Home » About UPSC » UPSC CSE study materials

UPSC CSE study materials

The Civil Services Exam is conducted every year by the UPSC to select suitable candidates...

UPSC CSE Subjects

The Civil Services form the backbone of India’s Administrative set-up. The selected candidates join various services and help run the administration in multiple domains of Governance. The Civil Servants don the mantle of being the policy executioners at the lowest level in the districts to the highest level of policy formulation in the Central Secretariat of the Union Government. Admittedly, the aspirants for the Civil Services Exam are expected to have an in-depth knowledge of wide ranging subjects like Economics, International Affairs, Geography, Polity and Governance Systems, Agriculture, Environment including latest developments in the field of Science and Technology. The CSE tests not only the depth of knowledge of the aspirants but also the ability of the candidates to apply the knowledge they possess. These content pages provide the aspirants with all the content relevant from the Preliminary and Mains Exam’s perspective.

Read 47 topics on UPSC CSE study materials for UPSC preparation.
document

UPSC test series & preparation

Get your preparation assessed by taking the tests according to the latest pattern of the Civil Services Examination.

2020: Mains test paper

Boost your preparation by attempting the Mains Test Papers before appearing in the actual exam.

CSE Mains 2020 Essay
CSE Mains 2020 GS I
CSE Mains 2020 GS II
CSE Mains 2020 GS III
CSE Mains 2020 GS IV

Books & Syllabus

Books for UPSC prelims and mains exam... Read full

Books for UPSC Prelims Exam

Polity

  • NCERT books for Indian Polity (Especially “Indian Constitution at work”)
  • Indian Polity by Laxmikanth
  • DD Basu’s Constitution of India
  • The Constitution of India by P. M. Bakshi
  • Unacademy Notes on Polity

Economy

  • Economy NCERTs (Especially XI and XII)
  • Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh
  • Budget and Economic Survey
  • Unacademy Notes on Economy

Ancient History of India

  • Old NCERT by RS Sharma
  • India’s Ancient Past (Crucial for ancient history) R S Sharma
  • Unacademy Notes on Ancient India

Medieval History of India

  • Old NCERT by Satish Chandra
  • History of Medieval India by VD Mahajan
  • Unacademy Notes on Medieval India

Modern History

  • India’s Struggle for Independence – Bipan Chandra
  • A Brief history of Modern India- Spectrum Publications
  • Unacademy Notes on Modern India

Indian Art and Culture

  • Class XI and class XII NCERT (Fine Arts and Heritage)
  • Centre for Cultural Resource and Training (CCRT) material
  • Unacademy Notes on Art and Culture

Environment and Biodiversity

  • ICSE Board Environment books
  • Unacademy Notes on Environment

Science and Technology

  • Science NCERT (Class 6th to 10th)
  • Unacademy Notes on Science and Technology

Geography

  • Fundamentals of Physical Geography (XI NCERT)
  • India: Physical Environment (XI NCERT)
  • Fundamentals of Human Geography (XII NCERT)
  • India: People and Economy (XII NCERT)
  • Certificate Physical and Human Geography: GC Leong
  • Unacademy Notes on Indian Geography, Physical Geography and Human and Economic Geography

Current Affairs

  • The Hindu
  • Indian Express
  • Down to Earth
  • Science Reporter
  • AIR News
  • Unacademy Monthly Articulate and Current Affairs videos

Books for UPSC Mains Exam

Essay

  • Contemporary Essays by Ramesh Singh.
  • 151 Essays for UPSC Mains.
  • A Compendium of Essays.

General Studies Paper I

  • The Wonder That Was India – A.L. Basham.
  • India’s Ancient Past – R.S. Sharma.
  • Indian Art and Culture – Nitin Singhania.
  • History of Modern India – Bipin Chandra.
  • India’s Struggle for Independence – Bipin Chandra.
  • Facets of Indian Culture- Spectrum
  • A New Look at Modern Indian History- BL Grover
  • From Plassey to Partition and After by Sekhar Bandyopadhyay.
  • India Since Independence- Bipin Chandra.
  • Geography of India – Majid Husain.
  • Oxford School Atlas – Oxford.
  • Certificate Physical and Human Geography – Goh Cheng Leong.
  • Physical geography- Savinder Singh.
  • Geography of INDIA –by Dr. Khullar.
  • The Social Problem of India- by Ram Ahuja

General Studies Paper II

  • Indian Polity by Laxmikant
  • Constitution of India: DD Basu
  • The Constitution of India by P. M. Bakshi
  • Governance in India: Laxmikant
  • 2nd ARC Report for Public Administration and Governance
  • India’s Foreign Policy by V N Khanna.
  • International Relations by Rajiv Sikri.
  • India and the World by Surendra Kumar.
  • Pax Indica by Shashi Tharoor.

General Studies Paper III

  • Budget and Economic Survey
  • Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh
  • Ecology & Environmental by P.D. Sharma.
  • Chronicle Special Issue by Chronicle magazine.
  • India’s National Security: A Reader.
  • Challenges to Internal Security of India

General Studies Paper IV

  • ARC Reports
  • Ethics, integrity and aptitude by Lexicon Publications.
  • Ethics, integrity and aptitude by G.Subbarao.
  • Lexicon by Chronicle.
faq

Frequently asked questions

Get answers to the most common queries related to the UPSC Civil Service Examination Preparation.

Q. Which Optional Subject to Choose?

Answer: Choice of optional subject is very crucial step in the preparation of civil service examination. Right selection of optional subject brings major difference in the chances of getting the selection in the mains examination. Now to question is what is right optional... Read full

Q. How important is Role of Online Coaching in Civil Service Preparation?

Answer: Civil Services preparation is based on hard work as well as smart work. Before starting the preparation, every aspirant has this question of whether to join... Read full

Q. Is the General Studies Paper-II of qualifying nature? How much Cut-off Marks prescribed by UPSC for this Paper?

Answer: The General Studies Paper-II is of qualifying nature. The minimum qualifying marks in this Paper according to the Examination Rules is 33% of total marks.

Q. Can a candidate write the Civil Service (Main) Examination in English and take the interview in any other Indian language?

Answer: The candidate has to submit the language medium for the interview at the time of filling up of the Detailed Application Form (DAF). The candidates who opted to write the Civil Services (Main) Examination in English, may choose either English or Hindi or any other Indian Language opted by them for the compulsory Indian Language Paper in the Civil Services (Main) Examination. The candidates will have to choose either English or Hindi as medium of Interview in case they are exempted from the compulsory Indian Language Paper.

Q. What are the Cut-off Marks for the compulsory language Papers?

Answer: According to the UPSC Examination rules the minimum qualifying marks in each of the two Qualifying Papers i.e., English and Indian Languages is at present 25%.

Q. Is the Indian language Paper compulsory for candidates who belong to the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim?

Answer: The Paper A on Indian Language is not compulsory for candidates who belong to the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim. For such candidates the option for Indian Language will automatically be disabled in the Online Application.

Answer:

Choice of optional subject is very crucial step in the preparation of civil service examination. Right selection of optional subject brings major difference in the chances of getting the selection in the mains examination. Now to question is what is right optional for any candidate? This question can be answered by considering the following factors sincerely:

  1. Graduation subject of the candidates:
    Most of the candidates are comfortable and good in the understanding and reproducing their graduation subject, be it engineering subject or any other subject. For these kinds of candidates, this choice of graduation subject becomes fruitful and they are able to score good marks in mains. Candidates have spent lots of time in reading their graduation subjects so it will give them little edge in the examination to deal with difficult and out of the box questions. Now for candidates who are not comfortable with their graduation subjects must consider other factors mentioned below.
  1. Subject of Interest:
    Some of the candidates find interest in reading and understanding some of the subjects. These subjects can be taken as optional subject because for optional subject a student has to spent lots of time thus it is required that the student have some interest in the subject. Without and interest they will not be able to comprehend the concepts with ease and also cannot spend such long time with the subject.
  1. Subject having overlapping syllabus with general studies:
    Most of the optional subjects such as Political Science, Geography, History etc. have syllabus which overlaps with large portion of General Studies syllabus. Candidates can cover the syllabus in less time and they may also find the process less burdensome. Thus candidates should also consider this factor.
  1. Understanding Syllabus:
    Before deciding any subject as optional subject, candidates must go through the syllabus of the respective subject as mentioned in the notification released by UPSC. Students should look for length of the syllabus and also look for the availability of study material and required guidance.   
  1. Analysing Previous Year Questions (PYQs):
    Analysis of the PYQs for the selected options of optional subjects is very necessary. PYQs can be seen as a guide for candidates to understand the kind of questions asked and the to know the level of understanding one must possess to deal with such questions. Hence candidates may know that they will be able to cover the syllabus to the extent that it will be sufficient to fulfil the demand of the type of questions asked, or not.

Hence before selecting any optional candidate must give time to consider all these factors. Optional subject should not be selected in any hurry because any wrong choice can lead to loss of a good attempt. Therefore, careful consideration of optional subject is crucial for scoring good marks in mains and for ultimately getting good rank in Civil Service exam.

Answer:

Civil Services preparation is based on hard work as well as smart work. Before starting the preparation, every aspirant has this question of whether to join any coaching or not. Most of aspirants are confused between online coaching and offline coaching. Let’s first try to decide whether joining any coaching is necessary for civil service preparation or not.

Joining any coaching is not the necessary condition for selection in the examination but coaching institutes provides the required guidance to the aspirants so that they do not waste their time and energy in wrong direction, as already mentioned earlier the examination demands smart work.

It is evident that changing time demands changing approach, same is in the case of civil services preparations through coaching. Time bound changes introduced the online coaching mode, which makes learning more reliable and accessible. Due to the increasing dynamism and complexity in the pattern of questions in the exam, online learning became more important now a days, which is also aided by the conditions created by the pandemic situation.

Now the question is, does online Coaching mode is better than offline coaching mode? the answer will be yes. This yes can be justified through following arguments:

  1. Online classes can be accessed from anywhere and anytime as per the student’s choice, as one only needs internet connection for it and nothing else. People who cannot afford to come to places like New Delhi etc. can also get the desired learning experience. Unacademy is solely working in this direction constantly.
  2. Online mode is cheaper than most of the offline coaching institutes, thus people with weaker financial condition can also afford online learning. As almost all the courses on Unacademy are cheaper than any other online as well as offline coaching.
  3. In case of online mode lectures of faculties can be accessed any time form anywhere and lectures can be watched again and again as per student’s convenience. Similarly, in Unacademy lectures can be watched multiple times and with only one subscription, large amount of top-class content can be made available.
  4. For those who are working professionals distance learning and online education is very convenient. Unacademy is a boon for these kind of candidates as the myth that one has to come to Delhi to prepare for civil services, has been busted by the Unacademy. Now many of the successful students have been the student of programmes of Unacademy.
  5. Uninterrupted learning can be achieved as there is less disturbance in online classes.

The decision to choose right learning platform is very important for getting right content and for getting guidance in right direction. Unacademy presents perfect example of being such institute. Moreover, the issues like lack of good teachers, no direct interaction etc. are being successfully resolved by Unacademy as it provide best faculties available for respective subjects.

Crack UPSC with Unacademy

Get subscription and access unlimited live and recorded courses from India’s best educators

Notifications

Get all the important information related to the UPSC Civil Services Exam including the process of application, important calendar dates, eligibility criteria, exam centers etc.

See all
Access more than

469+ courses for UPSC CSE – Optional 

Get the learning app

Download lessons and learn anytime, anywhere with the Unacademy app