Geography Optional – Paper 1 : Part B




Paper 2 : 7. Settlements

I’m clubbing my sources and approach for these 4 units together as I did them together, as a whole.

Shabbir Sir class notes – by far the best material for these, for developing the basics. I couldn’t have started these topics on a better foundation. Especially the way Sir taught these in class really helped me because my understanding was very clear. I never faced a problem of conceptual clarity in these units, and that’s because of Sir’s classes. These 3 units were my strongest area in mains, followed by paper 2.

Human Geography – Majid Husain

Models in Geography – Majid Hussain

Rupa Made Simple

Urbanisation and Urban Systems in India – R. Ramachandran (for Paper 2 part)

These were my sources for most of the topics in this unit. Elaborating below :

Population, growth and development, trends, migration : Sir gave specific notes in class, I supplemented it with facts and data from the internet. Here I relied on putting across more in less space, so e.g. with population growth over time one can show it in a graph or through a rough world map showing migrations and movements.

Census data is absolutely essential, it should be memorised and analysed. Do look up articles that add value to census findings. Supplement it with SECC data, HDI data (latest), State HDI in India and a brief analysis of the trends so that one understands rather than only memorising.

Emphasis : the static parts should be well prepared. There can be different approaches in doing the current part of HDI etc but static topics like growth of population, distribution etc should be absolutely well prepared.

Social well being, quality of life, population as social capital : these are topics that need one hour each of Internet search as well, but make short specific notes with figures and any new indices or reports launched.

Settlements – rural and urban, morphology : Sir’s notes were very good, I supplemented with above mentioned books and used the Ramachandran book for paper 2 focus as it had good examples and it had analysis of the settlement patterns of India. Again here emphasis should be on diagrams to convey answers.

Primate City, Rank Size Rule : Again, Sir’s notes were very good and I put in paper 2 focus for studying India applicability of the 2 models. Most important is to understand alongwith memorising : the kind of questions being asked require understanding and not mere mentioning of theory proper. So try analysing the theory from various dimensions.

Models – Marxian, Malthusian, DTM, CPT etc : Shabbir Sir’s notes and the clarity I got in class was my biggest plus in these topics. I supplemented with above books and made diagrams and charts to add more clarity. In my personal opinion, questions on these topics must be attempted – because they demand clarity and application of concept rather than knowing something out of the blue.

Regional Planning : I mainly relied on Shabbir Sir’s notes for this topic, and coupled it with some reading of Evolution of Geographical Thought by Majid Husain.

Economic Geography : mostly I relied on the internet for topics in this unit. I made concise points for most of the topics and that helped a lot. For locational pattern, I used mrunal’s articles.

Perspectives in Human Geography : I’ll admit, this was an area I didn’t prepare too well in my earlier 2 mains. This time I did the Evolution of Geographical a Thought – Majid Husain book thoroughly and tried developing an understanding. I also paid attention to memorising geographers and their famous statements (few well known ones) so that they can be quoted in the answers. This time I attempted the question that asked for contemporary paradigms and I felt that my answer was precise, specific and that of a student who knows geography rather than of a student who has memorised geography. I was motivated to devote considerable time and effort to this unit after reading the strategy of Prajit Nair where he mentioned the inter-linkages he drew between paper 1 and paper 2 using Geographers. I couldn’t replicate much of that in paper 2 but tried to.

What would I have done extra in these units? I am by and large satisfied with my preparation of these units. I would have revised Perspectives in Human Geography a few times more, and tried drawing parallels of it with paper 2 topics before the exam, in practice, so that I could have seamlessly implemented that.

My honest advice in these units is to prepare them very very well. Many topics are preparation based in these units and one can ensure that one covers many dimensions while preparing so that answers are crisp and relevant.

Theories should be revised multiple multiple times, and should be by-heart. Even if you wake up in the middle of the night, you should be able to recall the fundamental concepts of CPT or the stages of Rostov’s model. Also, try using innovative techniques of charts, tables etc to convey the crux of the theories in less space. Applicability of each theory should be prepared wrt world and India, with relevant facts.

Geopolitical theories : these are asked very often, and along with knowing the facts of the theory right I suggest you to link it to current geopolitical situation in whichever year you write mains. Such an analysis before hand will help draft a good answer in mains. The scope of questions on these theories is limited, but preparation should be thorough as it can be a high scoring question. Start the answer well, with the basics of the theory, it’s assumptions, what it postulated and then address the demand of the question with specific inputs and examples.


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