Best books for UPSC preparation – Prelims and Mains

Best books for UPSC preparation – Prelims and Mains

UPSC Civil Services Exam, one of the toughest nut to crack but not impossible. Lakhs of aspirants apply for the examination and only around 2% of those successfully achieve their goals. With right amount of dedication and planning, one can crack the exam with a good rank.

With study material flooding on internet every day and plenty of books for each subject which path should the aspirants choose? The choice of book depends on various factors like expertise in subjects, knowledge on different subject matter, previous studies, etc. By complying all those factors, we suggest books best for all the aspirants equally. Let’s focus on books on the basis of subject/syllabus.

UPSC Prelims


                                            Best Books

History of India and Indian national movement

Ancient History

  • Ancient India – NCERT class VI
  • RS Sharma – NCERT Class XI

Medieval History

History of Medieval India by Satish Chandra (NCERT)

Modern History

NCERT Bipin Chandra – Class XII

Art and Culture

  • CCRT Website
  • Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania

Indian and World Geography

Indian Geography

  • Geography of India by Majid Husain
  • NCERT – Class VI to X

World Geography

  • World Atlas
  • World Geography by Majid Husain
  • Fundamentals of Human Geography (Class IV NCERT)
  • Certificate Physical Geography – G C Leong

Indian Polity and Governance

  • Indian Polity by Laxmikanth
  • NCERT 4 books – Class XI to XII
  • Constitution handbook by PM Bakshi

Economic and Social Development

  • Budget Speech and other related material
  • Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh
  • Indian People and Economics – NCERT
  • Economic Survey

General Science and Technology

  • Current affairs
  • ISRO website
  • NCERT for Science – class VII to XII

Environment and Ecology

  • Our Environment – Class VII NCERT
  • Natural Hazards – Class XI NCERT
  • Daily update and events on climate change


  • CSAT II – Arihant
  • Tata McGraw Hill CSAT Manual
  • Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning by RS Aggarwal

The above suggested books are perfect for Pre and Mains both. UPSC aspirant chooses to study for mains along with Prelims as there is not much gap to prepare for Mains once the Pre exam are over. Sharing below the details of UPSC pre and mains exams for your preparation.

Preliminary Examination: The general examination paper consists of MCQ’s of 200 marks in total. Apart from this, the CSAT examination marks are not considered in final marks. CSAT is a qualifying exam only.

Mains Examination: There are total 4 GS (General Studies) papers and two papers are on optional subjects.

GS Paper 1: History, Indian Heritage and Culture & Geography

GS Paper 2: Polity & International relation

GS Paper 3: Economy

GS Paper 4: Ethics

Apart from these books, we would suggest all the students to stay updated with the current affairs, important events and government schemes as they are important to crack UPSC. The Hindu and PIB plays a very curial role in preparation as most of the questions from Pre and Mains exam are directly or indirectly related to current affairs.

For more details like exam format and eligibility criteria visit   

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