Books for UPSC Mains: Booklist by Toppers for GS Paper 1, 2, 3 and 4, Download PDF

By Aarna Tiwari|Updated : November 13th, 2022

Books for GS Paper 1, 2, 3 and 4 should be researched well when preparing for the UPSC Exam. You can purchase every book at the bookstore when assembling the UPSC Booklist for Mains. But first, one should keep in mind to narrow down the books and secure the best ones. It would help if you only read relevant UPSC Books to guarantee that you don't stray too far from the UPSC Syllabus. Also, be aware that it is not required to read all the books, cover to cover.

Additionally, the candidate must make sure to obtain the PDF of the micro-topics syllabus. In this manner, one will align with the optional subject and all of the themes of the papers covered in the UPSC Mains.

Table of Content

Books for GS Paper 1

History, Art & Culture, and Geography are the three major subjects covered in the GS Paper 1 Syllabus. The Paper is titled ‘Indian Heritage and Culture, History, and Geography of the World and Society' and totals 250 marks.

The Books for GS Paper 1 for UPSC Mains includes:

  1. History of Medieval India by Satish Chandra
  2. India After Independence by Bipan Chandra
  3. Introduction to Indian Art for Class XI (NCERT)
  4. World Geography by Majid Hussain
  5. India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipan Chandra
  6. Oxford Atlas
  7. Geography NCERTs (Class XI and XII)
  8. Ancient India by RS Sharma
  9. Geography of India by Majid Hussain
  10. Central Physical and Human Geography by GC Leong
  11. From Plassey To Partition And After by Sekhar Bandyopadhyay

>> Download Indian History Notes from here

GS 2 Books for UPSC

The major topics covered in GS Paper 2 Syllabus are Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations, which consist of 250 marks. The score obtained in this paper is added to the UPSC Marksheet during the UPSC Result.

The overview of the GS 2 Books for UPSC are:

  1. NCERTs of Class XI and XII
  2. Public Institutions in India: Performance and Design by Devesh Kapur & Pratap Bhanu Mehta
  3. Introduction to the Constitution of India by Durga Das Basu.
  4. India and the World: Through the Eyes of Indian Diplomats by Surendra Kumar.
  5. Pax Indica – Shashi Tharoor.
  6. Governance in India - M.Laxmikanth.
  7. Indian Polity for Civil Services Examinations – M. Laxmikanth.

>> Indian Polity Notes for UPSC

GS 3 Booklist for UPSC Mains

GS 3 Syllabus includes subjects like economics, science and technology, environment, security, and disaster management. GS 3 is one of the 9 papers in the UPSC Mains Exam. The topic included in GS Paper 3 are- Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security, and Disaster Management.

The books one should refer to prepare the UPSC Mains GS Paper 3 are:

  1. NCERT Class XI - Indian Economic Development
  2. IGNOU Notes on Cyber Security.
  3. IGNOU Notes on Disaster Management.
  4. NCERT Class X - Understanding Economic Development
  5. NITI Aayog Reports
  6. NCERT Class XII - Macroeconomics (chapters 2,5 and 6 are very important)
  7. India Year Book
  8. Indian Economy for Civil Services Examinations - Ramesh Singh
  9. Challenges to Internal Security of India by Ashok Kumar and Vipul

>> Read Economy Notes for UPSC

>> Read Environment Notes

>> Science and Technology Notes for UPSC

Books for GS Paper 4

UPSC GS 4 Syllabus consists of Ethics, Aptitude, Human Interface, Attitude, Foundational values of civil services, and code of conduct of governance. The total marks of the GS Paper 4 are 250, and candidates will get 3 hours for this exam. The Booklist for GS Paper 4 includes the following:

  1. ARC Reports
  2. Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude - Santosh Ajmera & Nanda Kishore Reddy
  3. Lexicon for Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude for IAS General Studies Paper IV - Niraj Kumar
  4. Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude - M Karthikeyan
  5. Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude - G Subba Rao & P N Roy Chowdhury
  6. Ethics in Governance: Innovations, Issues, and Instrumentalities - Ramesh K Arora

>> Download Toppers Booklist for UPSC Mains PDF

How to Read Books for GS Papers 1, 2, 3 and 4?

Covering the Booklist for UPSC Mains Papers can be tough and stressful as it comprises a wide range of topics. However, an effective strategy and robust study plan beat all the hurdles. Below we have mentioned the best strategic approach to cover the GS Books most efficiently.

  • First, the candidates must be familiar with the UPSC Mains Syllabus and the UPSC Exam Pattern.
  • Many topics from the GS Papers 1, 2, 3 and 4 overlap with Current Affairs, so candidates must stay updated with recent news and current events.
  • Choose the best UPSC Study Material for your preparation. Start with NCERT Books for UPSC, then go for advanced-level UPSC Books to understand concepts better.
  • While covering the UPSC Mains Syllabus, make your hand-written notes for all the GS Papers.
  • Go through the UPSC Previous Year Question Papers to understand question trends. Try to analyze the question papers properly to figure out the important sections.
  • You can draw diagrams, flowcharts, etc., which would help you during revision.


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FAQs on Books for GS Paper 1, 2, 3 and 4

  • The Books for GS Paper 1 of UPSC Mains mainly include History, Art and Culture and Geography. One should concentrate more on the history, geography, and art & culture books for the UPSC. Current Affairs and the book Social Problems in India by Ram Ahuja can be used to discuss Indian society.

  • Preliminary and Main exams both include Modern History. Additionally, it is one of the most popular UPSC Optional Subjects. Here are a few recent history books for the UPSC exam that can be useful at any level.

    • NCERT Class XI Modern India – Bipan Chandra
    • A New Look at Modern Indian History From 1707 to the Modern Times- Alka Mehta and B L Grover S
    • History of Modern World – Jain and Mathur
    • History of Modern India – Bipan Chandra
  • The GS 2 Books for UPSC include

    • Indian Constitution at Work (NCERT)
    • Contemporary World Politics (NCERT)
    • Understanding Society (NCERT)
    • Social Change & Development in India (NCERT)
    • Indian Polity by Laxmikanth.
    • Introduction to the Constitution of India by D.D. Basu.
    • Governance in India by Laxmikanth.
    • India Year Book.
  • NCERT Class X - Understanding Economic Development, NCERT Class XI - Indian Economic Development, NCERT Class XII - Macroeconomics, Challenges to Internal Security of India by Ashok Kumar and Vipul, and Indian Economy for Civil Services Examinations - Ramesh Singh are some of the highly recommended GS Paper 3 Books for UPSC Mains.

  • The UPSC Mains include 9 papers. GS Papers 1, 2, 3 and 4, along with the Optional subject, are the most important papers. Download the Toppers Booklist for UPSC Mains from here.

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