IAS Brains

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The UPSC or the Union Public Service Commission conducts one of the most prestigious and the toughest exams in the entire country known as the IAS (Indian Administrative Services) Exam or the Civil Services exam.

This exam requires you to prepare in the most holistic manner and most importantly be prepared with knowledge from all the areas such as History, Geography, Indian Polity, Current affairs, sociology, etc. 

And therefore, it is important that you get your hands on only the best books possible.

Well, fret not, if you are really finding the exam pattern or the vast ocean-like portion extremely overwhelming, 

We have got you covered. Here is a list of the most important books that you have to study from in order to score really well and make yourself extremely knowledgeable for the IAS exams.

List of books to be referred to for the UPSC exams


Well, there is no questioning the importance of NCERTs when it comes to starting with your preparations for the UPSC exams. These books help you build a basic yet stronger foundation that will help you build on your knowledge effortlessly for all the basic subjects, such as Science, History, Geography, Economics, Polity, etc. 

Books to refer to for UPSC Prelims

Usually, the subjects covered in the Prelims are together called General Studies. And you have another section called the CSAT, where you are required to prepare for your language skills, logical reasoning, quantitative analysis, etc.

Thus, here are a few best and most popular ones that you cannot do without for your IAS preparations apart from the NCERTs, and the ones that will surely have you covered for your Prelims.

Indian Polity

  • Indian Polity by M. Laxmikant
  • Important Acts that transformed India by Alex Andrews George

International Relations

  • Current affairs (through Newspapers, Magazines, articles, etc)
  • NCERTs


  • World Atlas
  • Certificate Physical and Human Geography by G. C. Leong
  • Geography of India by Majid Hussain 


  • India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipin Chandra
  • Ancient and Medieval India by Poonam Dahiya
  • Modern Indian history by Sonali Bansal and Snehil Tripathi
  • Indian Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania


  • Indian Economy by Nitin Singhania
  • Economic Development and Policies in India by Jain and Ohri


  • Verbal and non-verbal reasoning by R. S. Agarwal
  • Tata Mcgraw Hill CSAT Manual

Books to refer to for UPSC Mains

Now, there is seriously no dearth of study material available for UPSC exams these days, especially with the rising use of technology. People even have apps, blogs, Facebook pages and much more.

However, it has been clearly observed that nothing can replace the books that you refer to for the Mains studies. The Mains require you to get a bit more in detail and be more comprehensive about your answers. You need to possess great knowledge, should be able to interlink events and topics, especially with the examples from current affairs, and even need to possess perfect answer writing skills for clearing the mains with flying colours.

Again the Mains consists of the General Studies Papers, for which the books are more or less the same that you refer for the General Studies section of the Prelims, albeit, in more detail. And then you have to choose two optional subjects, which could be anything ranging from Sociology, Anthropology, Psychology, etc. 

In addition, you also have the Ethics Paper for the Mains, for which the best book is certainly the Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude for Civil Services Main Examination by Subba Rao and P.N. Roy Chaudar.

Other important study and reference material to be referred to for the UPSC exams

In order to crack the UPSC exams, you not only need the above mentioned books, but in general, you would also be required to keep your eyes wide open and read a lot from other sources such as the follows:

  • The latest Budget
  • Yojana Magazine, Kurukshetra Magazine, the Chronicles, the Hindu Newspaper, and Press Information Bureau releases for Current Affairs
  • The latest copy of the Finance Commission Report
  • The latest 2nd ARC report
  • Niti Aayog Action Agenda
  • The annual reports by central ministries 

Apart from these resources as well, it would also be a great idea to follow the reference notes of some ideal coaching classes, which are highly consolidated keeping the aspirants perspective in mind.

For such and more amazing tips and tricks to help you learn with expert knowledge 

You must try the IAS Brains to help you with the best possible resources that would surely help you score higher in your UPSC exams.

They will not only help you with the minutest details as to which books to refer to and from where you can extract the best piece of information but also gain a wider perspective on concepts and the way you should actually be learning and studying to successfully crack the UPSC exams with more ease.

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