Books for UPSC civil service Prelimenery Exam

For ease of convenience, we are dividing the books for UPSC Civil Service Preliminary Exam preparation into two categories – Essential and Reference. Books tagged ‘essential’ are fundamental books which will be highly useful to build your basics. Once you are thorough with these basic books, if you have time, you may check ‘reference books’ for additional knowledge.
Also, don’t miss the links of IAS manuals, previous year question papers, free online resources for Prelims and Mains etc. The mentioned books are based on the feedback from many aspirants/toppers who found them useful for the exam. We keep updating this page, when new books worth the time and money of candidate appear in market. So come back to check this page again!

Essential Books For IAS Prelims – GS/CSAT 

1. History Of Modern India – Bipan Chandra . (History)

2. India’s Struggle For Independence – Bipan Chandra . (History)

3. India’s Ancient Past – R.S. Sharma . (History)

4. History Of Medieval India – Satish Chandra . (History)

5. The Wonder That Was India – A.L. Bhasham . (Culture)

6. Indian Art and Culture – Nitin Singhania . (Culture)

7. Geography of India – Majid Husain. (Geography)

8. Oxford School Atlas – Oxford . (Geography)

9. Certificate Physical and Human Geography – Goh Cheng Leong . (Geography)

10. Indian Polity for Civil Services Examinations – M. Laxmikanth . (Polity)

11. Indian Economy – Ramesh Singh . (Economy)

12. Economic Survey . (Economy)

13. Science and Technology in India – TMH. (Science and Technology)

14. Environmental Studies: From Crisis to Cure – Rajagopalan . (Environment)

15. Environment for Civil Services Prelims and Mains – Khuller. (Environment)

16. India Year Book (Current Affairs)

17. Manorama Yearbook . (Current Affairs)

18. CSAT Paper – 2 Manual by TMH or

CSAT-II – Arihant (CSAT – Paper 2)

19. Analytical Reasoning – M. K. Pandey (CSAT – Paper 2: Analytical Reasoning)

20. Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning – R. S.Aggarwal (CSAT Paper 2: Reasoning)

Also read: IAS Books For Decision Making and Problem Solving – Prelims Paper 2 (CSAT)


If you are running short of time to finish the syllabus before exam, you may better focus on concise books instead of bulky ones. You can use Modern India by Spectrum (Rajiv Ahir IPS) then, which is a small book which covers almost all major points given in Modern India by Bipan Chandra. Similarly, you may just focus on Indian art and culture by Nithin Singhania IAS , for culture topics.

IAS Manuals and Previous Year Question Papers 

1. General Studies For Civil Services Preliminary Examination – TMH . (GS Problem Solving)

2. UPSC Civil Services Prelims in 60 days – Rakesh Dwivedi . (Revision)

3. IAS Prelims 21 Years General Studies Topic-Wise Solved Papers – Disha .

4. IAS (Pre.) Solved Papers General Studies wih CSAT Papers – Arihant.


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