UPSC Civil Services (Prelims) 2020: How to Study Modern History Syllabus Effectively?

UPSC Civil Services Prelims Exam 2020 has been rescheduled by the Commission for October 4. With a vast prescribed syllabus, aspirants need to strategically utilize this time to revise all the subjects and not panic last minute. Indian History is an important part of the UPSC syllabus for both Prelims and Mains exams. As per UPSC syllabus, Indian History can be divided into four categories: 

The recent trend shows that at least 15-20% weightage is given to History in the Prelims exam. The key here is to work smart with a tailored strategy for all the categories. An analysis of previous year papers shows that out of total questions asked from History, a total of 45-50% are asked from the Modern History syllabus. In this article, we will discuss effective ways to approach Modern History syllabus to score well in the prelims exam. 

Before beginning with the steps to approach the exam it is necessary to know the syllabus covered under Modern India. The Modern India syllabus has various sub-parts:

To approach each sub-part it is necessary to understand the syllabus and the type of questions asked in the previous year’s papers. 

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UPSC (IAS) Prelims 2020: Subject-wise Study Material for Complete Preparation

Revise NCERT Textbooks Class VI-XII

NCERT textbooks play an important role in understanding and constructing the base for the Modern History subject. The Modern Indian History syllabus can be studied from the NCERT of Class 6th to Class 12th. Also, the aspirants can read the Class 12th Tamil Nadu Board NCERT to better understand the evasion and Impact of Europeans in Southern India. 

How to Study Revolts and Movements in Modern India?

Often aspirants face problems in memorizing the revolts and the events associated with them. It is essential to note that while reading a particular movement or revolt the following key areas should be focused on:

This will help in memorizing not just the facts related to the particular revolt but will also help in framing answers for the Mains GS Paper I. 

How to approach Social and Religious Reforms in Modern India?

This is another important section from where both analytical and factual questions have and can be asked in the UPSC Prelims examination.

The area to be focused on this section are: 


Acts and Committees for Modern History

This is a scoring area and a certain target area from where the questions are often asked. All significant acts like Regulating act to act of the Government of India, 1935 must be carefully read. All important committees such as Macaulay's to Hunter committee must be learned by heart.

How to Memorize Chronology of Events in Modern India?

Rather than focusing on each event's year, remember key landmark events and their year to relate the events of preceding and succeeding years. Focus on events' connection (succeeding and proceeding) and connect the dots (implications). For example - Gandhi’s Arrival in India> Champaran > Khilafat Movement > Non-cooperation Movement > Visit by Prince of Wales > Chauri Chaura and so on. 

UPSC Civil Services Exam: Important Topics from Modern History

Important Books to Refer for Modern History for UPSC Prelims 2020

With UPSC's dynamic pattern no single book is enough. The smart strategy act will be to get through with basic static areas and keep track of current issues that could then be mapped to the modern India syllabus. 

Important books to refer other than the NCERTs 

Workout all the previous questions to give yourself additional knowledge and know the focus area. Repeated Revision is the only key to ace all the areas of Modern History for the UPSC Civil Services Exam. 

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