Basic Books for UPSC Exam

The civil services exam is conducted by the UPSC every year to induct officers into the Indian civil services. This exam is your window to a career in this illustrious service. The decision to take a shot at the UPSC exam is not to be made lightly as the going will certainly not be easy. There are three rounds to be cleared and the success rate is under 0.1%. Nevertheless, nothing is impossible and with a strong determination and dedicated work, you can beat this exam hands down and earn yourself a rewarding career.

The first requirement in beating your opponent (in this case, the UPSC exam!) is to understand it well. Go through the link below and know what the UPSC exam is all about.

UPSC Exam Pattern and Syllabus

The next step is to start your reading with the basic books for UPSC exam. We have compiled a list of all the basic books you have to grab your copy of in case you are serious about your IAS preparation.


The most basic books that are available for the IAS exam are the NCERT books. These books are an excellent source of reliable and authentic information. Moreover, they are written in a simple and easy to learn style that makes them all the more indispensable for the UPSC exam. They cover subjects like history, art and culture, geography, economics, polity, environment and general science. Get the complete list of all the required NCERT books here.


Apart from the NCERT books, there are a few other basic standard textbooks you must read. For polity, which is an integral part of your GS paper II mains; and also covered in the prelims exam, you can refer ‘Indian Polity’ by M Laxmikanth. This book is like a bible when it comes to polity. It is well-explained and comprehensive.


For economics, you can complement the NCERT books by reading Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh. You should read this so that you can maximise your reading of the newspapers. The most vital source of economic information is the newspaper as it covers current economic news. This is most important from the exam point of view and the Ramesh Singh book will help you understand various terms and phenomenon in economics.


The go-to book for modern history is India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipan Chandra. This covers the Indian freedom struggle comprehensively and also focuses on Mahatma Gandhi and his philosophies. For ancient history and art and culture, the basic books recommended are the NCERT ones.


Certificate Physical and Human Geography by G C Leong is a book that covers the elementary details of physical and human geography lucidly explained with many illustrations. This book will help you understand the basics of geography required for the UPSC exam.


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