UPSC Books – Best NCERT & Standard Textbooks for IAS Prelims & Mains Exam 2020

UPSC Books for Prelims and Mains Exam are available on this page in the pdf formats for easy download. The provided list of best books for UPSC IAS exam preparation will help you a lot to score max. marks in the Civil Services Examination.

Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts the Civil Services Exams for the candidates who are passionate to serve India. UPSC IAS/IPS/IFS Exam is a highly respectable exam in the country and also one of the hardest exams.

UPSC IAS Exam is divided into two parts, Prelims, and Mains. In 2020, UPSC Indian Administrative Service Prelims is going to be held on May 31st, 2020. For more important dates of upcoming UPSC civil services examination, bookmark our site and get updates on that.

To score better marks in both prelims and mains exams, aspirants have to start their IAS Exam preparation as soon as possible after declaring the dates of the exam. To help you out in this situation, we have provided the best UPSC Books PDF which is taken from NCERT books and standard reference books.

Do Check: UPSC Mains Reference Books

Applied Candidates should prepare recommended books for IAS by toppers. However, Best books for UPSC IAS Prelims and Mains Exam 2020 offers enough knowledge and make aspirants be confident in the examination. Hence, refer to the booklist for UPSC CSE Prelims and Mains & download them for scoring better marks in the exam.

UPSC Books

In the following lists, you will find out the best collection of subject-wise Books for UPSC IAS Prelims and Mains exam preparation. These NCERT Books and Standard Recommended Books are designed by expert people based on the latest UPSC Syllabus 2020. Note that you should cover all the Syllabus of IAS Premlis & Mains while preparation only. It helps more to score cutoff or even more max. marks in the examination. So, focus on IAS preparation along with the selection of best UPSC books for prelims and mains papers.

For easy access to the content, we have given these below links. Click on them and directly jump to the required information about UPSC IAS/IPS/IFS Exam 2020:

UPSC IAS Books: Best Books For UPSC IAS 2020

The below table gives you an overview of the UPSC 2020 IAS Exam:

Conducting Authority Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)
Exam Name UPSC Civil Services Examination (CSE)
Post Names Indian Administrative Service (IAS),
Indian Police Service (IPS),
Indian Foreign Service (IFS), etc.
No. of Vacancies 796 vacancies
Mode of Application Online
Exam Level National
Frequency of Exam Once in a Year
Number of Stages (Prelims, Mains, and Personal Interview)
Exam Mode Pen-Paper based (Offline)
Release of UPSC Prelims Admit Card May 2020 (3 weeks before the exam)
UPSC IAS Prelims Exam Date May 31, 2020

List of NCERT Books Needed for UPSC Preparation

The main essential part of the UPSC preparation is NCERT Books from class 6th to 12th. These Ncert Textbooks can make you be confident while giving your UPSC IAS Exam. It plays a vital role at the time of exam preparation. Also, choosing the best NCERT books for UPSC is most important before going to start your preparation. To make it easy, we have compiled a massive collection of best NCERT Textbooks for all UPSC General Studies Subjects. So, pick the best UPSC NCERT Books and read well for Civil Services Exam 2020.

Do Check: Easiest Optional Subject for UPSC

Most Important UPSC IAS Books

The most important books for UPSC IAS Prelims & Mains are given below. It is a must for you to read the newspaper daily to stay updated with the current affairs. Acquire previous year questions papers of the Prelims and Mains and identify the nature of questions in the UPSC exam.

  1. Indian polity by Laxmikanth 5TH Edition
  2. Geography of India by Majid Husain
  3. Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh
  4. A brief history of modern India by spectrum
  5. General Studies Based on NCERT Syllabus
  6. Certificate Physical and Human Geography

GS Paper-1 (Indian Heritage and Culture, History, and Geography of the World and Society)

NCERT Books for Indian Heritage and Culture

  1. Class XI Living Craft Traditions of India (Chapters 9 & 10)
  2. 11th Class An Introduction to Indian Art

NCERT Books for Geography

  1. Class VI The Earth Our Habitat – NCERT Geography Book Class 6
  2. VII Class Our Environment – NCERT Geography Book Class 7
  3. Class VIII Resource and Development – NCERT Geography Book Class 8
  4. IX Class Contemporary India I – NCERT Geography Book Class 9
  5. Class X Contemporary India II – NCERT Geography Book Class 10
  6. XI Class Fundamentals of Physical Geograph & XI Class India Physical Environment – NCERT Geography Book Class 11
  7. Class XII Fundamentals of Human Geography & Class XII India People and Economy – NCERT Geography Book Class 12

NCERT History Books

History MCQ Quiz Questions
MCQ Questions on Indian History MCQ Questions on Khalji Dynasty
MCQ Questions on Ancient History Art and Culture MCQ Questions on Lodi and Sayyid Dynasty
MCQ Questions on Deccan Dynasties and Sangam Dynasty MCQ Questions on Tughlaq Dynasty
MCQ Questions on Indus Valley Civilisation MCQ Questions on Maratha Empire
MCQ Questions on Jainism and Buddhism MCQ Questions on Sikh Empire
MCQ Questions on Mauryan Empire MCQ Questions on Mughal Empire
MCQ Questions on Magadha Empire MCQ Questions on 18th Century Revolts and Reform
MCQ Questions on Harshavardhana Empire MCQ Questions on British Rule in India
MCQ Questions on Vedic Age MCQ Questions on Modern Indian History
MCQ Questions on Medieval History Art and Culture MCQ Questions on Struggle for Independence of India
MCQ Questions on Bhakti Movement MCQ Questions on World History
MCQ Questions on Gulam Dynasty

Important NCERT Books for UPSC Preparation

NCERT Books for Indian History

  1. Class XII Themes In Indian History I
  2. Class XII Themes in Indian History II
  3. XII Class Themes In Indian History III
  4. Class IX India and the Contemporary World I
  5. Class XI Themes In World History
  6. X Class India and the Contemporary World II
  7. Class VI Our Past
  8. Class VII Our Past -I
  9. VIII Class: Our Past II and III

Do Refer: Best Books of Indian Polity for the Prelims and Mains Exam of IAS

NCERT Books on Indian Society

  1. Class XI Sociology: Understanding Society
  2. Class XII Indian Society
  3. XII Class Social Change and Development in India
  4. Class VI Social Science: Social & Political Life I
  5. Class VII Social Science: Social & Political Life II
  6. VIII Class Social Science: Social & Political Life III

GS Paper 2 (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations)

NCERT Books for Polity, Governance, and Constitution

  1. Class XII Political Science I: Contemporary World Politics
  2. Class XII Political Science II: Politics in India since Independence
  3. XI Class Political Science: Indian Constitution at Work
  4. XI Class Political Science: Political Theory
  5. Class IX Political Science: Democratic Politics Part I
  6. Class X Political Science: Democratic Politics Part II

Also Check: UPSC Mains Political Science & International Relations Reference Books

GS Paper 3 (Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)

NCERT Books for Science & Technology

  1. Science: NCERT Class XII Chemistry: Unit 16 & Biology: Units 8, 9 & 10
  2. Science: NCERT Class XI Chemistry: Unit 14 & Biology: Units 4 & 5
  3. NCERT Class X Science Books
  4. Science: NCERT Class IX
  5. Science: NCERT Class VI
  6. NCERT Class VII Science Books
  7. Science: NCERT Class VIII

NCERT Books for Economic Development

  1. Class XI Indian Economic Development
  2. XII Class Introductory Microeconomics
  3. XII Class Introductory Macroeconomics
  4. Class IX Economics: Economics
  5. Class X Understanding Economic Development

NCERT Books for Environment & Ecology

  1. Science: Class XII Biology: last four Chapters (13 to 16)

UPSC IAS Selection Procedure

Mainly, there are three stages in the UPSC IAS Selection Process:

  • Preliminary Exam – The UPSC IAS Prelims has 2 papers and each paper carries 200 marks, including objective type questions.
  • Main Exam – The main examination of UPSC CSE includes:
    1. Descriptive Written Test (The Written Test consists of nine papers), and
    2. Personal Interview.

Based on the performance in the UPSC Mains Written Test & Interview, the candidates’ will be invited for the final selection.

Best Books for UPSC Prelims Exam

In the following table, aspirants find IAS Prelims books for UPSC beginners to know all the details clearly before going to begin their IAS preparation. However, we have listed subject-wise experts recommended books for UPSC 2020 Prelims Exam in this article for better education.

Must See: Best Geography Books for IAS Prelims and Mains Exam

As you all know that there are two papers in the prelims (GS1 and CSAT) exam. Both of the papers are objective type with negative marking. So, don’t neglect your IAS prelims exam preparation. Hence, check the best UPSC IAS books for prelims from the below-given table & prepare very well for the exam.

Subject UPSC Books for Civil Services Exam Prelims
  1. NCERT XI (Ancient & Medieval)
  2. NCERT XII (Modern Indian History)
  3. India’s Struggle for Independence – Bipan Chandra
  4. Facets of Indian Culture – Spectrum
  1. Certificate Physical Geography – G C Leong
  2. World Atlas
  3. NCERT VI – X (Old Syllabus)
  4. NCERT XI, XII (New Syllabus)
Indian Polity
  1. Indian Polity – M Laxmikanth
  1. Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh
  3. Economic Development & Policies in India – Jain & Ohri
International Relations
  1. Current Affairs
  2. NCERT XII (Contemporary World Politics)
  1. Tata McGraw Hill CSAT Manual
  2. Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning – R S Aggarwal
  3. CSAT II – Arihant

Note: The CSAT exam is qualifying in nature. Therefore, keep practicing more on this paper with the help of the best UPSC books for CSAT.

Best UPSC Books for IAS Mains Exam 2020

You all will get many official and standard reference books for UPSC Civil Services Exam 2020 in the official site as well as in the market. But finding the best books for UPSC IAS Main Preparation is important than other plenty of exam resources. Because IAS Mains Books will help you to prepare all new syllabus along with exam structure and important questions for each subject.

So, get the best UPSC mains books & reference books for IAS preparation from this page for free of cost and score better marks in the examination. IAS toppers recommend following prelims books for the general studies subjects for the UPSC mains exam 2020. Along with these books also we have added a few more IAS Books for Mains Exam which are given below.

Subject Books for UPSC Mains
History, Indian Heritage & Culture[GS Paper 1]
  1. Ancient India by R.S Sharma
  2. An Introduction to Indian Art Part 1: Textbook in Fine Arts for Class XI
  3. India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipan Chandra
  4. History of Medieval India by Satish Chandra
  5. India after Independence by Bipan Chandra
Geography[GS Paper 1]
  1. Fundamentals of Physical Geography NCERT Class 11
  2. Geography of India by Majid Husain
  3. Certificate Physical and Human Geography – G C Leong
  4. World Geography by Majid Husain
  5. World Atlas
Polity & International Relations[GS Paper 2]
  1. Introduction to the Constitution of India by DD Basu
  2. Indian Polity by M. Laxmikanth
  3. India’s Foreign Policy by Rajiv Sikri
Economy[GS Paper 3]
  1. Indian Economy – Ramesh Singh
Ethics[GS Paper 4]
  1. Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude for Civil Services Main Examination by Subba Rao and P.N. Roy Chaudary

Also Check: How to Study for IAS at Home?

UPSC Books for Optional Subjects

IAS/ IPS/ IFS/ CSE Prelims and Mains of UPSC Examination offers a huge range of optional subjects for the candidates to select from at the time of exam application. To score the highest marks, it is crucial to choose the right UPSC Optional Subject.

Refer all UPSC optional subjects syllabus and pick the small syllabus subject along with the scope to score more marks. The optional papers syllabus would be more than the bachelor’s degree and lesser than the masters level. Every single UPSC optional subject for IAS Exam is important and it includes two papers with 250 marks for each. Hence, IAS Mains Optional Subjects are more scoring factors than other subjects.

Thus, we have provided a complete list of UPSC Optional Subjects for Civil services/ IAS/IPS/IES Mains examination. So, check out the optional subjects books and opt anyone of your interesting subject for the preparation and score max. marks in that UPSC Optional Subject examination.

List of UPSC IAS Mains Optional Subject Books

  1. UPSC Mains Agriculture Reference Books
  2. UPSC Mains Animal Husbandry Veterinary Science Reference Books
  3. UPSC Mains Anthropology Reference Books
  4. UPSC Mains Assamese Reference Books
  5. UPSC Mains Botany Reference Books
  6. UPSC Mains Chemistry Reference Books
  7. UPSC Mains Civil Engineering Reference Books
  8. UPSC Mains Commerce Accountancy Reference Books
  9. UPSC Mains Economics Reference Books
  10. UPSC Mains Electrical Engineering Reference Books
  11. UPSC Mains English Reference Books
  12. UPSC Mains Geography Reference Books
  13. UPSC Mains Geology Reference Books
  14. UPSC Mains Gujarati Reference Books
  15. UPSC Mains Hindi Reference Books
  16. UPSC Mains Indian History Reference Books
  17. UPSC Mains Kannada Reference Books
  18. UPSC Mains Kashmiri Reference Books
  19. UPSC Mains Law Reference Books
  20. UPSC Mains Maithili Reference Books
  21. UPSC Mains Management Reference Books
  22. UPSC Mains Marathi Reference Books
  23. UPSC Mains Mathematics Reference Books
  24. UPSC Mains Mechanical Engineering Reference Books
  25. UPSC Mains Medical Science Reference Books
  26. UPSC Mains Philosophy Reference Books
  27. UPSC Mains Physics Reference Books
  28. UPSC Mains Political science international relations Reference Books
  29. UPSC Mains Psychology Reference Books
  30. UPSC Mains Public Administration Reference Books
  31. UPSC Mains Punjabi Reference Books
  32. UPSC Mains Sanskrit Reference Books
  33. UPSC Mains Sociology Reference Books
  34. UPSC Mains Statistics Reference Books
  35. UPSC Mains Tamil Reference Books
  36. UPSC Mains Telugu Reference Books
  37. UPSC Mains Urdu Reference Books

Also Refer: UPSC Mains Sanskrit Reference Books

Study Materials & Books for UPSC Beginners

Other than the books stated above, the primary UPSC Study Materials involves:

  • Finance Commission Report (latest)
  • 2nd ARC Report
  • Annual reports by central ministries
  • Economic Survey (latest)
  • Current Affairs
    • The Hindu
    • Yojana Magazine
    • Press Information Bureau
  • Budget (latest)
  • Niti Aayog Action Agenda

Tips Regarding How to Prepare with UPSC Civil Services Exam Books

  • The main point that you should follow while preparing for IAS Exam is the selection of right & a limited number of UPSC Books.
  • Keep reading from NCERT Books and standard reference textbooks for IAS preparation.
  • Take fewer books for UPSC CSE preparation but revise those books many times.
  • Hold a pointer in your hand while reading any of the topics and underline the main words, paras, & formulae for better and quick understanding.
  • While preparing any length concept, try to skim it by using your shortcuts and tricks and learn the whole concept easily. With UPSC IAS books, you can finish your lengthy topics in fewer hours because experts designed them in a short and clear for the candidate’s sake.
  • First, cover all UPSC Syllabus from one standard book or NCERT books and then revise those topics again by using the best reference books which are recommended by IAS Toppers. This tip will surely help you in securing high marks in the exam.
    Practice the habit of chunking and improve your reading speed naturally.
  • Develop a habit of making notes while preparing form recommended sources or books or study materials for quick revision.
  • Only Read from the best books for UPSC which are provided above or refer to the book which includes all the latest syllabus & important information like questions, sample papers, mock tests, etc.
  • Decide the right UPSC Book for IAS preparation and follow all the tips while studying and give your best shot in both UPSC IAS Prelims and Main Examination and fetch more marks.

FAQs on UPSC Books

1. Is NCERT Book enough for UPSC IAS?

NCERT books are a must for the IAS exam. However, candidates should also refer to subject-specific books ( for e.g. Indian Polity by Laxmikanth) and keep tabs on the current affairs.

2. Which NCERT books to read for UPSC?

UPSC Toppers are recommended to read all the NCERT Text Books from class 6 to 12 for the subjects History, Geography, Indian Economy, Science, and Environment.

How to Study for IAS at Home? Without Coaching – Self Study Strategy

3. What are the Ncert Books to be read for UPSC IAS?

NCERT Books is the first and best essential part of your UPSC Civil Services Exam preparation. So, we did deep research on this and also taken suggestions of UPSC toppers to list out the best NCERT Books to read for UPSC IAS Prelims and Mains Exam.

So, you can rely on this below-given list of all subjects NCERT Textbooks to read for UPSC Mains and Prelims Exam:

  • History: Read Std. 6th, 7th, 8th, 12th (3 Themes) New NCERTs + TN state history book of 11th and the first half of 12th. Download NCERT History Books
  • Geography: Read Std. 6–10th New NCERTs and 11th – Fund. of Physical Geo., 12th – Fund. Human Geo. + Indian Physical Env. + Indian People & Economy. Download NCERT Geography Books
  • Economy: 11th Indian Eco. Development & 12th Macroeconomics will suffice.
  • Polity: 9th- Democratic Politics 1 and 11th – Indian constitution at work.
  • Art & Culture: 11th Introduction to Indian Art
  • Sociology: 11th- Introduction to Sociology.
  • Biology: 11th – last unit only.

4. How to read NCERT Books for UPSC CSE/IAS/IPS?

In UPSC CSE Preparation, the main role will be played by NCERT textbooks. Most of the UPSC IAS toppers would recommend UPSC beginners to read all subjects NCERT Books from standard 6th to 12th. Many toppers are advised to read subject-wise NCERT books for UPSC because aspirants may get help in saving their time and finish all subjects preparation before the scheduled time. Also, candidates can use mind mapping techniques such as tables, flow-charts, diagrams to make the topic more crispy and easy to remember.

5. Which UPSC CSE Books to be referred after reading NCERT Books?

The following are the list of important textbooks for UPSC GS subject to be read after NCERT Books:

Download Old NCERT Books

  • Indian Polity (M. Laxmikanth)
  • History of Modern India (Bipin Chandra)
  • Brief History of Modern India (Spectrum publications)
  • Indian Economy (Ramesh Singh)
  • Certificate Physical and Human Geography – G C Leong
  • Art and Culture – Nitin Singhania
  • Indian Year Book
  • Yojana Magazine

6. Which is the best Geography book for UPSC Civil Services Exam?

For UPSC Exam Preparation, the best books for geography subject is given below:

  • NCERT books – 6th to 12th standard
  • Geography of India – Majid Hussain
  • Any decent Atlas

7. In which month UPSC IAS 2020 exams are held?

As per the UPSC Calendar, the three stages of the IAS exam are scattered throughout the year. If you want to know in which month UPSC 2020 Exams are going to be held, then look below:

  • Prelims – May 2020
  • Mains – September 2020
  • Interview – Dec 2018 – Jan 2020

8. What is the structure of the UPSC Civil Service Examination?

The Civil Services Examination (CSE) contains two successive stages: the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination (CSP) and the Civil Services (Main) Examination (written and interview).

9. Can a candidate choose a UPSC Optional Subject, which he has not studied at the graduate/post-graduate level?


10. Which is the language/medium of UPSC Question Papers?

The question papers (other than the literature of language papers) are set in bilingual i.e. Hindi and English only.

Conclusion – UPSC Books & Study Material For Civil Services/IAS/IPS/IES Exam

Hoping that the above-shared books for UPSC IAS Prelims and Mains exam will help you more to prepare yourself for the civil services examination. So, grab this better opportunity & find the best books for UPSC CSE/IAS/IPS/IES from this page and add an advantage to your IAS preparation. If you need more information about UPSC Optional Subjects Books and Recommended books by IAS Toppers, just go with our provided links from this page or else visit our website NCERTBOOKS.GURU and get answers to your doubts or queries.

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