Important Strategy to Prepare History for IAS UPSC Exam

In UPSC CSE Prelims and Mains examinations, Indian History is an important area from where a major set of questions come. Indian History is an extensive subject and one should prioritize its important areas for the examination.

Indian History consists of vast syllabus and it is important to identify and prioritize topics while preparing for IAS Prelims and Mains exam. After analyzing previous years question papers, we can reach a conclusion that UPSC asks majority of questions from Modern Indian History followed by Ancient Indian History. A small number of questions are expected from Medieval Indian History and they mostly come from Mughal art/architecture.

You are advised not to leave any area totally, but dedicate your time accordingly. Give maximum weightage to Modern Indian History first and then revise Ancient Indian History followed by Medieval Indian History.

Every aspirant should try to build basic understanding of chronology of events related to Indian history in totality. Once the foundation is built, the next plan of action or strategy should be to identify the main topics of importance (for this you may refer to textbooks in the market). History and culture are related topics especially in respect to ancient and medieval Indian History.

Important Topics For History

History is very important for IAS Main (Written) Exam. History forms the part of IAS Main (Written) General Studies I History is very vast subject and demands intensive and extensive efforts from the candidates. Candidates must develop basic understanding about the history. Following are some important topics which would help candidates in IAS Main (Written) Exam 2014:
  • Art and Culture of Indus valley civilization
  • Literature of Vedic age
  • Arts and Literatures of Jainism and Buddhism
  • Sangam Literature and depictions of social, economic and political life of south india
  • Development of Art and culture during the Mauryan age

10 Most Important Topics of Modern History for IAS UPSC Exam

  1. All the Government and British Parliamentary Acts that led to the foundation for the constitution
  2. Those movements which were undertaken under the actual umbrella of the PAN-India movements, their leaders. Like if we consider CDM as a PAN india movement we need know the regional leaders of local CDM movement
  3. Understanding of British economic policy and why Indian revolted.
  4. Land legislations, revenue systems.
  5. The underdog social thinkers and changers. They Sheldom ask about big shots like Ram Mohan ROY or Tagore but focus more on regional players.
  6. So divide the history in parts:- Pre 1857, 1857- to Congress, Congress to Split and reunion, Gandhi, Rowlatt Satyagraha to CDM, CDM to quit India, Quit India to post war missions cabinets and committees
  7. Polity history question from modern india is a must so if you can do all the acts from Council Acts to Government of India Act of 1935 in detail, that would be a bliss.
  8. Books, newspapers and organisations. Don’t remember it but just look for visual clues like you can pick the correct options if you see the set of words together. This is a better method to remember more stuff in history instead of trying to learn by heart. Try to make visual clues around such info
  9. Facts are required for post 1905 incidents but a thorough understanding is required for pre 1900 duration. Questions from this time frame are explanatory not informatory
  10. Personalities who came up with some unique ideas or organisations. The ideas and their name.

Important Topic: Ancient Indian History

 Sr. No. Topic 
01. Important Poets in Ancient Indian History
02. Indus Valley Civilization
03. Vedic Civilization
04. The Sixteen Mahajanpadas
05. Pre Mauryan Dynasties
06. Mauryan Empire
07. The Mauryan Rulers
08. Ashoka’s Edicts and Inscriptions
09. Buddhism
10. Hinayana And Mahayana Buddhism
11. Jainism in Indian History
12. Post Mauryan India
13. Post Mauryan Society and Trade
14. Post Mauryan Developments in Culture
15. The Kushana Empire
16. Gupta Empire / Dynasty
17. Developments in Gupta Period
18. Sangam Age
19. Six Schools of Indian Philosophy
20. Harshavardhana’s Reign
21. Ancient Indian Literature
22. Early Medieval Period in India
23. Pallava Dynasty
24. Chalukya Dynasty
25. The Rashtrakuta Dynasty
26. The Chola Empire



Important Topic: Medieval Indian History

 Sr. No. Topic 
01. Delhi Sultanate
02. Vijayanagar Empire
03. Mughal Empire
04. Maratha Empire
05. Europeans in India

Important Topic: Modern Indian History

 Sr. No. Topic 
01. Peasant Movements in India
02. East India Company Rule in India
03. Anglo Sikh Wars
04. Anglo Mysore Wars
05. Anglo Maratha Wars
06. Economic impact of British Rule in India
07. Land Revenue System of British in India



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