Essential Topper ' s Booklist for First Timers

IAS prelims books suggested by toppers and Books for UPSC prelims 2021 that can help candidates top the IAS exam. Read on to find out more about IAS books list by toppers.

The UPSC Prelims exam 2021 is the first step towards a civil services career. If you are interested in taking the 2021 prelims exam and have no clue where to start, don’t worry. You have come to the right place. The IAS exam will fulfil your desire to have a challenging and rewarding career wherein you will get the chance to make a positive impact on the country’s development.

Before you start your UPSC 2021 preparation, you would want to check out the Prelims Strategy. It is essential to know about the booklist that you need to comprehensively cover the UPSC syllabus. There is a plethora of sources and books available in the market and online, but it can be a daunting task to pick a few books. Yes, you need to be choosy and pick out a few books for each subject since it is important to study from the most trusted and relevant books. IAS toppers, with their experience, can help you in deciding on a few books to begin your preparation with.

IAS Prelims books suggested by toppers


  • The most trusted and widely read book is ‘Indian Polity’ by M Laxmikanth.
  • This book has a good flow and the content is written in points which makes it very handy.
  • It is ideal for first-time readers of Indian polity.


There are three books suggested:

  1. NCERT Class XI
  2. NCERT Class XII
  3. Certificate Physical and Human Geography – G C Leong

In case there are concepts in Geography which you find difficult to understand, you can always rely on our NCERT notes on Geography and our clear and precise videos on the subject.


For this subject (dreaded by many), there are broadly three classifications:

Ancient history

  • NCERT Class XI, ‘India’s Ancient Past’ by R S Sharma

Medieval history

  • NCERT Class XI, ‘History of Medieval India’ by Satish Chandra

Modern history

  • A Brief History of Modern India by Spectrum Publications
    • This book has content given in points and also has compiled tables at the end of each chapter.
  • India’s Struggle for Independence – Bipan Chandra

For history, it is recommended that you make your own notes. This will make it easier for you to study and remember. Get history NCERT Notes for UPSC exam below:


  • ‘Indian Economy’ by Ramesh Singh
  • It is extremely important to read the Economic Survey of the relevant year. Questions are asked directly from this source. It is also important to read newspapers for current affairs related to economics.

Follow the Weekly Business News Roundup at Economy This Week by BYJU’S.


Here newspapers are your most important source. Keep track of the daily current affairs in this section.

Science and Technology:

  • NCERTs are a good source to brush up on your basics.
  • But if you find it difficult to read all the science books from classes VI to X, you can go through newspapers and keep track of current affairs in the science and technology topics.
  • Generally, questions are asked related to any event that frequents the news. You have to read about the basic science behind that technology or news.

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