UPSC has a wide range of courses to study. Out of which, maps are an integral part. It is also an important topic, as every year, on average, 3-5 questions are from this section.

I know many of you aspirants are not aware of the importance of maps. One of the main reasons for this is incomplete knowledge of the syllabus or not joining good coaching. Instead, you can join a good UPSC foundation course from coaching like The Thought Tree that teaches complete basics to advance. It is absolutely fine even if you come to know it now.

Now, you might be wondering how to study maps for UPSC?

You don’t need to worry about this question. In this article, we will discuss the best ways on how to study maps for UPSC?

So, let’s start.

Along with how to study maps for UPSC, you must know what you need to cover from maps.

Let’s see all the things below in a detailed manner.

How to Study Maps for UPSC?


First, we will look at How to Study Maps of India for UPSC. Later, we will see the world map.


  • Try and give more importance to the countries that belong to the Indian subcontinent. Also, learn about all the neighboring countries of India.

Making a note of all the countries that share their boundaries with Indian states is a great way of preparing.

  • Not to forget the oceans and islands that lie in the peninsular region of India and the Indian ocean.

This includes the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, countries around Lakshadweep Island, and various channels like the 10 degrees, 9 degrees, etc.

Read More: Best UPSC Preparation Tips for Beginners


  • Lines include the latitude and longitude lines that lie on the Indian map. One of the most important is the states through which the tropic of cancer passes.
  • The next thing is noting down the states through which the Indian Standard Meridian passes.
  • How can you forget the concept-based lines, nature of coastlines, etc. as Division of India on the basis of 10 degree isotherm.


  • You expected not to be a sketch artist, but here in UPSC, you should outline the political map of India. This is of great importance for the GS Paper 1 and 2 in the UPSC mains.

Along with this, you need to have a great knowledge of the states sharing their boundaries with other states.

  • States are not complete without the cities. In cities, the capital cities are of great importance, and that should be known by heart. As an aspirant, you could be sent to any state or city after selection. Hence, you need to have a clear marking and point where the cities are located on the Indian maps.

The above step seems like a hard task. But if you join The Thought Tree’s UPSC course, we will teach every trick to learn all the cities and states.

  • Always remember that in the UPSC exam, you won’t be asked about all the cities. So, you should most importantly know the cities that are in the limelight during your time of preparation.

For example, recently, there were floods in West Bengal. This makes it important to know everything that had happened there and the cities most affected.

  • Whenever a new state is formed, you need to know the boundaries, the neighboring states. The new changes should be noted down clearly along with the impacts. Also, you should be well aware of the eastern, western, northern, and southern extents of the states and union territories.


  • When it comes to the rivers, you should have a deep knowledge of the origin, the tributaries, and the flow direction of the rivers. There are high chances in the UPSC prelims of a question coming from this section.
  •  The river doesn’t end here as not only this: you need to know the right and left bank of the major rivers.

Also, it would be great if you can draw a rough diagram of the river drainage system.


Some of you might be thinking, are the rivers and lakes different?

For the ones, I would simply say yes.

But no need to scratch your head if you didn’t know this before.

To be aware of all such facts and important things, you can join a UPSC course at The Thought Tree.

  • Many States have their famous lakes, and your job is to know them and mark them on India’s political map.
  • There are many lakes like the Wular lake in Jammu and Kashmir. This lake is the largest freshwater lake in Asia.

So, make a list of such lakes and learn about them on a map.

Mountains and Glaciers

  • In the mountains, you should know both the Himalayan and the peninsular mountain peaks. Also, you should be able to draw them along with their peak on the Indian map.
  • When we talk about glaciers, we also talk about the rivers originating from these glaciers. You should study the various glaciers in India and be able to locate them on the map.
  • There are various national parks, important forests, flora and fauna, states, etc., that are present in the surrounding areas of the mountains. This information is very important from the UPSC exam point of view.
  • How can we leave the Ghats? 

It is good to have a location mind map of the Western and Eastern Ghats and have a comparative study of them.

Read More: How To Read Newspaper For UPSC

Natural vegetation

  • India is well known for its natural vegetation. Keeping this in mind, you should have a decent knowledge of diversity in natural vegetation along with climate change in India.
  • Making notes of the spatial distribution of a particular type of forest in India. For example, when we talk about Rajasthan, the deserts, the rainfall deficient areas, thorny shrubs, etc., come to our mind.

National park

In India, there are many national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, tiger reserves, biosphere reserves, etc., that are quite famous across the world. These are also important from the UPSC exam perspective. 

So, it is advised to have map-based knowledge along with the location of all the mentioned ones.

Other Important Places

The rest of the things that were not included in the above sections are under this section.

Here, we consider the famous historical places, artifacts, pilgrimages, world heritage sites, nuclear power stations, ports, plateaus, wetlands, mineral-rich locations, etc. 

So, you should be able to identify these places on the Indian map.

With this comes the end of the Indian map discussion. I hope you understood the things.

If you still don’t get the things, a UPSC foundation course would surely help you with this.

In the next section, we will see How to Study Maps of world for UPSC exam. 

World Map

UPSC is the biggest exam for filling the biggest posts in our country. This means that the syllabus will be big. Hence, when it comes to the maps section, not only the Indian map but also the world map is important.

Also, there are many reasons to keep the world map in consideration. The main reason is that a UPSC selected person needs to have complete knowledge of countries with whom India is trading, and India is having good and bad relations. 

So, if you are selected as an Indian Foreign Services (IFS), you need to be well aware of all such things.

Lines on the World Map

  • The lines on the world map mainly suggest the important latitude and longitude lines. These include the Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn, and the Equator.

Also, you should know the basic details, including the countries lying on these lines.

  • Read the current affairs magazines and look at the latest news. Look for the countries that are linked with India in a way or another. 

As an aspirant, you should look for the prime meridian line and the countries falling on it as they are also important.

Physiographic Features

While covering the general NCERT books including standard geography, history, and economics books, you will come across various physiographic features of the world. These books have many maps covering the features, so remember to study them by heart.

Check out ExamSnap.

Current Affairs

Now comes the most important section from the world map, the current affairs.

This doesn’t equate to reading current affairs; yes, that is important too. But, here we are talking about the map of the countries that have been in the news recently because of some current affairs.

For example, China has become quite famous for the covid-19 virus spread across the world. Here, you need to be aware of the map of China, its capital, and also the markings in the map of the city where the virus was first discovered.

Now, the next thing that comes to mind is how to prepare for the maps.

Practice and Drawing Rough Maps

Once you are good at knowing and locating the countries and important places on the map.  the next thing is mind mapping and drawing the rough sketches of the maps on a piece of paper.

Try to study the previous year’s papers of UPSC and find the things that are asked most from this section. Practice hard the things you find asked frequently in the exam.

For a better piece of knowledge and guide, you can refer to UPSC preparation course.

 When we talk about the Indian map, you should be comfortable drawing the outline of the political map of India, starting from Jammu and Kashmir.


In this article, we covered the importance of maps, how to study maps for UPSC and what to learn from maps for the UPSC exam.

It is advised not to leave even a single topic from the syllabus. The preparation should be in such a way that starts with thorough reading of the syllabus and prepare according to it.

Do you want better preparation and increase your chances of selection on the first attempt?

So, don’t waste more time and start your journey with The Thought Tree. We prepare the student in the best way and as mentioned in the syllabus.

I hope you liked the article, thanks for reading it.

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