Old or New NCERT Textbooks for UPSC Exam Preparation

Old NCERT or new NCERT for UPSC Exam

Any IAS aspirant would know the importance of NCERTs for the UPSC exam. They are a must-read if you want to get a real feel of the questions asked by the UPSC every year. To understand what type of questions are asked by the UPSC, it is imperative to solve previous years UPSC question papers. A common doubt in the minds of students preparing for the UPSC exam is whether to read the old or the new NCERT textbooks. This article tries to throw some light on this issue of whether to follow old or new NCERT for UPSC exam.

Let us analyze the main points of difference between the old and the new NCERT textbooks.

Difference between old NCERT and new NCERT books


  • The old NCERTs are text-heavy.
  • They contain more facts and figures.
  • The old textbooks are generally to the point. Emphasis is on the material and not the explanation.


  • The new textbooks have a more narrative style to the material contained.
  • The topics are explained with a build-up to the concept. They are generally less heavy on factual details.
  • Also, it is observed that the new NCERTs contain fewer errors as compared to the old ones.
  • The hard copies of the new NCERT textbooks are easier to get hold of for obvious reasons!
  • There are more illustrations and diagrams in the new NCERTs than in the old textbooks.
  • The new books have a subjective approach with long-drawn explanations.
  • The new textbooks, like any new edition of a book, contain the latest and updated information.

So, the answer to the question, which NCERTs are better – old or new, lies in the method of study and each one’s individual aptitude and style of preparation. People who like crisp and to the point notes can read the old textbooks. Others who like explanations and subjective views can opt for new books. At the end of the day, one must not harp too much on the edition but on the preparation itself. As long as the information is obtained from any source, NCERTs or any other reference books, it should be sufficient.

If you are still confused about which are the relevant NCERT books for UPSC, you can follow the following rule recommended by a few experts:

Old NCERT or new NCERT for UPSC?

History – old

Economics – old

Geography – new

Polity – new

Science & Tech – new

Also See:

Important Chapters in NCERTs for Science & Technology How to Read NCERT Books for UPSC Exam
Complete List of NCERT Books Needed for UPSC UPSC Books



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