Smallest Book List For Geography Optional for UPSC Self Prep
If you google ‘Book List for Geography Optional’, you would find links to several websites. What I have seen that almost all of them prescribe 20-30 books for the subject. They have separate books for Climatology, Oceanography and every other sub-topic.
What this does is discourage you from choosing this subject or you start looking for coaching institutes to ‘simplify’ it for you. You find reading 4 notebooks of coaching institutes easier than going for those 30 books. But trust me, you would not need more than 6 core books (apart from NCERTs and GC Leong) for your Geography optional paper in UPSC Mains. And you don’t even need to read those books from cover to cover! This is why I call this a Minimal Book List.
I must also tell you that you would need to use the internet a lot along with reading the books to supplement your preparation. This is because these books would not cover each and every part of the syllabus. For example, you would not find anything about ‘Cultural Setting’ in the books that I list below. I could recommend you a book for that but the Return on Investment (ROI) is too low.
I am listing out the books and resources that I followed. The books are linked for you to purchase them online. I would soon list out my detailed strategy for self preparation of Geography optional. I scored 128 in Paper 1 (despite leaving out almost 37 marks) and 160 in Paper 2 (left 10 marks).
Non-core Books (You must be thorough with these before going to core books)
- Fundamentals of Physical Geography NCERT Class 11
- India Physical Environment -NCERT Class 11
- Fundamentals of Human Geography NCERT Class 12
- India People and Economy: NCERT Class 12
- The Orient Blackswan School Atlas
- Certificate Physical and Human Geography
- Physical Geography (Savindra Singh)
- India: A Comprehensive Geography (Khullar)
- Evolution of Geographical Thought (Majid Hussain)
- Models In Geography (Majid Hussain)
- Human Geography (Majid Hussain)
- Physical Geography (Rupa Made Simple)
- Geography Topicwise Previous Years’ Questions (New Vishal Publication)
- Economic and Social Geography (Rupa Made Simple)
- Monthly Yojana and Kurukshetra magazines (Selective study)
- Examrace Geography Optional Lectures : They have comprehensive coverage. Some of the lectures are really good although is some topics they go too deep. They will help you fill the gaps which the above mentioned books leave out.
- PMF IAS Geography Notes: This link has really good repository of Geography Notes related to different topics. You can refer to them.
So this is the complete book list for geography optional and resources that I had followed. I must warn you that my book list is not for those who want to have comprehensive preparation of the optional. I realized that if we try to do comprehensive coverage, it will take ages to just complete the optional subject.
I had also purchased Class Notes of a reputed Geography optional Coaching Institute in Delhi. But I never read beyond the first page. You can easily skip such notes. They often have too much extra information that may deter you from enjoying the subject.
My strategy was focused on preparing for the exam purpose only with Smart Study. It does involve a certain degree of calculated risk. But it pays as the ROI is very high with this kind of strategy. I will detail out my strategy for Geography optional subject in the next article. Please subscribe to stay updated.