UPSC Book List – Best Books for UPSC Prelims and Mains 2024, IAS Books PDF

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

UPSC books are an important part of the IAS exam preparation process. Aspirants need to be aware of the best books for UPSC exam so that they can plan their preparation accordingly and buy or acquire the required books. Apart from UPSC books, aspirants also need to know the magazines and newspapers they would need to follow in order to clear the IAS exam. In this article, we give you a comprehensive UPSC book list to help you achieve your IAS dreams.

UPSC Books for History Maths Books for UPSC
UPSC Geography Books UPSC Physics Books
Polity Books for UPSC Anthropology UPSC Books

UPSC Book List for Prelims

The UPSC Prelims is the first hurdle to clear in your pursuit of your IAS dream. You have to qualify in the prelims exam to be able to take the UPSC mains exam. The prelims exam sees very high competition as lakhs of candidates take the exam. In the table below, we give you a list of the best UPSC books for prelims exam.

Subject UPSC Books
  1. India’s Struggle for Independence – Bipan Chandra
  2. Indian Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania
  3. NCERT XI (Ancient & Medieval)
  4. NCERT XII (Modern Indian History)
  1. Certificate Physical Geography – G C Leong
  2. NCERT VI – X (Old Syllabus)
  3. NCERT XI, XII (New Syllabus)
  4. World Atlas (Orient Black Swan)
Indian Polity
  1. Indian Polity – M Laxmikanth
  1. Indian Economy by Nitin Singhania
  2. Economic Development & Policies in India – Jain & Ohri
International Relations
  1. NCERT XII (Contemporary World Politics)
  2. Current Affairs
  1. Tata McGraw Hill CSAT Manual
  2. Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning – R S Aggarwal
Solved Papers
  1. IAS General Studies Prelims Solved Papers – Vishal Publications

The above list contains the relevant UPSC books for Prelims GS Paper 1 and CSAT (GS Paper 2). Candidates should refer to the latest editions of these books to ensure they cover the updated content. Additionally, regular practice of the UPSC previous year question papers and mock tests will help in building exam-oriented knowledge and improving time management skills.

Books for UPSC Mains

The second phase of the UPSC exam is the mains exam. If you clear the UPSC prelims by getting above the cut-off marks, you will be eligible to sit for the IAS mains. Here, there are nine papers covering a wide range of topics and subjects. Comprehensive preparation of the topics as well as sufficient answer writing practice is absolutely essential to be able to clear the IAS mains exam. In the table below, we give you the most comprehensive list of UPSC books for Mains exam (GS papers).

Subject UPSC Books
History, Indian Heritage & Culture

[GS Paper 1]

  1. Indian Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania
  2. India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipan Chandra
  3. India after Independence by Bipan Chandra
  4. History of Medieval India by Satish Chandra
  5. Ancient India by R.S Sharma

[GS Paper 1]

  1. Geography of India by Majid Husain
  2. World Geography by Majid Husain
  3. World Atlas (Orient Black Swan)
  4. Certificate Physical and Human Geography – G C Leong
  5. Fundamentals of Physical Geography NCERT Class 11
Polity & International Relations

[GS Paper 2]

  1. Indian Polity by M. Laxmikanth
  2. Introduction to the Constitution of India by DD Basu
  3. International Relations: Pushpesh Pant

[GS Paper 3]

  1. Indian Economy – Nitin Singhania
  2. Environment and Disaster Management – Tata McGraw Hill
  3. Challenges to Internal Security of India – Ashok Kumar

[GS Paper 4]

  1. Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude for Civil Services Main Examination by Subba Rao and P.N. Roy Chaudary

In the UPSC mains exam, a candidate has to choose an optional subject. The optional papers count for 500 marks in total and therefore, it is imperative that the right books are read for the optional subjects also.

There are a total of 48 optional subjects in the UPSC mains exam, and candidates can choose any of them. Below we have provided the direct link to all the books for IAS optional subjects.

List of UPSC Books for Optional and Literature Subjects
Hindi Literature Optional UPSC Books UPSC Books for Economics Optional Tamil Literature Optional IAS Books
UPSC Book List for Public Administration UPSC Books for Philosophy Optional IAS Books for Botany
UPSC Books for Kannada Literature Optional UPSC Gujarati Literature Optional Books Chemistry Optional IAS Books
Statistics Optional UPSC Books UPSC Book List for Geology Optional Commerce Optional IAS Books
UPSC Book List – Psychology Optional Electrical Engineering Optional Books for UPSC UPSC Books for Medical Science Optional
UPSC Book List for Agriculture Optional UPSC Books- Civil Engineering Optional IAS Books for Mechanical Engineering Optional
UPSC Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Sciences Optional Books UPSC Book List for Law Optional IAS Books – Zoology Optional
Assamese Literature Optional Books for UPSC Sindhi Literature Optional Books for UPSC Exam Kashmiri Literature Optional Books for UPSC
IAS Malayalam Literature Optional Books Nepali Literature Optional Books for UPSC Bengali Literature Optional Books for UPSC Exam
UPSC Books for Bodo Literature Optional UPSC Books for Management Optional Konkani Literature Optional Books for UPSC Exam
IAS Books for Odia Literature Optional UPSC Book List for Santhali Literature Optional Urdu Literature Optional Books for UPSC
UPSC Book List – Maithili Literature Optional Marathi Literature Optional Books for IAS Exam UPSC Books – Punjabi Literature Optional
Sanskrit Literature Optional Books for UPSC IAS Exam Art and Culture UPSC Books Important Ethics Books for UPSC Exam

UPSC Book List PDF

Download the complete UPSC Booklist PDF using the direct link mentioned below. The UPSC Books PDF contains the list of best books for Prelims and Mains. The booklist is carefully selected and categorized subject-wise for the upcoming exam.

IAS Book List PDF

The books included in the above-mentioned booklist include both standard books for UPSC and the advanced ones to be covered after that.

How to Read UPSC Books?

A glance at the list of UPSC books can be quite intimidating for aspirants, especially beginners. But if you follow a systematic approach, covering all these books would be easy and doable. Here, we give you some suggestions as to how to cover the UPSC books on time for the IAS exam.

  • Don’t buy or collect too many books.
  • Don’t start reading the advanced books before covering the basics, especially for subjects that you are not familiar with.
  • Start with simpler books such as NCERTs, which generally follow simple language and give authentic information.
  • While covering books, watch video lectures on the same topics that are available online to complement your understanding of the topic.
  • Make your own notes simultaneously.

Importance of Learning from Best Books for UPSC

Studying from the wrong books can be detrimental to your IAS pursuit. Apart from the danger of learning incorrect information, it is also possible that you would end up internalising the wrong approach towards answer writing. To avoid this, make sure you read the recommended books for UPSC in order to have a fighting chance of clearing the prestigious IAS exam. You can also refer to the toppers’ recommended booklist for UPSC.

UPSC Books Online

With the advancement of digitalization, candidates can download e-books for IAS. These e-books are easily available online and possess the same content as hardcopy books. Every subject requires several books, and the candidates can’t carry those books all the time. Thus online UPSC Books would be a great alternative, and candidates can carry the PDF format anywhere they go.

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