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Indian History Syllabus & Tips for UPSC

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Bharathi Pradeep
Bharathi Pradeep
Editor at Bharathi covers topics on Competitive exams, How To guides, Current exams, Current Affairs, Study Materials, etc. Follow her on social media using the links below.

Important Topics in the History of India

  • Ancient History
    • Pre-Historic Times
    • Indus Valley Civilization
    • Rig Vedic Period
    • Later Vedic Period
    • Jainism
    • Buddhism
    • Mahajanpadas
    • Mauryan Period
    • Post-Mauryan Period
    • Gupta Period
    • Harshwardhana Period
    • Sangam Period (South-Indian Dynasties)
  • Medieval History
    • Major Dynasties of Early Medieval India (Pratiharas, Pallavas, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas)
    • Cholas and South-Indian Kingdoms
    • Early Muslim Invasions
    • The Delhi Sultanate
    • Afghans, Rajputs & Mughals
    • Establishment of the North-Indian Empire
    • The Mughal Empire
    • Marathas and the Other Indian States
    • The decline of the Mughal Empire
    • Vijaynagar Empire
  • Modern History
    • Advent of Europeans
    • British Expansion
    • Administration before 1857
    • Economic Policies of the British
    • Impact of British Administration
    • Revolt of 1857
    • Administrative Changes after 1857
    • Development of Civil Services
    • Development of Education
    • Development of Press
    • Socio-Religious Reforms
    • Peasant Movements
    • Revolutionary Nationalism
    • Indian National Movement-I (1905-1918)
    • Indian National Movement-II (1918-1929)
    • Indian National Movement-III (1930-1947)
    • Governors-General and Viceroys of India
    • Constitutional Development of Indian

Art and Culture

  • Architecture
  • Sculpture
  • Paintings
  • Pottery Tradition
  • Numismatics
  • Performing Arts
  • Religion and Literature
  • National and Regional Festivals

Strategy to Prepare History Syllabus for UPSC

Since a large part of the syllabus overlaps between Prelims and Main, it is advisable to cover the history syllabus for UPSC holistically. The following strategy may be helpful for you to prepare a history subject:

  • Build a solid foundation
    Read NCERTs of Classes VIII to XII to build a strong foundation in History. You can further develop your understanding by reading NIOS/IGNOU notes. The information provided in small boxes in the NCERTs must also be read as direct questions are asked from those snippets in Prelims.
  • Glance through the PYQs
    This will help you get an idea of the type of questions that are asked. It will also guide you in fine-tuning your preparation strategy, and making it more effective. Further, you will be able to look for question-based information from the pool of information.
  • Cover the topic syllabus-wise
    In History, it is important to learn the events sequentially; so, cover them syllabus-wise. Stick to the syllabus, especially in this subject. Even while reading the reference books, it is important to read just those chapters that are relevant to the UPSC CSE syllabus. The history syllabus for UPSC is extremely vast, hence, must be covered strictly according to the syllabus provided for the Mains exam.
  • Mock tests
    Write as many mock tests as you can while covering this subject as much as possible. Practice answer-writing for Main, and get your answers evaluated by your mentor to assess your preparation and analyze your mistakes. Keep repeating the process!

Recommended booklist to cover History syllabus for UPSC

  • NCERTs (Class VIII to XII)
  • NIOS/IGNOU Notes
  • India’s Ancient Past by R. S. Sharma
  • History of Medieval India: From 647 A.D. to the Mughal Conquest by Satish Chandra
  • History of Modern India by Bipan Chandra
  • India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipan Chandra
  • Indian Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania
  • India After Independence by Bipan Chandra
  • The Wonder That Was India by AL Basham
  • India After Gandhi by Ramachandra Guha
  • Ancient and Medieval India by Poonam Dalal Dahiya
  • From Plassey to Partition: A History of Modern India by Sekhar Bandyopadhyay

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Bharathi Pradeep
Bharathi Pradeep
Editor at Bharathi covers topics on Competitive exams, How To guides, Current exams, Current Affairs, Study Materials, etc. Follow her on social media using the links below.
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