History Syllabus and How to Cover It

History for Prelims and Mains is  a very important topic. Almost 15-20 questions are asked in Prelims paper 1 on History every year. Add to that questions totaling about 60-90 marks in GS Mains paper and you get a good idea about the importance of History in IAS exam. But many IAS aspirants don’t know how to start, what to cover and how to cover the History syllabus.

To solve these queries I have prepared a useful flowchart detailing the entire History syllabus at a glance. You can download and print it for ready reference while preparing History topics. I’ve divided the History syllabus into three parts – Ancient, Medieval and Modern period. Below each is the chronological sequence of topics that should be covered.

Note: I have relied heavily on TMH GS Manual for listing the topics. You can read review of TMH GS Manual as well. Refer other books for Prelims here.

Click on image for full view
Click on image for full view


This is first part of series on History for IAS. Next post in this series will be preparation tips for History. If you found the diagram useful do consider sharing it.

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    1. I have commerce stream ,which subj I can select for main exam ,secondly I am interested in history subj ,so if I take history as a main subject so from where I start

  1. Hi Sir/Ma’m
    I find this topic list or classification of syllabus very very helpful for preparation in providing with the direction regarding the entire subject (History) and please please do it for other subjects too please….. As a beginner I find it very difficult to divide the syllabus and make topic lists for them as I’m actually not being able to understand over which-which items shud be included in the topic list of each subjects such as Economics,Geography,Polity,Science& History and how to devide the syllabi of each subject,as you have shown it for History.
    So….kindly consider my request and guide me in this regard. I think every beginner wud b confronted with the same problem in the starting.
    We’ll be much grateful to you if u help us solving this dilemma.
    Thanking you…………!

  2. Sir,
    We found a brief topic explanation for history by your website, Website is added advantage for Aspirants, we are finding books assistance through your website..Please do needful…

  3. Hello Sir,
    I was studying NCERT’s history book when I went through your post. It is indeed very insightful. Kindly keep posting regarding other subjects as well

  4. Respected sir/mam
    Sir which books should i follow for prelims and give me reference of books and writers, as early as possibal

    1. go through all the ncert books from 6th to 12th..very useful …indian polity by laxmikanth ..indian economy by ramesh singh..

  5. hello sir…
    i have history as my optional.i hav searched online nd found a host of books for all topics and i am pretty confused.history is vast anyways and i dont want to get lost in the maze.sir,can u pl suggest only the most needed books for history optional for d 3 sections-ancient ,medieval,modern?i hav read the basic ncert books for foundation.pl suggest some standard books wich r a prerequisite for preparation..also in the context of changed syllabus,pl suggest good books for preparing gs paper 4 (ethics)…thnks..

  6. Sir,
    I am preparing for prilims, can u please mail me which books should i study …… nd pls suggest any tips to study ….

  7. hi..sir..plz guide about book/material for world history for GPSC MAINS

  8. Sir
    please give number of possible questions from each section of history. which is most important portion to be studied.

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