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UPSC Preparation Books – Best Books for IAS Prelims and Mains

Check here: UPSC Result 2023

UPSC Exam 2024: The UPSC has announced the exam dates for 2024. The UPSC Prelims for 2024 are set for May 26, and the UPSC Mains is scheduled for September 20.

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When preparing for UPSC CSE, it is crucial to refer to the right study material. Although many books and study materials are available online and offline, aspirants must research to shortlist the study materials that will help them ace their preparation. It is recommended that UPSC aspirants start their preparation with NCERT books and move to the standard reference books later. The choice of reference book will depend on the subject-matter knowledge of the candidate and their previous expertise in the exam.

Table of Contents
  1. UPSC Preparation Books – Best Books For IAS Prelims
  2. UPSC Preparation Book List – Best Books For IAS Mains
  3. UPSC Books For Optional Subjects
  4. Highlights of UPSC Notes 2.0 by Unacademy

UPSC Preparation Books – Best Books For IAS Prelims

Download Free Sample There  are 2 papers in the Prelims for General Studies Paper – I and CSAT & both are of objective type with negative marking. Here are the best IAS Prelims Best Books given below – 
Subject UPSC Books List
History
  • NCERT 11th Ancient and Medieval
  • NCERT 12th Modern Indian History
  • Indian Art & Culture by Nitin Singhania
  • India’s Struggle for Independence – Bipan Chandra
Geography
  • NCERT VI-X Old Syllabus
  • NCERT XI, XII New Syllabus
  • World Atlas (Orient Black Swan)
  • Certificate Physical Geography – G C Leong
Indian Polity
  • NCERT IX-XII
  • Indian Polity – M Laxmikanth
  • NCERT XI
  • Economic Development & Policies in India – Jain & Ohri
Economics
  • Indian Economy by Nitin Singhania
International Relations
  • Current Affairs
  • NCERT XII (Contemporary World Politics)
CSAT
  • Tata McGraw Hill CSAT Manual
  • Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning by R S Aggarwal
Solved Papers
  • IAS General Studies Prelims Solved Papers by Vishal Publications

UPSC Preparation Book List – Best Books For IAS Mains

List of UPSC Books The candidates who qualify for the UPSC prelims examination will be eligible for the IAS Mains examination. There are 9 theory papers out of which 2 papers are optional. The candidates can follow the given book details for the preparation of the UPSC Preparation 2023 –  Here, we have mentioned the best general studies books for the UPSC Mains 2023 – 
Subject UPSC Books
History, Indian Heritage & Culture [GS Paper 1]
  • Ancient India by RS Sharma
  • India after Independence by Bipan Chandra
  • History of Medieval India by Satish Chandra
  • Indian Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania
  • India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipan Chandra
Geography [GS Paper 1]
  • Geography of India by Majid Husain
  • World Atlas (Orient Black Swan)
  • Certificate Physical and Human Geography by G C Leong
  • World Geography by Majid Husain
  • Fundamentals of Physical Geography NCERT Class 11
Polity & International Relations [GS Paper 2]
  • Introduction to the Constitution of India by DD Basu
  • Indian Polity by M. Laxmikanth
  • International Relations: Pushpesh Pant
Economy [GS Paper 3]
  • Environment and Disaster Management by Tata McGraw Hill
  • Indian Economy – Nitin Singhania
  • Challenges to Internal Security of India by Ashok Kumar
Ethics [GS Paper 4]
  • Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude for Civil Services Main Examination by Subba Rao and P.N. Roy Chaudary
Solved Papers
  • IAS General Studies Prelims Solved Papers – Vishal Publications

UPSC Book List For Optional Subjects 

Agriculture
  • Agronomy By Yellamananda Reddy
  • Soil Science – D.K Das Or Brady
  • Genetics By B.D.Singh
  • Entomology – Vasantha Raj & David
  • Special Issue of Agriculture by The Hindu
Anthropology
  • N. Hasnain: Tribal India
  • Herskovits: Cultural Anthropology
  • Surender Nath: Forensic Anthropology
  • Herskovits: Cultural Anthropology
  • Stein & Rowe: An Introduction to Physical Anthropology
Botany
  •   Taxonomy: Nair along with Datta
  • Embryology: Bhojwani and Bhatnagar
  • Physiology and Biochemistry: Salisbury and Ross or Fritz and Noggle
  • Economic Botany: Kochar or Verma
Chemistry
  • Theoretical principles of inorganic chemistry – G.S. Manku,
  • Extradiction of metals, Principle of inorganic chemistry – Puri, Sharma, Jauhar.
  • Advance physical chemistry – Gurdeep Raj
  • A guide to mechanism in organic chemistry – Peter Sykes
Economics
  • International Economics – Bo Soderston
  • National Income Accounting – Bakerman
  • Banking – S.B. Gupta
  • International Trade – Bo Soderston
History
  • History of Modern India – Shekhar Bandopadhyaya/Bipan Chandra
  • India’s Ancient Past – R.S. Sharma
  • The Wonder That Was India – A.L. Basham
  • Ashoka and the Decline of the Mauryas – Romila Thapar
  • India’s Struggle For Independence – Bipan Chandra and Others
Management
  • Financial: Pandey/Chandra/Khan & Jain/Bearley
  • Economics: Any good economics book
  • Operations: Adams/Taha
  • Organisational Design: Khandwala; Madhukar Shukla
Mathematics
  • Ordinary Differential EQs:- MD Raising Lumina, Golden series-NP Bali
  • Real Analysis – Shantinarayan, Royden
  • Linear Programming – SD Sharma
  • Solid Mechanism – Kazmioo
Electrical Engineering
  • Modern Central Engineering – Ogata
  • Electromagnetic Waives and Field – R.N. Singh
  • Surveying and Levelling – T P Kanetakar
  • Heat Conversion – Arora & Kundwar
Urdu
  • Urdu Shairi ka Tauqidi Mutala – Suenbul Nigar
  •  Urdu Nasr ka Tauqidi Mutala – Suenbul Nigar
  • Urdu Adab Ki Tarikh – Noorul Hasan Naqvi
Psychology
  • Psychology Robert A Baron
  • Social Psychology Baron & Byrne
  • The Psychology of Small Groups Shaw
Also See-
UPSC Question Paper 2022 UPSC Question Paper 2020

The Value of UPSC Preparation Books

UPSC preparation books can be very valuable for individuals preparing for the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) exams in India. These exams are highly competitive and are used to select candidates for various government jobs, including those in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), and Indian Foreign Service (IFS). Preparation books can help individuals understand the exam format and content, as well as provide practice questions and study materials to help them prepare for the exams. It’s important to note that while UPSC preparation books can be a helpful resource for studying, they should not be the only source of information and practice materials used. It’s also recommended to use a variety of other resources, such as online study guides, practice tests, and coaching classes, to ensure a well-rounded and comprehensive preparation for the UPSC exams.

Highlights of UPSC Notes 2.0 by Unacademy

  • Integration of UPSC PYQs
    • All the UPSC Questions asked in the Mains Examination from 2013-2020 are integrated into Notes 2.0. Learning PYQs will help learners understand the demand of exams.
    • Also, UPSC has a tendency to repeat a few questions. For example, UPSC has repeatedly asked questions about the difference between Indian and Western Secularism, similarly, questions on issues related to Urban Flooding have been asked repeatedly. Learning PYQs will help in addressing such answers.
Previous Years’ Question (PYQs) in Notes 2.0:
PYQs
  • Mindmaps and Timelines: High-yield information has been compressed in the form of tables, flowcharts, bullet points and timelines, these things will help one memorise and recall the information in an easier way. This will be particularly useful for revision. Rather than revising entire chapter, learners can revise a page.
Timelines timeline Mindmaps mindmap
  • Comprehensive coverage of each and every topic:
    • Contemporary issues are comprehensively covered in Notes – For example, the Taliban takeover over Afghanistan, Supreme Court on Internet Suspension, Quota within SC Quota for deprived Scheduled Castes, and debates around Indian secularism are covered.
    • Critical opinion topics are covered in Notes – The majority of questions asked in the UPSC Mains examination are opinion-based, we have tried to inculcate the same in Notes 2.0. For example, topics like – Why did Congress accept the partition of India? Could the partition of India be avoided? has been covered in Notes 2.0.
Supreme Court on Internet Suspension
  • Wisdom Nuggets: Notes 2.0 is also embedded with wisdom nuggets. For example, Did the British give India Political Unity?
Other Features:
  1. Thin and crispy books so that working professionals can easily finish small topics like Disaster Management, Post-Independence and World history. Books are easy to read and revise
  2. As contemporary issues, theory, critical opinion-based issues and PYQs are covered in Notes 2.0, it saves learners time and money to buy individual books
  3. Good quality paper quality and binding, even if a learner highlights using pen or highlighter it wouldn’t spoil the pages.

Unacademy, India’s leading learning platform, also offers study material online to help candidates boost their UPSC exam preparation. Check out the website to access our world-class study material for UPSC curated by the Top Educators of Unacademy.

Also read

Significance of Quality IAS Study Materials

The importance of good IAS books in civil services exam preparation can’t be overstated. Here are five key points highlighting their significance:

  1. Comprehensive Coverage: Good IAS books offer comprehensive coverage of the vast syllabus, ensuring that aspirants are well-prepared for all the topics and subjects included in the examination.
  2. Concept Clarity: They help in building a strong foundation by explaining complex concepts in a clear and concise manner, making it easier for candidates to grasp and retain information.
  3. Relevance to Exam: The right IAS books are tailored to the specific requirements of the UPSC exam, providing content that is directly relevant to the questions and topics that appear in the test.
  4. Practice and Revision: Many IAS books include practice questions, previous years’ papers, and revision notes, enabling candidates to test their knowledge and revise effectively.
  5. Time Efficiency: Using recommended IAS books can save aspirants time by guiding them towards the most important and pertinent study materials, preventing them from getting lost in the sea of information.

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UPSC Preparation Books - FAQs

Get the details about the best books for UPSC prelims and mains preparation.

Which optional syllabus is very most miniature for the UPSC?

Philosophy has the minimum syllabus out of all other subjects for the UPSC optional subjects. This can be one of the...Read full

Which one is best Geography or Sociology?

These are one of the best UPSC optional subjects. They both have a huge overlap with the GS syllabus, this study mat...Read full

How many subjects are there in the UPSC optional subject list?

According to the official syllabus, there are 48 subjects in the optional list. The candidates can choose one subjec...Read full

What are UPSC preparation books, and why are they crucial for UPSC aspirants?

UPSC preparation books are study materials specifically designed to cover the vast syllabus of the UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) examinati...Read full

Is NCERT Sufficient for IAS Preparation?

NCERT textbooks serve as the foundational materials for UPSC preparation. However, they are most effective when used alongside supplementary refere...Read full

Which is the best Economy Book for UPSC?

Nitin Singhania’s “Indian Economy” is widely regarded as one of the top choices for UPSC Economy preparation.

Which is the best book for Indian Polity?

M. Laxmikanth’s “Indian Polity” is recognized as the premier choice for UPSC aspirants when it comes to studying Indian Polity....Read full