UPSC (IAS) Prelims 2021: How to Study Indian and World Geography Through Maps?

Maps are an integral part of the UPSC Civil Services Geography syllabus. In this article, we have provided important topics from Indian and World Geography that can be studied with the help of maps for better retainment and memorizing. 

Sakshi Saroha
Dec 29, 2020, 13:28 IST
UPSC (IAS) Prelims 2021: How to Study Indian and World Geography Through Maps?
UPSC (IAS) Prelims 2021: How to Study Indian and World Geography Through Maps?

If you have gone through the Previous Year Paper’s of the UPSC Civil Service Exam, you would have noticed at least one map-based question asked each year. In some years the number can go up to 3 which means you can easily score 4-6 marks out of map-based questions. Now, the important question is how can one study geography with the help of maps? Maps can make you retain information for a longer time period as compared to reading the same information. If studied carefully, maps can be a fun and engaging way of learning.

In this article, we have provided all the important topics from the Geography syllabus which can be read and learned through map-reading. These steps and information will help you score well in the UPSC Civil Services 2021 Prelims exam. 

How to Prepare Indian Geography Through Maps?

The Indian Geography section can be divided into various sub-topics. Let’s see which topics we can study with the help of maps. 

Neighbours of India:

  • Various Indian states which share their boundaries with the neighbouring countries.
  • The oceanic region around the peninsular part of India 
  • Islands in the Indian Ocean
  • Countries closest to Indian Islands

Major Lines Passing Through India

  • important latitude and longitude lines on the India map
  • different states and places through which these lines passes
  • Coastline of India


  • Learn to draw political map of India
  • Names of all the states and their neighbouring states
  • important cities on India map and cities that were recently in the news
  • eastern/western/northern/southern extents of the states and UTs
  • changes in the state boundaries 

Drainage System 

  • Origin, Sources, Flow routes and tributaries of all the rivers in India
  •  left bank and right bank tributaries of major rivers
  • North-south chronology of major rivers in states
  • Important lakes and the states in which they are located
  • major dams on important rivers

Mountain Ranges

  • extent and important peaks of all the mountain ranges
  • study chronology from north to south and west to east
  • locations of various glaciers
  • rivers originating in these mountain ranges/ glaciers
  • Western Ghats and Eastern Ghats mapping
  • Study various gaps/passes, national parks, flora, fauna, states, etc. lying within the geographical spread of such mountain ranges.

National Parks and Reserves

  • important national parks, tiger reserves, wildlife sanctuary, biosphere reserves, etc. and also their extent across states.

National Highways

  • Golden Quadrilateral or the north-south and the east-west corridors.
  • longest highway, its starting, and ending points, and the major cities it passes through 

Places of National Importance

  • important pilgrimages, world heritage sites, nuclear power stations, ports, plateaus, wetlands, mineral-rich locations, etc 

UPSC (IAS) Prelims 2020 : Check Important Topics from Indian Physical Geography Syllabus

How to Prepare World Geography Through Maps?

The easiest way to memorize facts about world geography is learning through maps. The map not only helps you locate a certain point but also helps you identify the water bodies, land locations, and geography associated with it. Let’s check out important world geography topics that can be studied through maps.

  • latitude and longitude lines on the world map (like Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn etc.)
  • Physical features in all continents
  • Seas and neighbouring countries
  • Lakes
  • Gulfs, Straits and Passes
  • Deserts

UPSC Civil Services 2021: Important Topics to Study from World Geography Syllabus

Important Map Based Questions asked in UPSC (IAS) Previous year Papers

Ques : Consider the following pairs

Famous place








Which of the pairs given above are correctly matched?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: a

Ques : Consider the following pairs:


Naturally found in

1. Blue-finned Mahseer

Cauvery River

2. Irrawaddy Dolphin

Chambal River

3. Rusty-spotted Cat

Eastern Ghats

Which of the pairs given above are correctly matched?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: c

Ques: Consider the following pairs:


Bordering country

1. Adriatic Sea


2. Black Sea


3. Caspian Sea


4. Mediterranean Sea


5. Red Sea


Which of the pair given above are correctly matched?

(a) 1, 2 and 4 only

(b) 1, 3 and 4 only

(c) 2 and 5 only

(d) 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

Answer: b

Ques: Consider the following pairs :

Regions sometimes mentioned in news  Country

Catalonia        -                           Spain

Crimea      -                                Hungary

Mindanao -                               Philippines

Oromia       -                               Nigeria

Which of the pairs given above are correctly matched?

(a) 1, 2 and 3

(b)) 3 and 4 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 2 and 4 only


UPSC (IAS) Prelims 2021: Check Important Questions for Preparation of Geography

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