Below is the experience shared by one of our friend which might be very useful for all those who are taking Geography as their optional
Geography is a subject taken mostly by geography students and science students. I did my engineering in IIT Madras with electrical optional but was not very good in electrical and so I had to change my optional and I felt the most scientific subject among social studies was geography. After 3 years of preparation I can tell you that geography is a very good optional. The subject has a scientific flavour and is objective and analytical. It is this scientific nature of the subject which has made geography a very popular optional. Many people feel it is very factual but I sincerely feel it is very conceptual and understanding of concepts will make this optional very easy and interesting , so get your basics right. To get your basics right I would suggest you to thoroughly go through all NCERT’s and G C Leong(certificate physical and human geography).Once u do this, then u can start preparing it more exhaustively. The following books would help you in this direction. Before that I would suggest you to complete the whole portion at least once by march end, so as to revise it at least twice . Chart out your own timetable and study the subject daily and not in discontinuous spurts. The subject is also very scoring in Mains as it is not subjective and questions asked are direct and also the mapping carries 120 marks which if practiced daily will get you good scores. Mapping is also very important in prelims so practice it regularly. The pattern of prelims appears to have changed recently by asking of conceptual question and also more questions from ‘thought’ and ‘cartography’ so concentrate on these areas.
In my first attempt I blindly followed some guides like volume I and 2 of Siddhartha and tried to mug up facts without understanding the concepts and hence failed in my first attempt to clear prelims. I changed my strategy completely and cleared both prelims and mains the next time, but scored very low in interview in both my second and third attempt and was unable to get any service and awaiting my results this time and hope to get moksha. So I would sincerely advise you all not to mug up guides and read different text books which are good on that particular topic. Selective reading of topics is therefore important. For example, geomorphology ,climatology and oceanography are dealt well in Savindra Singh but biogeography is not dealt well in it, and Rupa Series should be read for biogeography, so keep your prelims portion in front of you and deal with different subtopics from different sources which are as follows:
geomorphology , climatology and oceanography can be covered from physical geography by Savindra Singh but bio geography part should be covered either from Rupa Series orTtata Mcgraw Hill. G C Leong 1-14th chapter should also be covered.
Man and environment relationship from geographical thought by Majid
Population from geography of population by R C Chandana
Economic activities would be covered in world geography so need not
prepare it seperately
Settlements from Rupa Series and Ramachandran
G C Leong 15th to 25th chapter and the last chapter i.e “The
First People” from human geography by Majid Hussein should be
(3)Geography of the World :
From Darshan Singh Manku or Tikka. Manku has recent data i.e of 2001
so manku is better. Don’t try to remember all places remember only
very important places for example mexico is famous for silver and
therefore need you need not worry about coal and iron industries in
mexico. I have seen many people unnecessarily getting tensed and
confused trying to remember all places and rankings in production
which is quite unnecessary.
(4)Geographical Thought :
From Majid Hussein and Adhikari. Recent pattern shows that thought
has become very crucial in prelims and they are asking questions in
depth so study both these books thoroughly and read in between lines.
(5)Techniques of Geographical Analysis :
From 11th qnd 12th NCERT books and
R L Singh and classnotes of either SK Manocha or Interactions.
Do this topic thoroughly as the questions asked in this topic have
increased over the years. Don’t just mug up projections rather try to understand how they are derived.
(6)Indian Geography :
From Khuller would suffice.
(7)Map Pointing :
From Oxford and Orient Longman.