A Must Read for Civil Services Geography Optional of UPSC
For the civil services mains examination, UPSC provides 41 optional subjects. Each aspirant should select one optional paper of their choice and appear in two papers (Paper-I and Paper-II). Among these options, for a long time, Geography has been one of the most popular optional subjects among civil services aspirants. Though the syllabus is vast, it is equally preferred by engineering, science, art, and humanities graduates.
The first step to prepare for the Geography Optional is thoroughly reading and understanding the NCERT Geography Books. Even before that understanding the contents of each of the 10 NCERT Geography Books. With that in mind, the key topics covered in each of these books are given below for a high-level understanding before you dive deep into the option.
CHAPTER 1 – GEOGRAPHY AS A DISCIPLINE
GEOGRAPHY AS AN INTEGRATING DISCIPLINE; Physical Geography and Natural Sciences; Geography and Social Sciences.
BRANCHES OF GEOGRAPHY
BRANCHES OF GEOGRAPHY (BASED ON SYSTEMATIC APPROACH); Physical Geography; Human Geography; Biogeography;
BRANCHES OF GEOGRAPHY BASED ON REGIONAL APPROACH - Regional Studies/Area Studies; Regional Planning; Regional Development; Regional Analysis.
PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY AND ITS IMPORTANCE
CHAPTER 2 – THE EARTH
THE ORIGIN AND EVOLUTION OF THE EARTH
EARLY THEORIES - Origin of the Earth.
MODERN THEORIES - Origin of the Universe; The Star Formation; Formation of Planets.
OUR SOLAR SYSTEM - The Moon
EVOLUTION OF THE EARTH - Evolution of Lithosphere; Evolution of Atmosphere and Hydrosphere; Origin of Life.
CHAPTER 3 – INTERIOR OF THE EARTH
SOURCES OF INFORMATION ABOUT THE INTERIOR - Direct Sources; Indirect Sources; Earthquake; Earthquake Waves.
EFFECTS OF EARTHQUAKE
STRUCTURE OF THE EARTH - The Crust; The Mantle; The Core.
VOLCANOES AND VOLCANIC LANDFORMS – Volcanoes.
VOLCANIC LANDFORMS - Intrusive Forms
CHAPTER 4 – DISTRIBUTION OF OCEANS AND CONTINENTS
CONTINENTAL DRIFT - Evidence in Support of the Continental Drift; Force for Drifting; Post-drift Studies; Ocean Floor Configuration; Distribution of Earthquakes and Volcanoes.
CONCEPT OF SEA FLOOR SPREADING
PLATE TECTONICS - Divergent Boundaries; Transform Boundaries; Rates of Plate Movement; Force for the Plate Movement.
MOVEMENT OF THE INDIAN PLATE
CHAPTER 5 – MINERALS AND ROCKS
Metallic Minerals; Non-Metallic Minerals
ROCKS - Igneous Rocks; Sedimentary Rocks; Metamorphic Rocks.
CHAPTER 6 – GEOMORPHIC PROCESSES
ENDOGENIC PROCESSES – Diastrophism; Volcanism
WEATHERING - Chemical Weathering Processes; Physical Weathering Processes.
BIOLOGICAL ACTIVITY AND WEATHERING - SPECIAL EFFECTS OF WEATHERING - SIGNIFICANCE OF WEATHERING
MASS MOVEMENTS – Landslides
EROSION AND DEPOSITION
SOIL FORMATION - Process of Soil Formation; Soil-forming Factors
CHAPTER 7 – LANDFORMS AND THEIR EVOLUTION
RUNNING WATER – Youth; Mature; Old
EROSIONAL LANDFORMS – Valleys; Potholes and Plunge Pools; Incised or Entrenched Meanders; River Terraces.
DEPOSITIONAL LANDFORMS - Alluvial Fans; Deltas; Floodplains, Natural Levees and Point Bars; Meanders.
EROSIONAL LANDFORMS - Pools, Sinkholes; Lapies and Limestone Pavements; Caves; Stalactites, Stalagmites and Pillars;
EROSIONAL LANDFORMS – Cirque; Horns and Serrated Ridges; Glacial Valleys/Troughs; Depositional Landforms; Moraines; Eskers; Outwash Plains; Drumlins.
WAVES AND CURRENTS - HIGH ROCKY COASTS - LOW SEDIMENTARY COASTS
EROSIONAL LANDFORMS - Cliffs, Terraces, Caves and Stacks
DEPOSITIONAL LANDFORMS - Beaches and Dunes; Bars, Barriers and Spits.
EROSIONAL LANDFORMS - Pediments and Pediplains; Playas; Deflation Hollows and Caves; Mushroom, Table and Pedestal Rocks; Depositional Landforms; Sand Dunes
CHAPTER 8 – COMPOSITION AND STRUCTURE OF ATMOSPHERE
COMPOSITION OF THE ATMOSPHERE – Gases; Water Vapour; Dust Particles.
STRUCTURE OF THE ATMOSPHERE - Elements of Weather and Climate
CHAPTER 9 – SOLAR RADIATION, HEAT BALANCE AND TEMPERATURE
SOLAR RADIATION - Variability of Insolation at the Surface of the Earth.
HEATING AND COOLING OF ATMOSPHERE - Terrestrial Radiation; Heat Budget of the Planet Earth; Temperature
INVERSION OF TEMPERATURE
CHAPTER 10 – ATMOSPHERIC CIRCULATION AND WEATHER SYSTEMS
ATMOSPHERIC PRESSURE - Vertical Variation of Pressure; Horizontal Distribution of Pressure; World Distribution of Sea Level Pressure; Forces Affecting the Velocity and Direction of Wind; General circulation of the atmosphere.
CHAPTER 11 – WATER IN THE ATMOSPHERE
EVAPORATION AND CONSIDERATION – Dew; Frost; Fog and Mist Clouds; Precipitation; Types of rainfall; World Distribution of Rainfall.
CHAPTER 12 - WORLD CLIMATE AND CLIMATE CHANGE
KOEPPE N’S SCHEME OF CLASSIFICATION OF CLIMATE - Tropical Humid Climates; Cold Snow Forest Climates (D); Polar Climates (E); Highland Climates (H).
CLIMATE CHANGE - Climate in the recent past; Causes of Climate Change; Global Warming.
CHAPTER 13 - WATER (OCEANS)
RELIEF OF THE OCEAN FLOOR - Divisions of the Ocean Floors; Minor Relief Features.
TEMPERATURE OF OCEAN WATERS - Factors Affecting Temperature Distribution; Horizontal and Vertical Distribution of Temperature.
SALINITY OF OCEAN WATERS
HORIZONTAL DISTRIBUTION OF SALINITY - Vertical Distribution of Salinity.
CHAPTER 14 - MOVEMENTS OF OCEAN WATER
TIDES - Types of Tides; Importance of Tides.
OCEAN CURRENTS; Types of Ocean Currents
CHAPTER 15 - LIFE ON THE EARTH
ECOLOGY - Types of Ecosystems; Structure and Functions of Ecosystems; Types of Biomes; Biogeochemical Cycles; Ecological Balance.
CHAPTER 16 - BIODIVERSITY AND CONSERVATION
Genetic Diversity; Species Diversity; Ecosystem Diversity; Importance of Biodiversity; Ecological Role of Biodiversity; Economic Role of Biodiversity; Scientific Role of Biodiversity.
LOSS OF BIODIVERSITY - Endangered Species; Vulnerable Species; Rare Species.
CONSERVATION OF BIODIVERSITY