UPSC Civil Services Mains Geography Paper-I of 2016


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: 250


Please read each of the following instructions carefully before attempting questions.
There are EIGHT questions divided in TWO SECTIONS and printed both in HINDI and in ENGLISH. The candidate has to attempt FIVE questions in all.

Question Nos. 1 and 5 are compulsory and out of the remaining, THREE are to be attempted Choosing at least ONE question from each Section.

The number of marks carried by a question/part is indicated against it. Answers must be written in the medium authorized in the Admission Certificate which must be stated clearly on the cover of this Question-cum-Answer (QCA) Booklet in the space provided. No marks will be given for answers written in a medium other than the authorized one.

Word limit in questions, wherever specified, should be adhered to.

Illustrate your answers with suitable sketches/maps and diagrams, wherever considered necessary. These shall be drawn in the space provided for answering the question itself. Attempts of questions shall. be counted in sequential order. Unless struck off, the attempt of a question shall be counted even if attempted partly. Any page or portion of the page left blank in the Question-cum-Answer Booklet must be clearly struck off.


Q1. Answer the following in about 150 words each: 10 x 5 = 50

(a) Describe the “Basket of eggs topography". [10]

(b) Differentiate between insolation and temperature and explain anomalous temperature. [10]

(c) Discuss Maritime Zones. [10]

(d) Bring out the ecological significance of Tropical Rainforest Biome. [10]

(e) Explain the hydro-meteorological hazards in the Himalayas.

Q2. (a) "In explaining the concept of 'Pediplanation', King combined the ideas of Davis, Penck and Wood with his own." Elaborate. [20]

(b) Compare the origin and weather conditions associated with the tropical and temperate cyclones. [15]

(c) Give a reasoned account on how the impact of Global Warming differs from one part of the Earth to the other. [15]

Q3. (a) Discuss the significance of World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) and its core projects in the understanding of climatic change. [20]

(b) "The relationship between the winds and the currents is best seen in the Indian Ocean." Justify. [15]

(c) Write a critical note on the tendency of "use and throw" in the context of economic status and environment. [15]

Q4. (a) Bring out the various ecological problems associated with the exploitation and use of oceans and their resources.[20]

(b) "Geological structure has a dominant control on landforms and is reflected on them.” Discuss. [15]

(c) Describe Newbiggin’s scheme of Floristic regions of the world and explain the Mediterranean Floristic region. [15]


Q5. Answer the following in about 150 words each: 10x5=50

(a) "Areal differentiation forms the core theme in Geography." Explain.[10]
(b)Explain 'Isodapane'.[10]

(c) Discuss the major characteristics of 'CBD'.[10]

(d) Elaborate the idea of 'Compage'.[10]

(e) Discuss the application of Gravity model in Geographical studies.[10]

Q6. (a) Trace the origin and progress of Quantitative Revolution in Geography and bring out its merits and demerits. [20]

(b) Discuss the role of site in determining the types and patterns of rural settlements. [15]

(c) What is a region' ? Describe “Thiessen' polygon method of regional delimitation. [15]

Q7. (a) Describe the regional pattern of Life Expectancy in the world and bring out the challenges faced by developing countries due to increasing life expectancy. [20]

(b)Discuss the relevance of 'Stop and Go Determinism' in the present-day context. [15]

(c) Define and differentiate between boundaries and frontiers. Describe the geometrical boundaries with suitable examples.[15]

Q8. (a) Give a critical account of Losch's theory of central places.[20]

(b) "Linkages between resource-endowed regions and resource-utilizing regions determine the pattern of international trade." Elaborate with suitable examples.[15]

(c) In what ways can geographers contribute towards optimal land use planning in a region? [15]

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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