UPSC Books

Right off the bat, I would like to point out that since the IAS prelims 2021 has been postponed to take place on 10th October (earlier it was scheduled on 27th June 2021) this year.

To know about the important UPSC IAS exam dates, read the blog I have written on the same.

Now. since there is not much time left for the Prelims paper, it’s only logical that you pick from only the best UPSC books for your preparation.

Now, according to me as well as several toppers of previous IAS exams, the best way to start your preparation is by reading through the NCERT books for UPSC and then moving on to the other books for UPSC (the standard ones).

Also, you should be mindful about the type of IAS books that you choose for your preparation, given that the UPSC prelims and UPSC mains are very different from each other and would need 2 different sets of reading material for each.

The UPSC Prelims, being an entirely objective type of paper would need a separate set of book lists and the UPSC Mains, being entirely subjective in its nature would need its own.

To know more about the UPSC CSE exam pattern, you can go over to the blog I have written on the same.

Anyway, in this section of the blog, I have mentioned the names of all the important books for UPSC according to the different phases and subjects of the UPSC CSEs.

Best UPSC Books for IAS Prelims

In the IAS prelims round there are 2 papers and both are objective type in nature. That means both have multiple-type questions with negative markings for each wrong answer.

I have mentioned below the list of the best IAS books for the Prelims round:

Subject UPSC Books
History 1. India’s Struggle for Independence – Bipan Chandra
2. Facets of Indian Culture – Spectrum
3. NCERT XI (Ancient & Medieval)
4. NCERT XII (Modern Indian History)
Geography 1. Certificate Physical Geography – G C Leong
2. NCERT VI – X (Old Syllabus)
3. NCERT XI, XII (New Syllabus)
4. World Atlas
Indian Polity 1. Indian Polity – M Laxmikanth
Economics 1. Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh
2. Economic Development and Policies in India: Jain & Ohri
International Relations 1. NCERT XII (Contemporary World Politics)
2. Current Affairs
CSAT 1. Tata McGraw Hill CSAT Manual
2. CSAT II – Arihant
3. Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning: R S Aggarwal


Best UPSC Books for IAS Mains

If you are able to clear the Prelims stage of the IAS exam, then you’d have to appear for the Mains. In the IAS Mains, there are 9 subjective type papers out of which 2 are subjects that you can choose from.  

So, accordingly, I have mentioned down below a list of the best books for your preparation for the Mains round of the IAS: 

Subject UPSC Books
History, Indian Heritage & Culture [GS Paper 1] • An Intro to Indian Art Part 1-Textbook in Fine Arts for Class 11
• Bipan Chadra’s India’s Struggle for Independence
• Bipan Chandra’s India after Independence
• Satish Chandra’s History of Medieval India
• RS Sharma’s Ancient India
Geography [GS Paper 1] • Majid Husain’s Geography of India
• Majid Husain’s World Geography
• World Atlas
• GC Leong’s Certificate Physical and Human Geography
• NCERT Class 11: Fundamentals of Physical Geography
Polity & International Relations [GS Paper 2] • M. Laxmikanth’s Indian Polity
• DD Basu’s Introduction to the Constitution of India
• Rajiv Sikri’s India’s Foreign Policy
Economy [GS Paper 3] • Ramesh Singh’s Indian Economy
Ethics [GS Paper 4] • Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude for Civil Services Main Examination by Subba Rao and P.N. Roy Chaudary

These are all the list of books that I have for you as far as the Prelims and the Mains rounds of the UPSC are concerned.

However, there are 2 optional subject papers in the Mains exam that would require you to read from the books pertaining to the particular subjects of your choice.

Let’s now look at the other essential study material from which you’d have to read apart from all the books that I have already mentioned above:

Other Study Materials:

  1. 2nd ARC Report
  2. Economic Survey (Latest)
  3. Budget (Latest)
  4. Finance Commission Report (Latest)
  5. Annual reports by central ministries
  6. Current Affairs
  • The Hindu Newspaper
  • Yojana Magazine
  • Press Information Bureau Releases
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