How to get good marks in History-UPSC 2018

History is a vital and critical part of the syllabus of UPSC. It covers maximum portions of the UPSC prelims syllabus. Even the caption of history subject in the syllabus of the prelims is ‘Indian history and Indian National Movement’. It is really very difficult to define the Indian history which commenced from the inception of the Indus Valley Civilization to 1947.So don’t get frightened by knowing the vast syllabus of history and take a step back from taking this subject if you are willing to appear for UPSC 2018 prelims exams. If you have the correct strategy and guidance then you can make this subject really a scoring one. So just continue reading and get to know how you can win over this subject.

If you want to study or complete the full syllabus which is so vast then you initially have to fragment the entire subject into small parts. As there is less time and always you will face the problem of bifurcating time for each subject it’s great to know the important so that you can focus more on the vital topics. So once you have the list then accordingly manage your timings giving more time to the important topics and gradually decreasing the time for the less important ones.

The history syllabus of prelims can be classified under three main heads:-

  1. Ancient history
  2. Medieval history
  3. Freedom movement

Before you start with your studies it is advised to carry out two activities:-

  1. Take a glance over the last five years UPSC question papers.
  2. Try to make a chart according to the occurrence of the events in the India History


Now below are the highlights of the three main fragmented part of the Indian history:-

Ancient history

  1. Mostly ancient history encompasses the Indus Valley civilization till the time period after the Gupta reign.
  2. Make notes on the sources of any topic about which you read, for example- Ashoka, Maurya Dynasty, etc. You can consult NCERTs books to know more about these.
  3. Read properly about the administration under the Maurya’s and Gupta’s.
  4. It is important that you study about Buddhism in details, it will be great scoring help if you can also prepare on Buddhist Brahmanical, and Jain philosophical schools.
  5. Study in details about the advancement of the art, science and literature. For instance the offerings of Kalidassa, Aryabhatta etc.
  6. It is often found that the questions in prelims for history are blended with geography. So remember that when you are reading about the vital historical places you should be well versed about their corresponding places in the modern worlds as well.
  7. Don’t escape the current affairs sections, as mostly UPSC asks questions by relating the present scenario with incidents which have occurred ages before.


Medieval history

  1. Know the sources of this era also.
  2. Important topics which you cannot miss- Akbar, Delhi Sultanate, Vijayanagara, Marathas, Cholas, and Mughal rule.
  3. Also have a command over the movements of Sufi and Bhakti.


Modern history

  1. This part of the history covers the British Raj.
  2. Read thoroughly the acts, proclamations and statutes.
  3. Other vital topics are-Subsidiary Alliance, Doctrines of Lapse, congress-socio-religious movements, sessions and reformers, important movements catering the freedom , Gandhi, land revenue systems and also take a glance on the British conquests in India.