How to prepare Geography optional for IAS
Topper says that the only principle or reason you should take optional is the INTEREST in that particular subject. Because without any interest, there won't be any enthusiasm and without enthusiasm you won't be motivated to study in long run, so choose optional wisely.
How to write answer for Geography optional?
Answers should be crisp, concise and to the point. Follow researched answer writing order "Introduction, Main Body & Conclusion". Underline the important word/phrase, and make a thumb rule that one diagram for every 10 marks or with 3-4 paragraph questions answers. Draw diagrams with pencil and label in black pen (you must write number and name of the diagram with black pen).
Problem and how to cope: Don't have second thought, keep your sources limited and keep on revising them. It is required that you maintain balance, don't study 14 hours or 16 hours a day. Study 6 to 8 hours a day as many IAS toppers suggested but in order to balance yourself for a long term strategy, you have to do some other activities like physical exercise, sports, watching a movie or read a book etc.
Read less and revise more (because one can not read everything!). Handle you emotions, anxiety or depression and keep your thoughts positive. It is most important to stay positive throughout the journey of this course.
Source to study Geography
Keep the reference books and study material limited and revise them again and again. You can take help of internet to follow the current events especially Geography related or any other particular topic. Make sure that you have your own notes for each and every topic and for the Map based section regular practice is required.
For Paper - 1
Follow NCERT's of Class 6th to 12th, Physical Geography Book by Savinder Singh [Buy from Flipkart]
Certificate Physical and Human Geography by Goh Chang Leong [Buy from Flipkart]
Read Models and Theories from Coaching notes or Indian and World Geography by Majid Hussain [Buy from Flipkart]
For Paper - 2
Follow NCERT's of Class 6th to 12th
India Comprehensive Geography by DR Khullar [Buy from Flipkart]
Diagrams - Study Sources
For Diagrams make sure that you study Physical Geography in Diagrams by RB Bunnett and for the Maps follow Oxford Student Atlas (for the India maps) and Orient Longman School Atlas - (for the World maps).