Book list to refer while preparing for UPSC Civil Service Exam.

Hello Guys, If you are preparing or thinking about UPSC Civil Service Exam then you must read this article. In previous article we discussed about detailed Syllabus for UPSC Civil Service Exam. And in this article we will discuss about the book list and material which you should refer for this exam.

So, before start preparing for this exam you must clear one thing in your mind. And that is, “You don’t have to study separately for Preliminary and Mains Exam”. If you have gone through the syllabus you will understand why I am suggesting this. Because every topic required for prelims is covered in mains. So, It will be beneficial for you if you prepare for both at same time.

And one more thing, your dynamic approach toward syllabus will automatically complete your study. So, without wasting time lets see the book list for UPSC Civil Service Exam. But before heading toward the book list just go through the syllabus once.

Syllabus – Detailed analysis for UPSC CSE Syllabus.

Book list for UPSC Civil Service Exam

So, now before starting let me tell you about NCERT’s. These books are the base of this exam. So, If you want to crack this exam seriously then it is mandatory to go through all NCERT’s. There are about 45 NCERT books from class 6 to 12. Which includes History, Geography, Political Science, Economics, Sociology, Science and Technology. So, for these books you don’t have any option, you must have to cover all these books.

So, now we will talk separately for prelim and mains.

Preliminary Exam

So, now heading toward the prelim.

GS 1 –

So, as you know GS 1 is important in prelim and cut off will be decided by GS 1 score. If you gone through the syllabus then you will find major topics as.- 1) Events of national and international importance, 2) History – Ancient, Medieval and Modern, 3) Culture, 4) Polity, 5) Economy, 6) Geography, 7) Science and Technology, 8) Environment, 9) Schemes, Policy and filter and etc. Right?

Events of national and international importance

So, as you know this is a dynamic topic. So, your study approach for this topic should be also dynamic. And for this topic there is no other option than newspaper. And the most recommended newspaper is ‘The Hindu’ or ‘The Indian Express’. Or you can also follow monthly current affaires summery provided by any institute.

So, it is most important that you should read the daily newspaper and make a notes on it. And also go through the GK Today and if possible join the Test series.

Book list for History

So, History is divided into 3 parts –

Ancient, Medieval and Modern.

So, for Ancient History and Medieval History, all 6-12 NCERT’s will be sufficient. And for Modern History India’s struggle for independence by Bipin Chandra or Spectrum or NCERT’s will be sufficient.

Book list for Culture

So, for Culture you should refer NCERT’s on Art or book Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania. And update it with Current Affairs.

Book list for Political Science

Now, if we see the book list for polity.

Then Indian Polity by M. Laxmikant is a bible for polity when it come to Civil Service Exam. This book also play crucial role for mains preparation.

Also go through the 6-12 NCERT’s for polity for basic understanding and then go for the M. Laxmikant.

Book List for Economy

So, for basics 9-12 NCERT’s or Shreeram Sir’s Booklet and Economic Survey is enough along with ‘The Hindu‘.

Book List for Geography

It is beneficial if we study the Geography in 3 portion, i.e Physical Geography, Indian Geography and World Geography.

So, for Physical Geography and Indian Geography 11th and 12th NCERT’s along with G.C. Leong is more than enough. And for World Geography G.C. Leong and maps based on current affaires and use atlas.

Book List for Environment

For this portion Notes by Shankar IAS sir is more than enough along with ‘The Hindu’.

Book List for Science and Technology

For Science and Technology, NCERT’s from 6-10 for basics. And weekly there is special page in ‘The Hindu’ newspaper for Science and Technology.

Schemes, Policies and Filter

Monthly magazine Yojana and Kurukshetra are more than enough.

So, this is more than enough for Prelim Paper 1.

GS 2 (CSAT) –

So, now Prelim Paper 2 which is CSAT and it includes Syllabus which I provided in previous article.

So, for this syllabus last 4-5 year of papers are more than enough. Just go through it.

Mains Exam

So, Now heading toward the mains. It has total 9 papers and 2 of them are just qualifying in nature. And merit list of candidate is depend on remaining 7 papers.

Qualifying Papers

There are 2 qualifying papers, Paper 1 and Paper 2. Both papers are of matriculation level. So, refer previous year papers and read daily newspaper to improve your language understanding. These are the simple papers. In my opinion there is no need for separate study for this papers.

Book List for the papers to be counted for merit

There are 7 papers.

Paper 1 (Essay)

Paper 1 is essay and is of 250 marks. For this paper you should know some quotes of important personalities. And daily reading of newspaper i.e. current affaires is more than enough for this paper. And writing practice is important for this paper.

Paper 2 (GS 1)

Paper 2 of mains exam is General Studies 1

Mainly this paper includes – 1) Indian Heritage, 2) Culture, 3) History, 4) Geography of world and society and etc. I mentioned the detailed syllabus in previous article. You can check out here.

So, For Indian Heritage and Culture current affaires and book art and culture by Nitin Singhania or NCERT’s are enough.

Then, For Ancient and Medieval History NCERT’s are enough. And for Modern History India after Gandhi or Bipin Chandra or notes by Vision IAS are also good.

Now, For Geography NCERT’s and G.C. Leong are enough along with current affaire from ‘The Hindu‘.

So, above all are the static topics. So, you can prepare for these topics from the recommended material

But, when we look the detail syllabus for GS 1 then there are a lot of other dynamic topics. Like Indian Society, Role of Women, Poverty, Globalisation, Regionalism, Secularism and etc. So, these are the dynamic topics and you have to study for these topics with dynamic approach toward active issues. So for these topics read daily newspaper, GK Today, Magazines like Yojana and Kurukshetra, PRS. And Vision IAS current material is also good.

For Resources Distribution notes by Vajiram Sir or 10, 11,12th NCERT’s. And for topics like Earthquake and Tsunami ARC for disaster or Vision IAS material are well and good. As well as ‘The Hindu’ as these are the dynamic topics.

So all these are enough for GS 1.

Paper 3 (GS 2)

So, Now Paper 3 i.e. GS 2. Syllabus for this Paper is also provided in our previous article.

So, it’s syllabus also include very vast dynamic topics. And for this paper also ‘The Hindu’ is must read newspaper.

So, major topics this paper includes are – Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice, International Relations and etc. 

And when there is Indian Polity and Governance then Book Indian Polity by M. Laxmikant is a bible for this topics as I told you earlier.

And rest all the topics are dynamic. So, as I mention newspaper, annual reports/documents on various ministry websites and PRS.

Also make your own notes for these topics that helps a lot during exam.

So, all this will cover your GS 2.

Paper 4 (GS 3)

Now Paper 4 is GS 3 which covers the topics –

Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster management, Indian Economy, Inclusive Growth, Budgeting, Major crops and irrigation and etc.

So, for basics you can refer 8-10 science NCERT’s. And there is weekly page on Science and Technology in ‘The Hindu’ newspaper. You can refer that also.

And rest all are dynamic topics so newspaper. Economic Survey is a best booklet for the study of Economic Development. And 9-12 NCERT’s for Economics.

Current year Budget.

And Yojana and Kurukshetra monthly magazine.

Rest of all the topics are dynamic so newspaper, magazine, internet is a best option.

Paper 5 (GS 4)

So, now GS 4 includes the topics –

Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude.

I won’t suggest you any specific book for this paper but still you don’t understand the terms in syllabus then book for ethics by G. Subbharao or book by Lexicon is good.

Because in this paper they just want your opinion on situation which may come while in service.

In this paper they are more interested in your situation handling which come naturally. So, specific study doesn’t work for this paper.

You have to go through various case studies. Just go through previous year papers and do writing practice.

This is enough for this paper.

So this is well and good enough for this exam. So, your 70 % focus should be on newspaper and go for it.

Optional Subject – We will cover it in next article.

We wish for you to achieve your goal and we hope our initiative will be helpful for you.

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Also read –

1) UPSC Civil Service Exam? Basic things to know before preparation.

2) What is UPSC? What is Civil Service Examination? What is IAS, IPS, IFS and IRS?

3) Why should I prepare UPSC Exam or Civil Service Exam or IAS Exam?

3 thoughts on “Book list to refer while preparing for UPSC Civil Service Exam.

  • July 5, 2018 at 9:35 pm

    Really very nice. I like ur explanation but I have problem about English.. How to improve my English language Sir


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