UPSC aspirants have always had a hard time picking a good optional subject, and when it comes to History, many of them are unsure how to study. History is a common IAS exam optional which you can combine it with your GS Paper, which is one of the many benefits of taking History as an elective.
Some potential students may be dissuaded from taking advantage of this elective because of the widespread belief that History is an extremely broad and difficult field. However, the truth is that five months is more than enough to learn this subject if one uses the right methods and follows a thorough preparation plan.
Also, since this optional has a lot in common with the pre and General Studies, you can cover a good chunk of the IAS curriculum with it.
Detailed Outline of the History Elective’s Curriculum
Despite its popularity as an elective, UPSC aspirants are often unsure of how best to study for it or where to even begin looking for relevant materials.
The UPSC Mains examination can be broken down into two parts:
Paper 1: From the beginning of History until the 18th century
Paper 2: All about the World History and the Modern History
The following topics will be covered in History Paper 1:
- Pre-history and Proto-history
- Indus Valley Civilization
- Megalithic Cultures
- Aryans and Vedic Period
- Period of Mahajanapadas
- Mauryan empire
- Post-Mauryan Period
- Early State and Society in Eastern India, Deccan, and South India
- Guptas, Vakatakas and Vardhanas
- The regional States during the Gupta Era
- Themes in Early Indian Cultural History
- Early Medieval India, 750-1200
- Cultural Traditions in India, 750-1200
- The Thirteenth Century
- The Fourteenth Century
- The Fifteenth and Early Sixteenth Century
- Mughal Empire in the Seventeenth Century
- Culture in the Mughal Empire
- The Eighteenth Century
The following topics will be covered in History Paper 2:
- European Penetration into India
- British Expansion in India
- Early structure of the British Raj
- Economic Impact of British Colonial Rule
- Social and Cultural Developments
- Indian Response to British Rule
- Factors leading to the birth of Indian Nationalism
- Rise of Gandhi
- Other strands in the National Movement- The Revolutionaries
- Politics of Separatism
- Consolidation as a Nation
- Caste and Ethnicity after 1947
- Economic development and political change
- Enlightenment and Modern ideas
- Major ideas of the Enlightenment
- Origins of Modern Politics
- Nation-State System
- Imperialism and Colonialism
- Revolution and Counter-Revolution
- World Wars
- The World after World War II
- Liberation from Colonial Rule
- Decolonisation and Underdevelopment
- Unification of Europe
- The disintegration of the Soviet Union and the Rise of the Unipolar World
History Optional Paper UPSC Exam Preparation Tips
If you’re a student in need of a History Optional Exam preparation plan for the UPSC Exam, you’ve come to the right place.
Practice questions from previous exams
You should review the questions from past years before beginning your preparations. It will allow you to have an understanding of the types of questions asked and the specifics that may be covered. This will keep your focus where it needs to be so that you can get ready in the proper manner.
Acquaint yourself with the extensive course outline
Only once you have become acquainted with the History Elective Curriculum will you be able to determine whether you can actually accept the challenge and complete the syllabus. Many aspirants skip reviewing the syllabus after opting for an optional one because they plan to cover all of the material anyhow. However, this is the opposite of what should be done. Rather, after choosing an optional, you should memorise the syllabus in order to focus your efforts in the appropriate direction and adhere to UPSC’s guidelines. History is no exception; one must learn and retain all the material presented in the elective curriculum.
Careful selection of resources
Selecting appropriate study materials is the backbone of a successful preparation strategy for the UPSC exam. Spend some time reading and compiling a list of the books and articles that stand out as best fitting your needs. For the sake of ending any potential conflicts or misconceptions concerning the planning, you must follow those consistently.
Learn the basics
Start with the basics. NCERT books help. These books include History and GS fundamentals. Start with NCERT texts, then go on to Ancient, then Medieval, and lastly, the Modern Indian history textbooks. Read a few books to avoid confusion.
Note-taking helps with all topics. History requires careful note-taking. Remember crucial dates and subjects using notes. The history syllabus is too large to include all themes. Thus, prioritise and take notes.
Contrasts with the Present
Comparing History and the present is a popular approach. A fair comparison can be made because events, lifestyles, conflicts, etc., are entirely different from the past. Changes have occurred throughout History. This will assist you in adding a contemporary touch to your examination, allowing you to answer questions more accurately.
One requires excellent answer-writing skills to stand out and score higher than the competitors. Thus, take all Optional History examinations offered by your coaching institute. If you’re self-studying the optional, take an online history optional test series to build confidence and identify your deficiencies. Make sure the correct mentor is giving you feedback on your replies and use it to improve.
Map questions are also common. Compare maps to find the most accurate information and minimise confusion. To understand the maps, keep revising and linking to their periods/events.
History requires revision. History preparation must be revised constantly. You’ll forget it without rewriting.
Enrol in the proper coaching classes
Due to History’s consistent and straightforward nature, many aspirants try to cover the subject by themselves without enrolling in formal coaching. However, enrolling in UPSC coaching sessions for the History Optional exam (History Optional Paper Preparation Strategy for UPSC) if you do not have an academic background in the subject would be a great assistance in determining what to read and ensuring that your studies are always in line with the UPSC curriculum. In order to successfully complete the course material in the least amount of time without sacrificing quality, it is crucial to seek out the advice of a competent mentor. Chinmaya IAS Academy is the leading and one of the best IAS Coaching Centre for IAS aspirants. We provide comprehensive and high-quality guidance to help our students achieve their IAS dreams. Our experienced teachers and mentors provide comprehensive training and guidance in all aspects of the IAS syllabus. Our students benefit from our cutting-edge technology, individualised attention and comprehensive course material. With our help, our students have achieved remarkable success in IAS examinations. Join us today and take your preparation to the next level!
If you want to give yourself the best possible chance of success in your elective subjects and in your GS-I papers in Pre and Mains, then follow the above-mentioned optional study plan for History. No matter what elective you choose, your success will depend on how well you know the material, how much you care about the subject, and how thoroughly you study.