Prelims is essentially the first and important ladder in your dream for the civil services examination. History has been one of the most popular and scoring subject from candidates’ point of view. One more advantage of taking history as an optional subject is that it covers an important segment of the GS section. If you are not taken aback by the huge syllabus, this subject eventually is easier to grasp and the study material is easily available. Making a smart utilization of your time and hard work, will help you qualify the prelims as well as mains with huge margins. Here we are sharing some right strategies for History preparation.
The entire History syllabus for UPSC exam is divided into four sections:
- Ancient India history
- Medieval Indian history
- Modern Indian History
- World History
The recommended books for studying the ancient Indian History are NCERT books of class VI and IX. The ancient history actually begins from the 0AD till 8AD. All the ages starting from Stone Age till Chalcolithic age should be covered. Make notes point wise of all the major happenings in that period.
After that, focus on the Harrapan culture or Indus valley civilizations, their cultures, scripts and socio-political history. Everything starting from Harrapan dynasty till post Gupta period fall under the ancient History. It was the time when Jainism and Buddhism had started gaining momentum followed by the Vedic period. The candidates should know what all cultures, family, caste system and marriage norms at that time were.
While studying Ancient History, the candidates should also solve previous year papers which will give you an idea how to study and how much deeper you should go. You must learn by heart all major dynasties, the reforms made, Literature at that time, teachings and philosophies as well.
Though a lesser focus is laid on this section but that doesn’t mean you can ignore it totally. The history of Medieval India starts from mid of 8th century AD till 18th century AD. Prepare notes on the great historians and the reforms made by them during this period. From Sultanate to Mughal empire, you should study everything related to the rulers, their society, culture, political administration etc. The Medieval India covers the dynasties of the Cholas, Vijaynagar, Mughals and the Marathas.
This period also covers the bhakti and the Sufi movements and the origin of many famous personalities such as Shankracharya, Ramanuj, Kabir, Chaitanya etc.
Suggested books are NCERT books of class VII and XI.
Modern Indian History
This section of History starts form the 18th century AD, the freedom struggle and the post independence era. Majority of the UPSC questions come from this part. It is recommended that you should organize the topics and prepare the notes in chronological order to avoid any confusion.
This part includes the coming of British Empire in India, East India Company and the resistance shown by the Indian freedom fighters. Study deeply why was India chosen to be a British colony? What were the economic policies of the British and their impacts on Indianans? Study deeply the freedom struggle, the revolt of 1857, formation of Indian national Congress, the movements launched such as Quit India, Dandi March, Non-cooperation movement, Jallianwala Bagh massacre etc. Role and contributions by the famous freedom fighters such as Lal, Bal, Pal, Mahatama Gandhi, Subhash Chandra Bose, Bhagat Singh should not be skipped at any cost.
This section also covers the partition of India and post Independence events such as formation of constitution, Indian politics leading India to become a democratic country. The NCERT history book for class X is recommended for studying Modern History.
This section comprises of studying World History starting from the Renaissance period, the two world wars, European history, cold wars, United Nations, Warsaw pact, Pearl Harbor attack and also the nuclear attack on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The emergence of third world countries, decolonization of the countries and the post effects of World War I and II should be focused properly. The recommended book for studying World History is NCERT history book for class VIII and IX.
With proper and effective learning strategy you can easily score good marks in History.