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  • How To Prepare History Optional For WBCS Main Exam – History Book List
    Posted on March 5th, 2018 in History

    How To Prepare History Optional For WBCS Main Exam – History Book List

    History is a reasonably popular optional subject that candidates choose in the WBCS mains exam. It is an important subject as far as the WBCS is concerned because history is covered in the  prelims exam and also in the general studies papers in the mains. If you are an WBCS aspirant you cannot get by without studying history.Continue Reading How To Prepare History Optional For WBCS Main Exam – History Book List

    Why History as an Optional?

    First of all whatever optional you take, you must have interest in that subject. We believe that History is a scientific, objective, analytical subject. Most interesting thing is that it helps in General Studies too, because its 40% syllabus is common to General Studies syllabi in the form of World History, Modern History and Art & Architecture. Historical perspective is require to analyse social issues, political issues, as well as economical issues and it also helps in writing Essay. So, this optional will help you in enriching your knowledge.

    How to prepare?

    History has a vast syllabus and there are so many books, so how to prepare?

    First thing is select few books as reference books and follow those books religiously. Use other study resources as supplementary material to complement your knowledge and to cover the syllabus. Particularly, notes making is very helpful in History optional because when you make notes, you can revise it very easily, you can remember the fact, event and this gives you confidence in exam. So, attempt atleast last 10 years question papers and this will enrich your answer writing skills also.

    Let’s have a look at a few logical facts about this optional:

    • Preparation for History optional doesn’t demand cramming of crude facts. One needs to analyze the nature of questions asked and include relevant facts accordingly. The essence of writing a good answer in Mains lies in having good conceptual clarity, developmental clarity and analytical capability.
    • The syllabus of almost every other optional subject included by WBCS is equally vast and comprehensive. It is a known that WBCS does not discriminate among subjects. Any popular optional subject like History, Geography, Public Administration, Sociology etc. selected by the candidates have a comprehensive and well defined syllabus.
    • When it comes to marks being awarded, the WBCS examiner does not discriminate among subjects while giving marks. A subject doesn’t determine that an aspirant can fetch good marks or not, it solely depends upon one’s performance.

    Books for history optional WBCS-

    Books for Ancient India

    • Ancient India – An Introductory Outline -D.N. Jha
    • Ancient India (NCERT) -Prof. R.S. Sharma(Click here to purchase from Amazon)
    • Aspects of Political Ideas and Institutions in Ancient India
    • History of India, Vol. -I Romila Thapar
    • The Wonder That was India -A.L. Basham

    Books for Medieval India

    • A History of South India -K.A. Nilkantha Sastri
    • Ashoka & Decline of the Maurya -Romila Thapar(Click here to purchase from Amazon)
    • Indian Feudalism -R.S. Sharma
    • Material culture & Social Formation in Ancient India -R.S. Sharma(Click here to purchase from Amazon)
    • Medieval India (Macmillan) -Satish Chandra
    • Medieval India (NCERT) -Satish Chandra
    • The Agrarian System of Mughal India 1556-1707 -Irfan Habib
    • The Marathas -Gordon
    • The Mughal Empire -J.F. Richards
    • The Wonder That was India (Volume.2) -S.A.A. Rizvi
    • Urban Dynamics -H.C. Verma

    Books for Modern India

    • Freedom Struggle (NbT) -Bipan Chandra & others
    • Gandhi -B.R. Nanda
    • Gandhi -Judith Brown
    • India’s Struggle for Independence -Bipan Chandra
    • Modern India (Macmillan) -Sumit Sarkar(Click here to purchase from Amazon)
    • Modern India (NCERT) -Bipan Chandra
    • Peasant Movements in India -D.N. Dhanagare(Click here to purchase from Amazon)
    • VAID’s Fundamentals of History Series
    • Administrative History -Pravin Kumar
    • Freedom Struggle -Pravin Kumar

    Books for World History

    • Age of Capital -E.J. Hobsbawm
    • Age of Empires -E.J. Hobsbawm
    • Age of Revolution- E.J. Hobsbawm
    • Contemporary World History (NCERT) -Arjun Dev
    • Europe Since 1815 -W.C. Craig
    • Europe Since Napoleon -David Thompson
    • Industry & Empire -E.J. Hobsbawm
    • Social basis of Democracy & Dictatorship -B.J. Moore
    • The Mainstream of Civilization -Strayer, Gatzke & Harbison(Click here to purchase from Amazon)
    • The story of Civilization, Vol. 2 (NCERT) -Arjun Dev


    1. India’s Ancient Past (RS Sharma)
    2. History of Early India (Romila Thapar)
    3. Medieval India From Sultanate to Mughals Part I & II (Satish Chandra)
    4. India’s Struggle for Independence (Bipan Chandra)
    5. From Plassey to Partition (Sekhar Bandopadhyay)
    6. India after Gandhi (Ramachandra Guha)
    7. Mastering Modern World History (Norman Lowe)
    8. World History

    Positive aspects of History Optional

    1. A major positive aspect of this optional is marked by the absence of technicalities in this subject.
    2. The concept of full-fledged theories we find in other streams of humanities like Sociology, Psychology, Geography, Public Administration etc. are noticeably absent in history as it has very few concrete theories.
    3. Though optional subjects like Political Science, Geography, Sociology and including History have their bits in GS Papers, yet History optional subject is the only subject whose almost 90% content are now there in GS (Main + Prelim). So logic is that even if one doesn’t have History optional, about 90% of History optional subject one has to study.

    W.B.C.S. Main Examination 2019 Optional History Question Paper Download

    W.B.C.S. Main Examination History Optional Syllabus

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