Recommended Books For IAS Mains Exam Preparation

Choosing the right books is the most crucial part of the whole UPSC Civil Service Examination. But the market is flooded with tons of study materials therefore, most of the students find themselves buying all the available books in the market and aren't able to revise it due to paucity of time. But selecting the right books is itself a challenging task for the aspirants.  

As the UPSC Exam has multiple subjects from the varied stream. Hence, make it is significant to buy a proper book for each subject that can help in cracking the UPSC Exam. Other than NCERT textbooks, there are around 17-18 standard books that need to be covered by the UPSC Aspirants for the UPSC CSE Preparation.

Importance of Selecting the Right Books for the UPSC Civil Service Examination

It is crucial to pick the right book otherwise it is easy to lose in the market flooded with several study materials. Let us see a few points which support the fact that selecting the right books is important to crack the UPSC Civil Service Examination.  

  • A right book saves you from reading and retaining the wrong facts and information.
  • It helps you in preparing good and short notes.
  • It helps in revising quickly.
  • The right book creates a thin line between deep learning and smart learning.
  • Saves your time by providing you with only relevant materials.
  • It provides tested and trusted information.
  • It saves your time to read only important material for the Exam.

Subject & Paper Wise List of Books For IAS Mains Exam Preparation 


Name of the Book


Indian History

Ancient India

RS Sharma

Medieval History

History of Medieval India

Satish Chandra

Modern History

A Brief History of Modern India

Rajiv Ahir


Concise History of Modern India

Sujata Menon

Indian Culture

Facts of Indian Culture


Indian Geography

Old NCERT books



Physical Geography

Goh Cheng Leong


Geography of India

Majid Husain

Indian Polity

Indian Polity



An Introduction to the Constitution of India

D. D. Basu


The Constitution of India

P. M. Bakshi


Indian Economy

Ramesh Singh


Indian Economy

Mishra and Puri

International Relations

India’s Foreign Policy + Read Newspapers

Rajiv Sikri

Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment

Indian Economy + Study Budget and read Economy survey

Ramesh Singh


Environmental Studies: From Crisis to Cure


Security and Disaster Management

Internal Security & Disaster Management

Ashok Kumar, TMH


Science and Technology


Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude

Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude

Subba Rao and P.N. Roy Chaudary

Current Affairs

India Year Book




Shashi Tharoor


Contemporary Essay

Ramesh Singh

National Security

India’s National Security: A Reader

Kanti P. Bajpai


Challenges to Internal Security of India.

Ashok Kumar

Some Pro Tips For IAS Aspirants

  • Keep a printout of the syllabus with you and understand it thoroughly.
  • It is recommended to begin with NCERT books and then take other reference books.
  • Keep your resources limited.
  • Keep referring internet and YouTube for cross reference but don’t 100% depend on online sources.
  • Make short notes in your language.
  • You can either do self-study or take coaching to prepare for the exam.
  • Remember! Revision is a key to get success