Chapterwise - List of Important Topics for Psychology & Geography
I went through previous 15-20 year question papers & selected list of topics from every chapter (for both Geography & Psychology). I used to cover only these topics. Anything not mentioned in the pdf files was left by me. I never left an entire chapter....used to leave topics chapterwise. Now it might seem that using this strategy one has to cover every chapter but with the unpredictable pattern of UPSC which is in vogue, it make sense to cover at least 80 % of the syllabus. For example in psychology Paper I in 2009 mains, 2 questions looked almost out of syllabus (Sperling's technique, Bernoulli Sequence). Similar was the case of geography where in Paper I, question 1 had no internal choice & had relatively tough sub questions (LC King & Second cycle of erosion). Therefore it is suggested that aspirants do an exhaustive study.
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Important Topics in Psychology
Important Topics in Geography
Resource for Essay (Basically quotations & select vocabulary)
Regarding Essay I felt that common topic doesn't fetch much marks (I know I am generalizing here but thats my take). For e.g. Essay on health topic last year was attempted by many but few could cross 100...On the other hand essay on "Good Fences make good neighbour" fetched good score in general. If I was to take the exam once again, I would have selected the most esoteric of the essay topics despite my limitations in terms of knowledge (Again a personal approach....I don't consider myself any authority in this domain....Just managed 104 this year; 115 & 110 in second & first attempt respectively). In my opinion one should write on a topic on which one expects the least number of people to write.