UPSC Civil Services Mains Geography Paper-I of 1999


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.



Time Allowed: Three Hours Maximum Marks: 300


Candidates should attempt Question 1 and 2 which are compulsory, and any three of the remaining questions selecting at least one question from each Section. All questions carry equal marks.

1. On the outline map of India provided, mark the following, and also write in your answerbook in not more than ten words, what you consider to be the most significant aspect of each of them:
a. Farakka barrage
b. Kavaratti
c. Manali-leh highway
d. Majuli riverain island
e. Rajmahal hills
f. Palghat gap
g. Chhattisgarh plain
h. Luni river
i. Karwar
j. Anandpur Sahib

2. On the outline map of World provided, mark the following, and also write in your answerbook in not more than ten words, what you consider to be the most significant aspect of each of them:
a. Greenwich
b. Caribbean Sea
c. Eritrea
d. West Bank
e. Dakshin Gangotri
f. Vatican City State
g. Great Dividing Range
h. Tai-pei
i. Alaska
j. Chagai hills

3. Write short notes on any three of the following in about 200 words each:
a. Cs type of climate, as per Koeppen's. Classification
b. Submarine canyons
c. Gravity model
d. Primate city


1. Bring out the distinctions between the ‘continental drift’ theory and the ‘plate tectonics’ theory.

2. Make a comparative study of the tropical and temperate cyclones.

3. Discuss the relevance of ‘watershed’ as an ecosystem for the purpose of sustainable


1. Describe the sequence of major paradigm shifts in geo-graphic thought during the twentieth century.

2. Bring out the contrast between the internal structure of the pre-industrial and industrial cities.

3. How far do the patterns of economic development and those of human development correspond with each other in the world? Illustrate your answer with examples.

Written by Venkadesh Narayanan, IRAS

He is a Mechanical Engineer and an MBA with over 30 years of experience in Consulting and Coaching Civil Services aspirants. He is a former member of Indian Civil Services (IRAS 2000 Batch) who opted for Geography and Psychology papers during his CS Mains.

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