Best Books for IAS Preparation by IAS Toppers

Books for IAS are considered as an inextricably important during IAS preparation. No person can say that he or she did not study the relevant books for the IAS Exam during IAS preparation. IAS Toppers and the teachers, lay stress on reading the best available books available in the market both online and offline. The basic concepts are same in all the books but the application of the concept makes all the difference hence some books are considered as the best books. The main issue is to do selection of appropriate or best books which are quite relevant and effective for IAS preparation. So, we have prepared a list essential books for IAS Exam suggested by the IAS Toppers of the last few years. These books have helped them immensely during IAS preparation and to score maximum marks in all the phases of IAS Exam. By choosing the below mentioned books, IAS aspirants can save their precious time during exam preparation and can score high marks as well. Suggested books in this write-up have a good coverage of topics of UPSC IAS Exam syllabus.

General Studies Paper I

Indian History

1. Ancient History: ‘Ancient India’ by RS Sharma (Old NCERT) has good coverage of UPSC IAS Prelims syllabus and you will find a number of questions that has been directly asked from this book.

2. Medieval History: History of Medieval India by Satish Chandra (Old NCERT) is more relevant in this section because it has good coverage of topics of Medieval History of India.

3. Modern History: ‘A Brief History of Modern India’ by Spectrum as well as ‘Concise History of Modern India’ by Sujata Menon have good coverage of the Modern History syllabus for IAS Prelims Exam.

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4. Indian Culture: For this section, the aspirant should go through the book ‘Facets of Indian Culture’ by Spectrum and also through the website of ‘Centre for Cultural Resources and Training’.

Ancient History

1.‘Ancient India’ by RS Sharma (Old NCERT)

Medieval History

1. History of Medieval India by Satish Chandra (Old NCERT)

Modern History

1. ‘A Brief History of Modern India’ by Spectrum

2.‘Concise History of Modern India’ by Sujata Menon

Indian Culture

1.‘Facets of Indian Culture’ by Spectrum

2. CCRT website

Indian Geography

Old NCERT books are most preferred for the preparation of Indian Geography. For Physical Geography Goh Cheng Leong’s ‘Certificate Physical and Human Geography’ is more relevant. Aspirants must go through the Oxford School Atlas while studying physical geography.


1. Old NCERT books

2.Physical Geography by Goh Cheng Leong

3.For Maps Oxford School Atlas


Indian Polity

Books most recommended for the preparation of Indian Polity are ‘Indian Polity’ by Laxmikanth, ‘An Introduction to the Constitution of India’ by D. D. Basu and 'The Constitution of India’ by P. M. Bakshi. With the above standard books for Indian Polity, the IAS aspirant must finish the old NCERT books of Indian Polity.

Indian Polity

1.Indian Polity by Laxmikanth

2.An Introduction to the Constitution of India by D. D. Basu

3.The Constitution of India by P. M. Bakshi

4.Old NCERT books for Indian Polity


For the basic concepts and terminologies of economics NCERT books are enough for IAS Preparation. It is essential to reach the Macroeconomics Class 12th textbook by NCERT because it covers the basic terminologies of an economy which are quite helpful for understanding the growth and development of a country.

For further study on Indian Economy, most recommended books are ‘Indian Economy’ by Ramesh Singh, ‘Indian Economy’ by Mishra and Puri and the precise material of Economic Survey. But these study materials are quite comprehensive in content, so, aspirants have to be selective while preparing specifically for IAS Prelims Exam. For Economic Survey, part, every year, we provide Indian Economy Quiz based on the Economic Survey of the respective year.

Indian Economy

1.Class 11 and Class 12 NCERTs

2.Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh

3.Indian Economy by Mishra and Puri

4.Current Economic Survey

Science & Technology

For this section, IAS aspirants must stick to the daily newspapers because the questions asked under Science & the Technology section of the IAS Prelims Exam, are generally based on the current events. The NCERT books of class 9th and 10th are also recommendable for IAS Prelims Preparation but not necessary (in case they have enough time).

Science and Technology

1.Newspaper (The Hindu, Economic Times, The Indian Express)

2.ISRO Website, other Online Resources

Environment and Ecology

For the preparation of Environment and Ecology section, the IAS aspirants must go through the study materials provided by NIOS. Apart from that aspirants should keep a close watch on the development projects of Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India and United Nations’ UNFCCC.

Environment and Ecology


1.NIOS Study Material for Environmental Studies 2.Newspaper, Online Study Material

Current Affairs

As usual, the study of newspapers on a daily basis will help them out for the preparation of Current Affairs for IAS Prelims Exam. Particularly, for this section, we to provide valuable study material for current affairs preparation at a regular interval. We are continuously providing Current Affairs Quiz as well as issue-based analytical articles which are quite relevant for IAS preparation.

Current Affairs

1.Newspaper (The Hindu, Economic Times, The Indian Express)

2.Jagran Josh, other Online Resources

General Studies Paper II CSAT (Aptitude)

General Studies Paper II CSAT of IAS Prelims Exam comprises of the topics like English Comprehension, Logical Reasoning and Analytical Ability, Mathematics, Decision Making. Since, the Paper II CSAT has been made qualifying only, aspirants should tailor preparation by which they can score at least 40-50 marks easily. However, only 33% is required to qualify the Paper II CSAT.

English Comprehension

The passages asked in this section are generally taken from standard journals and newspapers. To buy a book, particularly for this section is a waste of money. So, stick to magazines like Yojana, Kurukshetra, Frontline and the newspapers like Indian Express, The Hindu, EPW and Livemint. Also, do the practice of Previous Year Question Papers.

Logical Reasoning and Analytical Ability

In this section, most of the aspirants prefer RS Aggrawal but they should also take the help of MK Pandey’s Analytical Reasoning. RS Aggarwal has good coverage of various topics, but in terms of comprehension MK Pandey’s explanations and illustrations are much more advanced and lucid.


RS Aggarwal of S Chand publication is enough for the preparation of Mathematics. This book has comprehensive coverage of the topics of IAS syllabus and there is no requirement of studying other books separately.

Decision Making

Read General articles from newspapers. The news articles related to the problems of a particular area or community and how the respective civic bodies solving those problems will help aspirants to develop decision-making skills in them.

Essential Books for IAS





Ancient History

‘Ancient India’ by RS Sharma (Old NCERT)

World Geography

1.Fundamentals of Human Geography (NCERT)

2.Certificate Physical And Human Geography

Medieval History

History of Medieval India by Satish Chandra (Old NCERT)


1.India People and Economy (NCERT)

2.Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh

Modern History

1.A Brief History of Modern India by Rajiv Ahir

2.World History by Norman Lowe

3.‘Concise History of Modern India’ by Sujata Menon


Indian Polity by Laxmikanth

Indian Culture

1.‘Facets of Indian Culture’ by Spectrum

2.Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania

3.CCRT website

Current Affairs

The Hindu, Indian Express, PIB, Jagran Josh

Physical Geography

Certificate Physical And Human Geography


Science & Tech

1.Notes by Shankar IAS

2.Daily Newspapers

ISRO website

Indian Geography

India: Physical Environment (NCERT)

Environment & Ecology

1.Recent Events on Climate change through Newspapers

2.NIOS Study Materials

Best Books for IAS Mains GS Paper I

Best Books for IAS Mains GS Paper II

Best Books for IAS Main GS Paper III

Current Affairs for Civil Services Exam


IAS aspirants should not prefer a large number of books for any subject. They should follow standard books and study materials only. They should focus on to revise those standard books again and again rather going for another new study material.

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