1. Prologue
  2. Geography: Internal breakup
    1. World Geography
    2. Atlas Mountain Ranges
    3. Nomadic herders
  3. Indian geography (6Qs)
    1. Narmada
    2. Mica, Petrol and Gas
    3. Coal, Indian
    4. Agro related (2Q)
      1. Laterite Soil
      2. Crop seasons
    5. Tribals of India
  4. PHYSICAL Geography (5Qs)
    1. Knight and Day
    2. Fresh Water
    3. Thunderstorm
    4. Temperature: Coastal vs Interior
    5. Earth dynamic changes?


  • 14 out of 100 MCQs in CSAT 2013 were from Geography. Last year it was 11.
  • Majority of the question can be solved directly from standard reference books/sources for Geography viz.
    • NCERT
    • NIOS
    • General studies Manual
    • Indian Geography by Majid Hussein
  • Within Indian geography, agro related Qs. receive attention, just like last year.
  • Within Physical geography, ocean, temperature related Qs, just like last year.
  • World Geography continues to receive low-priority (Although world geography should not be completely ignored in preparation because Mains 2013 does contain topics from World Geography.)
  • Nothing from current affairs.

Geography: Internal breakup

Chart CSAT 2013 Geography

World 2
Indian* 6
Physical 6
Total 14

*Qs related to National parks, wildlife etc. classified under EnB (environment and biodiversity).

World Geography (2Qs)

Atlas Mountain Ranges

1.  Which one of the following pairs is correctly matched?

  1. Abyssinian Plateau : Arabia
  2. Atlas Mountains : North-Western Africa
  3. Guiana Highlands : South-Western Africa
  4. Okavango Basin : Patagonia

In the school atlas, check the physical map of Africa. You’ll see Atlas mountain range in the Top-left corner (=north Western) => Answer B is correct.

Regarding other choices:

  1. Abyssinian plateau is in Ethiopia (in Africa)
  2. Guiana Highland= In South America
  3. Okavango basin/swamp= In Southern part of in Africa.

Hence final answer (B) Atlas Mountains : North-Western Africa.

Nomadic herders

2. “Climate is extreme, rainfall is scanty and the people used to be nomadic herders.” The above statement best describes which of the following regions?

  1. African Savannah
  2. Central Asian Steppe
  3. North American Prairie
  4. Siberian Tundra

let’s consider the options

African Savannah

Doesn’t fit the description of “Climate is extreme, rainfall is scanty”

Siberian Tundra?

  • as per NIOS Geography material, chapter.16 Life In The High Latitudes
  • Extreme climate= yes
  • Low precipitation =yes.
  • Nomadic life = yes
  • but they’re not nomadic “herders”. Their primary occupation is hunting and fishing.

Central Asian Steppe

  • as per NIOS Geography material, chapter.15 Life In The Mid Latitudes
  • extreme climate= yes
  • low precipitation =yes.
  • Nomadic life= yes. The mid-latitude (Central Asian) grassland were once home to pastoral nomads like Kirgiz, Kazakh and Kalmuks.

North American Prairie?

  • as per NIOS Geography material, chapter.15 Life In The Mid Latitudes
  • extreme climate= yes
  • low precipitation =yes.
  • nomadic life? = No. The farmers here use mechanized equipment and do wheat cultivation on large scale.

Hence answer B) Central Asian Steppe

Indian geography (6Qs)

Physical Geography of India (Narmada) 1
Minerals and Energy related 2
Agro related 2
Human Geography (Tribals) 1
Total 6


Q. The Narmada river flows to the west, while most other large peninsular rivers flow to the east. Why?

  1. It occupies a linear rift valley.
  2. It flows between the Vindhyas and the Satpuras.
  3. The land slopes to the west from Central India.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below.

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 and 3
  3. 1 and 3
  4. None
  • Refer to NCERT 11th standard, Geography, 3rd chapter, page number 27. It says Narmada and Tapi flow through rift valleys caused due to the upheaval of Himalayas.
  • Also it is given in the last line of the page as it flows through the rift valley with the Satpura in south and Vindhyas in the north. But there is no option for 1 & 2. We can consider maybe that flowing between the ranges may not cause the river to flow west and it is only a fact.
  • Refer to NCERT Class 9 Contemporary India textbook, chapter 2, page number 10. It gives the contours of the Indian physical systems. We can see that Narmada is flowing through the area where the land is not sloping towards the west from central India, but it is flowing west because of the rift valleys only.

Map Narmada elevation
Hence answer (A) Only 1

Mica, Petrol and Gas

1. Consider the following statements:

  1. Natural gas occurs in the Gondwana beds.
  2. Mica occurs in abundance in Kodarma.
  3. Dharwars are famous for petroleum.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 and 2
  2. 2 only
  3. 2 and 3
  4. None

Refer to level 2 Q6 in Pearson’s General Studies Manual (2011), all three statements are directly lifted.
And as per Thorpe (author of the Manual) only Mica-Kordema Statement is correct.

Statement T/F? Why?
  1. Natural gas occurs in the Gondwana beds.
  • Gondwana beds = coal deposits (and not natural gas.) (Majid)
  1. Mica occurs in abundance in Kodarma.
  • TMH General Studies manual, Ch. Indian and World Geography, page 127
  • Kodarma mines in Jharkhand are one of the important mica producing areas
  • Another reference is Indian Geogrpahy, Majid Hussain Page 7.18 The main center of mica production in Jharkhand and Bihar are Kodarma, Dhorhakola.
  1. Dharwars are famous for petroleum.
  • Dharwar = district in Karnataka. Not related with petroleum.

Hence answer: (B) only 2.

Coal, Indian

Which of the following is / are the characteristic/ characteristics of Indian coal?

  1. High ash content
  2. Low sulphur content
  3. Low ash fusion temperature

Select the correct answer using the codes given below.

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Standard reference books (NCERT, NIOS, TMH, Majid) are silent about low ash fusion temperature of Indian coal, hence time to dig internet.

As per an article published in Frontline (2008),

most significant characteristic of Indian coal is its high ash content 1st statement is correct
However, Indian coal’s sulphur content is low, about 0.5 per cent. 2nd statement is correct
high ash fusion temperature of about 1,500 C. 3rd statement is false

Final answer A: only 1 and 2 correct.

Agro related (2Q)

Laterite Soil

1. Which of the following statements regarding laterite soils of India are correct?

  1. They are generally red in colour.
  2. They are rich in nitrogen and potash.
  3. They are well-developed in Rajasthan and UP.
  4. Tapioca and cashew nuts grow well on these soils.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below.

  1. 1, 2 and 3
  2. 2, 3 and 4
  3. 1 and 4
  4. 2 and 3 only

Indian Geography, Majid Hussain Chapter: Page 6.8

Laterite soils are rich in iron and aluminum but poor in nitrogen, potash, potassium, lime and organic matter. Hence Statement #2 is wrong.  Eliminate all answer choices containing statement #2.

  1. 1, 2 and 3
  2. 2, 3 and 4
  3. 1 and 4
  4. 2 and 3 only

Thus we are left with final answer C: only 1 and 4.

Another approach is via NIOS Geography Chapter 19, Page 401

Laterite soil commonly found in areas of high altitude and heavy rainfall in Karnataka, TN, MP, Bihar, Orissa, Assam and Meghalaya. Hence Rajasthan doesn’t fit the bill. So, Eliminate choice involving Statement#3 and you’re still left with answer C.

Crop seasons

2. Consider the following crops

  1. Cotton
  2. Groundnut
  3. Rice
  4. Wheat

Which of these are Kharif crops?

  1. 1 and 4
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1, 2 and 3
  4. 2, 3 and 4

Refer NCERT Class 12 Geography (India People and Economy), Chapter 5, Page no – 44

Kharif Rice, cotton, jute, juwar, bajra and tur
Rabi Wheat, gram, mustard

Hence answer must contain both Cotton (#1) and Rice (#3). And answer must not contain Wheat(#4).

Now start eliminating options

  1. 1 and 4 (because 3 is missing)
  2. 2 and 3 only (because 1 is missing)
  3. 1, 2 and 3
  4. 2, 3 and 4 (because contains 4)

Thus we are left with final answer C: 1, 2 and 3.

Tribals of India

Consider the following pairs :

  1. Limboo (Limbu) : Sikkim
  2. Karbi : Himachal Pradesh
  3. Dongaria : Odisha
  4. Bonda : Tamil Nadu

Which of the above pairs are correctly matched?

  1. 1 and 3 only
  2. 2 and 4 only
  3. 1, 3 and 4 only
  4. 1, 2, 3 and 4

As per the article that appeared in The Hindu in Feb 2012,

Bonda are the most primitive tribal groups in Odisha. According to Census 2011, the Bonda tribe has a population of less than 12,000. Therefore, statement #4 is wrong, because it links Bonda with Tamilnadu. Eliminate answer choices involving #4

  1. 1 and 3 only
  2. 2 and 4 only
  3. 1, 3 and 4 only
  4. 1, 2, 3 and 4

Thus, final answer (A): 1 and 3 only.

PHYSICAL Geography (5Qs)

Knight and Day

Variations in the length of daytime and night time from season to season are due to

  1. the earth’s rotation on its axis
  2. the earth’s revolution round the sun in an elliptical manner
  3. latitudinal position of the place
  4. revolution of the earth on a tilted axis

As per TMH General studies manual, Chapter Indian and World Geography, page 9

had the axis of earth been perfectly perpendicular to the plane of ecliptic, the sunrays would have been verticle over the equator all the year round and amount of energy received at any place would have remained constant throughout the year; hence no change of seasons. Also in that situation, the days and nights all over the earth would have been exactly equal throughout the year as it happens at the time of equinoxes.

Hence answer (D)

Fresh Water

On the planet earth, most of the freshwater exists as ice caps and glaciers. Out of the remaining freshwater, the largest proportion

  1. is found in atmosphere as moisture and clouds
  2. is found in freshwater lakes and rivers
  3. exists as groundwater
  4. exists as soil moisture

Refer to NCERT Class 11 Physical Geography, Ch.13, page 113

Reservoir Percentage of the Total
  1. Oceans
  1. Ice Caps and Glaciers
  1. Groundwater
  1. Lakes
  1. Soil Moisture
  1. Atmosphere
  1. Streams and Rivers
  1. Biosphere

Hence answer is (C) exists as groundwater.


During a thunderstorm, the thunder in the skies is produced by the

  1. meeting of cumulonimbus clouds in the sky
  2. lightning that separates the nimbus clouds
  3. violent upward movement of air and water particles

Select the correct answer using the codes given below.

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 and 3
  3. 1 and 3
  4. None of the above produces the thunder

The question is about cause of thunder during a thunderstorm (and not the cause of thunderstorm itself).

As per Britannica

  • Thunder is the sound caused by a lightning discharge.
  • Lightning heats the air in its path and causes a large over-pressure of the air within its channel.
  • The channel expands supersonically into the surrounding air as a shock wave and creates an acoustic signal that is heard as thunder.

So is the answer D=none of above.

by the way if we take #2 is correct (lightening that separates numbus clouds), there is no option saying “only 2”.=> hence D

Temperature: Coastal vs Interior

The annual range of temperature in the interior of the continents is high as compared to coastal areas. What is / are the reason / reasons?

  1. Thermal difference between land and water.
  2. Variation in altitude between continents and oceans.
  3. Presence of strong winds in the interior
  4. Heavy rains in the interior as compared to coasts.
  1. 1 only
  2. 1 and 2 only
  3. 2 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2, 3 and 4

Debatable. first let’s check the statements that can be validated or rejected with surety:

Statement #1= correct

As per NIOS Geography, Ch5, Page 99

Continentality or distance from sea

  • water is bad conductor of heat. Due to this moderating effect of the sea, places near coast have low range of temperature and high humidity.
  • The places in the interior of continent do not experience moderating effects of sea. These places have extreme temperature. => Statement #1 is correct.
  • This eliminates answer choice C, because it doesn’t contain #1.

Statement #4= wrong

  • Statement 4 claims that Heavy rains in the interior as compared to coasts (are responsible for why annual range of temperature in the interior of the continents is high)
  • But the interiors in Central Asia, receive very poor rainfall due to distance from sea. Annual precipitation is usually low in the interior areas. Hence #4 cannot be generalized.
  • This eliminates choice D, because it contains #4. Thus we are left with two choices A and B.
  1. 1 only
  2. 1 and 2 only

So final answer boils down to whether statement #2 is right or wrong?

Relook at the question: it asks about why “annual range of temperature” is high in interior areas.

ok then, first What is annual range of temperature (ART)?

Ans. It is the difference between mean temperature of the warmest and the coldest months.

  • We know that Shimla and Jalandhar are located @same latitude yet Shimla is cooler than Jalandhar because of difference in altitude. As we move up in the mountains, temperature goes down. but that is to justify difference in ART between two land-places.
  • otherwise, if we look @the map showing ART in Costal vs Interior areas (see the map)

Map India_average_annual_temperature

  • Observe that Western Ghats and Himalayas have lower ART compared to coastal areas in TN and Andhra, Goa and Kerala coast.
  • Therefore, Variation in altitude between continents and oceans= not the valid explanation for given question.

Hence #2 is wrong, answer= (A) only 1. (or debatable (B))
Update Jun-26-2014: UPSC uploaded official answerkey. Correct answer is: A.

Earth dynamic changes?

Consider the following:

  1. Electromagnetic radiation
  2. Geothermal energy
  3. Gravitational force
  4. Plate movements
  5. Rotation of the earth
  6. Revolution of the earth

Which of the above are responsible for bringing dynamic changes on the surface of the earth?

  1. 1, 2, 3 and 4 only
  2. 1, 3, 5 and 6 only
  3. 2, 4, 5 and 6 only
  4. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6

lolz, Debatable on what exactly is meant by “dynamic” changes on earth surface and how far we drag the logic about factors responsible such dynamic change.

Viewpoint #1: A is correct

  • if you consider the tides that cause coastal erosion =dynamic change on earth’s surface. Then tides occur due to gravitational pull of the Moon=> #3 is right.
  • earthquake =brings dynamic change on earth surface=>#4 plate movements is right.
  • volcanos= brings dynamic change on earth surface=>#2 geothermal energy movements is right.
  • Electromagnetic radiation, rotation, revolution cause seasonal changes
  • Rotation =Responsible for day and night- cannot bring ‘dynamic changes’ to earth’s surface. So #5 is wrong (or implausible).
  • Answer should contain 2,3,4 but not 5. only one such option=A: 1, 2, 3 and 4 only

Viewpoint #2: D is correct

  • revolution of earth = responsible for seasons. And Heavy monsoon => landslides and soil erosion= dynamic change to surface. hence #6 must be in the answer. Therefore viewpoint #1 is wrong when it says #5 is wrong.
  • final answer should be (D)= all six

Viewpoint #3: C is correct

  • Electromagnetic radiation from Sun=> causes rainfall and snow melting=soil erosion=dynamic change to earth’s surface but it is a farfetched argument in terms of cause and effect because you’ve to factor in greenhouse gases, deforestation etc. Same goes for gravitational force, hence 1 and 3 are false, final answer (C) 2, 4, 5 and 6 only.

anyways, final arbitrator is official answerkey of UPSC.
Update Jun-26-2014: UPSC uploaded official answerkey. Correct answer is: D all of them responsible.
Answerkeys for remaining topics, coming soon + thanks Mr. Manu Jha (मनु झा) and Mr.Shiva Ram for providing help.