UPSC Exam Preparation: Best way to read NCERT books for IAS

The UPSC Exam preparation is neither a simple task nor a daunting one. If candidates are passionate about what they pursue, no task is difficult. All a candidate needs is a right preparation strategy and proper guidance to sail through this ocean called the UPSC Civil Services Exam.

To start with the UPSC Exam preparation, the NCERT books serve as the foundation materials. Candidates should remember that all this exam needs is sheer dedication and commitment and an unwavering focus on their goal.

‘Start with NCERTs’ is a refrain often heard from IAS exam experts, but not many are sure about what books exactly to read from, how much to read, what topics and subjects to cover, and so on.

Here, we bring a solution to clear all the doubts and make the aspirants’ foundation strong with the NCERT Books.

This article will aid aspirants on how to cover the NCERT Books for the UPSC Exam Preparation.

What to study and Where to start from?

When it comes to NCERT Books for UPSC Exam preparation, aspirants should study all the NCERT Books from class 6 to class 12 covering about 6 to 7 subjects. Aspirants have to learn from about 38 to 40 books. Given below are the NCERT books that one needs to study to have conceptual clarity and get a strong foundation.

  1. Economics
  2. History
  3. Geography
  4. Science
  5. Political science
  6. Indian Art and Culture

Covering all the NCERT textbooks from class 6 to 12 will hardly take 2-3 months with acute concentration and quality time spent.

How to study?

Once candidates know what to study and from where to start to cover the NCERT Books the next question that arises in their mind is how to study to cover the entire books. Some candidates would jump-start directly without knowing how to study and which topics to give priority in a chapter and waste their time unnecessarily reading everything.

To make the task of reading NCERT Books simple and easy, here we present two techniques, which candidates can include in their preparation.

Technique#1: Reading NCERT Books Subject-wise

Technique#2: Reading NCERT Books Class-wise

Technique#1: Reading NCERT Books subject-wise for UPSC Exams

Candidates can start reading NCERT Books subject wise. Read through to know how this technique works.

Candidates can choose any subject of NCERT Books (we would recommend starting with the one in which you are good)

For e.g. If you are starting with the History subject of class 6: after completing this book, read the class 7 textbook of History and continue the same until you finish the complete NCERT History Textbooks up to class 12.

Once you are done with History completely, then you can choose the next subject and we would recommend keeping the difficult subject in the last (as reading a subject which is difficult for you may make you lose interest and consume more time; hence always start from the easiest subjects and take the difficult subject at the end).

This is one method to read the NCERT books for UPSC Exam.

Technique#2: Reading NCERT Books class-wise for UPSC Exams

The second technique to read NCERT Books is class-wise.

In this method, again start with the easy subject in which you have upper hand.

Suppose, if you choose history class 6 NCERT book and once you complete the book, start with another subject like geography/science of same class e.g. class 6.

Similarly, you can complete class 6 NCERT books of all the subjects like Economics; History; Geography; Science; Political science; and Indian Art and Culture. Then, move onto the next class, and go on till you reach class XII.

Candidates can follow this process and complete reading all the NCERT Books in two or three months.


These are two methods, which candidates can follow to read NCERT Books, before choosing the technique we would advise the candidates to analyse their skills and the way that best suits their abilities.

Both techniques have their own pros and cons, hence candidates should choose wisely and follow the same process till the end as switching the method in between will only lead to confusion and distraction.

The first technique is a lot easier to read NCERT Books but candidates should ensure that they don’t lose interest and create a huge gap in reading.

While the second technique will keep you hooked to the NCERT Books as you will be reading different subjects simultaneously, it is a bit time consuming. Hence candidate should mange time accordingly and revise regularly as there will be a gap between each class of a particular subject.

Now you have got an idea of how to read NCERT Books for UPSC Exam, here are a few vital tips on how to remember what you have read.

Make your own notes, e.g. take any topic or sub-topic from a subject and write about the topic in 50 to 100 words, keep it short, use only important keywords.

It is always recommended to write down your own notes as writing down will stay in your memory for long.