The growing weightage of GS makes it inevitable to go for an optional which can cover an ample chunk of the GS syllabus and thus lessen our burden. Also be mindful of essay and ample availability of Study Material, presence of peer groups and scoring nature.
It this context consider the case of Geography as an optional. It is one of the most fundamental subjects taught at school level. Everybody knows what comprises the subject of Geography and everybody has some sort of background in Geography.
The best aspect of Geography is that its 1st paper is like a science subject. Concepts in 1st paper are systematic & require only basic understanding. In the 2nd paper a student has to memorize some facts. However, the student who has mastered 1st paper, has no difficulty to grasp the facts.
At present time, Geography is the optional subject that is most relevant for General Studies. In Preliminary examination roughly more than 20 question out of 100 are related with Geography. Also questions from Ecology, Environment & Bio-diversity are somehow related with Geography . In main examination in GS-1st Paper about 100 marks questions are from Geography. In GS 3rd paper topic like disaster management is also related with Geography. Normally, in essay paper at lest one topic like from environment disaster management etc. is regularly asked.
There is a growing importance of Current Affairs, environment issue, disaster management etc. in the GS. All these are substantially covered in Geography optional. The topics like human development, agriculture issues, resource distribution, industries etc, are all of contemporary in nature having great usage in GS and essay but are ultimately part of Geography optional syllabus.
Without Geography one can hardly gain expertise over other subjects. If you know the Geography (in terms of availability of natural resource, a population density, climate etc.) you can understand the International Relations and also can better understand the conditions of Indian States.
It is well acknowledged that Geography is scoring optional. It is a subject of logic having scientific orientation. Its scoring nature is akin to the Maths and Science. The straight forwardness of the maps based questions give ample scope to scorer better. More over, Its contemporary nature allows the answers to be given a finishing touch from Current Affairs.