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How to Read History for UPSC IAS – for beginners
History for UPSC is divided into three parts Ancient, Medieval and Modern India. History is significant part of both UPSC Prelims and Mains Syllabus. History questions are asked in UPSC Prelims General Studies Paper- I and UPSC Mains General Studies Paper-I. History is very important subject as every year around 15-20% questions are asked in UPSC Prelims and 2-5 questions are asked in UPSC Mains. With little hard work and right strategy, you can score well in this subject.
In this article, we will discuss the trend analysis of History, overview of the syllabus and preparation strategy for the same.
Trend analysis of History for UPSC:
|UPSC Prelims General Studies-Paper I||20 Questions||17 Questions||22 Questions||14 Questions||15 Questions|
|UPSC Mains General Studies Paper- I||2 Questions||4 Questions||3 Questions||5 Questions||4 Questions|
Overview of the Syllabus of History for UPSC:
|UPSC Prelims General Studies Paper-I||· History of India and Indian National Movement.|
|UPSC Mains General Studies Paper-I||· Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present significant events, personalities, issues.|
· The Freedom Struggle — its various stages and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country.
· Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.
· History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.— their forms and effect on the society.
Preparation Strategy of History for UPSC:
- Start with syllabus:To read History for UPSC, you must go through the syllabus twice or thrice of both UPSC Prelims and Mains. The syllabus of History for UPSC Prelims has mentioned just one line and for Mains, syllabus has explained little more. Syllabus will help you to analyze and identify what all you have to study.
- Segregate the syllabus:As mentioned above, syllabus of History for UPSC is not given in detail. So, your next task before you start your preparation is to segregate the syllabus in to sub parts:
- Ancient History- Initial period (stone age) to mid of 8thCentury AD.
- Medieval History- Mid of 8thCentury AD to beginning of 18th Century AD.
- Modern History- Mid of 18thCentury till Independence of India.
- History of Post-Independence
- Basic reading of NCERT textbooks:History is a subject which requires interlinkages of topics. For that you must start your preparation with NCERT textbooks of Class VI and Class XI. It is related to Ancient India. It would be better if you will read old NCERT textbooks. You should focus on topics like, Stone age, Paleolithic age, Mesolithic age, Neolithic age, Chalcolithic age, Indus Valley Civilization, Vedic period, Later Vedic period, Buddhism and Jainism etc. Your focus should be on timeline, social system, religion etc. From this section, questions are asked in both UPSC Prelims and Mains.
- After that you must read Medieval India- Class VII, Class IX-Story of Civilization Part-I (Old), Class X-Story of Civilization Part-II (Old), Class XI NCERT textbooks. Old NCERT textbooks will be preferred. In Medieval History, you should focus on timeline, religious movements, Rulers and their reign, Art and Architecture, Sufi and Bhakti movements etc. Every year, around 1-3 questions in UPSC Prelims are asked from Medieval India. Still this subject is very important as it provides linkages in History.
- Just after completing Medieval India, you should start reading Modern India. Modern India includes history about emergence of foreign power in India till India achieved Independence. This section is very important as many questions are asked in both UPSC Prelims and Mains. To understand Modern History, you must read Class VIII and Class XII NCERT textbooks (both Old).In Modern History for UPSC, you must focus on Indian Freedom Struggle and Indian Independence movements, their causes and consequences. Here also Chronology is very important to remember. Instead of wasting time in making notes, you can highlight the important points and read them multiple times.
- Read standard books:After reading basic NCERT textbooks, you must towards reading standard book of History for UPSC. You must read History of Modern India by Bipin Chandra. After that the most important book for Modern India, which you should read is, Spectrum of Modern India. You should read this book’s each line word by word. Highlight it, learn it byheart, do anything but you must have full command over this book. You should read this book in such a way that, if any question is asked from this book, then you will be able to give answer. This book will also help you create interlinkages of various topics.
- For post-independence, you can refer India Since Independence by Bipin Chandra and India After Gandhi by Ramchandra Guha.
- Refer past years’ question papers: Past years’ question papers are very important to prepare History for UPSC. It helps you to analyze nature of the questions asked in both UPSC Prelims and Mains exam. Instead of just referring questions, you must try to solve them. It will help you to analyze your preparation.
- Solve mock tests:After completing the whole syllabus once, you must solve as many mock tests as possible. It will help you to identify where you get stuck and where you need to enhance your preparation.
- Answer writing practice:Daily answer writing of History for UPSC is very important to write quality answers in limited span of time. It will also help you in understanding the questions, writing to the point answers etc.
- Revision:Revision is mandatory in case of History. It will help you to corelate the topics starting from Ancient till Modern History. As the syllabus of History is vast, revision will be important for you to remember the things.