Civil Services Examination
Civil Services Examination
Exam Date On20th - 29th Sep 2024

UPSC Books: Best Books for UPSC Prelims & Mains

IAS books are the first source of preparation for candidates who are wishing to appear for the UPSC examination. Candidates must refer to NCERTs and standard books recommended by experts & past toppers.


UPSC IAS Books is an important discussion when it comes to preparing for the UPSC syllabus. Candidates preparing for the IAS exams are sometimes perplexed as to which books must be studied and which must be avoided. Candidates frequently inquire if they should study NCERT textbooks or directly refer to books authored by established writers. This page contains a list of all key books for UPSC preparation.

Candidates must make a note of the fact that UPSC books for prelims and mains examinations for subjects such as Indian Polity, History of India & World, Indian Geography, Indian Economy, and a few others are majorly same, and hence candidates should adhere to them while studying for the whole syllabus.

For UPSC IAS preparation, there is a plethora of study material available both online and offline. Candidates must assemble their offline and online study materials on the suggestion of their teachers, mentors, and exam toppers.

We have developed a list of all the books required for UPSC exam preparation. Aspiring candidates might read the relevant books listed below.

UPSC Books: Best Books for IAS Prelims

It is recommended that all IAS applicants begin with NCERT texts from Class 6 to Class 12. UPSC candidates should purchase at least one standard book for each subject and then broaden their reading by referencing other additional books. Candidates can check below to learn more about important books.

UPSC Books for History

  • India’s Struggle for Independence – Bipan Chandra
  • Indian Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania
  • NCERT XI (Ancient & Medieval)
  • NCERT XII (Modern Indian History)

UPSC Books for Indian Polity & Constitution

  • Indian Polity – by M. Laxmikanth
  • Important Acts that Transformed India by Alex Andrews George
  • Important Judgments that Transformed India – by Alex Andrews George

UPSC Books for Geography

  • Certificate Physical Geography by G C Leong
  • NCERT VI – X (Old Syllabus)
  • NCERT XI, XII (New Syllabus)
  • World Atlas (Orient Black Swan)

UPSC Books for Economics

  • Indian Economy by Nitin Singhania
  • Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh
  • Indian Economy Key Concepts authored by Sankarganesh Karuppiah
  • Economic Development & Policies in India authored by Jain & Ohri

UPSC Books for International Relations

  • NCERT XII (Contemporary World Politics)
  • Current Affairs

UPSC Books for Environment - Ecology, Biodiversity & Climate Change

  • Environment – by Shankar IAS
  • Environment – by PMF IAS

UPSC Books for Science & Technology

  • Science and Technology authored by Neeraj Nachiketa.
  • Science & Technology For Civil Services Exams by Ravi P Agrahari.
  • General Science For Civil Services Preliminary Examinations authored by S.A.Majid.

UPSC Books for CSAT

  • Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning authored by R S Aggarwal
  • Tata McGraw Hill CSAT Manual

UPSC Books for Current Affairs

  • Daily Newspaper Reading (Make Notes Regularly)
  • India 2022 Yearbook – by Rajiv Mehrishi
  • Online Daily Current Affairs Videos to understand the background of the news and related aspects.

UPSC Books: Best Books for IAS Mains

Following the preliminary examination, the UPSC Prelims result is published in the form of a PDF document that includes the roll number of the shortlisted applicants. Only candidates having their roll numbers in the merit list are called for UPSC Mains exam. Candidates can check below the list of books needed for the UPSC Mains examination:

UPSC Books for GS Paper I (Geography)

  • Certificate Physical and Human Geography authored by G C Leong
  • Fundamentals of Physical Geography NCERT Class 11
  • Geography of India by Majid Husain
  • World Geography by Majid Husain
  • World Atlas (Orient Black Swan)

UPSC Books for GS Paper I (History, Indian Heritage & Culture)

  • Ancient India by R.S Sharma
  • India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipan Chandra
  • India after Independence by Bipan Chandra
  • History of Medieval India by Satish Chandra
  • Indian Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania

UPSC Books for World History (GS Paper I)

  • World History – by Krishna Reddy
  • History of the World – by Arjun Dev

UPSC Books for Indian Society (GS Paper I)

  • Indian Society: Themes and Social Issues by Nadeem Hasnain
  • Indian Society – by M Senthil Kumar

UPSC Books for GS Paper II

  • Indian Polity by M. Laxmikanth
  • Introduction to the Constitution of India authored by DD Basu
  • International Relations: Pushpesh Pant

UPSC Books for GS Paper III

  • Indian Economy – Nitin Singhania
  • Environment and Disaster Management by Tata McGraw Hill
  • Challenges to Internal Security of India by Ashok Kumar

UPSC Books for Ethics (GS IV)

  • Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude for Civil Services Main Examination by Subba Rao and P.N. Roy Chaudary

UPSC Study Material

Aside from NCERT and reference books, the UPSC study material includes certain external sources. Candidates should read the essential study material in order to be able to answer the key questions asked in the UPSC examination. Here is a list of the study materials that candidates must refer while their preparation:


  • Economic Survey (Latest)
  • Budget (Latest)
  • Finance Commission Report (Latest)
  • Current Affairs (The Hindu Newspaper, Yojana Magazine, PIB Reports)
  • Annual reports by central ministries
  • NITI Aayog Reports
  • 2nd ARC Report

UPSC Online Study Material

UPSC online study material can be easily found on multiple websites related to UPSC. The UPSC online preparation can be easily done by the candidate provided they have arranged all the necessary study material. Candidates can download NCERT e-books and other reference books and magazines on their laptop to study them thoroughly. However, it is suggested

that candidates make notes simultaneously of important topics relevant to the exam.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Which is the best UPSC book for Economics?

Candidates can refer to the Indian Economy book by Nitin Singhania for studying economics. Candidates should also read Budget, Economic Survey, and Niti Aayog reports to answer in-depth questions in GS Paper II.

Is NCERT enough for UPSC IAS Preparation?

NCERT is an important part of the UPSC IAS preparation, however, it is not enough. Candidates, besides considering NCERT, must also refer to the standard books for all subjects.

From where to study Art & Culture for UPSC?

Nitin Singhania's Indian Art & Culture is a must read for candidates preparing for Indian Culture for UPSC.

From where can I get free UPSC study material?

As free study material, candidates may access daily current events PDFs, NCERTs, and a few more books online. However, not all books are available online, so candidates must purchase them in the market.

Which is the best book for preparing Indian Polity?

The fundamental book that UPSC candidates must study for Indian Polity is M. Laxmikant. The book is sufficient for understanding static facts on the Indian Constitution. However, for in-depth understanding necessary in the GS Paper II, applicants must correlate the book with current events.