History for UPSC is included in both Prelims and Mains syllabus. The number of History and Culture questions in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 were 15, 20, 14 and 17 respectively. History questions in the UPSC Prelims are about ancient history, medieval history, Indian National Movement and Culture.
Indian National Movement is a critical part in the preparation for UPSC Prelims as well as Mains.
UPSC Civil Services Mains exam is culture oriented. Around 20-30 marks on an average is from Ancient and Medieval culture. Another 30 marks is from freedom movement. A new addition is the topic of World History. Another 20-30 marks are asked from it.
All combined history forms a major chunk of prelims as well as mains exam.
History topics to study for UPSC exams
The best way to study for the exam is to break the preparation in two parts. The first prelims oriented and then mains oriented preparation.
GS Paper I History for UPSC Prelims Exams
- Mauryan Period & Mughal Empire
- Indus valley civilization, megalithic cultures, Aryans and vedic period
- Period of Mahajanapadas
- Mughals and Marathas
- Vedas, Guptas, Vakatakas and Vardhanas
- Indian history in the thirteenth, fourteenth, fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth century
- Bhakti Movement
- Freedom Movement
This paper deals with Indian history from prehistoric to the eighteenth century. British rule, Gandhi and Gandhian nationalism are the source of a number of questions . In the Indian history, the pre-independence era was important. Therefore, a number of questions are from the topic.
Paper II History for UPSC exams
- Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
- 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 or 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.
How all can you prepare for UPSC History
- Classroom Program: One can prepare for both Prelims History and Mains through classroom coaching. These institutes get a lot of candidates and it is generally an entrance test that is used to decide upon the candidates who will be able to take classroom coaching. The online material is available to everyone in general. Civil Services General Studies pack includes topics on Polity and Governance, social issues, science & technology, environment & ecology, international affairs and more; economy, finance and industry.
- Test Series: Test Series for Civil services CSAT and mains come into the picture after the classroom program.
- Civils Interviews: Coaching is required even for civil services interviews. Information on history and world war may be used. Institutes such as Career Launcher generally have a personality development programme.
- Regular reading on world history, world economy, electoral systems of countries that differ with each other in the kind of system these have, for instance, democratic system in India, dictatorship in China, Presidential and two-party system in United States.
- The above can help in all the three stages – preliminary, mains and interview stage.
Tips to help you prepare History for UPSC exams
- Indian history in civils mains can be prepared through study material you can get through institutes. A lot of it can be accessed online.
- Test Series for civils is available for Prelims as well as mains. Make sure you stay in touch with topics you have finished. Mock Tests can help you understand where do you stand.
- In case of General Studies, preparation is required for over a year for UPSC prelims and mains. This involves weekly articles, monthly and quarterly news highlights, and weekly and monthly quiz.
- World and Indian history are both important. While preparing for Civils Mains it is important to work towards gaining knowledge of both. Information on world wars is available through standard text books as well. Internet, e-books and career launcher websites can all be used.
- History in civils mains also talks about post world war era, NATO, industrialization, imperialism and colonialism.
The syllabus of UPSC Civil Services Exam is vast and it covers a multitude of topics. Study, revise and stay calm. All the best for History preparation for the UPSC exams!