8 Must have Books for UPSC Prelims 2020

There are hundreds of books available in the market for UPSC Prelims Preparation. This might make you confused while selecting the right one.

So in order to solve this problem, we analysed the profile of 100+ successful IAS aspirants to find the most common list of books used by them.

After thorough research and filtering, we found 8 most important books recommended by IAS toppers, which is very helpful for UPSC 2020 prelims preparation.

Apart from the book list we also found some valuable insight into the preparation.

The most important books for UPSC prelims preparation 

Below we are going to share all the important books for preparation based on the official syllabus of UPSC prelims.

UPSC Prelims Books for Current Affairs

For this topic, you have to follow any standard newspaper, such as The Hindu, Indian Express or Times of India. If you don’t have access to the newspaper you can also follow their website and be updated.

If you are confused with the topics and don’t know what to choose and how to choose than simply follow our current affairs compilation for UPSC 2020, this should give you a brief idea about the topics.

For Editorials, you should follow the Columns of C.Rajamohan, Brahma Challaney, Mihir Sharma, T.A.Ninan, Ashutosh Varshney, Shashi Tharoor, Srinath Raghavan, P.Sainath, Suhasini Haidar.

 UPSC Prelims Books for History of India

History of India is a broad term, which means you have to cover Ancient, Medieval and Modern Indian History, Indian National Movement is also the part of Modern Indian History.

It also includes the culture and Society, for this, we have suggested 4 books. 

India’s Ancient Past by RS Sharma – A very good book for ancient India portion UPSC prelims. It is the upgraded version of the old NCERT BOOK OF 11th which is discontinued. Many relevant questions (at chapter end) which were there in old ncert were removed. It Completely replaces the need to buy old Ncert.

A Brief History of Modern India (Rajiv Ahir I.P.S )– This is the best book for modern Indian history, Small in size, and Made only from UPSC point of view.

History of Medieval India – This is one of the worth reading books… Highly recommend for the students preparing for competitive exams.

Indian Art and Culture – This Book Is ‘One Stop Solution’ For Indian Culture, Language, This Book Is Of Great Help To Candidates Of Every Competitive Examination Whether It’s UPSC Or State PSC.

The 3rd topic is Indian and World Geography-Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World

We think this one is simple to understand because syllabus has clearly mentioned the three important branches of both India and World Geography, apart from NCERT Books here, we have suggested 2 must-have books.

Certificate of P & M Geo – It’s an outdated book, with useful information, the reason for recommending this books for IAS Prelims is the foundation which it will provide, it’s up to you that how you are going to use it because the information is both factual and conceptual.

Wizard Geography – The best part of this book: it is so concise yet so complete and yeah, it is better than any Geography notes in the Rajendra Nagar/ Mukherjee Nagar market of Delhi, all the relevant facts, terms, data, concepts are summarised in an easy-to-remember format and this is indeed its forte. You just remember the contents you’ve read this book and that’s what needed in CSE Prelims. Don’t expect anything extra (like – conceptual clarity, pretty diagrams, etc – you’ll have to refer other books to them) and you’ll be satisfied.

The 4th topic is Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc

For this you need to focus on two things, the first one is the static portion of Indian Polity and Governance, which can be covered with the help of books, which we have mentioned below. The second source will be current affairs for covering schemes, Policy & other Stuff, here also 2 books are needed for preparation.

Indian Polity 5th Edition – The book itself needs no introduction. It is one of the most popular and comprehensive books on the subject and has been a consistent bestseller for many years. The 5th Edition boasts off few important new topics and existing content has been upgraded.

Our Constitution –  The book, ‘Our Constitution’ by Subhash C. Kashyap is a book that gives the readers an ideal introduction to the Indian Constitution.  It is written in such a format that readers from all backgrounds will be able to understand the concepts effectively.

The 5th topic is Economic and Social Development Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector initiatives, etc

This topic can be covered with the help of NCERT books for Economics, reference books on economic and Current Affairs.

NCERT Books – Download these books for clearing the concepts

Current Affairs – For this section, you need to follow news based on economic and social development, you should also focus on recent initiatives taken by the government.

Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh – Topics are well designed to cover the entire UPSC syllabus and it will also help in solving indirect questions asked in the exam.

Topic no. 6 is General issues on Environmental Ecology, Bio-diversity, and Climate Change

For this section current affairs are really important, you have to pick up the popular and trending issues related to this topic from newspaper and work on those concepts. For covering those concepts and static portion NIOS materials will be really helpful.

Environment by Shankar IAS Academy    – This is a highly recommended book by IAS Toppers and also many coaching institutes. You should buy this book without thinking twice.

The last topic is General Science

For this portion again two sources are really important. First, one is NCERT books on Science & Tech and second on is Current Affairs. NCERT books will clear your basic concepts which you have already learned in the school. Current topics of science and tech will keep you updated on the happenings, which is really important for the examination.

Take away

So apart from having NCERT books (Which is always free) and current affairs, you need to buy 8 additional books from the market. Which we have suggested here. It is simple to cover the paper 2 of prelims syllabus with these books.

Links to get IAS prelims books in English & Hindi

Eng – Stands for the English version of Books & Hindi – Stands for Hindi Version of Books

List of Books for UPSC Prelims Link to Get it
India’s Ancient Past RS Sharma Eng – Hindi
Our Constitution Eng – Hindi
Medieval Indian History Eng –  Hindi
A Brief History of Modern India Spectrum Eng – Hindi
Facets of Indian Culture by Spectrum Eng – Hindi
Indian Polity 5th Edition Laxmikanth Eng – Hindi
Certificate Physical and Human Geography Eng – Hindi
Wizard Geography for General Studies  Eng – Hindi
Indian Economy (Ramesh Singh) 9th Edition Eng  – Hindi

Other useful books for UPSC preparation


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