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IAS Books for Prelims and Mains Exam Preparation in 2021

IAS Books (UPSC Books)

Books for IAS Prelims should be concise books for quick revision. IAS Books for Prelims some times overlap with UPSC Mains Exam Books. The selection of such books is vital for UPSC Prelims as well as Mains Examination. Many of the students are searching in the dark light which are the best books for UPSC, what to read, and what not to read. Moreover, finding an important book is also determines the chances of success in the IAS Exam.

The Books list given here is an exclusive list of Books for IAS Prelims Preparation. We recommend to collect the complete list of Books for UPSC Preparation and start reading from now onwards to focus on UPSC Prelims Exam.

NCERT Books (Class 6 to12)

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NCERT 40 Books Set for UPSC Exams (English Medium)
  • Social Science Books (Class 6-12)
  • Sociology (Class 11-12)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 6000 Pages - 09/29/2020 (Publication Date) - NCERT (Publisher)

Geography IAS Books for Prelims  

  1. Certificate Physical And Human Geography; Indian Edition is a must book for IAS Books prelims and mains for the Physical part of Geography. Moreover, It effectively covers most topics from physical world geography which are asked in the prelims!
  2. Geography of India for Civil Services and other Competitive Examination – very comprehensive book for UPSC and other competitive exams. A must-have book if you want to understand the geography of India from root to tip. It details topics in a way that you get a complete understanding of updated info and maps.
  3. Oxford School Atlas: India's Most Trusted Atlas 36th edition (Areal app): It is an indispensable atlas for understanding the basics of Indian Geography as well as World Geography. Must Book for IAS Exam.

Update: For Geography NCERT books are very much recommendable for UPSC Exam. If u have sufficient time then read NCERTS of Classes 6 to 12.

Environment Books for IAS Prelims 

Environment By Shankar (7th) Revised Edition (2019-2020 Session)
  • Language Published: English
  • Binding: Paper Back
  • Shankar (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  1. Environment By Shankar (7th) Revised Edition (2019-2020 Session)– Must-read Book for UPSC aspirants as many questions is being asked about the environment. But you have to keep in touch with environmental current affairs from THE HINDU. UPSC giving a lot of attention is given to environmental issues nowadays.

For basic reading, the Environment part of Class 11& 12 is suggested.

Economics Books for IAS Prelims 

  1. Indian Economy for Civil Services, Universities and Other Examinations | 12th Revised Edition – it is a must-read book. This covers almost all aspects of the economy. It will be useful for prelims. Read from the latest edition [7th edition]. Apart from it will be helpful for the mains also.
  2. Economic Survey 2019-20 Set of Volume 1-2: An analytical and descriptive account of the present economic challenges and opportunities the country is witnessing. it is highly advantageous for both prelims and mains point of view.

History Books for UPSC Prelims  

  1. Modern Indian History: For Civil Services Preliminary and Main Examinations: which is a very good book for the modern part. Even though, this book is a little bit fatty and time-consuming but it will give you broad knowledge about the topic. This book can read like a novel, explains holistically each and every happening of the freedom struggle period.
  2. Ancient and Medieval India– Authoritative book on the ancient history of India It’s definitely one of the best books in the market about the ancient history of India. The writer is reputed and tries to put a holistic view of the subject.
  3. History of Medieval India Complete Book in English By Satish Chandra -Though UPSC focuses more on Modern History the most, but for a clear understanding of the Medieval Era, this is the best book to read. Furthermore,  A few Questions is also can expect from this part.
  1. Indian Art and Culture for Civil Services and other Competitive Examinations– Generally speaking about the culture part of the IAS Exam, the best book is Indian Art and Culture. Additionally, It’s a resource material you just cannot avoid for Civil Service Exam. Besides these, this book is illustrated with pictures, reading and studying from this book itself is a wonderful learning experience in itself.
  2. The Wonder That Was India: 1: Comprehensive book on the glorious history of India. In addition to this, the book has deep information about the ancient culture of India. Apart from this, it is a classic one on the subject.
 Tip: If u don’t want to read the Ancient culture of India from scratch then go for AL Bashams Book. If u have time shortage then Nitin Singhania’s book serves the need.

Also, read IAS Study materials and Articles for free!

Indian Polity Books for IAS Prelims

  1. Indian Polity - For Civil Services and Other State Examinations | 6th Edition–  In fact, there is no question arising the base book for the polity, it is none other than Laxmikant. Start reading from any of the interesting topics, for instance, if you find it interesting to study The Panchayat Raj, start reading from there. It would be beneficial for you if you prepare notes along with reading itself.
  2. Objective Indian Polity: General Studies - Paper I – This can be used to check your knowledge after studying the Indian Polity textbook. It consists of in-depth objective questions useful for all exams.

Science and Technology Books for UPSC Prelims 

Science and Technology: for Civil Services Preliminary and Main Examination
  • Ravi Agrahari (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 704 Pages - 07/20/2019 (Publication Date) - McGraw Hill (Publisher)
  1. Science and Technology: for Civil Services Preliminary and Main Examination– This is a really good book not only for basic preparation of the Science and Technology part for UPSC preparation but also for who wants to learn something extra. Although it comprises fine information on every topic, however, the book is not updated.
Tips: Science & Tech part of the Hindu newspaper will give u up to date information about the subject which is very relevant for the UPSC exam.
  1. India 2020 - Publications Division – This book is very helpful to understand the government schemes and plans on various fields ( contents index is provided in the images), which can be very helpful for exams like UPSC for both prelims and mains point of view.
  2. The Malayala Manorama English Yearbook 2020 – For Current Affairs part, reading Manorama yearbook along with Hindu newspaper is advisable.

Tips: For UPSC exam preparation, exhaustive reading of newspapers especially The Hindu is a must. Reading current affairs from PIB on daily basis also recommendable.

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Also read: 10 Best Books for IAS Prelims and Mains

CSAT Paper 2 Books for IAS Prelims

By and large, CSAT paper is not considered to pass prelims from 2015 onwards. But need to secure a minimum of 33% of 200 marks, which is 66 marks. Although, the relevance of paper 2 has come down still it is important to clear prelims.

  1. A Modern Approach to Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning (2 Colour Edition) – CSAT Paper 2: Reasoning
  2. General Studies Paper 2 2020 : for Civil Services Preliminary Examination and State Examinations or  Cracking the CSAT Paper-2 CSAT – Paper 2

Also read: Reference Books for UPSC Mains Exam Preparation

GS Manual for UPSC Prelims

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General Studies Manual Paper-1 2020
  • Manohar Pandey (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 1664 Pages - 09/19/2019 (Publication Date) - Arihant Publications (Publisher)

UPSC Previous Year Question Papers

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25 Years UPSC IAS/ IPS Prelims Topic-wise Solved Papers 1 & 2 (1995-2019)
  • Disha Experts (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 604 Pages - 06/25/2019 (Publication Date) - Disha Publication (Publisher)

Additional UPSC Books for IAS Mains

Essay Paper Books for UPSC Mains

India After Independence (GS Paper 1 UPSC Mains)

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Post Independence India: For Civil Services Examinations
  • Snehil Tripathi, Sonali Bansal (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 224 Pages - 11/10/2018 (Publication Date) - McGraw Hill Education (Publisher)

World History (GS Paper 1 UPSC Mains)

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World History
  • Krishna Reddy (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 450 Pages - 10/31/2017 (Publication Date) - McGraw Hill Education (Publisher)

Indian Society (GS Paper 1 UPSC Mains)

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Indian Society: Themes and Social Issues (For civil services and state services examinations)
  • Hasnain, Nadeem (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 368 Pages - 11/16/2019 (Publication Date) - McGraw-Hill (Publisher)

Governance (GS Paper 2 UPSC Mains)

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Governance in India
  • M. Laxmikanth (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 528 Pages - 08/25/2014 (Publication Date) - McGraw Hill Education (Publisher)

Foreign Policy of India (GS Paper 2 UPSC Mains)

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International Relations for General Studies Preliminary and Main Examination
  • Singh, Pavneet (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 776 Pages - 04/20/2019 (Publication Date) - McGraw Hill Education (Publisher)

Internal Security of India (GS Paper 3 UPSC Mains)

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Challenges to Internal Security of India (Third Edition)
  • Kumar, Ashok (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 06/06/2019 (Publication Date) - McGraw Hill (Publisher)

Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude (GS Paper 4 UPSC Mains)

UPSC Mains Paper-wise Manuals

UPSC Mains Previous Year Solved Question Papers

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Books for UPSC Interview

How to Ace Civil Service Interviews
  • Remya Roshni IPS (Ex.) (Author)
  • 09/29/2020 (Publication Date) - Malayala Manorama (Publisher)

UPSC Books for Optional Subjects

Additional Reference Books recommended by Toppers

  1. India's Struggle for Independence: 1857-1947
  2. A Brief History of Modern India by Spectrum (Old Edition)
  3. The Wonder That Was India: 1
  4. India's Ancient Past
  5. Physical Geography
  6. HUMAN GEOGRAPHY
  7. World Geography
  8. Introduction to the Constitution of India
  9. Environmental Studies: Third Edition
  10. Science and Technology: Civil Services Prelims and Main Examinations (2019) | First Edition | By Pearson
  11. A Modern Approach to Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning (2 Colour Edition)
  12. Analytical Reasoning (2018-2019) Session by MK Panday
  13. India After Gandhi: The History of the World's Largest Democracy
  14. India Since Independence
  15. History of the World
  16. Mastering Modern World History (Palgrave Master Series)
  17. Social Problems In India

Books for UPSC Prelims and Mains – Hindi Language

As many of the books given in the English Language, corresponding books in the Hindi language are available in the book market. Also, Hindi medium students can check the link UPSC IAS Books in the Hindi Language to buy from Amazon at a lower price.

Books for Other Competitive Exams

Links of UPSC Books at online Stores

Also, read IAS Study materials and Articles for free!

Free Resources For  IAS Exam

  1. Yojana Magazine Download.
  2. Kurukshetra Magazine
  3. Pratiyogita Darpan issue
  4. Download IGNOU Books 
  5. NCERT Books Download
  6. Buy NCERT Books Online

IAS Solution Prelims Mock Test Series

Simply reading standard books and materials will not help you to perform in the real UPSC Exam. Firstly, you need to identify your weak area and then try to improve it. You can improve your ability to perform in an actual exam only when tested in the exam atmosphere with negative marking. Take free UPSC Prelims Online Mock Tests by IASSolution to find where you stand, what are the weak and strong areas in our artificial intelligence-enabled exam platform. Happy learning!

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