UPSC Books - Best IAS Books For UPSC Civil Services Exam 2020

In this article on UPSC Books, we endeavour to provide you with the list of best books for the IAS Exam 2020. The IAS Exam or the Civil Services Exam is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). The highly prestigious exam is also one of the toughest exams in the country.

IAS Prelims 2020 is going to take place on May 31, 2020. To follow up on the upcoming civil services examination, aspirants may check UPSC 2020 Calendar in the linked article.

Out of a plethora of study material available both online and offline, it is crucial that the candidates select the best books for UPSC IAS preparation.

IAS toppers recommend that aspirant start their UPSC preparation with NCERT books and then move on to the standard reference books.

The best IAS books can vary from candidate to candidate depending on their previous expertise and knowledge of the subject matter. However, the books for UPSC recommended by experts are listed in this article subject-wise.

Choosing the right books for different stages of the UPSC exam is quite important. The UPSC Prelims comprises only objective type questions while the IAS Mains contains descriptive essay type question papers.

Not only should the candidates be selective about the UPSC preparation books but also divide the reading list into Prelims and Mains preparation.

Read/download the UPSC Syllabus for the upcoming examination of civil services.

Aspirants can also download the list of best UPSC IAS books from the link below for quick reference.

UPSC IAS Books List PDF: –Download PDF Here

UPSC Books – Best Books For IAS Prelims

There are two papers in Prelims (GS 1 and CSAT) and both are of objective type with negative marking. The best IAS books for Prelims are given below:

Subject UPSC Books
History
  1. India’s Struggle for Independence – Bipan Chandra
  2. Facets of Indian Culture – Spectrum
  3. NCERT XI (Ancient & Medieval)
  4. NCERT XII (Modern Indian History)
Geography
  1. Certificate Physical Geography – G C Leong
  2. NCERT VI – X (Old Syllabus)
  3. NCERT XI, XII (New Syllabus)
  4. World Atlas
Indian Polity
  1. Indian Polity – M Laxmikanth
  2. NCERT IX-XII
Economics
  1. Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh
  2. Economic Development & Policies in India – Jain & Ohri
  3. NCERT XI
International Relations
  1. NCERT XII (Contemporary World Politics)
  2. Current Affairs
CSAT
  1. Tata McGraw Hill CSAT Manual
  2. CSAT II – Arihant
  3. Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning – R S Aggarwal

For more information on CSAT, check the linked article

UPSC Books – Best Books For IAS Mains

Candidates who clear the Prelims reach the Mains stage of the IAS Exam. There are 9 theory papers in UPSC 2020 out of which two papers are on the optional subject.

Given below are the best books for the 4 General Studies papers in the UPSC Mains:

Subject UPSC Books
History, Indian Heritage & Culture

[GS Paper 1]
  1. An Introduction to Indian Art Part 1: Textbook in Fine Arts for Class XI
  2. India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipan Chandra
  3. India after Independence by Bipan Chandra
  4. History of Medieval India by Satish Chandra
  5. Ancient India by R.S Sharma
Geography

[GS Paper 1]
  1. Geography of India by Majid Husain
  2. World Geography by Majid Husain
  3. World Atlas
  4. Certificate Physical and Human Geography – G C Leong
  5. Fundamentals of Physical Geography NCERT Class 11
Polity & International Relations

[GS Paper 2]
  1. Indian Polity by M. Laxmikanth
  2. Introduction to the Constitution of India by DD Basu
  3. India’s Foreign Policy by Rajiv Sikri
Economy

[GS Paper 3]
  1. Indian Economy – Ramesh Singh
Ethics

[GS Paper 4]
  1. Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude for Civil Services Main Examination by Subba Rao and P.N. Roy Chaudary

In the UPSC mains exam, a candidate has to choose an optional subject also. The optional papers count for 500 marks in total and therefore, it is imperative that the right books are read for the optional subjects also. The following table gives the links to the list of IAS books for the respective optional subjects.

The linked articles for UPSC books for Optional subjects are given in the table below:

UPSC Books For Optional Subjects
UPSC Books – History Optional IAS Books – Political Science Optional UPSC Books – Public Administration Optional
IAS Books – Geography Optional UPSC Books – Anthropology Optional IAS Books – Sociology Optional
UPSC Books – Hindi Literature Optional IAS Books – Economics Optional UPSC Books – Tamil Literature Optional 
IAS Books – Mathematics Optional  UPSC Books – Philosophy Optional IAS Books – Botany Optional
UPSC Books – Kannada Literature Optional IAS Books – Gujarati Literature Optional UPSC Books – Chemistry Optional
IAS Books – Physics Optional UPSC Books – English Literature Optional IAS Books – Telugu Literature Optional
UPSC Books – Statistics Optional  IAS Books – Geology Optional UPSC Books – Commerce Optional
IAS Books – Psychology Optional UPSC Books -Electrical Engineering Optional IAS Books – Medical Science Optional
UPSC Books – Agriculture Optional IAS Books – Civil Engineering Optional UPSC Books – Mechanical Engineering Optional
IAS Books – Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Sciences Optional UPSC Books – Law Optional IAS Books – Zoology Optional
UPSC Books – Assamese Literature Optional IAS Books – Sindhi Literature Optional UPSC Books – Kashmiri Literature Optional
IAS Books – Malayalam Literature Optional UPSC Books – Nepali Literature Optional IAS Books – Bengali Literature Optional
UPSC Books – Bodo Literature Optional IAS Books – Konkani Literature Optional UPSC Books – Manipuri Literature Optional
IAS Books – Oriya Literature Optional UPSC Books – Santhali Literature Optional UPSC Books – Urdu Literature Optional
UPSC Books – Maithili Literature Optional IAS Books – Marathi Literature Optional UPSC Books – Punjabi Literature Optional
IAS Books – Sanskrit Literature Optional

Study Material for UPSC

Apart from the books mentioned above, the essential UPSC Study Material includes:

  1. 2nd ARC Report (To read more on ARC Reports, check the linked article.)
  2. Economic Survey (latest)
  3. Budget (latest)
  4. Finance Commission Report (latest)
  5. Annual reports by central ministries
  6. Current Affairs
    • The Hindu
    • Yojana Magazine
    • Press Information Bureau
  7. Niti Aayog Action Agenda

Read only the Best UPSC Books

  • The UPSC syllabus is vast and it takes at least one year to comprehensively cover it. Therefore, you cannot waste precious time by reading books that are below standard or worse, contain incorrect and unauthenticated information. In this case, you would have to unlearn what you had previously read and this can prove difficult.
  • Learning from the recommended sources would mean you can directly make notes out of it if necessary.
  • There are many books that give information tailor-made for the IAS exam. For instance, Laxmikanth for Polity is a book that you must read if you are taking the UPSC exam. Many questions have been asked that seem to come directly from this book.
  • In addition, many books including the one discussed above, contain information in a ‘notes’ format. So, they are readymade for IAS preparation. You don’t have to waste time trying to make notes.
  • There are many books that are excellently written and contain a whole lot of valuable information. But you have to decide whether they are valuable for the UPSC exam or not. They might make a good read for academics and research scholars. But not necessarily for the UPSC exam. So, you need UPSC books that will help in your preparation and fetch you marks in the IAS exam.

Download NCERT books in Hindi here.

7 Comments

  1. THANKS FOR THE USEFUL INFORMATION

  2. THAT WAS VERY HELPFUL. THANK YOU TEAM BYJU’S GO AHEAD

  3. Really! That was very Helpful – Thanks

  4. Should I only refer ncert books for the entire process or exam or should I refer another sources.

    1. Hi, IAS Toppers recommend the NCERT books as the ideal starting point because of the concise nature of the information, especially the basic facts. However, after NCERT books, an aspirant should refer to subject-specific books like Lakshmikant, Bipin Chandra, Majid Hussain etc. You can find the booklist on this very page.

  5. It’s really helpful for me because my all doubts are cleared about UPSC

  6. It’s really helpful

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