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UPSC Preparation – Tips for Environment & Ecology Subject

Environment and Ecology is one of the most demanding subjects of the UPSC in recent times. As a matter of fact, there were around 17 questions from this section in the UPSC Prelims 2020 examination that took place on 4th October 2020. Around five questions were asked in IAS Mains 2020 that was conducted between 8th and 17th January 2021.

The candidates who are going to sit for Civil Services Prelims Examination 2021 must revise the environment and ecology section thoroughly.

The IAS Prelims 2021 is scheduled to take place on 27th June 2021 and the Commission is expected to release the UPSC 2021 Admit Card around 6th June. All the candidates must visit the official website to get all the latest information on the examination.

Let’s start with the preparation tips for the environment and ecology section of the UPSC Civil Service Examination.

Tips to Get All Environment Questions Right in IAS Prelims

The nature of environment questions in prelims 2020 was between medium to tough. Candidates should note that since Indian Forest Service Prelims Examination has been merged with Civil Services Prelims Examination, chances for more questions on environment, ecology, agriculture are plausible. Hence, follow the below-mentioned tips to get such questions right:

  1. There are a few sources from which candidates must derive information about environment topics:
    1. National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) Environment material
    2. NCERT Class 11th and 12th of Geography
    3. India Year Book’s chapters on Environment and Land & People
    4. Majid Hussain’s Geography of India
    5. Gist of State of Forest report
  2. Focus on current affairs as climate change and environment are the talk of the town and almost every other day, you can find some piece of information on related topics. Also, candidates should focus on international organizations’ reports like Global Environment Outlook which is released by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP.) India’s rankings on global indices and more can be helpful for the environment section.
  3. Check previous years’ questions asked in both prelims and mains examination. Not that questions might get repeated, but the candidates get an idea on what sort of questions are targeted and from which topics. This way they can align their preparation as per the need of the hour.
  4. There are monthly compilations available subject-wise for both the prelims and mains examinations. Candidates can get one on environment and revise it so as to fill in the gaps for the topics they were not properly studied.
  5. Questions that seem too difficult or have vague topics, candidates must avoid attempting those in prelims. One must know that a few questions would be such that don’t come from the basic sources. Hence, one should not feel heavy-hearted and should skip such questions so as to avoid negative marking.

The break-up of number of questions asked in the last five years from environment section in UPSC Mains is given below:

Year Number of Environment Questions
2020 5
2019 2
2018 4
2017 2
2016 3

Hence, it becomes important to practise answer writing of the questions belonging to this section. Candidates can use these tips fxor UPSC Eam 2021 as the prelims is nearing. This year also, it is expected that the number of questions on the environment will touch 15 due to the present pandemic situation. Environment and Ecology are back in the news and therefore, candidates must brush up their preparation to meet the competition.

Aspirants must note that environment is a part of GS-III of UPSC Mains examination. Well-devised plan will help you score better in the Mains examination which further decides your fate in the final merit list.

Emma Murray

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