Study Material for IAS Exam: The Complete Guide

“There is no friend as loyal as a book.”   – Ernest Hemingway

Every sincere IAS aspirant will agree to the above statement. Maximum time for an IAS aspirant goes in reading the books and finding answers to the questions that come up in their minds.

There are innumerable books available in the market and it is very difficult to cover the content of lots of resources in a limited time period. But aspirants must keep in mind that it is better to stick to specific resources and revise their content rather than referring to too many books and ending up with a lack of revision as well as confusion. You invest a lot of time and money for this preparation. Thus you have to be wise in choosing the materials properly.  There are two basic things you must understand:

  • You need not buy all the books recommended to you.

You should understand that whatever you need to learn for UPSC exam, you can get it through some reliable resources. So there is no need to read many books. Your IAS study material should be a wise mix of textbooks, NCERT books, online sources, newspaper notes, magazines, etc. (Detailed list will feature later in this article.) You cannot even think of reading from all the sources available in the market.

You should prefer limited sources and study by making notes wherever required. What you need to finish is your UPSC syllabus and not books! In this article, you will get a comprehensive UPSC book list for your reference.

Importance of reading the right study material for IAS exam:

  • You cannot waste time in reading unnecessary stuff as UPSC Syllabus is very vast and you need to cover it.
  • Reading from substandard books and study material can be a potential disaster as it can lead you to even fail the UPSC exams. It is difficult to unlearn what you have studied. So avoid reading the wrong kind of books since they might contain unverified and blatantly wrong information.
  • You should refer to 100% authentic material for current affairs. So, be sure to check your IAS current affairs sources for accuracy. Also, make sure you are getting updated information.You should not waste time in reading outdated data.
  • Get the best current affairs for IAS exam! Check BYJU’S Current Affairs for all the latest current affairs compiled from all the relevant sources. BYJU’S CURRENT AFFAIRS.

 

Given below are lists of books required for the IAS prelims and mains exam, subject-wise.

Book list for IAS Exam

 

BOOKS FOR IAS PRELIMS GS PAPER I

Subject

Books

Newspapers/Magazines

History

NCERT XI (Ancient & Medieval)

NCERT XII (Modern Indian History)

India’s Struggle for Independence – Bipan Chandra

Facets of Indian Culture – Spectrum

The Hindu

Geography

NCERT VI – X (Old Syllabus)

NCERT XI, XII (New Syllabus)

Certificate Physical Geography – G C Leong

The Hindu, The Indian Express

Economics

NCERT XI

Economic Development & Policies in India – Jain & Ohri

The Frontline, Business Standard

Indian Polity

NCERT IX – XII

The Constitution of India – P M Bakshi

Indian Polity – M Laxmikanth

The Hindu, Yojana

International Relations

NCERT XII (Contemporary World Politic)

World Atlas (TTK/Blackswan)

The Hindu, Kurukshetra

BOOKS FOR IAS PRELIMS CSAT PAPER II
  1. Tata McGraw Hill CSAT Manual
  2. CSAT II – Arihant
  3. Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning – R S Aggarwal (For the comprehension passage part)
BOOKS FOR IAS MAINS GENERAL STUDIES

General Studies Paper I:

Topics

Books

Indian Heritage & Culture, History

NCERT XI

NIOS notes on culture

ccrtindia.gov.in

Culture books of National Books Trust

NCERT Ancient History

The Wonder That was India – A L Basham

Ancient India in Historical Outline – D N Jha

NCERT Medieval Indian History

IGNOU material

Advanced Study in the History of Medieval India, Vol III: Medieval Indian Society and Culture by J. L. Mehta

History of Medieval India – Satish Chandra

A Social, Cultural and Economic History of India by P. N. Chopra, B. N. Puri, M. N. Das

India’s Struggle for Independence – Bipan Chandra

India After Independence – Bipan Chandra

NCERT XII: Politics in India after Independence

Mastering Modern World History – Norman Lowe

NCERT XII: Indian Society

NCERT XII: Social Change and Development in India

Geography of the World and Society

Certificate Physical and Human Geography – G C Leong

NCERT XI: Fundamentals of Physical Geography

NCERT XI: India: Physical Environment

NCERT XII: India: People and Economy

Geography of India – Majid Husain

World Geography – Majid Husain

Status of Forests Report

Orient BlackSwan School Atlas

General Studies Paper II:

Topics

Books

Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice

Indian Polity – M Laxmikanth

NCERT XI: Indian Constitution at Work

Introduction to the Constitution of India – D D Basu

Constitution of India Bare Act

Punchhi Commission Report

Finance Commission Report

2nd Arc Report

Five Year Plan Documents

International Relations

NCERT XII: Political Science: World Politics

India’s Foreign Policy – Rajiv Sikri

General Studies Paper III:

Topics

Books

Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment

Indian Economy – Ramesh Singh

NCERT XI: India’s Economic Development

NCERT XII: Geography India People and Economy

Budget

Economic Survey

Science and Technology – Spectrum

Security and Disaster Management

Internal Security & Disaster Management – Ashok Kumar

IGNOU

Annual Report of the Ministry of Home Affairs

General Studies Paper IV:

Topics

Books

Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude

Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude for Civil Services Main Examination – G Subba Rao and P N Roy Chowdhury

BOOKS FOR IAS MAINS OPTIONAL SUBJECTS

The lists of reference books for some popular optionals are given below:

HISTORY OPTIONAL

  1. A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India – Upinder Singh
  2. Medieval India (2 volumes) – Satish Chandra
  3. Medieval India: The Study of a Civilization – Irfan Habib
  4. India’s Struggle for Independence – Bipan Chandra
  5. India since Independence – Bipan Chandra
  6. From Plassey to Partition – Shekhar Bandhopadhyay
  7. Mastering Modern World History – Norman Lowe
  8. A History of the Modern World – Ranjan Chakrabarti

GEOGRAPHY OPTIONAL

  1. Physical Geography – Savindra Singh
  2. Physical Geography Made Simple – Rupa Publication
  3. Evolution of Geographical Thought – Majid Husain
  4. Models in Geography – Majid Husain
  5. Certificate in Physical and Human Geography – G C Leong
  6. Economic and Social Geography made Simple – Rupa Publication
  7. Dictionary of Human Geography
  8. Regional Planning in India – Mahesh Chand
  9. India – A Comprehensive Geography – Khuller

PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION OPTIONAL

  1. Administrative Thinkers – Prasad and Prasad
  2. Public Administration and Public Affairs – Nicholas Henry
  3. Essentials of Organizational Behavior – Stephen P Robbins
  4. New Horizons of Public Administration – Mohit Bhattacharya
  5. IGNOU material
  6. Indian Administration – R K Arora, Rajni Goyal
  7. Ethics in Governance – R K Arora
  8. Public Administration in India – Fadia and Fadia
  9. Reports of 2nd administration Reforms Commissions

SOCIOLOGY OPTIONAL

  1. Sociology – Anthony Giddens
  2. Sociological Thought – Francis Abraham and John Henry Morgan
  3. Political Theory – O P Gauba
  4. IGNOU
  5. Handbook of Indian Sociology – Veena Das
  6. Modernization of Indian Tradition – Yogendra Singh
  7. Rural Sociology – Doshi and Jain
  8. Indian Society and Culture – Nadeem Hasnain
  9. Social Change in India – M N Srinivas
  10. Caste: Its Twentieth Century Avatar – M N Srinivas

ANTHROPOLOGY OPTIONAL

  1. Physical Anthropology: P Nath/B M Das
  2. Indian Anthropology: Nadeem Hasnain/ V S Sahay and Pradeep K Singh
  3. Social Anthropology: Ember and Ember/ Makhan Jha/ D N Majumdar and T N Madan, N K Vaid
  4. Anthropological Thought – Upadhyay and Pandey

POLITICAL SCIENCE OPTIONAL

  1. Our Constitution – Subhash Kashyap
  2. Our Parliament – Subhash Kashyap
  3. History of Political Thought – Mukherjee and Ramaswamy
  4. Political Theory – O P Gauba
  5. Indian Political Thought – Mahendra Prasad and Himanshu Roy
  6. Politics in India – Rajni Kothari
  7. Indian Foreign Policy – Gupta and Shukla
  8. United Nations – Rumki Basu

ECONOMICS OPTIONAL

  1. Microeconomics – Ahuja and Koutsyansis
  2. International Economics – Salvatore
  3. Macroeconomics – H L Ahuja
  4. Money and Banking – Gupta and Ahuja
  5. Indian Economy – Datt and Sundaram
  6. Indian Economy – Mishra and Puri
  7. Indian Economy – Performance and Policies – Uma Kapila
  8. Economic Survey
  9. Business newspapers
  10. RBI Website

The given below list gives the IAS study material other than books:

Newspapers: The Hindu, The Indian Express, Business Standard, Economic Times

Magazines: Frontline, Yojana, Kurukshetra, Science Reporter, Economic & Political Weekly (EPW)

Year Books – Manorama/ India Year Book

Sources for Current Affairs:

Newspapers, magazines, PIB, Lok Sabha & Rajya Sabha TV

For a comprehensive analysis of your daily news, click below:

BYJU’S DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

 

 

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