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The Civil Services Examination is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) every year in order to recruit candidates for various civil services post like IAS, IPS and IFS among others.
It is considered to be one of the toughest exams of India. And thus this examination needs its aspirants to prepare for it with a lot of hard work and proper planning.
The exam is conducted in three stages namely Prelims, Mains and Personality test/ interview.
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Since the syllabus for this examination is very vast, you need to collect all the study material and some good practice materials in order to gain all the required knowledge and practice for the examination.
First you need to make your basics strong and then some practice questions to apply your basic understanding and make your fundamentals strong.
If you have joined a coaching institute for your preparations, then they will provide you with their own study material and you will just need some reference books to practice the things taught there.
But in case, you are self-preparing for the civil services examination, you will need all the material in order to start with the basics as well and then comes the need for the reference books.
For practice and revision, you also need some practice sets, previous year question papers and mock tests with you after all the studying.
And mock tests are considered a must as they give you exam like practice questions and also help in building your confidence about your preparations.
There are Thousands of books which are available for IAS Exam, but most of them are not accurate or not containing the exact Content which UPSC need. UPSC Aspirants get confused with hundreds of books available for various topics.
It is very important to read the relevant books for IAS Exam. By choosing right relevant books, the aspirants can save their precious time during the preparation and they can score maximum as well.
Here, we are going to discuss about some best books referred by the UPSC aspirants that have helped them immensely during IAS preparation and to score maximum in every stage of IAS Exam.
Best books for UPSC prelims examination
Prelims exam is the first stage of the coveted UPSC examination and it has two papers namely General Studies Paper I and General Studies (CSAT) Paper II.
The best books for the preliminary exams subject wise are:
1.Ancient History: ‘Ancient India’ by RS Sharma (Old NCERT) has good coverage of UPSC Prelims syllabus and you will find a number of questions that has been directly asked from this book.-Buy Ancient India’ by RS Sharma Online
Medieval History: History of Medieval India by Satish Chandra (Old NCERT) is more relevant in this section because it has good coverage of topics of Medieval History of India.-Buy History of Medieval India by Satish Chandra Book Online
Modern History: ‘A Brief History of Modern India’ by Spectrum as well as ‘Concise History of Modern India’ by Sujata Menon has good coverage of the Modern History syllabus for IAS Prelims Exam.
Indian Culture: For this section, the aspirant should go through the book ‘Facets of Indian Culture’ by Spectrum and also through the website of ‘Centre for Cultural Resources and Training’. ‘The Wonder That was India’ written by A.L. Bhasham can also be referred for this subject.-Buy ‘Facets of Indian Culture’ by Spectrum online
You can also refer to books by Bipan Chandra named as ‘India’s Struggle for Independence’ and ‘History of Modern India’.
Old NCERT books are most preferred for the preparation of Indian Geography. For Physical Geography Goh Cheng Leong’s ‘Certificate Physical and Human Geography’ is mostly referred.
Aspirants must also go through the Oxford School Atlas while studying physical geography.
‘Indian and World Geography for Civil Services’ by D.R.Khullar and ‘Geography of India’ by Majid Hussain can also be referred for this subject preparation.
Polity and Economy
Indian Polity 5th Edition by M. Laxmikanth. (Buy Online)
Indian Economy 8th Edition by Ramesh Singh. (Buy Online)
Economic Survey issued by Government of India Ministry of Finance.
Environmental Studies from Crisis to Cure 2nd Edition by R.Rajagoplan.(Buy Online)
Efforts Towards Green India- Environment and Ecology by Arihant Experts.(Buy Online)
Science and Technology
Science and Technology in India by Ashok Singh.(Buy Online)
General Studies: Paper I by Arihant (CSAT – Paper 1).(Buy Online)
General Studies: Paper II by Arihant (CSAT – Paper 2).(Buy Online)
Analytical Reasoning by M. K. Pandey (CSAT – Paper 2: Analytical Reasoning).(Buy Online)
Verbal and Non- Verbal Reasoning by R.S.Aggarwal (CSAT Paper 2: Reasoning). K. Pandey.(Buy Online)
Best Books for UPSC Mains Exam
Essay books for UPSC
Essay writing is a very important part of the UPSC Mains Syllabus, for Paper 1. Here the candidates may be required to write an essay on any specific topic. This paper can be written in the medium or language of the candidate’s choice.
Best books available in the market to prepare for Essay are:
Contemporary Essays by Ramesh Singh.(Buy Online)
151 Essays for UPSC Mains. (Buy Online)
A Compendium of Essays. (Buy Online)
General Studies Paper 1
The syllabus for UPSC mains general studies paper 1 is vast and it requires great preparation. Proper strategy is needed for this. Selection of best books for mains general studies paper 1 plays a key role in good preparation. Conceptual clarity on every topic of the syllabus is required.
Indian Heritage and Culture, History
The Wonder That Was India – A.L. Basham. (Buy this book)
India’s Ancient Past – R.S. Sharma. (Buy Online)
Indian Art and Culture – Nitin Singhania. (Buy Online)
History of Modern India – Bipan Chandra. (Buy)
India’s Struggle for Independence – Bipan Chandra. (Buy)
Oxford School Atlas – Oxford. (Buy online)
Facets of Indian Culture- Spectrum (Buy Online)
A New Look at Modern Indian History- BL Grover. (Buy online)
India Since Independence- Bipin Chandra. (Buy Online)
A History of Modern World- Ranjan Chakravarti. (Buy online)
History of Modern World by Jain and Mathur (World History – GS1).(Buy online)
Geography of the World and Society
Geography of India – Majid Husain. (Buy online)
Oxford School Atlas – Oxford. (Buy online)
Certificate Physical and Human Geography – Goh Cheng Leong. (Buy online)
Physical geography- Savinder Singh. (Buy online)
Geography of INDIA –by D.r Khullar. (Buy online)
The social problem of India- by Ram Ahuja (Buy Online)
General Studies Paper 2
This paper includes topics like Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations. It is very important to have the basic and current knowledge about all these subjects and topics. The best books for these are:
Indian Polity by Laxmikant- (Buy online)
DD Basu’s Constitution of India-(Buy online)
The Constitution of India by P. M. Bakshi-(Buy Online)
Old NCERT books for Indian Polity-(Buy online)
Newspaper & Magazines For Latest Updates
Yojana by Publication Division
Public Administration related
2nd ARC Report on Ethics in Governance, Corruption, Security – Internal & External
Yojana by Publication Division
Governance in India for CSE.(Buy Online)
India’s Foreign Policy by V N Khanna.(Buy Online)
International by Rajiv Sikri.(Buy Online)
The Hindu, Indian Express newspapers.
India and the World by Surendra Kumar.(Buy Online)
Pax Indica by Shashi Tharoor.(Buy online)
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Best books for upsc General Studies Paper 3
Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management are the subjects that are included under this paper. The books that are best for preparation of this paper are:
Economy books for UPSC
NCERTs – 11th & 12th
Indian economy by Ramesh Singh.(Buy Online)
Indian Economy of Pratiyogita Darpan.(Buy Online)
Science & Technology books for UPSC
Ministry of S & T Website
Department of Space Website
Security Issues Books for UPSC
Magazine – Frontline, Yojana Selected Articles
Home Ministry Website
India’s National Security: A Reader.(Buy Online)
Challenges to Internal Security of India.(Buy Online)
Disaster Management BOOKS
Yojana Special Issue by Publication Division
Ecology & Environment
Ecology & Environmental by P.D.Sharma.(Buy online)
Chronicle Special Issue by Chronicle magazine.
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General Studies Paper 4
This paper is all about the Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude. Candidates should have knowledge about these societal norms and behavior in order to work for the society and help it. The best books to gain knowledge and understanding about these are:
1. ARC Reports
Ethics, integrity and aptitude by lexicon publications.(Buy online)
Ethics, integrity and aptitude by G.Subbarao.(Buy online)
Lexicon by Chronicle.(Buy online)
The Arihant Publications also release its books for every subject of UPSC examination and they cover the complete syllabus. These books are recommended by many toppers as one stop for every topic and easy to understand language in it.
Best UPSC Books for Interview
The objective of the interview is to assess the personal suitability of the candidate for a career in the civil services by a board of competent and unbiased observers.
The interview is more of purposive conversation intended to explore the mental qualities and analytical ability of the candidate.
To prepare for interview/ personality test one can go through some videos available online or can consult some expert from coaching institute or online websites. You can also refer to some books such as:
Interviews The Last Basic Tips On facing Civil Services Personality Test(Interview Basics).(Buy online)
What…? When…? How…? Answers to All Questions About Civil Services(Interview) (Interview Questions).(Buy online)
CIVIL SERVICES INTERVIEW: HOW TO EXCEL (How to face Interview).(Buy online)
For interview you must have good communication skills and confident personality. In order to build good communication skills you should read newspapers, magazines and novels on regular basis as it helps in increasing your vocabulary.
You also need to sum up the knowledge for the interview session and it requires revision of your Mains notes and to keep yourself up to date with current affairs topics.
You should also be prepared to answer questions on your background, hobbies and extracurricular activities.
Previous Years Question papers are the most genuine source of information for both prelims and main examination. Solving previous years question paper will help you to understand the pattern and enhance your revision for the examination.
Once you revise the previous years’ question papers, you will get to know about the mode and the mixture of easy and complex questions and master the knack of balancing to maximize scores which eventually matter.
You don’t need to go through the question papers of last 10-20 years instead just take the paper, solely since the syllabus and format of the examination has modified otherwise you may find yourself wasting an excessive amount of time.
Self-assessment is an essential part of UPSC preparation. It can help civil service aspirants in realizing and learning from their mistakes, shaping what approach they need to be followed in continuing the preparation for the examination and identifying their strengths and weaknesses.
It is highly recommended for the candidates to join mock test series especially if you are preparing from home. This will help you to assess yourself and help you further.
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UPSC demands a daily revision. Daily morning you should go through your short notes which you have prepared already during your preparation. If you have studied sincerely, you would not need more than fifteen minutes to go through your notes.
The very last month of the exam is not an ideal time to aggregate more data. During revision, if you come across something which you do not remember, simply push yourself forward and don’t get panicked.
The regular revision will help in retaining your memory power.
Some tips for UPSC preparation
One needs to be well motivated and confident about his/ her own abilities because only if one believes in them can they put in 100% efforts.
One should also regularly follow one national newspaper and magazines to keep them updated of the latest happenings in and around the world.
The candidates should be dedicated enough for the examination because it may require more than 1 attempt to crack the UPSC exam.
It is advisable for the candidates to have discussions with fellow candidates on various topics from the syllabus. These discussions will help you to retain more.
Though you are putting in your 100% you should also learn the technique of Time Management. All the questions need to be done in a given amount of time.
It is advisable for the candidates to choose the subjects which they are studying or they have already studied. This will help you to do well since you already know about the subject and only a little more effort and revision will be needed to score good marks in it.
The syllabus should be studied well and the topics should be taken up one by one and should be prepared in great detail with basic understanding.
The candidates should also be well aware of the pattern of the UPSC examination which is a three stage examination and then direct their efforts accordingly.
To crack country’s toughest examination you need not be intelligent and studious. Throughout the examination process UPSC examines the general knowledge, common sense, aptitude, ethics and communication skills of the candidates.
If you are ready to mold yourself with a proper guidance, you can crack the exam easily with hard work.
A candidate’s plan need not to be monumental but should be cogent enough to set him apart from the other aspirants. Unarguably, UPSC preparation is a lengthy process.
But the moment you start enjoying your preparation, all the unwarranted stress and anxiety associated with the preparation will vanish.
Civil services examination aspirants tend to give up their hobbies, but pursuing your hobbies side by side will make your preparation more fun.
Just keep up the hard work and will succeed in achieving your dream. We hope this information will help you in your preparations and better results.
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