How to Read NCERT for UPSC? – Timetable to Complete NCERT for UPSC

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

To Read NCERT for UPSC, candidates need to approach it from the class 6th level and then advance to senior levels. Moreover, it is preferred that a single subject is completed at a time to avoid confusion among topics. Effective and exhaustive reading of the NCERT Books is critical in the preparation for the UPSC Exam. It has been analyzed that questions are consistently being asked directly or indirectly from NCERT books in the Previous Year’s Question Papers.

Most of the topics listed in the syllabus are succinctly covered in NCERT Books, thus making it very essential to study NCERT Books in detail. The NCERT Books should be covered first, before referring to any standard book for preparation. If you’re in a hurry, download the NCERT Books PDF to get your preparation going.

How to Read NCERT for UPSC?

The NCERT Books form the basis of most subjects’ preparation in the civil services exam. When glancing, always keep yourself in the place of the question-setter to match the frequency of his mindset. The NCERT Books do not cover the entire UPSC Syllabus, but it does cover most of the fundamentals.

To read NCERT Books for UPSC, always move from class 6th level to 12th level.

  • Always keep the UPSC Syllabus handy when you start with the initial reading of the NCERT Books. This helps in the correlation of the topics mentioned.
  • Reading the NCERTs is important for conceptual clarity and understanding basics.
  • The initial reading should be made just to read and get a basic overview of the concepts.
  • The NCERT Books are overwhelming when you read them for the first time, but with further readings, you will realize how enlightening and insightful they can be.
  • Segregate your subjects and sub-topics timetable-wise. A disciplined Timetable for UPSC Preparation is crucial to complete NCERT.
  • When going through the second reading, micro-manage the topics. One should always take notes according to the topics mentioned in the UPSC Syllabus.
  • Always refer to the UPSC Previous Year Question Papers when reading the NCERT Books. Highlight the important points according to the UPSC Prelims Syllabus.
  • With further readings, reduce the time when you read the same topics.
  • Every subject requires a different style of note-making strategy. For example, history requires a combination of flowcharts and infographics to retain factual information, whereas geography needs mnemonics.
  • Always try to correlate topics with current affairs, which will help you cover the UPSC Mains Syllabus in detail.
  • Revision is the key. With substantial revision, the topics and aspects get clear.

Why Read NCERT Books for UPSC Exam?

The reason why NCERT should be studied for the UPSC Exam are:

  • The language of the NCERT is very simple and lucid.
  • The Government publishes the NCERT books, and a great amount of research is done by eminent scholars on the study material.
  • NCERTs are the standard books that are referred to for most competitive exams.
  • The accessibility of the NCERT books, along with their availability in both English and Hindi, makes it the go-to source for all students and aspirants.
  • The information is mostly factually correct because the NCERTs are checked and rechecked multiple times before publishing.

Strategy to Study NCERT for UPSC

The best way to read NCERT for UPSC is to start class-wise and proceed subject-wise. It is always suggested to pick the NCERT Books subject-wise so that the concepts get clear and information is retained much longer.

Reading the NCERT Books also helps in understanding the subject quickly, and the basic knowledge gets more substantial, with the concepts getting clearer.

Timetable to Complete NCERT for UPSC

Combining all the subjects from class 6th to 12th, from all the classes, there are about 40-45 books in total to cover. It takes around 3-3.5 months to complete all the NCERT Books. A strategic approach with a disciplined timetable to complete NCERT Books is important for the UPSC Exam.

Follow the given approach to Complete NCERT Books for UPSC:

1st Month Strategy to Read NCERT Books for UPSC

  • Buy NCERTs for all the classes, along with the UPSC Syllabus. You can also download them from the official website.
  • The first reading is for gaining conceptual clarity and understanding the basics.
  • The NCERTs are overwhelming when read for the first time, but with further readings, they are enlightening and insightful.
  • When doing the first reading, always sit with a pencil, and mark important topics.
  • Making a timetable and following it religiously makes the task half complete.

2nd Month’s Timetable to Study NCERT Books

  • When the basics and concepts are clear, the second reading should be sufficient with PYQs. Referring to the UPSC Prelims Previous Year’s Questions helps one understand the questions in the UPSC Exam.
  • Micro-manage the topics according to the UPSC Syllabus. Set daily targets and weekly and monthly goals to complete.
  • Take a pen and eraser for further readings of the NCERTs. Having gained an insight into the syllabus, try erasing things that do not seem important and mark the important points with a pen.
  • Also, try attempting mocks according to the subjects you have covered fully. It helps you to understand both your strong and weak points.

3rd Month Strategy for Complete NCERT Books

  • At this point, most books on all subjects and classes should be covered.
  • The notes of each subject require a different style and approach to note-making. The NCERT notes should always be 3/4th the size of the chapter so that it becomes handy in revision.
  • In the final reading phase of the NCERTs, try using a highlighter to highlight the important points, along with the fundamental concepts mentioned.
  • This time, both mocks and PYQs should be practiced along. Practicing and revising the NCERTs keeps the preparation on track.
  • Once the NCERTs are completed, students can refer to NCERT notes for further revisions.

Which NCERT Books to Read for UPSC?

The UPSC Syllabus is vast, and finding the appropriate sources can take time and effort. So, in this article section, we have covered all the basic NCERT Books needed. These NCERT Books are the foundation of the preparation; having read them, the candidate should proceed further with reading the basic UPSC Books.

NCERT History Books

  • NCERT Class VI – Our Past
  • NCERT Class VII – Our Past -I
  • NCERT Class VIII – Our Past II and III
  • NCERT Class IX – India and the Contemporary World – I
  • NCERT Class IX – India and the Contemporary World – II
  • NCERT Class X – Themes In World History
  • NCERT Class XII – Themes In Indian History – I
  • NCERT Class XII – Themes in Indian History – II
  • NCERT Class XII – Themes In Indian History – III
  • Old NCERT Class XI – Ancient India by RS Sharma
  • Old NCERT Class IX – Medieval India by Satish Chandra
  • Old NCERT Class X – Modern India by Bipin Chandra

UPSC Preparation Books from NCERT Geography

  • NCERT Class VI – The Earth Our Habitat
  • NCERT Class VII – Our Environment
  • NCERT Class VIII – Resource and Development
  • NCERT Class IX – Contemporary India – I
  • NCERT Class X – Contemporary India – II
  • NCERT Class XI – Fundamentals of Physical Geography
  • NCERT Class XI – India – Physical Environment
  • NCERT Class XII – Fundamentals of Human Geography
  • NCERT Class XII – India – People and Economy

NCERT Books for Social Science

  • NCERT Class VI – Social Science: Social & Political Life I
  • NCERT Class VII – Social Science: Social & Political Life II
  • NCERT Class VIII – Social Science: Social & Political Life III

NCERT Books for Political Science

  • NCERT Class IX – Political Science: Democratic Politics Part – I
  • NCERT Class X – Political Science: Democratic Politics Part – II
  • NCERT Class XI – Political Science: Indian Constitution at Work
  • NCERT Class XI – Political Science: Political Theory
  • NCERT Class XII – Political Science I: Contemporary World Politics
  • NCERT Class XII – Political Science II: Politics in India Since Independence

NCERT Books for Economics

  • NCERT Class IX – Economics
  • NCERT Class X – Understanding Economic Development
  • NCERT Class XI – Indian Economic Development
  • NCERT Class XII – Introductory Microeconomics
  • NCERT Class XII – Introductory Macroeconomics

UPSC Preparation Books from NCERT Art & Culture

  • NCERT Class XI – An Introduction to Indian Art
  • NCERT Class XI – Living Craft Traditions of India (Chapters 9 & 10)

NCERT Science & Technology Books

  • NCERT Class VI
  • NCERT Class VII
  • NCERT Class VIII
  • NCERT Class IX
  • NCERT Class X
  • NCERT Class XI – Chemistry: Unit 14 & Biology: Units 4 & 5
  • NCERT Class XII – Chemistry: Unit 16 & Biology: Units 8, 9 & 10

Importance of Reading NCERT Books for the UPSC Exam

The Prelims and Mains Syllabus are covered in great detail in the UPSC NCERT Books. The texts are written in clear, basic language, and the format used makes it simple to understand the concepts. The NCERT Books are written following extensive investigation and analysis.

NCERT Books serve as the foundation for UPSC preparation and make concepts and fundamentals understandable to a new applicant. They act as a benchmark for assessing and enhancing performance. It is always advised that applicants start with the fundamental NCERTs because the content is clear and quite trustworthy. Direct questions from the NCERT have frequently been posed in the UPSC exam itself.

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