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Geography Optional


Geography is the study of the land and its physical characteristics, including relief structure, composition, population, Earth and planetary phenomena, as well as human relationships and interactions with their environments.


  • Its Scientific and not about memorization
  • Availability of many study resources overlapping with the prelims curriculum.
  • Will be useful for essays, general studies 1, general studies 3, and other papers.
  • Clearly stated and constrained syllabus
  • It has a significant impact on the preliminary exam because 15 to 20 geography-related questions are always included in the preliminary.
  • Your prelims and mains preparation are integrated by geography
  • The majority of the subjects on the GS paper I of the Civil Services Main exam are already covered in the Geography optional.
  • Many of the thinkers in GS paper 4 (Ethics, Integrity and aptitude) of the Civil Services Main test are experts in geography.


Because GS papers are broad and dynamic, choose the appropriate optional subject is crucial to your ultimate ranking in the merit list because it adds stability to your preparation. The Civil Services main examination’s Optional subject, which receives 500 out of a possible 1750 points, plays a vital role in determining your choice. Recent years have seen a rise in students earning top UPSC-CSE rankings thanks to the geography optional.

  • Interest in a particular subject should take precedence while selecting an optional course. You can pursue it if geography is something you are interested in.
  • Foundation: If you want to choose a non-technical subject but lack the necessary educational background in a technical field, you must choose the geography elective. The GS syllabus for the civil services exam and the topics covered in the geography optional have a lot in common.
  • The availability of resources is a key factor in choosing which optional subject to pursue. There is sufficient study material for geography. Although Vimarsha IAS Academy professionals will appropriately direct you, you are not necessary to read all of them.


Geography Opt by Ajay Raj Singh

Why choose Geography Optional?

  • Subject with Multidimensional, Scientific, Humanistic approach, suitable for Students with a medical, engineering, as well as arts background.
  • The most popular optional in the UPSC examination.After analysing previous year trends, it is found that around 3500 candidates choose Geography as their optional subject in UPSC CSE every year. This is around 30% of all candidates who write UPSC Mains.
  • Overall, it shortens the time required to complete the GS Syllabus. It covers 25% of the GS Mains syllabus and a third of the GS Prelims syllabus.Topics from Paper-1 like Geomorphology,Climatology and oceanography,Biogeography and environment geography,Human geography,Economic geography and regional planning,Population and settlement geography are directly asked in both prelims and mains.
  • Questions about geography and the environment are common. There is a lot of room for improvement in Logical and Diagrammatic Representation.

  • Quality study materials are easily accessible. Geography is represented by at least one topic in the Essay Paper.


                    A Four-Layered Strategy

  • In-detail coverage of the Syllabus 
  • Daily answer writing practice and evaluation by the Faculty 
  • Teaching in tandem with the Current Affairs 
  • Personalized Mentorship.

We provide coaching for Geography optional both online and offline. We provide same-day recorded video classes for better revision.We also provide a complete and fully updated study material hard copy that eliminates the need for any book for this exam’s preparation.

  • 4 months of intensive classroom instruction and 1 month rigorous discussion of the PYQs post syllabus completion.
  • Comprehensive coverage of the syllabus in a timely manner.
  • A special emphasis is placed on instilling geographical thinking in students.
  • Extensive coverage of Applied Geography topics, primarily those pertaining to Indian Geography.
  • Case-Specific Classes Discussions about Geography of India. Special Sessions on Map of India,Study Materials that have been meticulously designed.
  • Discussion of previous years’ question papers to gain an understanding of the changing dynamics of geography.
  • Intensive Answer Writing Skill Development via specially designed Tests.


  • This program aims to cover the entire syllabus of Optional Subjects (both paper-1 & 2) through 400+ questions.
  • The questions will be discussed in the classroom to help you understand the related concepts and the demand of the questions.
  • However, this program is an amalgamation of both where you will be discussing every concept and theory of Optional subjects in the classes along with writing mock tests which have been framed keeping in mind the current trend of UPSC.
  • This program is important for you as it will help you to understand all the concepts of Optional in a very short period that too with answer writing practice.
  • This program is for both, the freshers as well as the UPSC aspirants who have completed their optional classes as it will be providing concept-building classes as well as answer writing practice along with detailed discussions.
  • Under this program, daily 2 hours of classes will be provided in which 5 questions will be discussed. This will go on for up to 50 days.

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Geography Optional


  •                 Ajay Raj Sir (Founder & Director, Geographia IAS Institute) is a well-known and experienced Geography Faculty (Optional & GS). He is a well-known Civil Services Examination academician with unwavering credentials. 

                   Many students have achieved top CSE rankings under his guidance and instruction over the last decade. With over ten years of teaching experience, he is the leading Geography faculty member.

Association after Completion of the Course-

  • VIMARSHA IAS remains enthusiastic about your preparation and selection. Our relationship with aspirants goes far beyond the months of course completion.
  • Aspirants are helped with updated material, missed classes, answer evaluations with valuable feedback, and interaction with faculty.
  • We try to help students maintain zeal and enthusiasm throughout their preparation journey. We stay in touch with our students and assist them until their final selection.

Pros of choosing Geography Optional

  • Geography is a scientific discipline (unlike traditional science; here we learn topics varying from the universe to physical topography). As a result, many aspirants from science, medicine, and engineering fields prefer it.
  • There is no shortage of resources for Geography.
  • It has a lot of overlap with General Studies in both prelims and mains. Geography has a lot of overlap with subjects like economics, environment, ecology, and conservation as the questions become more dynamic and less static.
  • Candidates can also apply what they have learned in Geography to their essay papers on a variety of topics.
  • Geography will also be useful in the UPSC personality test, as the board can ask about it.
  • Due to the bulky syllabus, candidates are a bit hesitant in choosing the subject. The fear has been however burst by our faculty Ajay Raj Sir, who with his to-the-point approach, has been able to predict the most likely questions in the mains exam.
  • .YASHARTH SHEKHAR Rank 12/IAS 2021 has owed his success in Geography Optional to Ajay Raj Singh Sir;stating that verbatim notes of Ajay Sir’s classes helped him to sail the subject with highest marks in Geography Optional.


How is geography an optional subject for UPSC?

  • It depends on your educational background; if you are an engineer, or doctor, geography is the best optional; if you have studied science up to the 12th grade, you can safely choose Geography. You will benefit from having geography as an optional subject in following ways-

    • Because it is scientific, once you understand the concept, you can write an answer in your own words.Like other humanities subjects, flowery language is not required.
    • It covers around 30 questions out of 100 in the preliminary exam (ecology& environment is also included in geography).It covers 100 marks in GS paper 1 and 200 marks in GS paper 3.
    • Paper 1 of geography optional is concept based, and paper 2 of geography optional is applied, dealing with Geography of India and requiring you to apply the concepts of paper one as well as current developments.

    • No other optional in GS has such comprehensive coverage; even if you choose another optional, you must still cover 50% of the geography optional syllabus.
    • It is highly scoring; with some effort, it is possible to obtain 300+ marks in geography, which is uncommon in other optionals.
    • It’s very interesting, and you can connect geography to your everyday life. There is no other subject as fascinating.
    • However, this subject necessitates expert guidance or you will become confused by the hundreds of books and notes available on the market.
    • Begin with ncert books from 8th to 12th class, G.C. Leong, and Penguins Dictionary.
    • You can enroll in classes at VIMARSHA IAS for GEOGRAPHY OPTIONAL BY AJAY RAJ SINGH  SIR that will save you time, energy, and money while also allowing you to focus on the subject.


Is geography a high scoring subject ?

It reduces the amount of time needed to complete the GS Syllabus. It covers about a quarter of the GS Mains syllabus and one-third of the GS Prelims syllabus. Geomorphology,Climatology and oceanography,Biogeography and environment geography,Human geography,Economic geography and regional planning,Population and settlement geography are topics from Paper-1 that are directly asked in both prelims and mains.Thus,without any doubt,it is a scoring subject.It benefits not only in mains but also in prelims also !

Can students qualify with geography optional ?

Definitely yes! There are many toppers with geography optional.Yatharth Shekhar AIR12/IAS 2021 had highest score in geography optional.Right guidance and understanding of the concepts in this optional will help you sail through the exam easily.

Are there any top scorers from geography optional ?

YES!Regardless of the nature of the paper, there are always 1-2 from geography in the top ten..Yatharth Shekhar AIR12/IAS 2021 had highest score in geography optional.Pratham Kaushik,Ayush Sinha,Saumya Pandey,Shweta Chauhan are some of the toppers from Geography Optional.

Is geography beneficial in GS papers ?

YES!Simply look up the GS syllabus to see how many questions overlap with the geography optional.Geomorphology,Climatology and oceanography,Biogeography and environment geography,Human geography,Economic geography and regional planning,Population and settlement geography are topics from Paper-1 that are directly asked in both prelims and mains.


The students’ performance in any optional depends on the nature of their efforts. While some optionals outperform others in some years, there is no way of knowing how the trends will play out, and regardless of the trends, there will always be those who don’t score well and toppers who have marks shooting through the roof.If you are interested in geography and make genuine efforts, you have a good chance of succeeding. 

Nature of Syllabus

Geography optional syllabus is broadly divided into three parts. 

  • Physical Geography, 
  • Human Geography, and 
  • Indian Geography. 

Paper I consists of Physical and Human Geography and Paper II consists of Indian geography.

  1. Physical Geography-This section is quite technical and scoring. People with technical backgrounds, such as mechanical and civil engineering, find it fascinating. It is not necessary to memorise facts and figures (except some theories). Everything is clear and simple to grasp.
  2. Human Geography-This section necessitates a significant amount of memory work. One must remember population statistics, geographers’ names, books , concepts, and much more. This is a non-technical section thus generally Humanity students perform well in this section.
  3. Indian Geography-This is a scoring section. For 20 marks,you need to answer the map-based questions. The questions in this paper, like those in GS papers, are general in nature. The answers must be linked to paper, the foundation of geography. Paper one’s concepts, terminologies, facts, and geographers must be used. There is also a requirement to connect answers to current events. The relevant schemes, programmes, and projects must be mentioned in the answer.

Role of Geography in Prelims?

According to the trends, about 10-20 geography questions are likely to be asked. Geography students, in particular, can perform better on map-related questions.

Again, geography is an interesting activity for those who are interested in learning about places, cities, countries, oceans, geological facts about the earth, and so on.

Sources to study Geography Optional

The primary source to study entire geography optional is AJAY RAJ SINGH sir’s notes.Students have given the best feedbacks for his predictability of topics , notes that are easy to understand and comprehensive at the same time.

  1. NCERTs: From Class 6th to 12th.
  2. Physical Geography by Savindra Singh.
  3. Humana Geography by Majid Hussain.
  4. Models in Geography by Majid Hussain.
  5. Geographical Thoughts by Majid Hussain.
  6. Indian Geography by Majid Hussain or Khullar.

Syllabus of Geography Optional


Physical Geography

  1. Geomorphology: Factors controlling landform development; endogenetic and exogenetic forces; Origin and evolution of the earth’s crusts; Fundamentals of geomagnetism; Physical conditions of the earth’s interior; Geosynclines; Continental drift; Isostasy; Plate tectonics; Recent views on mountain building; Volcanicity; Earthquakes and Tsunamis; Concepts of geomorphic cycles and Landscape development; Denudation chronology; Channel morphology; Erosion surfaces; Slope development; Applied Geomorphology; Geomorphology, economic geology, and environment.
  2. Climatology: Temperature and pressure belts of the world; Heat budget of the earth; Atmospheric circulation; Atmospheric stability and instability. Planetary and local winds; Monsoons and jet streams; Air masses and fronts; Temperate and tropical cyclones; Types and distribution of precipitation; Weather and Climate; Koppen’s Thornthwaite’s and Trewartha’s classification of world climate; Hydrological cycle; Global climatic change, and role and response of man in climatic changes Applied climatology and Urban climate.
  3. Oceanography: Bottom topography of the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans; Temperature and salinity of the oceans; Heat and salt budgets, Ocean deposits; Waves, currents, and tides; Marine resources; biotic, mineral, and energy resources; Coral reefs coral bleaching; Sea-level changes; Law of the sea and marine pollution.
  4. Biogeography: Genesis of soils; Classification and distribution of soils; Soil profile; Soil erosion, Degradation, and conservation; Factors influencing world distribution of plants and animals; Problems of deforestation and conservation measures; Social forestry, agro-forestry; Wildlife; Major gene pool centers.
  5. Environmental Geography: Principle of ecology; Human ecological adaptations; Influence of man on ecology and environment; Global and regional ecological changes and imbalances; Ecosystem their management and conservation; Environmental degradation, management, and conservation; Biodiversity and sustainable development; Environmental policy; Environmental hazards and remedial measures; Environmental education and legislation.

Human Geography

  1. Perspectives in Human Geography: Areal differentiation; regional synthesis; Dichotomy and dualism; Environmentalism; Quantitative revolution and locational analysis; Radical, behavioral, human, and welfare approaches; Languages, religions, and secularisation; Cultural regions of the world; Human development index.
  2. Economic Geography: World economic development: measurement and problems; World resources and their distribution; Energy crisis; the limits to growth; World agriculture: a typology of agricultural regions; Agricultural inputs and productivity; Food and nutrition problems; Food security; famine: causes, effects, and remedies; World industries: location patterns and problems; Patterns of world trade.
  3. Population and Settlement Geography: Growth and distribution of world population; Demographic attributes; Causes and consequences of migration; Concepts of the over-under-and optimum population; Population theories, world population problems and policies, Social well-being and quality of life; Population as social capital. Types and patterns of rural settlements; Environmental issues in rural settlements; Hierarchy of urban settlements; Urban morphology; Concept of primate city and rank-size rule; Functional classification of towns; Sphere of urban influence; Rural-urban fringe; Satellite towns; Problems and remedies of urbanization; Sustainable development of cities.
  4. Regional Planning: Concept of a region; Types of regions and methods of regionalization; Growth centers and growth poles; Regional imbalances; regional development strategies; environmental issues in regional planning; Planning for sustainable development. 
  5. Models, Theories and Laws in Human Geography: System analysis in Human geography; Malthusian, Marxian and demographic transition models; Central Place theories of Christaller and Losch; Perroux and Boudeville; Von Thunen’s model of agricultural location; Weber’s model of industrial location; Ostov’model of stages of growth. Heartland and Rimland theories; Laws of international boundaries and frontiers.


    1. Physical Setting: Space relationship of India with neighboring countries; Structure and relief; Drainage system and watersheds; Physiographic regions; Mechanism of Indian monsoons and rainfall patterns; Tropical cyclones and western disturbances; Floods and droughts; Climatic regions; Natural vegetation, Soil types and their distributions.
    2. Resources: Land, surface and ground water, energy, minerals, biotic and marine resources, Forest and wildlife resources and their conservation; Energy crisis.
    3. Agriculture: Infrastructure: irrigation, seeds, fertilizers, power; Institutional factors; land holdings, land tenure and land reforms; Cropping pattern, agricultural productivity, agricultural intensity, crop combination, land capability; Agro and social-forestry; Green revolution and its socio-economic and ecological implications; Significance of dry farming; Livestock resources and white revolution; Aquaculture; Sericulture, Agriculture and poultry; Agricultural regionalisation; Agro-climatic zones; Agroecological regions.
    4. Industry: Evolution of industries; Locational factors of cotton, jute, textile, iron and steel, aluminum, fertiliser, paper, chemical and pharmaceutical, automobile, cottage, and ago-based industries; Industrial houses and complexes including public sector undertakings; Industrial regionalisation; New industrial policy; Multinationals and liberalisation; Special Economic Zones; Tourism including ecotourism.
    5. Transport, Communication, and Trade: Road, railway, waterway, airway, and pipeline networks and their complementary roles in regional development; Growing importance of ports on national and foreign trade; Trade balance; Trade Policy; Export processing zones; Developments in communication and information technology and their impacts on economy and society; Indian space programme.
    6. Cultural Setting: Historical Perspective of Indian Society; Racial linguistic and ethnic diversities; religious minorities; Major tribes, tribal areas, and their problems; Cultural regions; Growth, distribution, and density of population; Demographic attributes: sex-ratio, age structure, literacy rate, work-force, dependency ratio, longevity; migration (inter-regional, intraregional and international) and associated problems; Population problems and policies; Health indicators.
  • Settlements: Types, patterns, and morphology of rural settlements; Urban developments; Morphology of Indian cities; Functional classification of Indian cities; Conurbations and metropolitan regions; Urban sprawl; Slums and associated problems; Town planning; Problems of urbanisation and remedies.
  1. Regional Development and Planning: Experience of regional planning in India; Five Year Plans; Integrated rural development programmes; Panchayati Raj and decentralised planning; Command area development; Watershed management; Planning for backward area, desert, drought-prone, hill tribal area development; Multi-level planning; Regional planning and development of island territories.
  2. Political Aspects: Geographical basis of Indian federalism; State reorganization; Emergence of new states; Regional consciousness and inter-state issues; International boundary of India and related issues; Cross-border terrorism; India’s role in world affairs; Geopolitics of South Asia and Indian Ocean realm.
  3. Contemporary Issues: Ecological issues: Environmental hazards: landslides, earthquakes, Tsunamis, floods and droughts, epidemics; Issues related to environmental pollution; Changes in patterns of land use; Principles of environmental impact assessment and environmental management; Population explosion and food security; Environmental degradation; Deforestation, desertification, and soil erosion; Problems of agrarian and industrial unrest; Regional disparities in economic development; Concept of sustainable growth and development; Environmental awareness; Linkage of rivers; Globalisation and Indian economy.

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Geography Optional

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Geography Opt by Ajay Raj Singh

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