Books for UPSC Preliminary and Mains Exam

Important Books for UPSC Preliminary and Mains Exam

Our goal here is to provide the most useful books for UPSC (IAS) candidates preparing for the Prelims and Mains exams. IAS toppers recommend these books.

It is everyone’s dream to pass the UPSC IAS examination on their first attempt. Every one of you who appeared for the UPSC Prelims and Mains examinations must feel proud. An aspirant must have access to the latest syllabus and use the best study material to succeed in the prestigious UPSC Civil Services examination.

It is therefore essential to read important books and materials to succeed in the UPSC Civil Services exam. Top UPSC IAS candidates recommend the following books.

Preliminary preparation books for UPSC (IAS)

1. Indian Polity for Civil Services Examinations by M. Laxmikanth

A brief introduction is all that is needed to introduce this book. Almost every IAS topper recommends this book for improving your study style. Civil service examinations and various competitive examinations, in general, have made it a must-read.

2. Indian Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania

One of the best books on Indian heritage and culture for your entire syllabus. Students will also be able to prepare for the exam with the help of a wide variety of questions.

3. Certificate Physical and Human Geography by Goh Cheng Leong

Every UPSC IAS topper recommends this best-selling book. You will find in this book every aspect of UPSC’s geography syllabus that you will need for your prelims and mains exams. NCERT books from Class 6-12 can also be used, but if you want to build some extra knowledge, then this book is the one to buy.

4. Oxford School Atlas by Oxford Publishers

It contains 200 maps of India, including 94 thematic maps, which are must-haves for UPSC aspirants.

5. Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh

An examination of every topic in economics is provided in detail in this book by Ramesh Singh. With many years of bestselling performance, the book is a stellar product.

6. Economic Survey by Ministry of Finance

Among the most reliable sources of data on India’s economy is the Ministry of Finance’s Economic Survey. Government policy and performance are fully described in this book.

7. India Year Book

A comprehensive collection of current information on the country, including important dignitaries, government policies, and statistics related to demographics, trade, and the economy.

8. History of Modern India by Rajiv Ahir

Rajiv Ahir’s A Brief History of Modern India takes a comprehensive look at what happened after the decline of the Mughal empire and the rise of the East India Company, as well as when British rule occurred.

9. Current affairs

  • The Hindu
  • PIB
  • Other important websites/applications

10. Science & Tech

  • Notes by Shankar IAS
  • Daily Newspapers
  • ISRO website

Mains preparation books for UPSC (IAS)

IAS Exam Mains are for candidates who cleared the Prelims. UPSC 2022 will have nine theory papers, two of which will be on the optional subject. For the best preparation, candidates should read the following IAS general studies Mains books.

Here are the best general study books for UPSC Mains:

SubjectUPSC Books
History, Indian Heritage & Culture [GS Paper 1]Indian Art and Culture by Nitin SinghaniaIndia’s Struggle for Independence by Bipan ChandraIndia after Independence by Bipan ChandraHistory of Medieval India by Satish ChandraAncient India by R.S Sharma
Geography [GS Paper 1]Geography of India by Majid HusainWorld Geography by Majid HusainWorld Atlas (Orient Black Swan)Certificate Physical and Human Geography – G C LeongFundamentals of Physical Geography NCERT Class 11
Polity & International Relations [GS Paper 2]Indian Polity by M. LaxmikanthIntroduction to the Constitution of India by DD BasuInternational Relations: Pushpesh Pant
Economy [GS Paper 3]Indian Economy – Nitin SinghaniaEnvironment and Disaster Management – Tata McGraw HillChallenges to Internal Security of India – Ashok Kumar
Ethics [GS Paper 4]Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude for Civil Services Main Examination by Subba Rao and P.N. Roy Chaudary
Solved PapersIAS General Studies Prelims Solved Papers – Vishal Publications


Q. 1. Is NCERT enough to prepare for UPSC?

No. In NCERT textbooks, you only get a basic understanding. UPSC CSE Prelims and Mains syllabus are not covered adequately by them.

Standard Textbooks should also be studied along with NCERTs. Designed specifically for the UPSC CSE syllabus, Standard Textbooks are written by subject experts in an exam-oriented manner.

Q. 2 Are there any IAS books available in Hindi?

There are corresponding Hindi-language books available for many of the books listed above.

Q. 3 For current affairs preparation, what are the best resources?

1. Newspaper (The Hindu, Economic Times, The Indian Express)

2. Jagran Josh, Other Online Resources

3. Manorma Year Book

भारत के प्रथम राष्ट्रपति कौन थे | Bharat Ke Pratham Rashtrapat | First president of India