History for UPSC prelims is perhaps one subject that enchants an aspirant easily. This is the reason that every student starts the journey of preparation from this subject. The subject is also chosen as optional by most of the aspirants. The reason might be the lucidity of subject and its story like nature that attracts almost every individual. But question still remains that why should a civil servant be familiar with this subject? The answer is that our perspective on state, society and life can be made better through analyzing past events in history. This is one of the main reasons why history for UPSC has become an important and compulsory subject in primary and higher secondary education as well as for general studies not just in India but around the world.
There is a widespread perception that after having acquired knowledge of History, one can take wise decisions in life as history makes one familiar with the past and contemporary events. This also explains importance of History in Civil Services Exam.
Questions from History asked in both Prelims and Mains exams in significant proportions as revealed by previous year papers. The questions based on history (including art and culture) in paper I (general studies) of the prelims is nearly 15% on an average every year, which may vary from a minimum of 12% to a maximum of 19%.
The subject is divided further in the UPSC main exam. For example, Indian independence movement, post-independence events, world history, as well as art and culture. Most of the questions asked from the independence movement. Only a few questions are asked about history post-independence and seldom one gets questions on world history. Hence, out of 250 marks in the paper, 125 marks on an average (nearly 50%) are for the four topics mentioned above. Knowing about the proportion of subject and distribution of marks give you a fair idea about the subject based on which the entire UPSC course of preparation is charted.
Before starting your preparation it is very important to scan the UPSC syllabus thoroughly for all subject. The scanning of IAS syllabus on the basis of subjects will help you to determine the weightage that need to be given to individual subjects. For an example few subjects need to be given more emphasis such as History, Geography, Polity, Economy, Science and Technology and Ecology. Knowing the exact UPSC syllabus will help you to allocate equal time to all important subjects that will further save your time for other important areas like Optional and Essay. The UPSC syllabus of History in both Prelims and Mains exam has a lot of difference. It is advisable to keep IAS syllabus subject wise that will further help you to avert any kind of distraction.
It is a common practice that before starting a journey to a particular destination people gather all information related to that place like Location, Mode of transportation, Accessibility and list of hotels. In the same manner UPSC previous year papers also helps you to understand the structure and nature of exam. The UPSC previous year papers decide that what should be the course of action for your preparation. Go through all the previous year questions of History asked in prelims as well as in UPSC mains exam.
It is obvious that the source of your preparation should be such that it fulfils your basic necessities and leads to a positive outcome. Following book List can be referred as a suggestion however according to one’s need, aspirants can add, remove or replace the UPSC study materials.
Some general important points which will give a concrete shape to your preparation for history and help you prepare systematically.
The above points will surely help you to prepare History for both prelims and mains exam.