How to prepare the Environment section for UPSC IAS Prelims Exam 2021? 

 November 26, 2021

With the change in the UPSC CSE Syllabus since 2011, there is more weightage given to the Environment section. Almost 30-32% of questions asked in the UPSC Prelims exams are directly or indirectly related to the environment. Topics like Conservation of the environment, Agriculture, Global Warming, Renewable Energy resources, etc should be covered to excel in the environment section. There is no definite syllabus of environment and ecology available, therefore the candidates should start their preparation with the proper guidance as it will help them in focusing on the topics that carry maximum marks. Also, they should analyze previous year’s papers to identify the topics that are frequently asked in the prelims exam. Here in this article, we have shared the best tips and tricks to prepare for the UPSC IAS Environment section.

Focus on Relevant Topics

Candidates should go through the syllabus carefully to recognize the important topics that are asked in the UPSC Prelims exam. By doing this, they will be able to ignore the topics that are not important from the exam perspective and then prepare accordingly. The list of important topics are:

  • General issues on Environmental Ecology
  • Biodiversity
  • Pollution
  • Conservation
  • Sustainable Development
  • Ecologically Sensitive Areas
  • Climate Change
  • Laws, regulatory bodies, and policies for the environment and its protection at the national and international levels.
  • All about UNESCO, FAO, UNEP

Create a Study Plan

Candidates should prepare a study plan by allocating more time to the topics that carry maximum marks and importance. Cover those topics first that are easy and less time-consuming and then move on with the tough ones. Also, include practice and revision in the study plan to assess the level of your preparation on a regular basis. Make sure that you take regular breaks in between your study sessions to refresh your mind and body.


Refer to the Best Study Material

There are a plethora of books and study material available in the market and online for the preparation of the Environment section. The most important factor of any exam preparation is books and secondary resources as they strengthen the foundation as well as selection chances. Avoid reading too many books to learn and practice questions to avoid confusion. It is advised to start the preparation from basic textbooks like NCERT (Class VI-XII) and then refer to standard textbooks for further preparation. For example, if you are preparing a topic like Non-Renewable resources then you should first revise its basic concept from the NCERTs and then move ahead with secondary sources.

Practice Previous Year Question Paper

Practice the last 5-10 year questions that are based on environmental issues to know the marking weightage, difficulty level, types of questions asked previously in the exam. This will definitely help them in identifying what to study and what not to study for the section. By solving past year papers, candidates will also be able to cover the topics that they have missed during the preparation.

Prepare Notes

As you cover the topics of the environment subject, make quick notes. This will be helpful in last-minute revision and a better understanding of the topics. You can use digital mode to prepare the notes and make sure that the notes are very subjective and lengthy. One of the advantages of preparing notes in digital format is that short notes can be easily updated with the latest information as and when required and secondly there is no risk of losing them.

Revision Matters

Regular Revision will help candidates in retaining important topics, theories, and everything they have covered during environment section preparation. Also, they can use memory techniques to improve their learning. Candidates should revise the covered topics daily in smaller slots once or twice a week.


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