Books for UPSC preparation

  • utkarsh
  • Jun 04, 2021
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  • Blog, Blog English, UPSC,
Books for UPSC preparation

The article is aimed at helping the aspirants of UPSC prepare for the UPSC prelims and mains examination. With the exam date approaching very quickly, it becomes quintessential to know about the best books for IAS aspirants.

The huge amount of syllabus on the front of general studies and the syllabus of optional subject added to it makes it a tough nut to crack, especially for the beginners.

Well!!! The savior is here as this article focuses on the best books for UPSC beginners and is certain to help you in picking them to ace through the exam and realize your dreams.

Why is it important to know about the good IAS books?

The UPSC prelims 2021, earlier scheduled in the month of June is now being conducted on 10th October 2021. The aspirants can go through the UPSC calendar on their official website for more details.

While the syllabus is huge and the study material for the exam is available in plenty, everything cannot be covered within the stipulated time. The time tested few books, which suit the requirements of the UPSC exam are the best books for UPSC beginners.

Most of the UPSC aspirants ensure their preparation starts with NCERT and move on to take up reference books going ahead. The reference books are very standard in nature and have helped most of the aspirants to realize their goals.

However, commenting on the best IAS books is wavy, as the interest in subject, expertise and the style of studying explicitly varies from an aspirant to another. Be that as it may, the books for UPSC suggested by specialists and the toppers of the examination are recorded in this article subject-wise.

Picking the correct IAS test books online for various phases of the UPSC test is very significant. The UPSC Prelims involves just target type questions, where the aspirant is expected to record answers through options available, while the IAS Mains contains unmistakable exposition type question papers, where the candidate is expected to write long answers, ensuring the quality of content is not compromised.

As discussed, the requirements of both the UPSC Prelims and the UPSC Mains examination are pretty different and therefore need different kind of preparation. Accordingly, the books for the preparation of both the prelims and the mains examination differ. Therefore, it is essential for one to refer to separate set of books for both of the examinations.

UPSC Prelims – Best books for IAS prelims examination

The following books mentioned here are best books for UPSC in Hindi and in English as well. The same publications, written by same authors (in some cases translated) are available in the market.

The books can be well understood by the candidates who are beginners and therefore, the following set of books can be termed as best books for UPSC beginners.

Subject Best book for IAS preparation – UPSC Prelims
History India’s Struggle for Independence – Bipan Chandra Indian Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania NCERT XI (Ancient & Medieval)NCERT XII (Modern Indian History)
Geography Certificate Physical Geography – G C Leong NCERT VI – X (Old Syllabus)NCERT XI, XII (New Syllabus)World Atlas (Orient Black Swan)
Indian Polity Indian Polity – M Laxmikanth NCERT IX-XII
Economics Indian Economy by Nitin Singhania Economic Development & Policies in India – Jain &Ohri NCERT XI
International Relations NCERT XII (Contemporary World Politics)Current Affairs
CSAT Tata McGraw Hill CSAT Manual Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning – R S Aggarwal
Solved Papers IAS General Studies Prelims Solved Papers – Vishal Publications

Best Books for UPSC Mains:

The aspirants who clear the Prelims are given an opportunity to appear for the next level of examination, the UPSC – Mains. The UPSC mains consist of are nine theory based papers in UPSC 2021, out of which two papers are discretionary. The Aspirants are expected to prepare well for the mains examination, where they are expected to put forth their views on a topic, but stick to the concepts of the subject.

The following table details the best books for IAS mains examination. The booklist is covered subject wise. The following are the best books for IAS in Hindi as well:

Subject Best book for IAS preparation – UPSC Mains
General Studies – Paper – 1 (GS paper I) – History, Indian Heritage & Culture -Indian Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania 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
General Studies – Paper – I (GS paper I) – Geography Geography of India by Majid Husain
World Geography by Majid Husain
World Atlas (Orient Black Swan)Certificate Physical and Human Geography – G C Leong
Fundamentals of Physical Geography NCERT Class 11
General Studies – Paper – 2 – (GS paper 2) Polity and International relations Indian Polity by M. Laxmikanth Introduction to the Constitution of India by DD Basu
International Relations: Pushpesh Pant
General Studies – Paper – 3 – (GS paper 3) Economics Indian Economy – Nitin Singhania
Environment and Disaster Management – Tata McGraw Hill
Challenges to Internal Security of India – Ashok Kumar
General Studies – Paper – 4 – (GS paper 4) Ethics Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude for Civil Services Main Examination by Subba Rao and P.N. Roy Chaudary
Solved Papers IAS General Studies Prelims Solved Papers – Vishal Publications

Although, the above list of books is the best for IAS aspirants, one should be aware that these aren’t enough. The mains examination also expects a student to be a master in a subject, and such a subject is called optional subject.

There are a plenty optional subjects available, details of which can be accessed on the UPSC website. The syllabus of each optional is well described on the website. However, the best books for IAS optional subjects are available here. The candidate must note that few subjects can be attempted in Hindi, English and also in few more regional languages. However, the literature subjects are to be attempted in the same language, which is a no brainer.

The optional subjects are the game changers as they are evaluated for 500 marks. Thus, one has to be highly judicious when they choose optional subjects and also prepare well to make most of the UPSC mains examination.

The following table illustrates the complete set of books needed to ace through multiple optional subjects. One can refer to the books based on their chosen optional subject.

It is not possible to list all the books for different optional subjects in a single article, however, we will come up with detailed separate articles listing the important books for each optional subjects.

Other study material for IAS preparation: UPSC study material

While the books help us to score the most on the conceptual front questions, the UPSC also expects the candidate to be aware of the current affairs and apply the concepts learnt, to solve the problems emerging from the current affairs. Therefore, along with best books for IAS preparation, one should go through the following materials to keep themselves in line with the requirements of the UPSC examinations:

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

A word of Advice: Refer to the best books for IAS preparation over other sources:

  • The UPSC expectations are huge and it requires at least an year to complete the prescribed syllabus. Thus, one cannot spend their valuable time referring to multiple sources; there isn’t a need to reinvent the wheel.
  • However, making notes from the prescribed set of best books for IAS preparation is highly suggested as it helps the candidates to remember the concepts for longer period of time.
  • Moreover, the standard books are mostly written in the notes format, helping the IAS aspirant to grasp on the required information quickly

After all this, the beginner aspirant might be struck to thought “How will I be able to cover such vast syllabus is so less time?” Well, Utkarsh classes are to your rescue and we are elated to launch our inline course at affordable pricing.

Our online classes are self-paced and cover every aspect of the UPSC exams, like video lectures, audio lectures, pdf notes etc. The course is designed to help students for Prelims and Mains examination. We also provide incredible support to students who wish to write UPSC exams in Hindi. 

We wish you all the best for your IAS preparation!!!

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