IFS/IFoS – Strategy – Geology Optional

Due to the common preliminary exam of CSE and IFoS, a lot of people are considering IFoS these days (of course it’s a very good choice and a great service). Unlike CSE which is now dependent more on GS, IFoS examination depends on a greater measure on optional subjects.

While choosing one of the optionals as Forestry or Agriculture (both can’t be taken together),Geology is the next most opted optional subject. This is due to the fact that a large number of candidates have CSE optional background in geography and a few others think it’s easy; which it certainly is not (one will realize this when one starts preparing).

Still other (like me-I am Computer Sc. Graduate) had no other option but Geology due to abject unfamiliarity with the remaining subjects in the list.

So, I am writing my personal experience while preparing Geology for IFS exam.

I am not an expert in Geology and blindly following the instructions may be disastrous. Having said that, I feel that some of my experiences could be helpful to other aspirants. These would provide an insight on how to start your preparation in Geology.

Problems :

  1. No proper guidance as very few serious aspirants takes it  (I found it very difficult to get any info about books and how to prepare).
  2. No readymade material  (there is one in the Delhi market by brilliant, I didn’t use that as well as got feedback from people that it is haphazardly prepared and print quality is poor).
  3. No coaching (as very few writes). No test series.

Advantages :

  1. Limited syllabus (but lengthy).
  2. A lot of repeating questions.
  3. Some Overlap with Geography (paper 1, part A)

Common Suggestion for Paper-1 and Paper-2

I am a very lazy person and except in Exam, I never write a single line. I saw all the questions from the previous five years of CSE and IFoS examination question papers of all chapters (divided them chapter wise) and kept this as a reference throughout my preparations. There may be some questions out of the topics in the syllabus, prepare for these new topics also as these repeat regularly.

For Paper 1 

Sec A  – General geology-K.M BANGAR, GB MAHAPATRA

Geomorphology and remote sensing- K.M BANGAR, MAHAPATRA

Structural geology-BANGAR, INTERNET,

Sec B –  Paleontology- jain and jain,Berkley university notes

Stratigraphy-Bangar, Ravindra Jain(wasn’t able to read), Wikipedia

Hydrogeology and engineering geology-Bangar,2 chapters from todd

As you may be aware, the pattern of the question paper is that Three questions from one section and Two from the second have to be answered, with the first and fifth questions being compulsory.

I decided to write three questions from section-A. But one needs to cover the complete syllabus and be ready for every topic from these three chapters.

And with hydrogeology and engineering geology covering the eighth question, you are left with only compulsory question i.e, the fifth, which is covered by all three chapters of section-B

As Palaeontology and Stratigraphy are little difficult and too lengthy to cover, But Still I covered both the topics in a fine manner but due to paucity of time, wasn’t able to revise.

By this way, one can almost cover 80-90% of syllabus and be sure of attending a minimum of 180-190 marks.

For Paper 2

Sec A  –  Minerology-Internet, Bangar

Petrography of metamorphic and igneous rocks-Bangar,Mahapatra, net

Sedimentology- Bangar, net, Mahapatra

Sec B –   Economic geology-net, Bangar,

Mining geology-net, Bangar

Geochemistry and environmental geology-net, chemistry book of class12th,

Section-A is very vast, difficult and technically deep, it is very difficult and time-consuming to study it in its entirety; therefore I would recommend a selective approach.

Mineralogy is very important and also covers almost two questions (out of which one is compulsory) it is very important to study it. I bought J.D Dana but didn’t read it. My single most important source for examination was K.M Bangar and it rescued me for this topic also. I thoroughly read Tulane Notes also.

Sedimentology is very small and easy out of the three, so do it completely. Study questions from last ten years question papers for petrography (as its too big, difficult and doesn’t recur as much as mineralogy in the exam).Prepare topics by looking at questions also, as these topics are itself branches of subjects and you might be overwhelmed by content available online. (Mind you material in the market would be negligible as for Shopkeepers Geology is Geography only)

Section-B is simple, limited and scoring. With economic and mining geology being compact and interlinked they are easy to study and will also give good dividends in the exam (do study these topics at all costs).

Economic geology (especially processes) may seem lengthy but these are the ones recur most often in the exam.

And finally, Geochemistry and Environmental geology is a mix of little theoretical Geochemistry and current affairs. One can feel that Geochemistry is a little too tedious, but studYing it is very helpful in the exam. (Consider it as a backup if you don’t know some questions from Economic Geology in the exam)

NOTE: Don’t just be prepared for Five questions, because like last year all questions were jumbled and there was no differentiation between Section-A and B.  So prepare for at least six of seven questions and don’t leave any chapter if due to some reason you feel like skipping a chapter, do ensure that you go through the question papers of the last decade and study the questions that have came from here.

Vipul Pandey (IFoS)

With inputs from Deepak M (IFoS)

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