Are you preparing for your UPSC prelims or mains? Then you know that history is important for your general studies paper. So how do you prepare for such a vast portion easily?

First off, it is important to understand the components of history. History for the IAS mains or prelims can be categorised into three sections. They are:

  1. Ancient history
  2. Medieval history
  3. Modern history

So, the best way would be creating notes for Indian history to tackle the UPSC mains and prelims exam.

Medieval Indian History Notes

Medieval history has been very strongly influenced by Islamic rule in India. This era saw a lot of changes in heritage and culture. Most questions of this era are based on the culture and heritage of India during this period. The period lasted for about three hundred years.  The most important dynasty of this period was the Chola dynasty, and it was the start of the Mughal Empire in India.

Important topics for the Medieval Indian History are:

  • North Indian Kingdoms
  • Kingdoms of Deccan
  • Delhi Sultanate
  • Vijayanagara Empire
  • Bhakti Movement
  • Mughal and Sur rule and the arrival of Europeans

Ancient History of India

The ancient history of India is a very important part of your UPSC exam and it begins with the birth of the Indus Valley Civilization. This era is said to be the beginning of everything, and some important topics for this era are:

  • Prehistoric India
  • Historic India
  • Indus Valley Civilisation
  • Vedic India
  • Mahajanapadas
  • Buddhism and the rise of Buddhism
  • Mauryan Empire and the details of their rule
  • Gupta Dynasty and the details of their rule
  • Invasions from central Asia or the north of India
  • Kingdoms, States and the dynasties of south India and their rule and legacy.

Also Read: Interesting Facts About the Indus Valley Civilization 

Modern History of India

History of the modern era ranges from the 18th century up to the Independence year 1947 in India. It talks about the struggles that the nation faced under British rule and how India finally got much needed independence.

The important topics from this era are:

  • Battle of Plassey
  • Battle of Panipat
  • Anglo Maratha wars
  • Bengal Famine
  • Subsidiary alliance
  • Doctrine of Lapse
  • Vellore mutiny
  • Sepoy Mutiny
  • Revolt of 1857
  • Robert Clive
  • The Rowlatt act
  • Jallianwala Bagh
  • Lucknow Pact
  • Non cooperation movement
  • Salt satyagraha
  • Peasant movement
  • Swaraj Party
  • Simon Commission
  • Round Table conference
  • Quit India movement
  • Indian National Congress
  • Cabinet mission
  • Constituent Assembly
  • Indian Independence Act 1947

Tips for Modern History

Modern history has a lot of important topics. They are related to the freedom struggle and about British rule. It is a very important part of history as this also laid a foundation for the current path India is on.

Break down the syllabus into several parts and try to pay more attention to the struggles for freedom. Dates will be very important here.

Remember the mass agitation movements and the historical facts about them. Use verified sources for learning history, and it is recommended to stick to NCERT books. NCERT books have verified information, so it is recommended to use them.

Also Read: Best Preparation Tips for Modern History

Creating Notes

Preparation can be very tough for history. With lots of dates and places to remember, even the best of best can get tired and may forget. For this reason, it is recommended that you create notes topic wise and chapter wise.

Creating notes will help you remember the important information, like date, time and venue, and will also be a very easy way for revision as it filters out the unwanted information.

Creating notes might seem difficult, but it is the best and easiest way out there.

Tips Whilst Making Notes

There are a few tips that will make creating notes a lot easier for you. They are:

  • Use technology. You can create notes online and access them with ease.
  • Create bullet points that cover essential information.
  • Use NCERT books while creating notes
  • Write down dates and venues as these are the two most important things in History.
  • Make flow charts. These help you to connect one keyword to another set of keywords, and that way you can connect topics
  • Keep them tidy. A lot of people make notes just for the sake of it. Do not do that. Look to create clean and tidy notes that you can refer to later.


Preparing for your IAS mains or prelims exams requires you to prepare for history, as it will be a part of the general studies paper.

The syllabus is very wide, and the scope of questions will also be wider. It is important to be able to have the best ways to self-study for history, and creating notes is the recommended way.

This article talks about the history syllabus and how you can make notes to tackle the vast portion of history. Do not worry, it can be done. A high degree of patience is required whilst reading for history. So hang in there and work hard. All the best for your IAS exams!

Also Read : UPSC Article in the Constitution: Things to Know about Administrative Tribunal Articles

Content Protection by
Indian History Notes for UPSC: A Guide to Self Study for History Easily
Article Name
Indian History Notes for UPSC: A Guide to Self Study for History Easily
Want to know about Indian History for the IAS exam? Trying to create notes for self-study in history for UPSC? Click on the article to learn how to create notes.
Publisher Name
UPSC Pathshala
Publisher Logo