How to Prepare History for Prelims and Mains

In this article, we are going to discuss the strategy, book sources and the important chapters in History. Let’s move into it.

History seems to be vast, but it will be easier if you start reading. There are lot many confusion on choosing the book source for Ancient and Medieval India. I will tell you in a few minutes.

Before moving into it, have some basics about History. History is a static subject, that means it won’t need any current affairs updation. History should be divided into three parts.

  1. Ancient IndiaDeals with the pre-historic to Sangam era 
  2. Medieval IndiaDeals with the Arab Invasions to Advents of Europeans 
  3. Modern IndiaDeals with the Advent of Europeans to Indian Independence and also the post-independence chapters. 

There is also the fourth part. That is Art and culture. But I won’t tell this as a separate part, because its not an independent topic or subject, but it comes along with the Ancient and Medieval part of History. So you can read the Art and culture part along with Ancient and Medieval History.

Book Sources:

Ancient India & Medieval India – Tamil Nadu state board history book.

(Many toppers recommended this). TN state board book is easy to read and in a crisp manner. So you can go with this.

Modern India – Spectrum Modern History or Sonali Bansal by Mcgraw hill Publications. (Both the books are excellent but, personally, I like Sonali Bansal which is new to the market, which has excellent content and practice questions at the end of each chapter)

Art and culture: Introduction to Indian Art NCERT (11th Standard) and Nitin Singhania selected chapters (Don’t read this book cover to cover. Waste of time!)

How to read Indian History?

Before starting, please see the previous year prelims and mains question papers and decide yourself which is more important. But in this article, I will tell you the most important chapters.

Ancient India – Important Chapters

  1. Indus Valley Civilization
  2. Vedic Civilization
  3. Buddhism and Jainism (Very Important. Every year UPSC ask a question from this chapter)
  4. Mauryan
  5. Gupta
  6. Sangam Era
  7. Some foreign travellers and important terms at this period are very important. 

Medieval India – Important Chapters

  1. Sultanate Period
  2. Vijayanagar Empire
  3. Mughals
  4. Marathas
  5. Bhakti Movement
  6. And important key terms associated with this period is also important. UPSC has a practice of asking key terms in prelims.

Modern India – Important Chapters

  1. 1857 Revolt
  2. Socio-Religious Movements
  3. Moderate and Extremist Nationalism
  4. After Gandhi Emergence (From 1915)
  5. Non-Co operation Movement
  6. Swarajist
  7. Simon Commission
  8. Civil Disobedience Movement and Round Table conference
  9. Quit India Movement and Partition.

As I would say, Starting from 1857 revolt, everything will be important in Modern India. Its a favourite area for UPSC. Importantly it would be best if you put more focus on the History part after Gandhi Emergence (From Point 4 to 9). 

Art and Culture

  • Read the Ncert cover to cover which I have mentioned above.
  • Refer Nitin Singhania Selected Chapters.
  • These are important/selected topics.
  1. Indian Architecture, Sculpture and Pottery.
  2. Indian Paintings.
  3. UNESCO’s list of tangible World Heritage site in India.
  4. Indian Music.
  5. Indian Dance Forms.
  6. UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
  7. Languages in India(Have knowledge and classical language status is important)
  8. Religions of India.
  9. Fairs and Festivals of India. (Read with Current Affairs)
  10. Awards and Honours. (Read with Current Affairs)

If you had some time refer ccrt website (Search CCRT website in Google).

I hope this article has shared some insights into History. Thanks for reading.

(This article was written as a part of our Mentorship Program.)

Links to Buy.

  1. Ancient and Medieval India – Download the TN Book 
  2. Modern India – Sonali Bansal is the Good Book. It’s very easy to read for beginners comparing with the spectrum. (Buy from Here)
  3. Art and Culture – Introduction to Fine Arts (You can buy and download from Internet) and Nitin Singhania (Buy from Here)

About the Author: GetintoIAS Team helps civil service aspirants, those who are trying hard to get into IAS.
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