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How to Prepare for Ancient and Medieval History for UPSC ?

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As the civil services notification for the year 2021 is going to be announced on 10 Feb. 2021 as per the annual calendar of issued by UPSC. The environment of UPSC (prelims) preparation is started building by various UPSC institute with some pace.

History of India forms an important component of the GS Paper I (prelims). History section can be sub-divided into three parts namely ancient, medieval and modern. But, here we will focus on how to prepare especially on ancient and medieval part for UPSC which is prepared after analyzing various Best UPSC Coaching in Delhi.

First, we will discuss about the common approach for the preparation of both section by examining the multiple UPSC institute. One section is Ancient India, the most time consuming and sometimes heavily asked portions in prelims including Culture.

The other section is Medieval India, as 2-3 questions have regularly been asked in the exam from this section which can make a lot of difference in the performance of the candidate in the exam.

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Due to the nature of high unpredictability of the exam, we cannot predict the proportion of questions to be asked from a particular section in a particular year.

Here, we will provide a strategy after analyzing number of Best UPSC Classes in Delhi to make more interesting and effective learning:

Reading Methodology :

  • Using Maps – Easy way to remember History in general, is through maps. While studying different time periods, place it on a map and also write the name of important events, people, monuments etc. on it. It will help you to remember the information for a longer period of time.
  • Using Pictures – Try to remember different characteristics of each time period etc. by using various pictures.
  • Visualize – Remember monuments by visualizing them. Read ancient history as a story and visualize as much as possible. This will help you to remember the vast amount of content. Also, take the help of various UPSC Online Coaching.
  • Use tables and flow charts – For many students it is highly troublesome and tedious to remember the details of Medieval History. Using tables and charts in your notes, this problem can be addressed by remembering the topics in the form of a story in order to make it interesting.
  • Notes making – The note-making would help you at the time of revision for the exam. Try to put tables and flowcharts to make your notes interesting for revision. This will be beneficial for quick revision before the exam.
  • Question-Answer practice:
  1. Pick up last 15 years of UPSC papers and do them over and over.
  2. Do not leave them for last moment “after studying”. Practice them 3–4 times before exam.
  3. Also, refer to many coaching mocks available for practice.
  4. Surf through the Online Classes for UPSC related to ancient and medieval India.

Sources :

Ancient History — NCERT books (old and new)

  • Class XI book (RS Sharma) – this book covers holistically Ancient India, and if you read it properly, you need not to supplement it with other readings.
  • Also, take the help of Google for some readings on major religions, major monuments, major philosophies of India and social reformers (ancient and medieval India) — these are almost always asked.
  • Also give a reading to New book Themes in Indian history-I, class XII by NCERT.

Medieval India:

  • NCERT History book Class XI (Satish Chandra).
  • The questions like various important kings that ruled the country, their policies and administrative systems, the society and the economic system, and other important points related to the empires of Medieval India are frequently asked.
  • Questions related to the religious movements of the Medieval Indian period are asked frequently.

Also Read:  Study plan for UPSC mains preparation – Beginners friendly


  • ASI website – surf through this website and other such pages of monuments and read over the details about these monuments. This information is useful in both prelims and mains
  • Fine Arts Book (NCERT Class XI)
  • Heritage Crafts of India (NCERT XI)
  • Nitin Singhania’s notes or book


  • Read Lucent book on history (ancient and medieval section) as a way to get a lot of facts which you won’t find anywhere else. However, do not try to mug it up. Just have glance over it, as the gaps that are in RS Sharma get filled up when you cover this.

The best way to cover the Ancient and Medieval Indian History for the IAS Prelims exam is to read it from the NCERT books by using Best Online classes for UPSC, mark the important points and make short notes side by side. Also, refer to a good GS manual like Spectrum, Lucent, or Tata Mc Graw Hill publication in order to cover the left out points. This will help you to tackle the questions that could be asked in the exam from this section.

The questions that are asked from the Ancient and Medieval India section in the IAS Prelims GS Paper I can be of both factual and analytical type. This type of questions can be tackled by the candidates with systematic study and repeated revisions with the help of various UPSC Online Courses available.

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