UPSC Civil Services: Important Topics To Read For Environmental Studies

By Sashikanth

Be it All India Services or Central Services, cracking the preliminary round is the first step to earning a civil service post. Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), which conducts the Civil Services every year, is all set to start the year-long selection process with the preliminary examination.

The Civil Services preliminary round consists of two objective papers, namely General Studies and Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT). We hope, aspirants are aware of the fact that the General Studies paper is only considered for shortlisting the candidates for the main examination. The General Studies paper consists of various subjects and environmental studies is one amongst them.

IAS Exam: Important Topics In Environment


The UPSC notification clearly reads that subject specialisation is not required for the environmental studies subject. Every year, around fifteen questions are asked from environmental studies. The percentage of environmental questions cannot be ignored because every single mark plays a crucial role in shortlisting the test-takers. Here are the preparation tips and important topics you should read under environmental studies, specifically while preparing for the preliminary round during the last few days.

5 Common Mistakes To Avoid To Ace UPSC Civil Services

Identify The Syllabus

The official notification from UPSC mentioned that the syllabus includes general issues on environmental ecology, biodiversity and climate change and dropped a sentence about how it does not require subject specialisation. Aspirants have to identify the syllabus for this section and the required topics.

Make A Note Of Current Events

The day-to-day happenings are very important to crack the Civil Services. Try to make notes of all the national and international events which are related to environmental issues. If you are aiming for the next year examination, try to figure out the environmental current affairs separately.

Tips To Prepare For The Current Affairs Section In UPSC Civil Services

Important Topics In Environment

  • Take a note of every news related to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).
  • The Red Data Book, hot spots and importance of human survival in biodiversity are important.
  • Special attention is required for the environmental terms.
  • Study all the effects of environmental degradation besides food chain and ecosystem.
  • Everything about the pollution should be mastered; give importance to topics such as acid rains, greenhouse gases and ozone layer depletion due to pollution.
  • In sustainable development, focus on the renewable energy sources, biopesticides, bio-fertilisers, biomass gasification, etc.
  • While coming to the conversation topics, national parks, wetlands, biosphere reserves and wildlife conservation are important.
  • Always keep the facts of climate change summits on your fingertips and make a note of the policies adopted in the Kyoto Protocol and Montreal Protocol.
  • Work on the ecologically sensitive areas in India such as the Himalayas and the Western Ghats.
  • Aspirants are also suggested to read all the laws and about all regulatory bodies besides the policies of the environment such as Environment Protection Act and National Biodiversity Authority.
  • Some of the important conventions are Ramsar Convention, Ramsar Convention and 1992 Earth Summit.
  • Read all about the international bodies that work for better environment such as United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
  • Try to prepare for this subject as a common man and stand against the evil happening to the environment. This approach will even help you during the main examination.

Important Books For Environmental Studies

  • NCERT textbooks
  • Environment and Ecology by Majid Husain
  • Environment for Civil Services Prelims and Mains by Khuller and Rao

How Do I Prepare On My Own For Indian Polity In UPSC Civil Services?

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