How to Read NCERT Books for UPSC Civil Services Exam

How to Read NCERT Books for UPSC Civil Services Exam

If you are preparing for the UPSC civil services exam next year, there would be one refrain that you would be tired of hearing – ‘Read the NCERT text books thoroughly.’ Truly, this statement can’t be said enough as far as the UPSC civil services are concerned. You can refer all the specialist books required for the UPSC exams, but make sure you read the NCERT text books ideally from class VI to XII first. This article gives you tips on how to study NCERT for UPSC exam.

NCERT books are an important reference for UPSC civil services preparation. It is very important to read and revise NCERT books for IAS exam preparation.

Click the link below to get a list of the NCERT text books needed for UPSC exams.

List of NCERT Books/Which NCERTs to read for UPSC exam

So, how do you go about doing this? Read on to find out how to use the NCERT text books to crack the UPSC civil services exam.

How to read NCERT books for UPSC exam?

There are two basic ways to read the NCERT for the IAS exams.

Subject-wise reading: This method involves reading the text book from class VI through class XII for each subject. For example, if you are reading history, read the class VI history text book and work your way up to the class XII text book. (Always keep the UPSC syllabus for your reference.) So, in this method you finish one subject and then move on to the next subject.

Class-wise reading: In this method, you first finish all the class VI text books of all the subjects. Then, you move on to class VII, class VIII and finally reach class XII.

Some UPSC veterans recommend that you adopt the subject-wise reading method. This is because it is a less time-consuming method. Also, when there is a gap between subjects (as in the class-wise method), you tend to forget more and take more time to relearn concepts. But, if you feel you can get bored reading the same subject continuously, you can follow the class-wise reading method. You are an adult and can decide for yourself what method suits your style of learning.

Why NCERT text books?

NCERT text books offer some benefits compared to other books. They are:

  • The language is simple and uncomplicated. These are school-level books and so it is easily comprehendible.
  • The information contained in them is authentic since they are generally well-researched.
  • Your basic concepts will be clear if you read the NCERT text books.
  • The static questions of all the papers can be covered by reading these text books.

How many NCERT books for IAS are needed to be read?

Including history, science, geography and political science you will have to complete 40-44 text books before the UPSC civil services exam.

Things to remember while studying from the NCERT text books for UPSC:

  • First, make a list of all the books that you have to read.
  • Take notes while reading them. This will make revision easier.
  • Read the NCERT books first before jumping onto the advanced books.
  • For general studies, NCERT books work best since you need not go into the details of any concept.
  • Generally, the old NCERT books are recommended for history and new ones for geography.
  • All keywords in the books must be noted.
  • Revise from the NCERT books 2 – 3 times before the UPSC exam.
  • Avoid reading descriptions which inspire awe and nostalgia from these books; they are meant for school kids alone.
  • NCERT text books are particularly important for these subjects – history, polity, economy, geography, biology, chemistry and physics.
  • Have a time schedule to finish your NCERT reading and stick to it.

Now let us discuss the inherent mileage that NCERT books have over others for UPSC exams. A couple of examples have been taken from NCERT history text books and explained below. Other subjects can be prepared in a similar manner.

UPSC speaks the language of NCERT text books. The UPSC likes to keep it simple as far as complexity of language is concerned and this is amply reflected in NCERT text books. This is because the NCERTs have been compiled keeping in mind school children. To facilitate better understanding for them, the content is in a simple language and well-structured too.

Example: The Revolt of 1857

The points are very well structured, and take students step by step through each important subtopic. The content is classified under sub-headings like ‘political causes’, ‘military causes’, etc. Remember that well-structured answers fetch you more marks in the UPSC exams.

Example: Mauryan Empire

The NCERT books are very helpful even for factual content especially for UPSC prelims. If you take the case of a static portion like the Mauryan Empire, the NCERTs cover some points which the UPSC can directly pick and frame questions from. Any good ancient Indian history book would give you information on the political developments in this period, Mauryan administration, important developments under each of its major rulers such as ‘Chandragupta Maurya’, ‘Ashoka’, etc. But NCERT gives you facts like the alternate name of Bindusara (Chandragupta Maurya’s son, and Ashoka’s father) which was ‘Amitraghata’, or the ‘Slayer of Enemies’.

A factual question can easily be framed on this in the Prelims examination such as:

Which among the following kings in the Mauryan Empire was referred to as ‘Slayer of Foes?’

The correct answer to this question is Bindusara.  

Boxes after each chapter

The NCERTs contain boxes of information after each chapter. These are important for a UPSC candidate. Questions can be asked from this section also.

BYJU’S free IAS prep gives you free download of NCERT text books. Click here for more.

Having a thorough understanding of what to read and how to read, both are different things. And when it comes to UPSC civil services exam preparation, how to read ncert books for IAS preparation is a question which lingers in every aspirant’s mind. This article gives an in-depth insight highlighting the importance of NCERT books for IAS preparation. We hope this has answered your question, ‘Is it necessary to read NCERT books for IAS exam?’