geography optional in the civil services examination every aspirant needs to prepare from the best upsc coaching, either online or offline. The preparation requires consistent effort, effective note-making, and regular practice of answer writing. The best faculty, resources, and strategy make for a winning combination and Edukemy offers all of them in its geography optional foundation course!

To start your geography preparation journey - schedule a FREE counseling session with us now!

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