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IAS Books

One thing is certain: if you want to become an IAS officer, you will need to read a tonne of books and other reading material in order to ace the UPSC CSE exam. It will take at least a year of preparation to read through all the necessary NCERTs and standard textbooks if you want to adequately prepare for both the Prelims and the Mains.
The NCERTs are a great place to start if you want to succeed on the UPSC CSE Exam. They aid in laying a solid foundation for the GS portion of the exam. It is typically best to start with the class 11th and 12th NCERs before moving on to the class 6th to 10th NCERTs.

Best Books for IAS

The preparation materials for the Prelims and Mains are the same. In the Mains, you must analyse the questions and provide your responses or an explanation of the things that were asked. To understand the UPSC CSE Exam, students should first review the UPSC CSE Syllabus and Exam Pattern. These books will assist you in developing a solid knowledge base for interviews in addition to helping you prepare for prelims and mains.
The best books for each subject to prepare for the UPSC CSE are listed below.

For History of India

The topic of Indian history is divided into three subtopics. Even though some are crucial for the IAS prelims and others are for the IAS main exam, all of them are equally significant from the standpoint of the IAS exam. The following sections make up the History of India.

Ancient history

Although ancient history is not particularly significant for the Prelims exam, UPSC asks a significant number of questions about it in the Mains exam. Here are a few of the best books:

  • India’s Ancient Past by R.S. Sharma
  • Indian Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania
  • Ancient History NCERT Class 11th by R.S. Sharma

Medieval History

Although neither the preliminaries nor the mains exam place a high priority on mediaeval history, UPSC has the ability to surprise a candidate at any time, so we cannot ignore the subject but can devote less time to it. These are some of the top medieval history books.

  • History of Medieval India by Satish Chandra
  • Medieval History NCERT Class XI-XII

Modern History & Indian National Movement

For both the IAS prelims and main exams, this subject is the most crucial. The events that occurred between 1800 and 1947—or more precisely, 1950—are covered in this topic. Because the candidates can identify with the goals of our national leaders who gave their lives to ensure India’s independence, this topic is crucial. There are many books on this subject, but according to the IAS top scorers, the following books are the best:

  • History of Modern India – Bipan Chandra
  • A brief history of Modern India – Spectrum
  • India’s Struggle for Independence – Bipan Chandra
  • NCERT XII (Modern Indian History)

For Geography

Physical geography, Indian geography, and global geography are covered in the IAS syllabus’ geography section. It is one of the most crucial parts of the preliminary exam. The majority of the significant general studies topics are covered in geography, according to candidates who choose it as an optional subject. The following list includes some of the top geography books:

  • Oxford Student Atlas
  • Geography of India by Mazid Hussain
  • Fundamentals of Physical Geography NCERT Class 11
  • Concise Geography by ALS
  • Certificate Physical and Human Geography – G C Leong

For Indian Economy

In both the preliminaries and the main exam, the Indian Economy makes up a sizable portion of the IAS syllabus. Current affairs topics and those relating to the Indian economy overlap. Concepts of the Indian economy are very dynamic, and data is updated annually. It is very difficult to prepare because the Indian economy is not a self-sufficient entity and depends on the shifting dynamics of the global economy and foreign relations. The following are a few key books for the Indian economy:

  • Economic survey
  • Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh
  • India yearbook
  • Introduction to Microeconomics NCERT
  • Indian Budget
  • Introduction to Macroeconomics NCERT
  • Indian Economic Development NCERT
  • Niti Aayog Reports

For Indian Polity

Indian Politics is one of UPSC’s favourite subjects. The IAS Prelims Paper questions are heavily twisted and concept-based. To answer the UPSC’s Indian Polity question, you must be familiar with the Indian Constitution. In addition to being familiar with the Indian Constitution, candidates must also be familiar with the laws that have been introduced or passed by the Indian Parliament. In recent years, the UPSC has started including questions based on national governance. The following are some of the best books:

  • Indian polity by Laxmikant
  • Constitution of India Bare Act
  • Constitution of India by DD Basu
  • Indian Constitution by P.M. Bakshi

For Environment & Ecology

Environment and Ecology used to be studied as a component of geography, but recently, the number of questions in the IAS prelims and mains exam has increased, necessitating a separate study of the subject. The books listed below can be very helpful in getting ready for environmental topics.

  • Environment Book – Shankar IAS Academy
  • Environment Book by DS Khullar
  • Environmental Studies Books of IGNOU and NOS

For Science and Technology

Topics related to science and technology and current affairs frequently overlap. The UPSC always inquires about the most recent scientific and technological advancements. This is a very dynamic subject that requires continuous updating. The following books can be used by newspapers and journals to cover the fundamental subjects.

  • Newspaper columns dedicated to technology
  • Science and technology by Ashok Singh
  • Science and Technology by Ravi Agrahari

For Current Affairs

This is the most important subject for IAS preparation because it affects all the other subjects mentioned above. To cover both the fundamentals and the most recent events associated with the topic, the candidates must thoroughly prepare the current affairs. The following sources are available to candidates for current affairs coverage.

  • Yojana and Kurukshetra monthly magazines
  • Monthly magazine
  • Newspapers -The Hindu, Indian Express
  • Press Information Bureau (PIB) website


Limiting your use of resources is one of the essential mantras for success in the UPSC CSE. Two areas, static and dynamic, should be the focus of the students. NCERTs and standard preparation books do a good job of covering the static portion, while students should concentrate on Current Affairs Magazines for the dynamic portion.

Frequently Asked Questions

Ques. Can I study at home for the UPSC CSE?

Ans. Yes, you can begin your UPSC preparations wherever you like. You can start preparing by looking through the list of books mentioned in the article.

Ques. Are NCERTs sufficient for passing the UPSC CSE?

Ans. Yes, the NCERTs are the best books to use as a starting point for your UPSC CSE preparation. They could assist you in laying a solid foundation for the GS section. Students can move on to more traditional textbooks and current affairs after finishing the NCERTs. But you also need to get ready for ethics and your options.

Ques. How can I finish the 100-day UPSC CSE Prelims syllabus?

Ans. The Prelims syllabus can be completed in 100 days, yes. Start with the NCERTs for classes 10 through 12, then move on to the textbooks for test preparation and current affairs publications. You should also concentrate on daily Prelims test series solutions.

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