There are many competitive exams in our country. Some are limited to the district level. However, some are limited to the state level. But there are various such exams meant for national-level posts. One such national-level exam is UPSC. These exams are usually divided into steps. Firstly, there are prelims tests to evaluate bright candidates. It selects only the serious aspirants. Hence, the non-serious ones are filtered out. Not everyone who fails is nonserious. However, sometimes aspirants may misunderstand the exam rules. Or simply the exam must have been quite tough. After picking the right candidates there is the main exam. However, you cannot reach this stage unless you crack the prelims exam. Hence, in today’s articles, we are going to talk about Best Books for UPSC IAS Prelims Exam.
About the UPSC Exam and Best Books for UPSC IAS Prelims
When you crack this part of the test, there are new challenges ahead. Most new candidates are baffled. The syllabus of the exam is wide. In fact, toppers have claimed that the syllabus is never-ending. Thus, you have to be picky about how you read and what you read. You must decide what needs to be stored in your brain. Moreover, you also have to decide what to discard as irrelevant. You will master this art only when you are thorough with your syllabus. Moreover, you will also need to learn the choice of books for your prelims.
Like we know, you cannot just wildly pick a book and start reading. But, somewhere you have to start the intake of information to store or eliminate it. The real challenge lies in choosing such books for UPSC IAS prelims that have more useful info than discardable unwanted knowledge. Hence, you must be sure of picking the best books for UPSC prelims.
Standard resources and Flexible Study Materials
Some subjects have standard reference material or books. What does this mean? Basically, some subjects have a defined syllabus. Other subjects have a boundary-less syllabus. For those who have a defined syllabus, there are standard books available. That is, you can simply read the book as per the syllabus. You will cover maximum data for your prelims exam. Hence, there’s limited stuff to read and memorize. However, this is not the case with every subject. There are some very happening subjects for your prelims. You cannot fit them in a standard book. For such subjects, there are many available options in the market. There is a long list of possible best books for the UPSC IAS prelims exam. Now this will leave you very confused.
In addition to various publishing houses, different coaching classes offer their books to UPSC aspirants. Even more confusing right? To avoid this confusion and research and hours of wasted time reading irrelevant material we have come up with something. In today’s article, we will discuss the best way to choose the right set of books for your preparation based on your level of preparation. Wait? Is there a level of preparation? Yes, there is! For those who are fresh aspirants, there are different types of aspirants in the race.
IAS Prelims Books For Freshers
Firstly there are freshers. At this stage, you are analyzing, researching, and understanding the exam better. Chances are high you are using up your time looking for the wrong exam info. For such candidates, we need to list down the exact books for their easy intro prep. Thus, the main focus for such candidates is to introduce themselves to the topic and subject and the overall exam.
Hence, let us first begin by getting to know the exam better for candidates who are freshers. The exam has two papers. GS I is all about General Studies. Whereas, GS II is an aptitude-based paper. The first one is a merit-based paper while the second one is a qualifying paper. It means that failing in the second paper will automatically disqualify you from the exam even if you passed in GS I. There are negative marks for each incorrect answer. The first paper has questions from topics like economics, history, geography, environment, etc. They are just a minimized version of the GS papers in the mains test.
Thus, the question arises if one should use the same IAS prelims books for mains prep. In an expert opinion and on toppers recommendations, one must prepare for the mains test. If you have plenty of time, go for an in-depth study of the subject. This will automatically prepare you for the prelims exam. Thus, the best books for UPSC IAS prelims will get you covered for the mains exam as well. So the basic books are your NCERTs textbooks. These are the first resources to start your prep with if you are lost or confused. They have got you covered with the basics.
NCERT Books for Prelims
Now the question arises if you should read all the NCERTs? The answer is yes. It is advisable to read every NCERT book for your prelims exam. Especially for social sciences and general science. Start reading from the very basic class VIth NCERTs and finish it till the last class that is XIIth grade NCERTs. You must strengthen the core subjects. For the CSAT paper or GS II, you must use the Math NCERTS to strengthen your basic concepts. Since there is not CSAT in mains, you will not need the CSAT books for your mains prep. However, you will need the NCERT Books for UPSC Prelims GS I and mains as well.
Books for UPSC Prelims For Advanced Category Candidates
The next category of candidates is those who have already appeared for the exam once or twice or even more times. For such aspirants, you need to figure out your weak area during preparation. Notice if you lag in the basics or the advanced prep stage. If your basics are not clear, you should start reading NCERTs too. However, if you are confident with the basics, you should opt to change your style of prep and choose the Best books for UPSC IAS prelims and mains. Let us note some popular books for your prelims exam at the intermediate and basic levels. For history, you can refer to Bipin Chandra or Nitin Singhania. These are the most referred to authors for history. India’s Struggle for Independence – Bipan Chandra is great for modern history. Indian Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania is great for art and culture.
Moreover, the ancient history part is covered greatly in NCERT books for prelims. For Geography, you should stick to the World Atlas (Orient Black Swan) for mapping questions in mains and MCQ in prelims. Certificate Physical Geography – G C Leong will strengthen your prep. Hence, geography has a limited syllabus. You can stick to this standard book and that must be enough. However, you should not stop expanding your knowledge. Read current affairs daily for geographical data. Another such static subject is polity. You can refer to Indian Polity – M Laxmikanth. This is by far the most used static book for the polity. It will get you covered with many topics around GS II.
Subject wise books for GS I
However, if you feel this isn’t enough, you can refer to summarized constitutional provisions. Again for economics, you can stick by the author Nitin Singhania. His IAS prelims books are easy to read. However, you can also refer to Ramesh Singh. If you are okay with one book and they cover the syllabus properly, do not shuffle and read two-three books for the same subject. In addition to this, you can also use Economic Development & Policies in India – Jain & Ohri for economics. You must be well updated on the current affairs for International relations. Moreover, you can use the NCERTs for a brief IR background. The best books for UPSC IAS CSAT prelims are Tata McGraw Hill CSAT Manual and Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning – R S Aggarwal.
For additional prep, you must solve prelims and mains questions regularly. You can take help from the previous year’s question papers or refer to some question manuals in the form of books. Either way, you need to practice for the exam in detail and in short saving as much time and learning as much as possible. To read more on UPSC books and exams: click here.
Yes. He has authored some of the best books for the UPSC IAS prelims exam. One can get ample examples to solve before their exam. The concepts are clearly explained. Moreover, if you need basic help with quants you should first start by solving sums from NCERT books.
GS I will decide your merit. Whereas, GS II will just qualify you for the exam. Hence, you should focus more on GS paper I. This will also prepare you for the mains exam. Moreover, you should not ignore the second paper. You must prepare for all topics under CSAT. This will ensure your qualification.
We believe that one must take help from both sources. Both the materials are essential for your prelims exam. While reading the best UPSC IAS prelims books, you should refer to the previous year’s papers. For previous years’ papers on UPSC prelims: click here.
Editor’s Note | Books for UPSC Prelims
Here we will conclude our article. In today’s article, we talked about various available best books for the UPSC IAS prelims exam. Further, we talked about the different categories of aspirants in the race. This helped us to suggest IAS prelims books for the different categories. Hence, we suggested books for both beginners and advanced-level candidates. We hope that this article has helped you in the right way. Thus, you must now start to prepare in the right direction. All the Best!