IAS Books for UPSC Civil Service Prelims & Mains Exam Preparation

Last updated on September 8th, 2017 at 04:07 pm

Preparation for UPSC is a combination of elaborated reading of various books, through practice, proper guidance and mock tests. The  right selection of IAS books for UPSC Prelims cum Mains preparation is a long- standing challenge by candidates. Aspirants are misguided frequently with wrong upsc books by some coaching institutes and instructors. Hence, keeping in mind all these factors, we are glad to make you familiar with recommended books for UPSC preparation through this article.

IAS Books for PrelimsIAS Books

From prelims point of view, there are reference books as well as books for each subjects. Apart from these books, make a habit of news paper reading, which is indispensable for cracking UPSC as questions are being triggered from current issues also .

Reference books for  Prelims

There are six reference books for preliminary exams. These include manuals for general studies paper 1, CSAT, year- books, atlas and solved question papers.

  1. GS manual for paper 1 

This book is highly advantageous for students to refer topics for GS paper 1. Mc- Grow hills general studies manual is a systemically structured book, with information organized in such a way that meets the requirement of the reader. More over the MCQs are structured as per UPSC norms. Besides these, the current events section provides an overview of various events that are nationally and internationally significant.

     2. CSAT Manual  

From 2016 onwards, CSAT is a qualifying paper. So it is obvious to secure a separate minimum of 66 marks to qualify for mains. Mc-Grow hills CSAT manual is synchronized with UPSC syllabus. It is the only one book you should refer for CSAT.

  1. Manorama Year Book 

It covers up to date information from various topics like science and technology, medicine, environment, space research, history and so on. Apart from these, it covers matters of current importance. This book is also highly recommended for prelims preparation.

  1. India Year Book 

Published by the government of India, the authentic information in this book can be used as reference material.

  1. IAS solved papers 

Solved question papers help you to understand current trend of UPSC. Further, section wise analysis will aid to cover various topics effectively.

  1. Oxford student atlas 

Candidates are often asked map based questions not only for prelims, but also for mains. An atlas will enable to solve these kinds of questions. Oxford atlas consists of high quality and accurate maps of India and world.

IAS Books for each topic

For preliminary exams, apart from current affairs, aspirants should have a thorough knowledge of various subjects like Indian polity, history of India includes freedom struggle and modern history, Indian economy, Indian art and culture and geography. For all these subjects, apart from recommended books go through NCERT textbooks from class 6 to 12, to have fundamental idea of each subject. Further, basic book reading is an inevitable aspect for clearing UPSC prelims.

A considerable number of questions are coming from Indian polity for prelims. It’s not necessary to refer many books for Indian polity. You should refer one book for this, Indian polity by M Laxmikanth. It consists of elaborated description of Indian constitution various articles, schedules and amendments. The lucid language of this book also helps beginners.

Shankar IAS’s environment and ecology covers all aspects of climate change, global warming and international agreements. Moreover, this book is highly advantageous for mains also.

This book covers an in depth overview of Indian freedom struggle. It covers all aspects from revolt of 1857 and continues still independence. This book is essential for covering modern history and candidates can easily tackle questions from Indian history.Besides prelims,It is useful for mains also

It covers all aspects relating to social reforms during 19th century and pre independence movements during 20th century. In other words it is a summary of Bipin Chandra’s struggle for independence.

Also read : List of useful UPSC Books in Hindi

Mc- Grow hills Indian economy is a comprehensive text with all topics explained in detail. In addition to this, it goes through all aspects of Indian economy like banking, agriculture, external trade and so on. Even though it covers all aspects in detail, language is lucid and easy to understand. This book is essential for prelims point of view. Further, it will be beneficial for mains preparation also.

Every year the ministry of finance, government of India publishes the economic survey that focus on country’s economic development during previous twelve months. It consists of an in depth analysis of recent economic developments. Along with all these, it the most authoritative, updated and unbiased source of information regarding Indian economy. This book is also useful for both prelims and mains.

This book covers all aspects of physical geography like natural vegetation, climate change, earth quakes, mountain chains, glaciers and other natural phenomenon. Secondly, elementary details of each topic explained in a simple language along with photographs, illustrations and maps providing detailed explanation wherever required. Thirdly, there are questions at the end of each section that is helpful for practice.

It covers whole syllabus of Indian heritage and culture for general studies paper 1. This is the only book you need to refer for Indian art and culture.

For all these subjects, NCERT textbooks are inevitable for basic knowledge. Because of this, you should go through NCERT textbooks from class 6 to 12 to have fundamental knowledge of each subject.

IAS Books for Mains

For mains, there are four general studies paper. Before going through UPSC books for mains, its better to have an idea about GS papers.

  1. General studies paper 1 ( Indian heritage and culture, history and geography of world and society)
  2. GS paper 2 (governance, constitution, polity, social justice and international relations)
  3. General studies paper 3 ( technology, economic development, bio diversity, environment, security and disaster management)
  4. General studies paper 4 ( ethics, integrity and aptitude)

It is evident that some books for prelims are useful for mains. In addition to prelims books, you should go through some other books also.

Books for General Studies Paper 1

IAS Books for History

This book gives an excellent as well as unbiased analysis of various events of freedom struggle. Secondly, it covers all aspects from plassey to partition. Thirdly, it gives an overview of history before birth of INC. only few books cover details of Indian history before the birth of INC and this book is one among them.

It is a continuation of India’s struggle for independence. This book explains in detail about various problems and challenges for India had to face after independence. Along with these problems and obstacles, it tells about successful and proudest moments of post independent India. Apart from these, in nutshell, it essays the pathways how India became one of the powerful nations in the world.

It is an introductory text of world history that gives all round information about modern world, from French revolution and Napoleon to cold war. It covers various aspects in world history such as enlightenment, industrial revolution, world wars, American revolution and so on.

This is a comprehensive book on Indian culture that covers various aspects of Indian culture like religion, philosophy, music, art, literature, cinema etc. Besides these, it covers several solved and unsolved questions for practice and revision. Most of the questions for Indian heritage are triggered from here.

Along with these books struggle for independence and brief history of India are essential UPSC books for history.

IAS books for Geography

  1. Indian and world geography by Majid Hussain 

This is an excellent book from UPSC mains point of view. It is a must read book for UPSC aspirants.India and World Geography

Apart from this book aspirants should study physical and human geography by Goh Cheng Lechong and NCERT textbooks of class 11 & 12. These two books are already mentioned for prelims preparation. However, NCERT books from class 6 are highly beneficial while class 11& 12 are essential from mains perspective.

IAS Books for General Studies Paper 2

It is a precise book about international relations and global issues. This book is recommended for paper

Firstly, this book is highly advantageous for mains, an epitome of analytical work. Secondly,  it provides an in depth analysis of Indian constitution .

This is a series of three books with lucid language, written by former secretary general of Lok sabha. Our parliament gives a detailed outlook how our government works.

Our constitution also explains about whole concept of constitution as well as its functioning.

This book explains the political principles, policies followed by the government as well as the basic rights and duties of the citizens.  This book is essential for mains. It is informative for research purpose also.

This book explains in detail about the governance system in India. It is a must read book for studying Indian polity.

IAS books for GS paper 3

GS paper 3 includes technology, security and disaster management, environment and bio diversity and economic development.

IAS Books for Indian Economy

In addition to the Indian economic survey and Indian economy by Ramesh Singh, you should study one more book that is, Indian economy : performance and policies by Uma Kapila.

It covers economy comprehensive overview of Indian economy and specially focusing on performance of various policies and programs since independence. Moreover, the lucid language also enables aspirants to understand topics easily. Each topic is covered under five sections.

  • Basic issues in economic development: institutional framework and policy regimes.
  • Growth and distributional issues: poverty, inequality and employment.
  • Current perspectives in Indian agriculture: growth, productivity, constraints and pricing.
  • Industry and service sector
  • Financial and the external sector.

 IAS Books for Science and Technology

  • Science and technology by Ashok Singh is a good book to refer science and technology topics. Recently, UPSC is giving more focus on general science like biotechnology. The topics are arranged in ten chapters. Hence aids in even studying.

IAS Books for Environment, Ecology and Bio diversity

This is highly recommended book for prelims and mains. It covers all aspects of environment including climate change, disaster management and so on.

General studies paper 4

IAS Books for ethics integrity and aptitude

This is a must read highly recommended book for GS paper 4. However , the simple language along with various case studies enables easy understanding of topics.

This is a perfect book that covers all issues relating to ethics. Further, at the end of each chapter there are practice questions in accordance with UPSC syllabus.

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