AIR-1, Suggested the Best Books for UPSC Preparation from Zero Level

IAS preparation does never require reading a book page-to-page. Rather, selective study works far better. ‘Experience is the best source’- So, selection of the best books for UPSC preparation should be done after a talk with senior IAS Mentor.

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To become an IAS officer, you must sit for Civil Service Exam, conducted by Union Public Service Commission every year. The exam consists of 2 successive stages; Prelims and Mains (written & interview). 

UPSC-CSE exam is considered the toughest and the most unpredictable exam in the country. To clear it successfully, an aspirant will require two most essential things throughout his journey: 1) Proper Materials and 2) Guidance of Mentors. Before proceeding, it’s better to know that the wrong selection of Materials may cost you your dream of IAS.

Toppers and teachers mention NCERTs are the foundation of UPSC.

We aren’t to be book collectors. Because so many different books mean so little time. The number of books should be less so that revision and results are excellent. 

The Complete Advanced Booklist for UPSC Preparation


  1. Indian Polity For Civil Services Examination. Authored by M Laxmikant.


  1. Indian Economy for Civil Services. Authored by Nitin Singhania

Ancient & Medieval History:

  1. Ancient and Medieval India. Authored by Poonam Dalal Dahiya.

Modern Indian History:

  1. A Brief History of Modern India. Spectrum Publication
  2. Indian Struggles for Independence. Authored by Bipin Chandra

Indian Art and Culture:

  1. Indian Art and Culture. Authored by Nitin Singhania

Environment and Biodiversity: 

  1. Shankar IAS Book


  1. Indian Geography. Authored by Majid Hussain or Indian Geography authored by D. R Khullar (Read as per your choice)
  2. Certificate Physical and Human Geography:- GC Leong

General Science:

  1. General Science Books of class-9 and 10 standard

Current Affairs:

  1. Read a good newspaper. (The Hindu or Indian Express)
  2. Govt. Schemes- CIVILSDAILY Website
  3. Daily Current Affairs- CIVILSDAILY Website
  4. Civilsdaily YouTube Channel

The Complete Basic Booklist for UPSC Preparation

Apart from the advanced books, a candidate ought to cover some basic academic books. Because UPSC sometimes asks direct questions from them.

For Economy: (New Version)

  1. Macroeconomics NCERT, Class-12th standard
  2. Indian Economic Development, Class-11th standard

For Ancient History: 

  1. Old NCERT by Satish Chandra (Selective Reading)

Medieval History: 

  1. Old NCERT by Satish Chandra (Selective Reading) 

Modern Indian History:

  1. Old NCERT by Bipin Chandra (Selective Reading) 

Art & Culture: 

  1. An Introduction to Indian Art- Class XI NCERT
  2. Heritage Crafts: Living Crafts Tradition of India- NCERT.

Geography: (New Version)

  1. Fundamental of Physical Geography- XI NCERT
  2. India: Physical Environment-XI NCERT
  3. Fundamentals of  Human Geography- XII  NCERT
  4. India: People and Economy- XII NCERT 

Now, the question arises, as many new aspirants do: if such well-known sources are widely available, what will successful candidates do in addition to benefiting from their competitors? What additional resources should be used to overcome the large influx of aspirants? Is there hidden or confidential content that only a few people have access to? Such resources, to be honest, do not exist. 

Remember: despite having all the books, toppers could not be toppers without the guidance of mentors. Their smart preparation, persistence in their studies, self-confidence, thirst for success, initiative to achieve goals, and patience set them apart.


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