Book List for UPSC Prelims and mistakes to be avoided. S-3.

Though many online sources are available for Booklist, still there is confusion among candidates. Do keep following in mind.

  • If the majority of aspirants are reading some books then do read those books. Because UPSC mostly asks static questions (at least indirectly) from those books only.
  • Don’t take notes at first read. Read 6 to 10 times understand the concepts and then take notes. It’s better to take notes after 6months / 1 year of preparation. Else you might end up in copy pasting the book by taking notes. Because during first few reads you might feel everything is important. But during later phase of your study majority of the static part you would have by heart and thus you need to take notes of just the outline or facts you forget.
  • Don’t skip NCERT. Else your foundation might become weak. Especially for matriculation and state board students. One might ask “what is there to read in 6th std geography book, Why should a college graduate like me read it? “

What is torrid zone ? – What is frigid zone ? -> answer for these is available in 6th std book. And UPSC used to play with words and might ask these questions.

The area between Tropic of Cancer and Capricon is called Torrid zone.

  • Don’t ever think Prelims, Mains, Interview and Physical test are separate entities of preparation. You don’t have the privilege of preparing for them separately. So, avoid doing the mistake of starting mains preparation only after prelims. Don’t join only for Prelims batch. Join integrated coaching. (If you are opting for coaching).Example:  Agriculture is not in prelims syllabus but you will be asked questions from it as it comes under Economic Geography. Internal Security is not for prelims, but you can expect questions from it via Government schemes and under Science and Tech section also.
  • And don’t think that Prelims is factual and mains is conceptual. Prelims is more conceptual than mains. So go for integrated preparation. But when prelims near then just skip certain books like India struggle for independence, India since independence by Bipan Chandra (Over conceptual) and read remaining for Prelims.
  • Conceptual clarity helps to think logically during prelims, Factual data helps to catch evaluators attention during mains, , data and conceptual clarity help to articulate and justify your views during the interview. Physical-mental fitness helps you to stay healthy and confident throughout the preparation phase. Remember just one fever before exam day can ruin a year of preparation. Thus UPSC is a Way of life and not just an Exam. 

Book List:

Use (I am not holding any shares in it) to analyse how UPSC asking questions for Prelims. If you analyse for last 10 years you could find some pattern of asking Economics questions(mostly on basics and conceptual like “if inflation increase, export decrease kindof…”), Polity (on President there will be surely a question etc…). So you have to find the pattern read based on it.


  1. These are the books I followed – not prescribed by UPSC. You can have your own too.
  2. Any update in the list welcomed. Inbox me.
  3. NCERT means – old NCERT and not the new one. Available in UPSC bookstores as hardcopy and in some websites as soft copy. Better buy the hard copy as the total cost is very low (6th to 12th it will cost less than 2000rs). It will save ur eyes!!!.


Subject NCERT Book Others
1 Geography 6 to 12th  (must read) Gochengleong Maps –Especially places often coming in Newspaper (both world and India)

Mostly places including all natural features like seas/mountains etc… in Oxford atlas –that wall pasting world map is asked. Be thorough with it.

2 Ancient History

Medieval History

Modern India

Ancient India NCERT or TN Govt samacheer book

Medieval India NCERT or TN govt Medieval India samacheer book

Modern India NCERT/Book by Bipan Chandra –You can find events from 1750’s to 1857 here.

No need.

No need.

Spectrum Modern India

3 Art and Culture 11th


Nitin singhania’s book or GK today’s culture booklet

or my notes:

4 Polity 9th to 12th (must read) Lakshmikant 1.Philosophical –Rule of law, right to vote etc…

2.Current affairs – News paper

5 Economics 9th  to 12th (must read) Shankar Ganesh or Economics article.

Be thorough in concepts. Mostly conceptual questions are asked in this.

1.Economic survey


3.Newspaper Economic section –Must read


No need numbers just know the timeline .Ex: whether GDP increased/decreased over decade, what products India exports , Which country exports more to India.

6 Environment Science: Class XII – Biology: last four Chapters (13 to 16) Shankar IAS environment is more than enough Newspaper – species extinction,any new tech in environment field etc…
7 Science and Tech Basics Must – All NCERT. 6 to 10th .

No need higher class physics,Chemistry,Botany and Zoology.

Science: NCERT Class XI – Vol 1-Chemistry: Unit 14 & Biology: Units 4 & 5

Science: NCERT Class XII – Vol 2-Chemistry: Unit 16 & Biology: Units 8, 9 & 10

No special book. Newspaper must.
8. Society No need for Prelims Get any institute’s Society book/class notes to know about poverty line and other concepts. Thats enough. Newspaper must.

All the best. Stay tuned for mains article…..

7 Responses to “Book List for UPSC Prelims and mistakes to be avoided. S-3.”
  1. Lokesh Ravi says:

    really its useful for many aspirants anna,Thankyou for your valuable time to spend This work anna.

  2. Selva Subramanian says:

    This is the best prelims preparation blog I have read. மிக்க நன்றி அண்ணா 🙏

  3. sahil goyal says:

    Dear Vejay brother cum sir is it possible to have a call with you. I would really like to have a word with you regarding this journey I am going to have. really Looking forward for the same. Maybe I just need two words of assurance or somebody to tell me that I am doing fine, that would suffice.

  4. Rajasekar says:

    Superb anna. Its very useful for beginners . Unga time spend panni data kodukureenga so much thank you anna

  5. Swarupa says:

    Good evening sir, I am an ifs aspirant and I got job in state service as a constable information. Technology and communication, now I am in confusion to prepare for state services again for si or focus only for ifs because I am interested in ifs please guide me to take a correct career option.thank you sir.

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] After reading basic NCERTs (Prelims booklist) […]

  2. […] Start reading NCERTs (Click here for NCERT list) […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: