In this article, I will point out the reference books which you can refer for General Studies (GS) Paper 1 in the preliminary exam and GS 1 and GS 2 in mains exam. The focus will especially be on the "Big Five" that is five areas which cover more than 100 questions and determine whether aspirants make it to the mains list or not.
As the syllabus is vast its very important to know what to read "first". Thus, aspirants should focus on areas which cover maximum questions and if left with time then focus should be on low priority areas like Ancient and Medieval History.
Current affairs (CA) section has always been one of the favourite sections in UPPSC exams and commission has repeatedly given the good number of current affairs factual questions. So aspirants should focus on current affairs questions/news and should have a “factual eye” in spotting the facts. The focus should be on last 8-10 months of current affairs preceding the month of prelims exam. And while reading its important to make a synopsis of important facts for quick revision.
Gradeup sources: Daily Current Affairs for UPSC, Monthly Current Affairs for UPSC, Monthly Current Affairs for PCS, Last Six Months Current Affairs for PCS Exams.
Other sources: Pratiyogita Darpan (Monthly edition).
Ghatanachakra current affairs (published a few days before the prelims exam)
and The Hindu or Indian Express daily newspaper.
Indian and World Geography
Geography has consistently maintained its position of one of the most dependable section, with around 20 questions being asked each year, and has not disappointed those who have put the effort in Geography. So, its importance cannot be overlooked.
New Geography NCERTs from class 7-12.
Geography of India by Majid Husain
India: Map Entries in Geography for Civil Services Main Examination by Majid Husain.
Indian Polity and governance:
This section has straightforward yet difficult to remember facts like articles, constitutional and legal provisions etc. Therefore, a book covering all the aspects is required. And one-stop solution for both English and Hindi medium aspirants is “Indian Polity” by M Laxmikanth. With this book and mastery over previous year questions, you can tackle more than 90% of the polity questions easily.
“Indian Polity” by M Laxmikanth
Within History, the section of modern history commands the majority, as 15-20 Questions approx. are asked from this section alone and around 6-10 Questions may be from both Ancient and medieval history together. So, modern history should be given priority. UPSC IAS aspirants mostly refer India’s struggle for independence by Bipan Chandra and such aspirants giving UPPSC exams can revise from the same book. But if you want to tackle most of the questions then “A New Look at Modern Indian History: Form 1707 To The Modern Times” by B.L. Grover and Alka Mehta is the book to go for English medium aspirants.
Modern Indian History by B.L. Grover
Mostly basic and general science concepts are asked in UPPSC and aspirants especially non-science students need to cover the basics of Physics, chemistry, and biology till class 10th level. Based on these basic concepts questions are either framed directly or questions require the application of such basic concepts (applied sciences). NCERT solutions from class 6-10th along with the practice of previous year questions and practice of a lot of question is often sufficient. However, for detailed knowledge, one can refer to General science by Lucent.
New NCERTs from class 6th to 10th
Economic and Social Development
NCERTs again come to the rescue. Apart from NCERTs, many questions are based on current affairs. Thus, after reading concepts from NCERTs, daily news update is often sufficient to cover almost all the questions. Apart from this if one can refer standard reference book if required.
NCERTs (Class 6th to 10th)
Indian Economy By Ramesh Singh
Ancient and Medieval History
Ancient Indian History and Medieval Indian history both have the very vast syllabus with a lot of facts to cover which makes this section arduous to deal with. Thus, these sections should be low on priority as also there are not many questions that are asked from these sections.
Ancient history (Old class 11 NCERT) by RS Sharma
Medieval History (Old class 12 NCERT) by Satish Chandra
History books class 11, 12 of Tamil Nadu board
General Issues on Environmental ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate Change
This section is mostly covered in the Geography section. Therefore, separation at times seems artificial. Still apart from reading topics of geography following books can be referred.
Environment by Shankar IAS academy
Uttar Pradesh GK
Few UP specific questions pertaining to UP economy, UP polity, UP culture etc are asked which can be covered from any decent reference book.
Uttar Pradesh - General Knowledge by KBC NANO
Note: English medium aspirants are encouraged to refer Hindi books if necessary because Hindi books especially Pariksha Vaani books are good and very helpful for last minute revision.
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