UPSC

Books for UPSC: IAS Books & List of UPSC Preparation Books

In this article on UPSC Books, we endeavor to provide you with the list of best books for the IAS Exam. The IAS Exam or the Civil Services Exam is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). The highly prestigious exam is also one of the toughest exams in the country.

Importance of Good IAS Books & Best books for UPSC

To follow up on the upcoming civil services examination, aspirants may check UPSC 2022 Calendar in the linked article.

Out of a plethora of study material available both online and offline, it is crucial that the candidates select the best books for UPSC, IAS preparation.

IAS toppers recommend that aspirants start their UPSC preparation with NCERT books and then move on to the standard reference books.

The best IAS books can vary from candidate to candidate depending on their previous expertise and knowledge of the subject matter. However, the UPSC booklist recommended by experts are listed in this article subject-wise.

Choosing the right IAS exam books online for different stages of the UPSC exam is quite important. The UPSC Prelims comprises only objective type questions while the IAS Mains contains descriptive essay type question papers.

Not only should the candidates be selective about the UPSC preparation books but also divide the reading list into Prelims and Mains preparation.

Read/download the UPSC Syllabus for the upcoming examination of civil services.

Aspirants can also download the list of best UPSC IAS books from the link below for quick reference.

UPSC Books – Best Books For IAS Prelims

There are two papers in Prelims (GS 1 and CSAT) and both are of objective type with negative marking. The best IAS books for Prelims are given below:

Subject UPSC Books
History
  1. India’s Struggle for Independence – Bipan Chandra
  2. Indian Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania
  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 (Orient Black Swan)
Indian Polity
  1. Indian Polity – M Laxmikanth
  2. NCERT IX-XII
Economics
  1. Indian Economy by Nitin Singhania
  2. Economic Development & Policies in India – Jain & Ohri
  3. NCERT XI
International Relations
  1. NCERT XII (Contemporary World Politics)
  2. Current Affairs
CSAT
  1. Tata McGraw Hill CSAT Manual
  2. Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning – R S Aggarwal
Solved Papers
  1. IAS General Studies Prelims Solved Papers – Vishal Publications

For more information on CSAT, check the linked article

UPSC Book List – Best Books For IAS Mains

Candidates who clear the Prelims reach the Mains stage of the IAS Exam. There are 9 theory papers in UPSC 2022 out of which two papers are on the optional subject. Candidates should follow the important IAS general studies Mains books for the best preparation.

Given below are the best general studies books for the UPSC Mains:

Subject UPSC Books
History, Indian Heritage & Culture

[GS Paper 1]

  1. Indian Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania
  2. India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipan Chandra
  3. India after Independence by Bipan Chandra
  4. History of Medieval India by Satish Chandra
  5. Ancient India by R.S Sharma
Geography

[GS Paper 1]

  1. Geography of India by Majid Husain
  2. World Geography by Majid Husain
  3. World Atlas (Orient Black Swan)
  4. Certificate Physical and Human Geography – G C Leong
  5. Fundamentals of Physical Geography NCERT Class 11
Polity & International Relations

[GS Paper 2]

  1. Indian Polity by M. Laxmikanth
  2. Introduction to the Constitution of India by DD Basu
  3. International Relations: Pushpesh Pant
Economy

[GS Paper 3]

  1. Indian Economy – Nitin Singhania
  2. Environment and Disaster Management – Tata McGraw Hill
  3. Challenges to Internal Security of India – Ashok Kumar
Ethics

[GS Paper 4]

  1. Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude for Civil Services Main Examination by Subba Rao and P.N. Roy Chaudary
Solved Papers
  1. IAS General Studies Prelims Solved Papers – Vishal Publications

In the UPSC mains exam, a candidate has to choose an optional subject also. The optional papers count for 500 marks in total and therefore, it is imperative that the right books are read for the optional subjects also. The following table gives the links to the list of IAS books for the respective optional subjects.

Study Material for UPSC

Apart from the books mentioned above, the essential UPSC Study Material includes:

  1. 2nd ARC Report (To read more on ARC Reports, check the linked article.)
  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
  7. Niti Aayog Action Agenda

UPSC Online Books

Currently, candidates also have an option to download e-books. These are easily available online and candidates can easily avail of these. For every subject, a different book is required and aspirants cannot carry the entire bundle along with them anywhere.

Thus, these UPSC online books are easily available and can be accessed from anywhere. Candidates can download them for free using the internet and carry along their PDF files on their laptops or tablets.

These e-books have also become popular as with technology, candidates can get the desired information within seconds without going through every single detail under any of the topics. A PDF format of NCERT books, monthly magazines and other important books is available for free use on the internet and candidates can easily download these UPSC online books.

Read only the Best Books for UPSC

  • The UPSC syllabus is vast and it takes at least one year to comprehensively cover it. Therefore, you cannot waste precious time by reading books that are below standard or worse, contain incorrect and unauthenticated information. In this case, you would have to unlearn what you had previously read and this can prove difficult.
  • Learning from the recommended sources would mean you can directly make notes out of it, if necessary.
  • There are many books that give information tailor-made for the IAS exam. For instance, Laxmikanth for Polity is a book that you must read if you are taking the UPSC exam. Many questions have been asked that seem to come directly from this book.
  • In addition, many books including the one discussed above, contain information in a ‘notes’ format. So, they are readymade for IAS preparation. You don’t have to waste time trying to make notes.
  • There are many books that are excellently written and contain a whole lot of valuable information. But you have to decide whether they are valuable for the UPSC exam or not. They might make a good read for academics and research scholars. But not necessarily for the UPSC exam. So, you need UPSC books that will help in your preparation and fetch you marks in the IAS exam.

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