Geography Questions for UPSC Prelims: Topics, Priority, Maps & Others

The UPSC will emit the calendar for 2019 Civil Services Exam and exam dates meant for prelims and mains exam.

Aspirants will be prepared on the basis calendar for UPSC which is produced at the website of UPSC and to improve your preparation here we get the Geography trend scrutiny of prelims exam.

This trend study will be of assistance to candidates to plan a strategy for preparation and emphasize topics in Geography subject in view of that.

Important basic topics of priority 

  • Latitudes and Longitudes
  • Maps (Atlas)
  • Solar system Revolution, rotation and seasons
  • Layers of the atmosphere pressure belts, global atmospheric wind, cyclones
  • Types of rainfall (convection, orographic, frontal)
  • Ocean Currents
  • Jet Streams
  • Monsoons
  • El Nino, La Nina, Modoki, ENSO, Indian Ocean, Dipole, Maiden Jullien Oscillation
  • Rivers and hills, soils are given (NCERT)
  • India’s physical geography (NCERT Textbooks)
  • Geological History of India (e.g. like mineral resources)
  • Basics of agriculture- (NCERT Textbooks would be sufficient)

 Map and Climate 

Look into the geography trend analysis for previous years question papers.

Each year above 50 percent of questions come from these subjects that comprise Map markings and climate (world climate and basics) especially.

For example A Map-based question

  1. The area is known as ‘Golan Heights’ sometimes appears in the news in the context of the events related to (UPSC 2015)
  2. a) Central Asia
    b) Middle East
    c) South-East Asia
    d) Central Africa
  3. Which one of the following National Parks has a climate that varies from tropical to subtropical, temperate and Arctic? (UPSC 2015)

(a) Khangchendzonga National Park
(b) Nandadevi National Park
(c) Neora Valley National Park
(d) Namdapha National Park

Nature of questions

After an analysis of UPSC previous years question papers one could observe that questions are the blend of factual and analytical.

The nature of UPSC prelims questions can be majorly divided into two types one is factual and the other being analytical.

Factual questions are generally from the books, while analytical questions are based on the current affairs asked directly from the issues in the news or questions which require the application of textbook basics.

E.g. for factual questions

What explains the eastward flow of the equatorial counter-current? (UPSC 2015)

(a) The Earth’s rotation on its axis

(b) Convergence of the two equatorial currents

(c) Difference in salinity of water

(d) Occurrence of the belt of calm near the equator

Ans. B

E.g. for Analytical Question

Which one of the following countries of South-West Asia does not open out to the Mediterranean Sea? (UPSC 2015)

(a) Syria

(b) Jordan

(c) Lebanon

(d) Israel

Though the question is map-based, this question was asked as the civil war in Syria and refugees in Jordan were in news frequently.

India and the World

Almost around two-thirds of the questions are asked from Indian Geography, hence Indian Geography from NCERTs and the current events like river and land disputes should be given priority and not forget the questions on Agriculture which is asked in the first three (2013-2015) years except in UPSC 2016.

Below given is an agriculture-based question asked in UPSC 2013 Prelims.

Consider the following crops:





Which of these are Kharif crops?

  1. a) 1 and 4
    b) 2 and 3 only
    c) 1, 2 and 3
    d) 2, 3 and 4

Ans. (C)