If you approach history correctly, it’s one of the most straightforward and rewarding topics on the UPSC civil services exam syllabus. Many times, candidates disregard history because they believe that it is a tough topic to prepare for. You must cultivate the habit of enjoying history while studying it. For instance, when you study Indian history, you will learn about the various incidents that happened, how they happened, and as well as how society has changed through time. By giving us a glimpse into our past, history eventually improves our comprehension of the present. When you start your career as a civil servant, you need to be aware of the historical context of current societal challenges, such as caste-based discrimination, gender inequality, inter-caste marriage, etc. You cannot make a specific conclusion or summarize the current social situation without an understanding of history.
Important textbooks to study History
- Ancient India- R. S. Sharma
- Medieval India- Satish Chandra
- Modern India-Bipan Chandra & Spectrum: A Brief History of Modern India
- Art & Culture – An introduction to Indian Art NCERT or NIOS material
How to approach History?
- The first time you read it, treat it like a novel and do not try to take notes or attempt to memorize it all at once. You should be able to comprehend what has happened after the first time. After reading NCERT Modern History by Bipan Chandra, for instance, you may be able to picture how the European forces were able to colonize India after the Indian kingdoms were subdued. But, you may not be able to understand the nitty-gritty of each topic, like the various characteristics of each freedom fighter.
- Then, proceed by dividing Modern History into more manageable chunks as you see fit, or stick to the NCERT’s chapter recommendations. Let’s say that you began with the chapter on the arrival of the European forces. After carefully reading this chapter, make sure you can recall the information in a coherent order. Ask yourself questions such, as why a certain incident happen/ what effect did it cause/what were the reasons for it to happen, etc. If you approach History in this manner, you will be able to prepare it thoroughly and gain a solid understanding of it.
- To fully finish this subject, you need to thoroughly revise the subject periodically. If you adopt this strategy, history will quickly emerge as your favorite choice for the IAS exam.
How to approach History Prelims and Mains question?
The majority of the history questions in the UPSC CSE exam are easy to understand. The appropriate technique will help you get the right answer even if there will occasionally be a few questions that are challenging. Try to analyze the question that has been asked before starting your Prelims history test series. This will help you train your mind on what to study in specific. For instance, if a question is posed on the Non-Cooperation Movement thoroughly examine the topic from various perspectives, including why Gandhi started the movement, who were the stakeholders, and what the outcome was. If you approach History in the abovementioned manner, studying it will be fun and you’ll do well in this section. Read through the Previous Years’ Question Papers of prelims and mains question papers first. Before diving into any book, read and re-read these papers at least two or three times. This will help you decide what to read and what to skip.
As I have explained above, once you have learned the art of studying History, it will be the most fun to learn. We have understood the need for creating a conducive environment for studying a subject, according to the nature of the subject, thus making Officers IAS Academy, the top IAS academy in Chennai. Consider joining our academy’s various programs where our faculties (who are Ex-IAS officers) would hand hold you through the preparation for the best IAS coaching experience, both offline and online. I wish you the best in your Civil Services journey.