How to Prepare for UPSC IAS Mains History Exam ? Check details

History is one of the most important subject for prelims which fetch you a significant amount of  marks in upsc prelims and help you in clearing prelims and mains GS paper 1. History for IAS mains is a subject which can almost fetch you 60-90 marks in GS paper 1 mains examination. The History paper in the Main Exam stresses on concepts behind the facts of historical happenings.

As per the recent trend, at least 15-20% weightage is given to History in prelims.

Why History as optional subject ?

History which is also known as a static subject which also has a lengthy  but stagnant  syllabus. It is a one of most popular subject among civil services aspirants.

If you are not scared with this lengthy syllabus then its is  one of the most dynamic subject, if you look according to its view. It is only subject which we start learning from our school time if a student who likes stories its the best anyone can have as of its is easy to grasp and have plenty of study materials for  the syllabus of history is well defined as of others subject like public administration and political science which have small syllabus but have  vast spreading  tentacles. History is only subject which had not fluctuated as of other it had not seen many changes in its syllabus and marks which student score are very good and stable.

Preparation Tips for History for IAS Mains

A judicious mix of hard work and precise reading with proper focus can sail you through mains examination in both optionals and GS paper 1

In modern Indian history while reading the current relate it with the history like if u read about IMF than u can read about its history and related to it. Same as if you are reading about some excavation in newspaper about harappa then you can relate it to harappa site and others things. Or else you can also read history timeline according to dates as of you relate same date what happened in last or olden ages on same day this way you can keep dates and others facts in your mind without giving a big efforts for the same.

History can be divided in 5 parts

  1. Ancient India.
  2. Medieval India.
  3. Modern India.
  4. Art & Culture.
  5. World History (Mains Only)



 Art & Culture

2013            5       10
2014            5       15
2015          13        4

As of Modern India is the most important section from the prelims perspective. The weightage given to this section over the years stands testimony to the significance of this section. And for starting with History first check all previous year question  papers and check all yours sources and with help of syllabus.

  • For reading with Modern Indian History correlate it with polity part of making of constitution and Economy Development of India.
  • You can relate both Ancient History and Art & Culture as they both overlap each others in many section.

NCERT’s are a must for all IAS aspirants. Other reference books for Indian History and Art & Culture are:

Indian History Books For IAS Mains:

  • History Of Modern India – Bipin Chandra.
  • India’s Struggle For Independence – Bipin Chandra.
  • A brief History of Modern India – Spectrum (History)
  • India’s Ancient Past – R.S. Sharma (For Ancient Indian History)
  • History of Medieval India – Satish Chandra (For Medieval Indian History)
  • From Plassey to Partition : A History of Modern India by Shekhar Bandopadhyay
  • The Wonder That Was India by A.L. Basham (Optional)
  • Mastering Modern World History by Norman Lowe (Optional)

Art & Culture:

  • Class 11th NCERT (Old)- Textbook on fine arts
  • New NCERT-Class 12th-Themes in Indian History
  • Facets of Indian Culture – Spectrum. (Art & Culture)
  • CCRT Website
  • NIOS material

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