How To Read Maps For UPSC

Maps are one of the important topics for the UPSC Civil Services Examination. But it is not that tough to learn and understand it. In UPSC Civil Services Examination, at least three to five questions related to maps are asked every year. So,How To Read Maps For UPSC? learning and understanding maps are very important parts of preparing for UPSC CSE to score good marks.

So, by now, you know how much is important maps to score good marks. Now the thing is that what should candidates cover as a part of the preparation for the UPSC examination to score good marks? We have mentioned below some points that can help you understand how to prepare for maps. 

You can also join institutes that provide the UPSC Coaching. The Thought Tree is one of the best IAS coaching in Jaipur with expert faculty that will guide you through every aspect of the UPSC CSE preparation journey.

Topics You Should Cover In Maps For UPSC CSE 

Firstly, the main concept to be covered in maps is India. Below are points all related to India that must be covered while preparing.


(i) Candidates should be able to draw the outline of the India map, even its states, by hand. It is very important for UPSC CSE, mainly for Mains General Studies I and General Studies II papers.

(ii) Candidates should know and be able to tell which of our states share boundaries with which other states and how many states they share boundaries with.

(iii) Candidates should know all the important capital cities of our country and where they are located in the states.

(iv) Candidates should know the cities recently highlighted in the news for good or bad reasons or causes. To remember these things, candidates should always note the incidents they see in the news and when they read in newspapers, magazines, and articles.

(v) Candidates preparing for maps should be able to tell the northern, southern, eastern, and western extents of states and Union Territories.

Neighbors and Boundaries

(i) Candidates should learn about all the neighboring countries of our country India. Pin out the countries with which India shares its border.

(ii) Candidates must give more importance to the countries of the Subcontinent of India.

(iii) Keep thorough knowledge about oceanic regions around the peninsular part and the islands lying around in our Indian ocean like Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep. 


(i) Candidates should study and keep in mind important longitude and latitude lines on the map of India. One of the important is the states from which the Tropic Of Cancer passes, and you should know what Tropic of Cancer is.

(ii) Keep in mind all the different states and places through which the Standard Meridian of India passes, like the longitude of Indian Standard Time.

(iii) One more important point about lines to keep in mind is the nature of coastlines, concept-based lines, and many others. One example of these lines is the Basis of 10 degrees Celsius in the Indian Division.

Mountains And Glaciers

(i) Note down all the extent and important peaks of mountain ranges. Well-known examples are the Himalayas and Peninsular.

(ii) Candidates should be able to draw the full mountain ranges on the political map of India and show their highest peak.

(iii) Studying various glacier locations are also very important, which are at the Vindhyas north. And other points that should be noted about glaciers are the rivers that originate in these mountains.

(iv) Candidates should note down and keep in mind various national parks, gaps, flora and fauna, states, etc., which lay within these geographical mountain ranges.

(v) Candidates should pinpoint the Western and Eastern Ghats on the Map.

Lakes And Rivers

(i) Keep note of all Sources, Origin, Tributaries, and Flow Routes of the rivers in India. This is very important for UPSC.

(ii) Candidates should be able to identify the Right and Left banks of major rivers in India. They should be able to draw a rough diagram of each important drainage river basin on blank paper.

(iii) Candidates must be able to pin out all the lakes on the political map of India and should also be able to identify which states share particular lakes.

(iii) There are many lakes with some special features that make them different from other lakes in India, candidate must know these lakes and their features and know in which state they are located.

Natural Vegetation And National Parks

(i) In the context of Natural Vegetation, candidates must keep note of the great diversity in the Indian natural vegetation of variation in the climate all across India.

(ii) Candidates must note down forests of a particular type of spatial distribution across India.

(iii) In the context of National Parks, candidates must note down and be able to locate all the important National Parks, Wild Life Sanctuaries, Tiger Reserves, Biosphere Reserves, and many others. And candidates should also know their extent across states.

Important Spots In India

Candidates must be able to identify all the important places in India such as World Heritage Sites, Pilgrimages, Ports, Wetlands, Nuclear Power Stations, Mineral Rich Locations, Plateaus, and many more with other physiography important features nearby. 

Read More: 8 Ways to Keep Your Child Engaged and Focused During Distance Learning

Some Focus On World Maps

Focusing on World Map is also part of Maps learn How To Read Maps For UPSC. Below are a few points to keep in mind about world maps.


(i) As candidates have to study lines on the India map, they also have to note down the important longitude and latitude lines on the world map such as the Equator, tropic of Cancer, Arctic Circle, Tropic of Capricorn, etc. 

And you should also note down the countries by which these lines pass. That’s also important.

(ii) Study Prime Meridian and International Date Line and know which country falls on which side. You can also update this information from a current affairs magazine.


Keep up with all the latest and trending news updates of all the countries around the world.


Practicing is one of the best things to improve and learn things. So, practice mainly on the blank political maps of India and the world. You should practice drawing the outlines of states.

The Thought Tree institute can help you learn it faster by guiding and taking the test on a regular basis to see how much you understand and know.


Practice and revise every point to prepare well for the Maps subject for UPSC. You can join The Thought Tree institute for better preparations.

They will assign you mentors who will guide you and clear your doubts and queries at every step in your learning journey.

As tests will show your preparations and understanding, so choosing The Thought Tree is the best way to prepare well for maps and other subjects for UPSC.

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