Best Books for IAS Preparation

Best Books for IAS Preparation

The Union Public Service Commission conducts the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination every year, which is common for the all candidates applying for Civil Services Examination and Indian Forest Service Examination.The syllabus mentioned for Prelims and Main examination is in brief and do not define underlined topics or sub-topics needed for clearing the examination. Hence in this process student end up in reading many books and materials. They fail to understand what to read, from where to read and how much to read. It has also been seen that students prefer readymade materials available in the market rather than the books.

The significance of reading books:

  • Helps in better understanding
  • Helps in development of broader outlook and learning of many micro-topics
  • Helps in an enhancement of comprehension skill.


Approach for preparing for UPSC

Hence in this section, we are proving the list of Books and basic material that are must for the preparation of Civil Services Examination.

Best Books for IAS Preparation


History and Culture

  • NCERT Class VI – History Our Past
  • NCERT Class VII – Our Past -II
  • NCERT Class VIII – Our Past III (Part 1 and Part 2)
  • NCERT Class IX – India and the Contemporary World-I
  • NCERT Class X – India and the Contemporary WorldII
  • NCERT Class XII – Themes in Indian History – III
  • NCERT Class XI – An Introduction to Indian Art
  • NCERT Class XII – Politics in India since Independence
  • NIOS Senior Secondary Course: History
  • NIOS Secondary Course: History
  • Freedom Struggle – Bipin Chandra
  • India After Independence – Bipin Chandra
  • India After Gandhi by Ramachandra Guha
  • World History Part 1 and Part 2 – Arjun Dev
  • Indian Art and Culture – Nitin Singhania and CCRT


Polity and governance

  • NCERT Class VI – Social and Political Life – I
  • NCERT Class VII – Social and Political Life – II
  • NCERT Class VIII – Social and Political Life – III
  • NCERT Class IX – Democratic Politics – I
  • NCERT Class X – Democratic Politics – II
  • NCERT Class XI – Political Theory
  • NCERT Class XI – Indian Constitution at work
  • NIOS Senior Secondary Course: Political Science
  • Our Constitution: Subhash Kashyap
  • Indian polity: M. Laxmikanth
  • Governance in India: M. Laxmikanth



  • NCERT Class VI –The Earth our Habitat
  • NCERT Class VII – Our Environment
  • NCERT Class VIII – Resources and Development
  • NCERT Class IX – Contemporary India – I
  • NCERT Class X – Contemporary India – II
  • NCERT Class XI – Fundamentals of Physical Geography
  • NCERT Class XI – India Physical Environment
  • NCERT Class XII – Fundamentals of Human Geography
  • NCERT Class XII – India – People and Economy
  • NIOS Senior Secondary Course: Geography
  • Geography of India by Majid Hussain
  • Oxford School Atlas by Oxford Publishers
  • Certificate Physical and Human Geography by GohCheng Leong


Indian Economy

  • NCERT Class X – Understanding Economic Development
  • NCERT Class XI – Indian Economic Development
  • NCERT Class XII – Introductory Macroeconomics
  • NIOS Senior Secondary Course: Economics
  • NIOS Secondary Course: Economics
  • Indian Economy – Ramesh Singh
  • Indian Economy – Misra Puri


Indian Society

  • NCERT Class XI – Understanding Society
  • NCERT Class XII – Indian Society
  • NCERT Class XII – Social Change and Development in India
  • NIOS Senior Secondary courses – Sociology
  • Social Problems in India 2 Edition – Ram Ahuja


International Relations

  • NCERT Class XII – Contemporary World Politics
  • Based on current affairs so focus on newspapers and websites.
  • Read World Focus Magazine


Ecology and Environment

  • NIOS Senior Secondary Course: Environmental Science
  • Environment and Ecology – Biodiversity, Climate Change, and Disaster Management – Majid Husain
  • Environment – Khuller


Science and Technology

  • NCERT Class XII – Biology
  • NIOS Senior Secondary Course: Biology
  • Science and Technology by Ravi Agrahari



  • Integrity and Aptitude by M Karthikeyan


Other sources

  • CCRT material for Culture
  • World Focus for International relations
  • Yojana
  • Kurukshetra
  • PIB and PRS blogs
  • 2nd ARC reports


How to read/what to focus on?

  • Reading basic NCERT and NIOS books are a must. The list has already been provided above.
  • Whereas while reading standard books, the list is unending, thus choose one book for thorough reading
  • In the other books read only those portions which are missing in the former.
  • The focus should be more on proper notes making as superficial reading will not give any result.
  • The focus should be on Reading and Revise.