In UPSC CSE Prelims and Mains examinations, Indian History is an important area from where a major set of questions come. Indian History is an extensive subject and one should prioritize its important areas for the examination. This article provides information on how to revise Indian history for IAS exam.

How can we broadly classify the syllabus of Indian History?

Indian History consists of vast syllabus and it is important to identify and prioritize topics while preparing for IAS Prelims and Mains exam. After analyzing previous years question papers, we can reach a conclusion that UPSC asks majority of questions from Modern Indian History followed by Ancient Indian History. A small number of questions are expected from Medieval Indian History and they mostly come from Mughal art/architecture.

You are advised not to leave any area totally, but dedicate your time accordingly. Give maximum weightage to Modern Indian History first and then revise Ancient Indian History followed by Medieval Indian History.

Every aspirant should try to build basic understanding of chronology of events related to Indian history in totality. Once the foundation is built, the next plan of action or strategy should be to identify the main topics of importance (for this you may refer to textbooks in the market). History and culture are related topics especially in respect to ancient and medieval Indian History.

Topics to be covered Broadly:

Following are the important topics to be covered from Ancient, Medieval and Modern History and Priority wise Culture areas are also identified.

Ancient India –

i. Prehistoric India, Historic India

ii.  Indus Valley Civilization & Vedic age

iii. Jainism & Buddhism

iv. The Mauryan period & Post Mauryan period

v. The Gupta period

vi. The Deccan state

vii. The Mahajanapadas

Topics like Ashoka & Buddhism, Shah Jahan & Taj Mahal are important. Study of Indian history should not be limited to studying about names of kings and wars but one should also study Social and Economic history as well.


Medieval India –

This section mainly starts from the advent of Islam and continues till the disintegration of Mughal Rule in India. Some important topics to be covered under Medieval Indian History are:

i. The Delhi Sultanate

ii The Mughal Administration & Art and Architecture under Mughal rule

iii. The Marathas

iv. Sufi & Bhakti Movements, Guru Nanak

v. The Classical Age

vi. Pala Empire, Rashtrakuta Empire, Vijaynagra Empire

vii. Islam in India

viii. Arrival of Europeans


Modern India –

Is the most important part of Whole of Indian History and needs to be prepared thoroughly. All the topics are important from examination point of view. You are recommended not to leave any of the topics.

(1) First war of Independence, Formation of Indian National Congress, Moderates & Extremists, Muslim league, Gandhian phase, Non- Co –operation movement, Civil Disobedience Movement, Quit India Movement, Cripps Mission, Cabinet Mission, Mount Batten Plan, Partition of India, Indian Constitution. You are also advised to cover topics like Peasants movements, Tribal movements, Trade unions, Militant movements etc. in relation to Indian History.

(2) Culture is to be studied along with the Indian History – Topics like visual arts, Religions and society is to be studied under culture.


Some Tips for revision of Indian History are:

Start with Revision early – Usually revision is started just days before the exam. But specifically in the subject of history it should be started months before as it has a vast syllabus to be revised.

Know Thy Syllabus – It is important to know what your entire syllabus is divided into, as we discussed earlier, Indian History is divided into Ancient Medieval and Modern history. Candidates should find out what they are supposed to know in all the three categories and they should revise accordingly.

Methodize –Get organized and don’t leave your revision for the last minute. Make a time – table to plan your revision and stick to it. It will help you to focus your learning.

Revise with Last year’s papers – Go through last year’s question papers to get acquainted with the format of the paper and the kind of questions expected.

Write and Revise – Don’t just read history notes while revising. Read and write important dates, facts, data, and important lines while revising.

Make notes –Make notes while studying the subject for the first time; while revising notes will come handy.

Take short breaks inbetween revisions. Go for walk, do some stretching or just relax. This will refresh you and will help you focus better while doing revision.

Take mock tests online – Take mock tests online and check your level of preparedness. PrepLadder has launched a comprehensive test series for Prelims Preparation. To know more about the series, click on the “Know More” button below:

Know More about SSC-CGL Test Series

Indian History becomes a very scoring subject when you read continuously and revise carefully. So don’t panic because of the lengthy syllabus. Just focus on reading and revising it with concentration and patience. Do not forget to focus on Modern Indian History which holds the maximum weight age. All the Best!

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