GS Books for UPSC – Toppers Booklist for UPSC Mains GS Paper 1, 2, 3, and 4

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

UPSC Book list for GS papers should be researched well when preparing for the UPSC Exam. You must purchase the most recommended Mains Books for GS Paper 1, 2, 3, and 4 from the store. First and foremost, you should keep in mind to narrow down the UPSC book list and reserve the best ones. It would be valuable if you only read relevant books to guarantee that you don’t stray too far from the IAS syllabus.

Make sure to be aware that it is not required to read all the books, cover to cover. Candidates must acquire subject and topic-wise PDFs while covering the entire syllabus. In this manner, one will align with the optional subject and all of the themes of the papers covered in the Mains examination.

UPSC Booklist by Toppers for GS Papers

After clearing the Prelims stage of the examination, you should be ready to start with your Mains preparation. We have provided a detailed UPSC Booklist by Toppers PDF for GS papers 1,2,3 and 4.

UPSC Booklist by Toppers PDF

Download the PDF now and save it for future reference. Refer to the best-recommended booklist for all 4 GS papers and ace the exam with an excellent score.

UPSC GS Paper 1 Book List

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 GS 1 UPSC Book list for Mains includes the following:

  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

Best Books for GS 2 Paper

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

GS 3 UPSC Booklist by Toppers

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 Mains Exam.

The topics 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

UPSC Mains 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 get 3 hours to complete this exam. The UPSC Book list 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


How to Read Books for GS Papers 1?

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

  • First, the candidates must be familiar with the UPSC Mains Syllabus and the exam pattern.
  • Many topics from the GS Papers 1 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 the NCERT Books, then go for advanced-level UPSC Books to understand concepts better.
  • While covering the Mains Syllabus, compose hand-written notes for all the GS Papers.
  • Go through the UPSC Question Papers to understand question trends. Try to analyze the Mains question papers properly to figure out the important sections.
  • You can support your answers using diagrams, flowcharts, etc., which will be helpful to you during revision.
UPSC Articles
History UPSC Books Geography Books for UPSC
NCERT Books for UPSC CSAT Books for UPSC
Polity UPSC Books Agriculture Books for UPSC
Science and Technology UPSC Books IPS Books
International Relations Book for UPSC Disaster Management Books for UPSC
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