How to Prepare History for UPSC Prelims: Target UPSC 2018 and Beyond

History has three parts in total, ancient, medieval and modern India.


For getting a general understanding of the Indian history from ancient to medieval, the NCERT books (Class XI and XII) can give a good start.



Modern Indian History has to be covered extensively, both for prelims and mains. For the ancient and medieval history, only a set of aspects (and related eminent persons) are being tested generally, which are:

  • Literature
  • Arts: Art, Drama, Music and Dance
  • Architecture
  • Culture (Indus valley civilization, Vedic Culture, Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism (and Parsi), Islam and Christianity)
  • You can refer following books for more reading (same books would be relevant for GS Mains Paper I preparation):

      Ancient and Medieval India, NCERT Class XI

      Modern India, NCERT Class XII

      Spectrum publications (Three books, each on Modern India, Indian Culture and Indian Persons)

  • Apart from knowing just the books for reading, you also need to know (and practice) what sources are there for solving questions. Some of the possible options I could find are as below:

      Arihant Publications: Modern History (Multiple Choice questions)

      TMH (Multiple Choice Questions)

      All the previous papers (for History questions)

  • In fact, for history, it is better to solve questions than reading endlessly. This is one good way to remember more from history, especially.



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