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Best Books for UPSC Civil Services Prelims and Mains Exam – UPSC IAS Preparation Books List, Study Materials

Hi, folks, are you starting your preparation for the UPSC IAS exam 2020? If yes, check the best books for UPSC Civil Services prelims and mains exam from the below sections of the page. Know the best books for UPSC civil services prelims and mains, study materials, top 10 books that every IAS aspirants must-read, Also, get UPSC IAS Book List PDF, recommended books for IAS by toppers, NCERT books for UPSC civil services IAS prelims and mains, frequently asked questions, etc.

UPSC IAS Books PDF 2020

UPSC Civil Services exam is a prestigious and toughest exam among the other government exams, but you can crack it with a proper preparation strategy. As per the official notification, the application forms are accepted via online from 12th February 2020 up to 3rd March 2020. The UPSC IAS prelims exam is scheduled to be conducted on 31st May 2020 and mains exam on 18th September 2020 across various centers.

We think that most of the applicants have already started their preparation for UPSC IAS IFS Exam 2020. To help you in your preparation, we have provided the Best Books for UPSC Civil Services Prelims and Mains Exam.

How To Choose The Best Books For UPSC Civil Services?

The UPSC IAS prelims exam comprises only objective type questions whereas mains consist of descriptive (theory) type questions. So, choosing the best book for the UPSC Civil Services Exam at different stages of the selection process is very important. The best UPSC IAS Books will vary from student to student depending upon their previous knowledge in the related subject.

So, first of all, you have to start your UPSC Civil Services preparation with NCERT books and then go to the standard reference books. We have shared a List of Best Books for UPSC IAS Prelims And Mains Exam 2020 for the convenience of the candidates preparing for the civil services exam conducted by Union Public Service Commission.

Highly Recommended Books For UPSC IAS By Toppers

UPSC IAS syllabus is vast and it takes at least one year to cover all the topics included in it. At present, you have very less time for preparation. So, you have to use this precious time by reading the Highly Recommended UPSC Civil Services Books, as most of the questions are directly asked from these books. For example, Laxmikanth for Polity. At the time of reading these UPSC IAS books, you can maintain notes which will be useful for revision.

Before choosing and reading a particular UPSC book, you should know the below points:

  • There are two papers in the UPSC IAS Prelims exam (GS-I and CSAT)
  • Questions are objective type in prelims exam
  • Those who have cleared the prelims exam are eligible to appear for UPSC mains exam
  • In mains, there are nine theory (descriptive) papers, out of which two papers are optional subject
  • There is negative marking for wrong answers in both prelims and mains

Books for UPSC Civil Services Prelims Exam

History

  • Facts of Indian Culture by Spectrum
  • NCERT XI (Ancient and Medieval)
  • India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipan Chandra
  • NCERT XII (Modern Indian History)

Geography

  • Certificate Physical Geography by G. C. Leong
  • World Atlas
  • NCERT VI – X (Old Syllabus)
  • NCERT XI, XII (New Syllabus)

Indian Polity

  • Indian Polity by M. Laxmikanth
  • Economic Development and Policies in India by Jain and Ohri
  • NCERT XI
  • NCERT IX-XII
  • Economics
  • Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh

International Relations 

  • Current Affairs
  • NCERT XII (Contemporary World Politics)

CSAT 

  • Tata Mc Graw Hill CSAT Manual
  • Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning by R. S. Aggarwal
  • CSAT II by Arihant

Best Books for UPSC IAS Mains Exam

History, Indian Heritage, and Culture (GS Paper-I)

  • History of Medieval India by Satish Chandra
  • Ancient India by R.S Sharma
  • 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

Geography (GS Paper-II)

  • Geography of India by Majid Husain
  • Certificate Physical and Human Geography – G. C. Leong
  • Fundamentals of Physical Geography NCERT Class 11
  • World Geography by Majid Husain
  • World Atlas

Polity and International Relations (GS Paper-II)

  • Introduction to the Constitution of India – DD. Basu
  • India’s Foreign Policy by Rajiv Sikri
  • Indian Polity by M. Laxmikanth

Economy (GS Paper -III)

  • Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh

Ethics (GS Paper-IV)

  • Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude for Civil Services (Main) Examination – Subba Rao and P.N. Roy Chaudary

UPSC Civil Services Study Materials

Apart from UPSC Civil Services Books, you can also refer to the study materials provided below:

  • 2nd ARC Report
  • Economic Survey (latest)
  • Budget (latest)
  • Niti Aayog Action Agenda
  • Finance Commission Report (latest)
  • Annual reports by central ministries
  • Current Affairs
    • The Hindu
    • Yojana Magazine
    • Press Information Bureau

Why NCERT Books Are Preferred?

Generally, a question arises among the students preparing for UPSC exams, “Why NCERT books are important for the UPSC IAS exam 2020?”. Here, we have answered this question.

  • NCERT Books cover the basic concepts in a simple and clear manner
  • These books contain valuable information after the extensive research, as they are prepared by the government institutions
  • The basic concepts covered in these books will help you to understand the advanced or standard books

NCERT Books for UPSC IAS Prelims Exam

History

  • NCERT Class-XII – Themes In Indian History – I
  • Class- XII – Themes in Indian History – II
  • NCERT Class- VI – Our Past
  • NCERT Class- VII – Our Past -I
  • Class- VIII – Our Past II and III
  • Class -XII – Themes in Indian History – III

Indian Society

  • Class -XII – Social Change and Development in India
  • NCERT Class -XI – Sociology: Understanding Society
  • NCERT Class- XII – Indian Society

Art and Culture

  • NCERT Class- XI – Living Craft Traditions of India
  • NCERT Class- XI – An Introduction to Indian Art

Geography

  • NCERT Class- X – Contemporary India – II
  • Class- XI – Fundamentals of Physical Geography
  • NCERT Class -VI – The Earth Our Habitat
  • NCERT Class- VII – Our Environment
  • Class- XII – Fundamentals of Human Geography
  • NCERT Class- XII – India – People and Economy
  • Class -VIII – Resource and Development
  • NCERT Class- IX – Contemporary India – I
  • NCERT Class- XI – India – Physical Environment

Polity

  • Class- XI – Political Science: Indian Constitution at Work
  • NCERT Class -XI – Political Science: Political Theory
  • NCERT Class- IX – Political Science: Democratic Politics Part – I
  • Class -X – Political Science: Democratic Politics Part – II
  • NCERT Class- XII – Political Science II: Politics in India since Independence

Economics

  • NCERT Class -XII – Introductory Microeconomics
  • Class- IX – Economics
  • NCERT Class- X – Understanding Economic Development
  • Class- XI – Indian Economic Development
  • NCERT Class -XII – Introductory Macroeconomics

Science/Technology/Ecology/Environment

  • Class- X
  • NCERT Class -XI
  • NCERT Class- VI
  • Class- VII
  • NCERT Class- VIII
  • Class- IX
  • NCERT Class- XII – Biology and Chemistry

UPSC Civil Services Mains Preparation Books From NCERT

UPSC IAS Preparation Books – NCERT Books For GS Paper-I:

  • NCERT History Books:
    • NCERT Class -IX – India and the Contemporary World – I
    • History NCERT Class- IX – India and the Contemporary World – II
    • NCERT Class- X – Themes In World History
    • NCERT Class- VI – Our Past
    • History NCERT Class -XII -Themes in Indian History – II
    • Class- XII-Themes In Indian History -III
    • History NCERT Class- VII – Our Past -I
    • NCERT Class- VIII – Our Past II and III
    • Class- XII – Themes In Indian History – I
  • NCERT Books for Indian Society:
    • NCERT Class- VIII – Social Science: Social and Political Life III
    • Class- XI – Sociology: Understanding Society
    • Indian Society NCERT Class- XII – Indian Society
    • NCERT Class -VI – Social Science: Social and Political Life I
    • Indian Society NCERT Class- VII – Social Science: Social and Political Life II
    • Class XII – Social Change and Development in India
  • NCERT Books for UPSC Civil Services – Indian Art and Culture
    • Art and Culture: NCERT Class- XI – Living Craft Traditions of India (Chapters 9 and 10)
    • NCERT Class- XI – An Introduction to Indian Art
  • UPSC Preparation Books from NCERT Geography:
    • Geography NCERT Class- VI – The Earth Our Habitat
    • Geography: NCERT Class -X – Contemporary India – II
    • NCERT Class- XI – Fundamentals of Physical Geography
    • NCERT Class -XI- India – Physical Environment
    • Geography: NCERT Class- VII – Our Environment
    • NCERT Class- VIII – Resource and Development
    • Geography: NCERT Class- IX – Contemporary India – I
    • NCERT Class -XII – Fundamentals of Human Geography
    • Geography: NCERT Class- XII – India – People and Economy

NCERT Preparation Books for General Studies Paper-II

  • Polity Books for UPSC:
    • NCERT Class- XII – Political Science II: Politics in India since Independence
    • For Polity: Class 9th to 12th NCERT books (focus more on 11th and 12th)
    • Polity: NCERT Class- XI – Political Science: Indian Constitution at Work
    • Polity: NCERT Class -IX – Political Science: Democratic Politics Part – I
    • NCERT Class- X – Political Science: Democratic Politics Part – II
    • NCERT Class -XI – Political Science: Political Theory
    • Polity: NCERT Class- XII – Political Science I: Contemporary World Politics

UPSC Books from NCERT for GS Paper- III

  • NCERT Economy Books for UPSC
    • Economy: NCERT Class- IX – Economics
    • NCERT Class- XII – Introductory Microeconomics
    • Economy: NCERT Class- X – Understanding Economic Development
    • NCERT Class- XI – Indian Economic Development
    • Economy: NCERT Class-XII – Introductory Macroeconomics
  • IAS Preparation Books from NCERT – Science and Technology 
    • Science: NCERT Class -VI
    • Science: NCERT Class -X
    • NCERT Class -XI – Chemistry: Unit 14 and Biology: Units 4, 5
    • Science: NCERT Class -VII
    • NCERT Class-VIII
    • Science: NCERT Class- IX
    • Science: NCERT Class -XII- Chemistry: Unit 16 and Biology: Units 8, 9, and 10
  • UPSC Books from NCERT – Environment and Ecology
    • Science: Class- XII – Biology: Chapters (13 to 16)

NCERT IAS Preparation Books – General Studies Paper- IV

  • Ethics: NCERT Class- XII – Psychology

10 Top Most Important Books That Every UPSC IAS Aspirants Must Read

Top 10 UPSC books referred by toppers to clear IAS preliminary and mains exam are as follows:

  • Indian Polity by Laxmikanth
  • Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh
  • Introduction to the Constitution of India – D.D. Basu
  • Indian Geography by Majid Hussain
  • IGNOU material on Disaster Management
  • India After Gandhi by Ramachandra Guha
  • India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipan Chandra
  • 2nd ARC Reports
  • The Wonder That Was India by AL Basham
  • NCERT books: The Complete Package

Other Links Related To UPSC Civil Services Exam

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which book is the best for UPSC civil services Indian Polity?

Ans. Indian Polity by Laxmikanth is the best book.

2. Are NCERT Books enough for the preparation of IAS prelims exam?

Ans. NCERT Books are the fundamental books for UPSC preparation i.e, they provide a strong foundation. But these books are simple and better when compared to the standard reference books.

3. Which book is the best for Art and Culture for UPSC Prelims and Mains exam?

Ans. Indian Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania is the most preferred book for Art and Culture.

4. What are the standard books for the UPSC IAS Economy exam?

Ans. Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh.

5. Are NIOS books good for UPSC?

Ans. Yes. NIOS books are good for UPSC IAS preparation as they are easy to understand.

6. Where can I get NCERT books?

Ans. You can buy NCERT books in bookstores across the country or online in various sites.

7. How to prepare for UPSC Civil Services Exam 2020?

Ans. Preparation tips for UPSC civil services exam 2020 are as follows:

  • Understand the UPSC Civil Services Prelims and Mains Exam Syllabus
  • Make a time table covering the entire syllabus
  • Read NCERT books from Class VI to XII to build a strong foundation
  • Make a short note during preparation which will help you for revision
  • After reading NCERT books, choose the standard books which cover the entire syllabus and stick to that booklist
  • Practice previous papers and take mock tests
  • Read newspapers daily, magazines, etc for current affairs

8. How to choose an optional subject for the UPSC Civil services exam?

Ans. To choose an optional subject for the UPSC Civil services exam, your interest in a particular subject is an important factor. While choosing an optional subject, keep the following points in mind:

  • Is the study material easily available in the bookstores?
  • Can we cover the entire syllabus before the exam?
  • Is any test series available for the optional subject?

9. What are the top magazines for UPSC IAS Exam?

Ans. The monthly magazines like Kurukshetra and Yojana are the top magazines.

10. How to cover the daily current affairs for the UPSC exam 2020?

Ans. Newspapers like The Hindu, Times of India, etc are the primary sources to cover the daily current affairs for the UPSC exam 2020.

11. What are some ‘must-read’ books for UPSC civil services aspirants?

Ans. Top 10 books for UPSC Civil services IAS exam 2020 are as follows:

  • Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh
  • Introduction to the Constitution of India – D.D. Basu
  • Indian Geography by Majid Hussain
  • IGNOU material on Disaster Management
  • India After Gandhi by Ramachandra Guha
  • India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipan Chandra
  • 2nd ARC Reports
  • The Wonder That Was India by AL Basham
  • NCERT books: The Complete Package
  • Indian Polity by Laxmikanth

12. How many papers are there in UPSC Civil services IAS exam 2020?

Ans. In the UPSC Civil services exam, there are 11 papers (two papers in prelims, nine papers in mains).

13. What are the UPSC Civil Services IAS prelims and mains exam dates?

Ans. The UPSC Civil Services IAS prelims exam is going to be conducted on 31st May 2020 and mains exam on 18th September 2020.

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