History of India is divided into three parts for your UPSC exam:

  • Ancient history
  • Medieval history
  • Modern history

World history is a part of your UPSC syllabus and is very important for your general studies papers. Working on your world history will help you in both your IAS prelims and mains exam. World history is important from the 18th century for your UPSC exam. World history is a topic a lot of candidates do not prepare well for, which is not a good idea. Students should give every topic importance for their  IAS exams.  Creating self study notes for history will help you tackle the topic.

Important Topics in World History

Reading for the world history is going to be tough along with Indian history, so the following topics are considered to be important as they have been asked in previous years:

  • American revolution
  • Russian revolution
  • French revolution
  • Imperialism
  • Nazism
  • The rise of fascism
  • Unification of Italy
  • Unification of Germany
  • Bipolar world and the cold war
  • Unipolar world
  • Breaking of the soviet union (USSR)

Syllabus for World history

The syllabus for world history is important to know, the above topics are a part of this syllabus. Try to break down your syllabus into parts so that you can easily get through them.  The syllabus is:

  • Industrial revolution
  • Colonization
  • Decolonization
  • World wars
  • Political philosophies
  • Capitalism
  • Socialism
  • Communism
  • The impact of political philosophies on society
  • Universal adult franchise
  • Women’s suffrage
  • Redrawing of national boundaries

Also Read: UPSC 2021 Study Plan for Best Results

How to Self Study

Self study for history is something you need to pay attention on. You may wonder what is the best way? The best way would be to create notes. Notes will help you as they only contain key information like date, time and venue of the event. Write down the important events that took place.

Use them as a key while revising. Most of you revise daily, so notes will help you understand topics at ease and will also keep key information at bay whenever you need it.

Notes can be created however you want, as at the end of the day they belong to you and should suit your needs.

Also Read: How to Tackle World History with Ease

Tips while Creating Notes

There are a lot of things you can keep in mind while creating notes. They are:

  1. Do not write every detail down. The reason you maintain notes is to keep everything brief and handy for revision
  2. Maintain notes regularly. This not only will help you to revise but will also keep it in your memory. It is said that if you write down what you read; you tend to remember it longer.
  3. Keep them tidy. Yes, many just scribble down notes. Do not do that. Keep them tidy so you can use them to revise well.
  4. Use digital means. If you are tired of writing down, then use the internet to your advantage and create notes online or even refer to various topper notes so that you can check if you missed out anything.
  5. Keep it unique, try being innovative or creative in creating notes. This will give you a keen interest to maintain it and also go through it.

Books for World history

The following list of books are recommended to aid your preparation for world history

  1. NCERT books for History, grade XI history textbook has chapters on world history
  2. History of Modern world by BV Rao
  3. History of Modern world by Jain and Mathur
  4. Mastering Modern World History by Norman Lowe

These are the titles recommended as they have been tried and tested. They cover all the syllabus for the UPSC exam and also have good and easily understandable material. If you are not comfortable with these, choose one of your own likings but make sure it covers the syllabus.

Do try and look for online resources and articles for topics as they contain everything in brief and should help you enough to cover for your IAS mains and prelims exam.

Taking down notes from NCERT for history is the best option! As most questions are based on NCERT books.

Modern History of India

Modern history is based on the period that is around 100 years ago. It is based on the freedom struggle and the rule of British in India. You are required to learn in detail about the independence struggle. This is a very important topic while preparing for Indian history. Below listed are topics that are important from the point of view of Modern History of India.

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 194

Ancient History of India

The ancient history of India is based around the birth of the Indus Civilization and the culture that came up with. The architectural design and heritage of this era is unique, and the ruling Dynasties of this era is also something you should know in depth about.

  • 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.


If you are writing the UPSC prelims or mains exam, world history might be a topic you do not pay attention to. It is a very important topic with respect to your general studies paper.

To ease the ability to tackle the subject, it is recommended to create notes for this subject.

Learn to create notes with the tips given and get the most on your IAS exams.

All the best!

Also Read : The Chief Election Commissioner in India: Tenure, Eligibility & a List of Former Commissioners

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World History Notes for UPSC: Boost Your IAS Preparation with Self Study Notes for History
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World History Notes for UPSC: Boost Your IAS Preparation with Self Study Notes for History
Want to learn how to create NCERT notes on history for your UPSC exam? Learn the best way to self study. Learn tips and tricks to get the most out of self studying.
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UPSC Pathshala
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