Contrary to the populist view of declining significance of optional, a closer analysis reveals, it is one of the major deciding factor for success in UPSC Examination. In the present scenario where mains cut-off hovers between 550-600, securing 200+ in optional paper can dramatically increase the probability of your selection. Thus, choosing the right optional is the first step towards success.
In this context, geography has become an interesting optional subject. In the past one and a half decades, geography has consistently provided brilliant results. The following traits of the subject make it a winning optional in civil services examination.
It is a multi-dimensional subject which is scientific as well as humanistic in nature, this makes it preferable not only for engineers, doctors but also for arts background students.
The semi-scientific nature of the subject also makes it more reliable optional in terms of results as there is more chance of the candidates’ answers matching with the model answers of the UPSC.
There is ample scope for fetching good marks through scientific and logical representation. One can make use of lots of maps, diagrams, flow charts, tables, etc. to make his/her answers more presentable.
A quality study material is readily available in the form of books as well as coaching institute material.
It comprehensively covers much part of G.S Paper-I directly as well as many areas of G.S Paper-III indirectly.
Helps a great deal in essay and interview.
NATURE OF GEOGRAPHY SYLLABUS
A closer scrutiny of the geography syllabus clearly reveals that it has two broad type of topic.
The first category of topics, constituting majority of about 75%, have a well established scope. This makes the preparation of these topics comparatively easier.
The second group of topics constitute about 25% of the syllabus. These type of topics, although comparatively less in number, are difficult to prepare. This is mainly on account of the vague & vast scope of these topics. The number of possible subtopics from each of these are huge which makes their preparation a herculean task.
For example, in Geomorphology first category of topics include- Origin and evolution of the earth’s crust; Fundamentals of geomagnetism; Physical conditions of the earth’s interior; Geosynclines; Continental drift; Isostasy; Plate tectonics; Recent views on mountain building; Vulcanicity; Earthquakes and Tsunamis; Channel morphology; Erosion surfaces ; Slope development.
Second category of topics are- Factors controlling landform development; Endogenetic and exogenetic forces; Concepts of geomorphic cycles and Landscape development; Applied Geomorphology: Geohydrology, economic geology and environment.
In the past 7 years atleast one challenging question has been asked from these four topics from the second category.
Almost 90% of the question asked in the examination were from the first category i.e., the majority category. This made the task of students as well as coaching institutions easier. Most of the questions asked in the exam were from the areas covered by these coaching institutions.
There has been a tectonic shift where about 60% of questions asked in the examination are from the minority category which is difficult to prepare.
It seems UPSC has realized the significance of these topics in assessing the appropriateness of candidates for the Civil services.
However, it is bemusing that even after 7 years since the trend started, most famous coaching classes of geography continue to follow the same old methodology. They still give very less significance & time to these topics. Ultimate result is that the aspirants suffer in the examination even after giving their sweat & blood.
WHY GEOGRAPHY AT GUIDANCE
Here at Guidance we are well aware of this change Accordingly, we have designed our course in keeping with the present requirements. We have increased the duration of the course by about 90 hours so that the second category of topics mentioned above are dealt in a comprehensive manner. Thus, keeping in mind the changing trend of examination, special focus is given on how to deal with questions which are out of trend.
Focusing on the integrative nature of Geography is a key feature of our programme. While covering the topics we pay special attention of the linkages between the topics as well as with contemporary events.
Our classes are organised in a very systematic manner. On the first day Geography course schedule is provided to the students. Beside, at the beginning of each major topics, a detailed break-up schedule alongwith suggested reading is given to the students. This way students can plan their study in a better manner & can easily keep with the classes.
Key to success in the mains examination depends upon the writing skill beside knowledge. Keeping this in mind we make our students to write an answer almost on daily basis. Beside an exclusive answer writing class, to explain the methodology of writing answers, will also be conducted.
Alongwith regular class tests, we also allow our students to appear for the Geography Mains Test Series conducted by the institute.
For concept clarity and benefit of the students, use of teaching-aid-tools like projector, maps, etc. will be exhaustive.