UPSC Prelims Trend Analysis for History

History is an integral part of the UPSC syllabus. Every year on an average, 15-20 questions are asked from this topic in the IAS prelims exam. In the prelims, 12-13 questions are asked from history and art & culture. This article gives the history trend analysis for the past few years in the UPSC prelims exam.

The number of questions asked from history and art and culture from 2011 onwards is given below:


Number of questions















In the 2017 UPSC Prelims, there were 6 questions from modern history and 6 from ancient history and art and culture. Art and culture is a bit of a tricky area for aspirants since the area is rather diverse and questions can be from anywhere. The safest route is to study the NCERTs well for these topics. Ancient history is generally easier and this time also the questions were factual. Modern history, which is a bit more complex in comparison to ancient, also had mostly factual questions.

We bring you an interesting table covering the history trend analysis. We have divided the topics under certain subsections and given the number of questions asked from them. This would give you a good understanding of how to go about your history preparation and how to prioritise the topics.

UPSC Prelims Analysis of History Questions



Architecture/arts Ancient/medieval Freedom struggle Freedom struggle – social movements Religious doctrines Literature Ancient/medieval – terms
2013 3 2 5 1 3 1 0
2016 1 2 4 2 2 2 4

From the above table, it would seem that the freedom struggle is extremely important in the history section of the IAS prelims exam. The arts including architecture, paintings, literature, dance forms, etc. are also very important topics. Every year lots of questions are expected from them. As mentioned earlier, NCERTs present the best source for these topics. Religious doctrines particularly Buddhism is very important in the exam. Go through NCERT books or BYJU’S NCERT Notes series for vital and clear notes on these topics.

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