How To Study Maps For UPSC Exams

 Based on the recent trends of UPSC exam question patterns, it has been observed that quite several questions are map-based. Questions are asked in Prelims and Mains examinations and the Interview round. 

The UPSC examinations are one of India's most converted examinations; therefore, no stone should be left unturned while preparing for the examination. To qualify for UPSC exams, studying from a good atlas like Oxford Atlas and then supplementing it with internet maps is essential. 

If you are curious about how to study maps more effectively, stick to the end of the article as we share all the tips.

India Map

Foremost start your preparation with India's maps. 

You can start with physical maps, where you must prepare natural landscape divisions, rivers, significant plateaus and hills. Memorize the names and the number of states a prominent physical feature passes through. For example, the forms through which the Brahmaputra travels. 

Next comes memorizing the order in which major geographical features appear in the country, i.e., their order from east to west or north to south. 

Finally, it would be best to learn about the places of interest near the geographical attractions. For example, the location of the name of biosphere reserves and national parks, if any, around the geographical features or the terms of major cities through which the geographical features pass through. 

Once completing the physical maps, you should move towards political maps, where you must study administrative divisions, cities and states. In the political map, you have to check the boundaries and borders of conditions, both domestic and international, the major cities of India and the connection/ distance between them, and names of towns through which major lines like the Tropic of Cancer or Standard Meridian lines pass through and north-south and east-west order of significant cities, regions, popular tourist attractions & areas of interest in the country.

Therefore, to encapsulate what to study in India's map, neighbours and states which share borders with them, important longitude & latitude lines, shapes, rivers, lakes, mountain/ glaciers, natural vegetation, national parks, and important places are to be studied.

World Map

Once upon completing the preparation of the Indian map, it would be best if you next prepared the world map but divided it into different regions. Candidates are requested to emphasize Asia, Africa, Artic, Antratartic, Australia, North America, South America and areas of Europe. 

While preparing the world map, you should study the major rivers, oceans, and borders with other nations. You should also observe important navigation lines, straits and channels passing through the regions. 

Next comes studying the international boundaries of countries and whether they are landlocked. It is essential to focus on the location of significant places of interest and their order on the map. Significantines like the Equator, Tropic of Cancer, hotspot areas, conservation spots, and biodiversity regions are essential to study critical physical features

For the Interview round, knowing critical international projects and the countries involved in them can also prove beneficial. 

To encapsulate what to study on World's map regions through which critical latitude and longitude lines pass, important physiographic features will be explored.

Bottom Line

You can use maps to grasp a situation better. For example, if you come across a place in the news, you can look it up on a map to understand its location better. This technique not only helps boost preparation but also helps visualise and analyse the situation better, as you can deduce the place's surroundings through maps. 

For the interview round, you should study locations with geo-political significance. While checking NCERTs, do not forget to learn ancient Mediaeval maps of Kingdoms, cropping pattern maps, seismic maps and soil maps. These tidbits of information will help you to enrich your answers in the Mains examination. 

Candidates are requested to solve ten-year question papers to understand the type of questions usually answered from maps and study accordingly. Cracking mock tests aids memorization and preparation as well. 

You can also study maps by drawing India and world maps freehand. Divide the maps into small regions and practice drawing on one area at a time and once you are confident with your accuracy, you can accumulate them and practice together. 

And finally, it is essential to understand that it takes time to master maps; however, with dedication and persistence, you can solve map-related questions quickly.