The internet is flooded with best books options for IAS preparation over the internet. There are numerous opinions and recommendations by Ex-toppers and professionals regarding the choice of books. In fact every web portal has their own set of favorite books for IAS preparation.
But one thing stays the same which is, you have to study from NCERT and standard books. Most of the aspirants get confused when they are greeted with the enormous syllabus of UPSC prelims as well as Mains examination. Most of them complained that they have the study material but they do not know the strategy on how to study and how much to study.
Most of the aspirants either don’t go in depth or end up in studying irrelevant topics which is sheer waste of time and energy. If you are preparing for UPSC, you can’t afford to waste even a second!
This article will answer all your queries regarding what to read and how to read books for IAS preparation. We will also be sharing some helpful books which will aid in your preparation of IAS Prelims and mains.
Before moving on to how to read, you must know what is to be read. As per the latest schedule of UPSC examination 2020, the pattern is same as of before i.e. Prelims, Mains and Personal interview. The detailed syllabus is available over the UPSC official website.
The syllabus is vast as it covers all your needs with two way preparation, one for your prelims which comprises of objective type answers and other is for Mains which require subjective preparation. You need to study really well as you have to clear all the nine papers of the mains exam with good marks for a great merit score.
Well UPSC is a big plate which requires extensive readings to prepare for the essays and descriptive type answers. Your approach should be to focus on the syllabus for each subject.
Rather than covering the entire subject in one single go, figure out the core areas of that subject and study them deeply. This can be achieved by looking at previous year’s question papers which will give a deep insight into the pattern and preparation level.
Best Books for UPSC IAS Exam Preparation – Must Buy
- History Of Modern India – Bipan Chandra. (History)
- India’s Struggle For Independence – Bipan Chandra. (History)
- India’s Ancient Past – R.S. Sharma. (History)
- History Of Medieval India – Satish Chandra. (History)
- The Wonder That Was India – A.L. Bhasham. (Culture)
- Indian Art and Culture – Nitin Singhania. (Culture)
- Geography of India – Majid Husain. (Geography)
- Oxford School Atlas – Oxford. (Geography)
- Certificate Physical and Human Geography – Goh Cheng Leong. (Geography)
- Indian Polity for Civil Services Examinations – M. Laxmikanth. (Polity)
- Indian Economy – Ramesh Singh. (Economy)
- Economic Survey. (Economy)
- Science and Technology in India – MHE. (Science and Technology)
- Environmental Studies: From Crisis to Cure – Rajagopalan. (Environment)
- Environment for Civil Services Prelims and Mains – Khuller. (Environment)
- India Year Book (Current Affairs) – 2018 Edition
- Manorama Yearbook. (Current Affairs) – 2018 Edition
- CSAT Paper – 2 Manual by MHE or CSAT-II by Arihant (CSAT – Paper 2)
- Analytical Reasoning – M. K. Pandey (CSAT – Paper 2: Analytical Reasoning)
- Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning – R. S.Aggarwal (CSAT Paper 2: Reasoning)
- Pax Indica – Shashi Tharoor. (Foreign Policy – GS2)
How to read books for UPSC IAS?
Reading the books is the most important and difficult part. The study material is easily available over internet and in the market but the key to success is the how effectively you read the books.
Keep one thing clear in your mind that study only from two books for each subject is your NCERT text book and other, only one standard book. Studying from too many books may confuse you. So it is recommended by stay wise and selective on your study material.
First, take a printout of the syllabus and paste it in your closet. Learn the syllabus by heart. Now pick one unit from the syllabus and resource the study material and books as per the requirement. Don’t forget to make notes. Read NCERTs first and then start over with a standard book. Start practising to develop a deep understanding of the subject.
Try to involve yourself on purposeful reading rather than a superficial one. When you read a topic, make sure you know everything related to that topic and try to relate it to current scenario. It will certainly help you in your essay writing and other descriptive answers. Make sure that by the end of the topic you are ready to answer all the possible questions from that topic or unit.
What to read in books for IAS?
As already mentioned, you need to be selective in your study material. Remember one thing that you are not doing research or something like that, you are actually reading to collect data and references for your answer formation in UPSC exam.
So, when you read, make a list of all important points and write them in bullets in a separate notebook which you have specifically made to write notes. Write all the synopsis in chronological order. Writing them in an irregular fashion will do nothing except to confuse you.
Before starting a new topic, just go through the questions from the previous year’s papers from this topic. This will help you to have an idea over how question are framed and how effectively you have to study the part.
Once you have developed this approach, now you will be able to read logically and connect all the points. This will help you in constructing a most suitable and most probable answer focusing over you points.
You have to give time to procure the right study material. Once the right resource has been procured, your time and energy is saved a lot can can be channelised purposefully. This will aid in best note preparation strategy. You need to adopt a habit of reading effectively before you actually start preparing for Civil Service Examination.
In fact a good approach to reading can certainly help you retain the main points of the topic and also help building a firm grip over the topic. All this will make you more confident about the subject which will ultimately be reflected in your scores.
The Books can be categorised into two sections
- NCERT Textbooks and solutions
- Standard Books
NCERT textbooks are like holy bible for the aspirants. There is no alternative to NCERT books. Almost all the IAS toppers have said that NCERT plays a crucial role in their preparation.
NCERTs are recommended by everyone but did ever wonder to know why NCERTs are so much important. Let’s have a look at the reasons.
Despite being concise, NCERT covers a major chunk of UPSC exam syllabus. NCERT are just best to kick start the exam preparation.
- Simple Language
The Language used in NCERT textbooks is very simple which can be understood by everyone. As these books are designed to serve the students of every IQ, makes it perfect to be followed.
- Well Explained Concepts
You may think that NCERT may not have sufficient material go study in depth. But dear friends, NCERT have the necessary analogies and illustration which are very important for your concept building. You will not find this type of explanation in another standard book.
Rather most of the standard books cover in depth knowledge without focusing over the concepts and the basic logic. Once you have completed your NCERT, you can confidently move ahead with standard books.
- Renowned Authors
The authors responsible for preparing the content are renowned and reputed dignitaries in their own fields of study.
- Available for FREE Online
NCERT books are the most affordable ones available in the market. Some of the books are even available below Rs 50. Though they are cheap and affordable, but still buying a whole lot of books from classes 6 to 12 will cost you good amount.
The best way is to get them issued from a library if you want to have them. Or the other best option is to download them online for free. Yes! Many web portals offer the books for free.
After completing with your NCERTs, you can move ahead with the Standard books. To get in-depth knowledge of the subjects, you have to study from the standard books. Do you know, one single mistake in your exam or at preparation level could be a game changer? We have prepared a list of standard books especially for our users.
We understand that it is very difficult to buy each and every book for your preparation. Neither it sounds good nor affordable. So, you can download the book of your choice that too for free and continue with your preparation. The books can be downloaded with just a click of your mouse.
If you want to clear the IAS exam with flying colors you need to study the right standard books. There are many concepts which are just covered superficially in the NCERT books but which requires a deeper level of study.
These standard books help you to achieve a fine tuned level of preparation after which you will be able to answer all the probable questions. Also, studying from standard books will help to broaden your opinions and perceptions.
All the study material provided by UPSC buddy is brought to you by extensive research from our Digital Research Team. All the material is available in PDF format which can easily be viewed over all devices such as laptops, Smartphones, tabs and desktops. The material is in easy to read form with highest of print quality. Most of the websites offer EPUB format which is not supported by many platforms.
UPSCbuddy aims to provide all the study material for free to everyone. We have taken this initiative so that no student in the country is hesitant of applying to UPSC just because he/she cannot afford to get expensive coaching.
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