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How to approach History for Civil Service preparation?


Have you started preparations for the most prestigious exam in the country-Civil Service Examination ?

What about History ?

We know many of you assume that preparing history is a hectic task and so you give less importance to this subject, right? But we bet you, History is a very interesting and easy subject to prepare only if you choose the right strategy and approach.

History is one of the most logical subjects in the UPSC syllabus.

Firstly, have you ever asked to yourself – why I should study history ? If your answer is No, then it’s OK and we will give you the reply. We should study history to understand our root and origin over times. It not only helps us to understand who we were, we are, who ruled us and how they ruled but also to understand the social milieu and how it evolved over time and space. Ultimately, it helps us to understand the present even better. We hope now you have understood the importance of history. So, shall we move to our next level about preparing history in the right way for CSE ?

For making our task easy, we will divide our history preparation into 3 levels.

LEVEL 1- Initial Reading/ First reading.

Your first reading approach should be to treat History as a story or novel whichever you like and read in a flow- and please don’t try to learn it or mug up it in one go itself. Don’t prepare notes in this level. During this level, try to understand the basic concepts only through our best companions in studying history, NCERTS. Still it is sure that you will not be able to understand the nuances explained in long passages. But we assure you that most of you will begin understanding all those aspects in the further reading.

LEVEL 2- Second Reading.

The real preparation starts at this level. To begin with, break Ancient, Medieval and Modern history into smaller units as per your convenience and follow the chapters likewise. And also, don’t forget to ask questions to yourself and try to give your own answers after completing a particular topic. If you approach the subject in this way, you will be able to prepare the subject in a comprehensive manner and you will have a good command over the subject subsequently.

LEVEL 3- Third Reading.

This level is all about Revise-Revise-Revise. Only by revising consistently, aspirants can complete the subject in a concrete way.

If you follow this approach then History will become your favorite companion in IAS exam.

The next question that comes into the minds of every aspirants is about how to approach history for prelims and mains- Prelims first, Then mains or Both at once?

The answer to all your confusion is here- Think Smart. Many of you might be thinking to take this exam step by step. But that would surely makes no sense if you ask us. We will recommend you to start preparing for both prelims and mains simultaneously. The reason behind our opinion is that you would be left with no time after the prelims to start your mains preparation. Focus on covering the portions in the prelims GS paper first. History has an upper-hand in this regard. Most of areas are static in nature except art and culture. So when you start preparing for prelims, have a deep understanding about those concepts in mains point of view also. It will save your very precious time later and you will be able to invest such saved time in boosting your preparation in those subjects that feels tough for you. But don’t forget to revise history at repeated intervals else all your efforts will be in vain. Always remember current affairs. Relate everything you read in the newspaper to the syllabus. Static portion questions are generally asked keeping in mind current affairs.

With regard to Art and Culture section, the best way to master it is to make it interesting while studying. Do not try to mug up everything as it is not possible for a normal person but try building an appreciation for various art forms, religions,philosophies, culture etc and draw linkages with contemporary happenings if you can. And yes finally the key lies in adequate revision of your notes!

Reading world history for IAS exam , it is a topic in GS paper 1. It is an interesting topic as it deals with the history of the world. Before starting the preparations for world history, it is advisable that you look into the past papers for the question pattern and also the marks weightage. So that, accordingly, you can dedicate time for it. As world history is a vast subject, it would be beneficial for you if you restricts to the old NCERT text books of 9th and 12th standard. Keeping the syllabus copy aside, you should earmark the important chapters from both the books so that it covers all the major sections of world history. During revision, one should also practice answer writing to improve speed as well as chances of scoring more.

Must Have Books in your History preparation:

1.NCERT Textbooks from Class 6-12.

2.India’s Ancient Past- R.S.Sharma.

3.History of Medieval India- Satish Chandra.

4.History of Modern India- Bipan Chandra.

5.India’s Struggle for Independence - Bipan Chandra.

6.The Wonder That Was India - A.L.Basham.

7.Indian Art and Culture - Nithin Singhania.

8.A Brief History of Modern India-Spectrum (Only for quick revision).

9.History Of the World - Arjun Dev.

10.Mastering Modern World History - Norman Lowe.

11.World History-Krishna Reddy.

Hope you have cleared all queries regarding preparing history for Civil Service Examination. THINK SMART AND NOT EMOTIONALLY.

All The Best!

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