How to Cover Modern Indian History in 50 days for UPSC Exam?

Modern Indian history is a crucial part of the UPSC syllabus both for the mains and the prelims exam. In the mains exam, it is part of the General Studies Paper I. Modern history is a vast subject and it encompasses many facets like the establishment of British hegemony in India, the transformations in Indian society, politics, economics and culture as a result of it, the freedom struggle, its various phases and personalities and so on. While reading history, it is easy to get sucked into the web of information and analyses, and lose track of your IAS preparation in the process. This would be detrimental to your civil services dream. It would be sensible to have a well-defined and time-bound strategy to cover history. Ultimately, your goal is to clear the UPSC exam and not earn a doctorate in the subject! Read this article to get a 50-day strategy to cover modern Indian history for the UPSC exam.

Day 1: Syllabus + Previous years’ papers

The first step to studying any subject for the IAS exam is to be thorough with the syllabus. So, the first day, you must read the syllabus well and also go through previous years’ question papers.

Check the UPSC syllabus here.

Days 2 – 7: Classes VI – X NCERTs

Read NCERTs of classes VI to X. These textbooks are for social science, so you have to read only the chapters dedicated to history. This shouldn’t take more than 6 days. (You can use either old or new NCERTs).

Days 8 – 16: Classes XI – XII NCERTs

After that, you must read the history NCERTs for classes XI and XII. Alternatively, you can also read the Tamil Nadu Board Class XII textbook. It is also quite good for the IAS exam. Don’t attempt to read both the NCERTs and the Tamil Nadu Board book together – either one will suffice.

Days 17 – 38: India’s Struggle for Independence – Bipan Chandra (Penguin Publications)

Bipan Chandra’s book is detailed. When you read this book, try to understand the analyses given as it will help in mains answer writing. Also important is to make notes while reading this book, as this would highly enhance your returns from reading this book. Again, if you have less than 3 months for the exam, it is better to avoid this book as it is quite exhaustive and you might not be able to cover the syllabus.

Also See | UPSC Mains: Key Tips to cover Bipan Chandra’s ‘India’s Struggle for Independence’

Days 39 – 42: Lucent General Knowledge

You can read the history-relevant sections from this book. It does help in a quick revision of the important facts.

Days 43 – 50: Revision

At this stage, you should revise all that you have learnt. Revision is a must as it helps you internalise what you have read before and also improves your recall. You can also assess your understanding of the studied topics and make necessary corrections.

Also Read | NCERT Geography Notes

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