How to Prepare for History Optional for IAS Mains: Millions of aspirants appear for the Civil Services Examination every year. Union Public Services Commission conducted the IAS Prelims exam on 18 June 2017. The result is yet to be announced by UPSC board. All the candidates must start their preparation for IAS Mains exam.
The decision of selecting the best optional subject is very crucial and it plays a significant role in your overall score of the IAS exam. One should choose the subject wisely and must be able to cover its syllabus along with general studies. History, undoubtedly, remains one of the ‘most popular’ optional subjects among those who take the Civil Services Main Examination.
In this article, we will be giving complete information on how to prepare for history optional for IAS Mains exam. We have also recommended some reference books and a few handy tips for your IAS preparation.
How to Prepare for History Optional for IAS Mains
History is considered as a very vast and comprehensive subject. But, at the same time, it is also very scoring if you know the syllabus well. So, first and foremost, you should acquaint yourself with the entire syllabus of History.
The history Optional exam consists of 2 papers of 2 sections.
- Paper I: Section A- Ancient History, Section B- Medieval History
- Paper II: Section A- Modern History, Section B- World History
Once you are familiar with the syllabus, start preparing with the help of the study material mentioned below.
Study Material for History Optional
- Upinder Singh (Ancient and Early Medieval India)
- Salma Ahmed Farooqui (Comprehensive History of Medieval India) and Old NCERT Medieval India book
- Bipin Chandra (Modern India)
- World History L Mukherjee: Modern Europe and the world 2 parts and Norman Lowe: for topics not covered in L Mukherjee
- India After Gandhi by Ramchandra Guha
- Spectrum Modern India History
- Mastering Modern World History by Norman Lowe
- Spectrum Culture Book
- India After Independence by Bipin Chandra
For Map Practice, you should look into:
- Spectrum’s Historical Atlas (with key places) is a good book for map practice.
- You should divide the locations in a time -scale (pre-historic (paleo/meso/neo-microlithic), historic (mahajanpada age/Mauryan/Early historic/Gupta etc) and then map them state-vise in practice maps. Also, make short notes about them by listing the important features behind the map-paper.
There are a few things you should keep in mind while preparing for IAS Mains optional subject. Head over to our next section of how to prepare for History Optional for IAS mains exam.
Preparation Tips for History Optional for IAS Mains
When you are preparing for your optional subject, check for availability of books and other study material. If you have some previous educational background in history, then it is most definitely a plus point. History is not just mugging up the facts. It requires equal hard work and practice. Have a look at these tips on how to prepare for history optional:
- First thing is to select a few reference books and follow them religiously. Use other study resources as supplementary material to complement your knowledge and to cover the syllabus.
- Follow the practice of note making. One of the most essential tips of all is to study the topic and make notes around it. It is very helpful in preparing for History optional because they help you later on during revision.
- Although we do not advice the candidates to adopt the mugging up strategy, you can mug up some facts, events and important dates in particular to enhance your answers.
- Practice more and more with last year’s questions because History is a static subject so there are many concepts which will be repeated. So, try to attempt at least 10 of the previous years’ question papers. This will enrich your answer writing skills as well.
- Read a lot from history periodicals and journals related to world history. Acquire knowledge from a lot of sources. This will help you in writing effective answers which will boost your score.
Answer Writing Tips For History Optional Paper
Constructing good content with your own words require a lot of skills. While you are preparing for the optional subject, you should also look into your writing skills. Have a look at these tips and tricks for writing good answers in your IAS Mains exam:
- Start with Introduction and cover all the parts of the question in the Main Body section.
- In recent times, the questions asked in History required a good understanding of concepts & analytical answering. So, Read the question carefully, find the parts of the question then decide what you have to write in the answer.
- There will be some questions which will be interconnected between social issues, economic issues, gender issues from a historical perspective. So, you should be prepared to write on dynamic topics pertaining to the history of India.
- Aspirants have a very strong hold on one part of each paper. If you face problems while writing a topic, you should move to the next one. Attempt the one which you are confident about and do not waste time on over-thinking.
- Try to mention archaeological findings and their examples in your answers to support your argument. Also, try to include latest findings in your answer.
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We hope this article provides you with useful information on how to prepare for History Optional for IAS Mains examination 2017.