UPSC – Geography for Civil services 2018: Syllabus, Books & Preparation Tips

If you wish to excel in UPSC 2018 prelims, then you cannot ignore the importance of Geography. Over the previous 5 years UPSC has on an average asked 12-15 questions every year for Geography Subject. This means if you prepare really well for Geography you can easily score 25-30 marks in the Paper I of prelims. We do not need to tell you the importance of 25-30 marks, which you can score in UPSC geography questions, in an exam where a single mark can decide the path of your future. With the aim to help you achieve success in this objective we have brought you this blog on UPSC Geography Syllabus, Books and Preparation Tips.


UPSC Geography Syllabus:

The revised syllabus of UPSC has mentioned UPSC geography syllabus in following words.

“Indian & World Geography: Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India & the World”

 The syllabus has clearly divided Geography into 2 components – Indian Geography and World Geography.

The Topics covered in the 2 components as given the following table.

Indian Geography World Geography
Physiography of India Atmosphere, its structure and components.
River Systems of India World Climate with focus on major world climatic phenomena like Planetary winds, Clouds, Cyclones etc.
Climate Geomorphic processes like Earthquakes, Volcanoes, Weathering, Erosion and Gradational processes and their associated landform features
Mineral Wealth of India Major World Biomes, their components and features.
Soil & Soil Types in India World Resources and their distribution
Agriculture World Industries and their distribution
Forests Major World Crops and Farming systems
Wildlife & Conservation World Map related questions
Human Geography World oceans and related processes like Ocean currents, tides
Universe related questions including topics like Solar system; earth and its movements;

asteroids, comets and meteors; satellites etc.

Disasters, like Tsunamis, earthquakes, floods, droughts.


More Question have been asked on Indian Geography as compared to world Geography. Hence you should prioritize your studies accordingly.

All the topics mentioned about should be understood properly and the facts mentioned should be analysed with concepts given.


Books and Sources for UPSC Geography Preparation.

  • NCERT Books from 6th to 12th (Special focus should be on 11th and 12th NCERT’s)
  • C Leong’s Physical Geography
  • General Studies Guide for Prelims, either from TMH or Arihant or Spectrum or Pearson
  • Oxford Student atlas (do not confuse it with Oxford School Atlas)
  • Orient Black Swann School Atlas (do not confuse it with Orient Black Swann Student Atlas)
  • Various reports from Govt and NGO’s like Forest report, Agriculture census, HDI report, etc.

Previous Years Question Papers for UPSC Geography Questions

Solve Last 10-15 year’s Prelims Question papers. They will give you a thorough idea about the type and pattern of Question which are asked in UPSC Geography. You can then prepare your notes accordingly which you shall be using for revision.

UPSC Geography Question 1:

The area known as ‘Golan Heights’ sometimes appears in the news in the context of the events related to (UPSC 2015)

1) Central Asia

2) Middle East

3) South-East Asia

4) Central Africa

Answer: Option 2


UPSC Geography Question 2:

Consider the following statements:

  • In India, the Himalayas are spread over five States only.
  • Western Ghats are spread over five States only.
  • Pulicat Lake is spread over two States only.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?


1) 1 and 2 only

2) 3 only

3) 2 and 3 only

4) 1 and 3 only

Answer: Option 2.

For GS Paper I UPSC question paper of 2016 and 2017, Click here

Practice for UPSC Geography Questions

Apart from solving the previous year’s question papers, you must also practice other UPSC Geography questions through Question banks, Online Quiz, Mock Tests, etc. You can check out Oliveboard’s Free UPSC Mock Test by clicking here

We hope this blog proves helpful in your preparation of UPSC Geography section for Prelims 2018.

All the best!!

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