UPSC Prelims Preparation Books and Sources

Here are the list of UPSC Prelims Preparation Books to Refer;

Note: Reference books are not absolutely necessary to read from exam point of view. But, if you are seeking more understanding and knowledge, and have the required time and energy, they are worth reading.

For Mains Strategy and Books Click Here

UPSC Prelims Preparation Books to Refer


Important Sources (Follow any one newspaper for news items (preferably The Hindu); one for editorial (best Indian Express); and one Business newspaper  – only editorials (best is Livemint).

  • The Hindu
  • The Indian Express
  • Press Information Bureau (keep checking the Features section for imp articles and our weekly PIB Gist)
  • PRS (only for recent Bills and articles related to them)
  • IDSA: Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis (keep checking every 2-3 days for in-depth IR articles)
  • Yojana and Kurukshetra (no need to read all articles – read selectively)
  • LokSabha and RajyaSabha Debates


  • Baba’s Monthly Magazine; Yojana, RSTV and PIB Gist (If you refer to this alone, you will only need to read a daily newspaper)


Modern India

  • NCERT – Class 8th (New) – ‘Our Pasts – III’
  • NCERT-Class 12th ‘Modern India’ (OLD)
  • Tamil Nadu Edition- Class 12th


  • Spectrum Modern India – Rajiv Ahir

Reference Book: India’s Struggle for Independence – Bipan Chandra; Plassey to Partition by Sekhar Bandyopadhyay

Medieval India

  • NCERT – Class 7th (New) –‘Our Pasts –II’
  • NCERT – Class 11th ‘Medieval India’ (OLD)- Satish Chandra
  • Tamil Nadu Edition-Class 11th
  • Ancient and Medieval India –  Poonam Dalal Dahiya

Ancient India

  • NCERT– Class 11th ‘Ancient India’ (OLD)- R.S. Sharma
  • NCERT– Class 12th ‘Themes in Indian History- Part I’ (NEW)- Chapters 1 to 6
  • Tamil Nadu Edition – Class 11th
  • Ancient and Medieval India –  Poonam Dalal Dahiya

NOTE: Most part of ‘Culture’ section overlaps with Ancient and Medieval History. Apart from the above mentioned books, you can refer the below link for more information on Culture.

You need to study CCRT Website –  CCRT ; Performing Arts and Literary Arts



  • NCERT Social Science, Class 6th (New) ‘The Earth Our Habitat’
  • NCERT Social Science, Class 7th (New) ‘Our Environment’
  • NCERT Social Science, Class 8th (New) ‘ Resource and Development’
  • NCERT Social Science, Class 9th (New) ‘Contemporary India’
  • NCERT Social Science, Class 10th (New) ‘Contemporary India-Part II’
  • NCERT – Class 11th (New)
    • Fundamentals of Physical Geography
    • India physical environment
  • NCERT – Class 12th (New)
    • Fundamentals of Human Geography
    • India – People and Economy
  • Atlas: Orient BlackSwan School Atlas (or) Oxford School Atlas

Reference Book: Certificate Physical and Indian Geography – Goh Cheng Leong; OLD NCERT Geography – Class 11th and 12th (if you can find them 🙂 )


  • NCERT – 6th to 8th (for basic understanding)
  • NCERT- Class 9th to 12th (for understanding more on democracy and federalism)
  • Indian Polity – M Laxmikanth

Reference Book: Introduction to Indian Constitution – D.D.Basu


  • Macroeconomics- Class 12th , NCERT
  • NCERT 11th – Indian Economic Development
  • NCERT- Class 9thand 10th (for basics)
  • Indian Economy – Ramesh Singh-Selective (Chapters on)
  • Introduction (GDP, GNP, growth etc.)

  • Evolution of the Indian economy

  • Banking

  • Inflation & Business Cycle

  • Agriculture

  • India and the Global Economy (include chapters relating to it)

  • Human development

  • Technology and environment

For understanding concepts refer to either of these:

  • Sriram’s IAS Economics Notes


  • The Hindu-Monday Edition (not technical news, only application based science & Tech)
  • NCERT- Class 6th to 10th
  • NCERT – Biology – 11th (Unit IV & V only – read basic concepts not technical details)
  • NCERT Biology – 12th (Chapters 4, 5 and rest from 7 to 16 – all important – read line by line except technical details)
  • NCERT – Biology – 12th (OLD) – Chapter 9 onwards
  • NCERT – Physics – 11th (Chap 1,5 & 8) and 12th (Chap 15 only)
  • NCERT – Chemistry – 11th (Chap 1 & 14 only) and 12th (Chap 14 & 16 only)
  • Science reporter- Selectively


  • ICSE Board- Environmental studies- Class 10th and 11th
  • NCERT- Geography Books (in 6th to 12th there are lot of chapters on Environment)
  • Science NCERT books mentioned above
  • Shankar IAS Notes
  • Current affairs

Reference material : Shankar IAS notes on Environment


  • (lists all schemes Ministry and sector wise with details)
  • India yearbook
  • NCERT books mentioned above
  • Current affairs (also keep checking our weekly PIB Gists – very important)

Ending notes:

  • We will never make you restrict your choices. But the above is essential for a solid preparation. 

  • There are people who qualify without even reading NCERTs or any most followed resources. The key to their success is smart study. They spend more time in chalking out what not to study than what to study.

  • If they follow one source, they keep on revising from the same along with complementing it with dynamic updates.

  • If you trust your resource, please stick to it. Never rush to fascinating books or suggested resources that are never ending. You are bound to fall. Because you are running behind them.

  • While NCERT books may sound deceptively simple, trust us, they are not!

All the best! Please leave your doubts and comments here.

Thank you 🙂

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