History is a scoring subject and can be studied scientifically .In IAS, candidates need to score 45-50% marks in the subject. In this regard, the subject make a good choice for the candidate appearing in IAS.
History is among the most preferred in the IAS examination. For Civil Services, plenty of source material is available in this subject. This subject carries the advantage of possessing comprehensive subject matter. Candidates need to adopt a well planned approach in order to prepare for this subject.
• Try to understand History rather than mugging up facts.
• It is important to form a mental picture of how civilization has evolved.
• Visualize how the economy, polity, religion, technology, social structure, literature and philosophy have changed or evolved from one period to another.
• Identify logic behind the evolution. This approach makes studying History a very interesting subject.
• History is not a study of facts but interpretation of facts. Facts are raw material with which interpretation is done. Answers in the main are assessed on the basis of interpretation of History.
• In IAS, Angle of focus on history has constantly shifted from Political to cultural to Economic to Subaltern now.
• It is useful in attempting essay section. History has synergy with general studies and gives validation to the arguments.
Section wise suggested strategy for preparation:
Section-A of Paper-I
Consists of Ancient Indian History, and question 1 of the same section is based on maps.
• The sites and cities, which are asked in IAS exam, were historically important for many reasons in ancient and medieval period.
The IAS aspirants are expected to prepare at least 100 such famous/important sites/places and shall try to know more than two reasons for which it was important.
• A short answer of 20 words is enough to describe about such sites. Many of the sites are repeated, therefore, it is always advisable to prepare those sites which have been asked in the last ten year question papers.
• While preparing, IAS aspirant must balance their list of sites. For example, choose sites related to excavation of stone ages. Harappan Civilization, later Vedic period etc. Select few cities which were famous for trade and commerce, religious centre, trade route, administrative centre, cultural centre (related with art and literature). The cities in Afghanistan, Nepal, Srilanka, and South East Asia can also be asked.
• For marking the place at right spot, practice with a A4 size physical map of Indian sub-continent, with only rivers.
• There are three long questions asked from ancient Indian History and a candidate can attempt maximum two. She/he should aim two long questions from ancient India and one long from medieval India
• The candidate appearing in IAS exam can ignore the questions of last year, but cannot ignore the entire topic
• While preparing for IAS exam students should pay more attention on economic history of any period and the development of art and literature because such question fetches more marks.
• The questions on the administration of Mauryans and Guptas, the growth of industry, craft and trade in post Mauryan period, the changing society and economy of later Vedic period, the emergence of many seats or intellectual revolution of 6th century B.C.
• The town planning and salient features of Harappans, the golden age notion of Guptas and their contribution in the field of art and literature are the important themes of ancient India, where candidate can focus.
For Section B of Paper-I:
• Divide the entire medieval history of India three sections would emerge – early medieval (750-1200 A.D.) i.e. Delhi Sultanate (1206-1526) and Mughals. Normally one question from Delhi Sultanate is asked every year
• Prepare this section very well and you can skip the Mughal period, which is very lethargic. There are limited topics in early medieval period i.e. Cholas, Rajputs, feudalism, C.Shankaracharya, Arabi and Turkish invasion etc. Candidate shall aim one long question from medieval India, which they will definitely get every year from early Medieval and Delhi Sultanate.
• Even in Short notes, at least two questions are asked every year from these two areas (early medieval and Sultanate). For a candidate who has cleared the Preliminary exam with history, it would not be a difficult task to write short notes on any topic related with Mughals.
We wish you prepare well and wish you good luck for the exam.