IAS Books: Best Books for UPSC Civil Service Exam

Searching for the Best books for IAS preparation?

Every UPSC aspirant knows about the huge UPSC syllabus, and therefore the book list can be non-ending. To make sure you do not become a book-collector, it is important to have selective books only. Reading selective books not only reduces the burden of buying so many books but helps in minimizing your pressure of reading so many books also. Having only selective books for UPSC has many so benefits for UPSC CSE aspirants.

Selective and good, these are the two important traits which anyone should keep in mind while buying UPSC books. Among the plethora of books available, it becomes difficult to choose UPSC books and materials, especially for beginners. This article will be helpful for beginners as well as the old players as they will get a precise list of selective books, recommended by experts and toppers.

Basic Books: NCERT is the starting book because aspirants use this book for building the base for the UPSC preparation. Aspirants start their preparation with NCERT textbooks and then they proceed with the standard textbooks. You can completely rely on NCERT books for UPSC preparation. NCERT Textbooks from 6th to 12th will be your guiding star in the journey of the UPSC Civil Services Examination.

IAS Books: Best Books for UPSC Prelims

The UPSC Prelims comprises objective type questions. There are two papers in Prelims: GS 1 and CSAT. The best UPSC books for prelims are:

                          Subject                  Books (UPSC Prelims)
History ·         India’s Struggle for Independence – Bipan Chandra

·         Facets of Indian Culture – Spectrum

·         NCERT XI (Ancient & Medieval)

·         NCERT XII (Modern Indian History)

·         NCERT (6th – 10th)- History (All parts)

Geography ·         Certificate Physical Geography – G C Leong

·         NCERT 6th – 10th

·         NCERT XI, XII

·         World Atlas

Indian Polity ·         Indian Polity – M Laxmikanth

·         NCERT 9th– 12th

Economics ·         Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh

·         Economic Development & Policies in India – Jain & Ohri

·         NCERT 9th – 10th

International Relations ·         NCERT XII (Contemporary World Politics)

·         Current Affairs

CSAT ·         CSAT II – Arihant

·         Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning – R S Aggarwal

IAS Books: Best Books for UPSC Mains

Unlike UPSC Prelims, IAS Mains contains descriptive essay type question papers. In IAS Mains, there are a total of 9 theory papers (all descriptive), out of which one is essay and two papers are on the optional subject. Following only important IAS general studies Mains books will be beneficial for the best UPSC preparation. Here is the list of best general studies books for the UPSC Mains:

               Subject              Books (UPSC Mains)
History, Indian Heritage & Culture

[GS Paper 1]

·         An Introduction to Indian Art Part 1: Textbook in Fine Arts for Class XI

·         India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipan Chandra

·         India after Independence by Bipan Chandra

·         History of Medieval India by Satish Chandra

·         Ancient India by R.S Sharma


[GS Paper 1]

·         Geography of India by Majid Husain

·         World Geography by Majid Husain

·         World Atlas

·         Certificate Physical and Human Geography – G C Leong

·         NCERT Class 11 – Fundamentals of Physical Geography

Polity & International Relations

[GS Paper 2]

·         Indian Polity by M. Laxmikanth

·         Introduction to the Constitution of India by DD Basu

·         India’s Foreign Policy by Rajiv Sikri


[GS Paper 3]

·         Indian Economy – Ramesh Singh

[GS Paper 4]

·         Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude for Civil Services Main Examination by Subba Rao and P.N. Roy Chaudary

A lot of people will recommend you to go for old NCERT books or new NCERT books, do not waste your time searching for old or new. If you find the required book, then it is good otherwise take the one which is available to you and start reading. Reading a few books 4-5 times will be more effective than reading too many books just one time.

All the Best

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