Revise more rather than going for multiple sources
There is no dearth of quality study materials and books for Geography optional in the market. I would suggest that you prepare the topics from not more than two standard books. Don't opt for too many books or study material. This will unnecessary consume too much time. Rather the good strategy is to revise and consolidate the topics multiple times. Devote your time and energy in revision. Always remember that examiner in UPSC shall award marks for what you remember in examination hall and write in your answer sheets. Marks are not awarded for reading more books.
Art of notes making
Whenever you are covering a topic (in class or through self study), try to make the notes. Handwritten notes that are properly arranged will serve as the valuable assets for you before the Mains Examination and for revision. Revising a topic from handwritten notes takes less time than revising the same from the books. Try to cover a topic comprehensively if you have started it. The best strategy is to make the notes in a single go. You can keep on enriching these notes. For this, prepare class notes on either A4 sheets or leave enough margins in your notebook.
Yardstick to gauge your preparedness
The simple yardstick to gauge your preparedness is to refer the questions from the previous year papers of UPSC. If you have completed a topic always refer the previous year papers and try to understand the nature of questions asked. If you are able to frame the answers for 80% of the questions that are asked from that topic, consider yourself on the right track.
Regularly practice answer writing
Write at least one answer daily. Get it checked form your teacher or seniors. Initially for 1 month, try to write the answer by referring your notes and books. The focus during this period should be on the quality of the content of the answer. Once you have developed the understanding of the quality of content, stop referring the notes and books. Gradually you should write answers by keeping in mind the time limit as well. The practice answers sheets of toppers and model answers are available online. Always compare your answers with model answers and that of the toppers. Try to mark out your shortcomings and note them. Work on these shortcomings and take the help of your teachers and seniors.
Prepare case Studies from magazines such as Yojana, Kurukshetra, Geography and You (Prepare case studies as a form of elaborated example i.e. the case study should not exceed 4-5 lines. Have at least 10 case studies ready to be incorporated in answers. Also, the case studies need not be obscure but simple, common and explanatory.
Importance of Maps and Diagrams
Maps in Geography are used for explanatory and indicative purposes. Maps made in exam hall are crude, rough and indicative and can be made using the PEN itself. Try practicing maps at home and draw partial maps wherever required. Always label maps and diagrams and try to replicate the original boundaries of the map of India. Also have a look at the boundaries of states in case you need to draw a map of any state.
Diagrams and flowcharts are very important for Paper I especially in context of the physical geography.
Internet and Newspaper
There are a few topics in the syllabus that are not adequately covered in the standard books. For them internet is the best source. While going through the news papers and current affairs magazines, keep in mind the topics mentioned in the syllabus. Enrich your notes with latest facts and figures that were in recent news. Put these facts and figures where these are relevant in your answers.
Your answers need to be unique and must be enriched from various prespectives if you want to score 300+ in Geography. In Paper I, especially in Physical Geography make use of diagrams and flow charts. Try to inculcate the application and applied Geography angle even if the question is theoretical. Relevantly connecting theories with current affairs, contemporary examples and contextual case studies can also be beneficial.
Paper II is Indian Geography. The questions asked in this section are very general in nature. No matter if these questions appear to be general, but you must reflect your knowledge of Geography the answers to these questions. You must essentially incorporate Geographical Angle, Geographical Thought, Theory and Thinkers. Use maps of India wherever it is possible.
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|2.||Climatology||जल वायु विज्ञान||16||4|
|5.||Physical Geography of India and Current Issues||भारत (भौतिक विन्यास) एवं समकालीन मुद्दे||12||4|
|7.||Environment and Current Issues||पर्यावरण भूगोल एवं समकालीन मुद्दे||5||3|
|8.||Agricultural Geography||कृषि भूगोल||6||2|
|9.||Regional Development and Planning||प्रादेशिक विकास एवं आयोजन||6||2|
|10.||Population Geography (Paper 1 +2 ) + Cultural Settings||जनसँख्या भूगोल(पेपर 1+2)+ सांस्कृतिक विन्यास||5||3|
|11.||Settlement Geography (Paper 1 +2 ) + Model and Theories||बस्ती भूगोल ( पेपर 1+2 ) + माडल एवम सिद्धांत||7||3|
|12.||Political Geography (Paper 1 +2 ) + Model and Theories||राजनीतिक भूगोल ( पेपर 1+2 ) + माडल एवम सिद्धांत||3||1|
|13.||Economic Geography (Paper1) + Resource + Industry + Trade and Transport (Paper 2)||आर्थिक भूगोल ( पेपर 1 ) + संसाधन , उद्योग , व्यापार एवम् परिवहन ( पेपर 2)||10||1|
|14.||Geographical Thoughts||भौगोलिक चिंतन||3||2|
|15.||Human Geography||मनाव भूगोल||4||10|
|16.||Class Test||क्लास टेस्ट||11|
|17.||Model Answer Writing Classes||आदर्श उत्तर निर्माण कक्षा||5|
|18.||Analysis of Previous Year Questions||विगत वर्षों के प्रश्नों का विश्लेषण||4|
|19.||Answer Improvement Sessions||उत्तर लेखन संवर्धन सत्र||2|
|20.||Long day classes with 4 Sessions||4-5|
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