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Best Strategy And Books For UPSC Exam

If your knowledge from school days, i.e. through reading NCERT textbooks from 6th to 12th is intact, you need not bother with additional books for History, Social Science, and Science.


Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is India’s prime most examination which appoints officers for government services.

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If you are genuinely interested in gaining knowledge about how India has evolved in its physical, economic, and geographical sectors, then this is the exam that would serve your interest. The primary requirement for clearing UPSC is your interest in gaining knowledge about every sector. An inquisitive nature is a desired quality for clearing this exam.

If you are aiming at UPSC and are confused from where to begin your preparation for the same, then let us first tell you that you are reading the right article to get a real picture of the strategy you should follow. UPSC is one of the most discussed exams in India. Therefore, don’t try and contemplate each and every possible approach provided by various coaching institutions. A proper one-and-a-half-year time or a time of around two hundred days in addition to your age’s worth of knowledge would be sufficient for preparing yourself for the IAS exam’s prelims stage as well as the mains. This does not mean that you cannot clear IAS in less time, YOU can, only if you choose the RIGHT material.

Firstly, a proper understanding of the UPSC syllabus is necessary. Go through the syllabus at least thrice to have a PROPER understanding of the syllabus and of the topics that you need to concentrate on. Always remember, that every exam is based on their syllabus only.

In case you are jumbled on the thought of what to study initially and what books and authors you must choose to gain knowledge then here is a list of some best books for creating a knowledge base and cracking the UPSC prelims and mains examination.

  1. Laxmikanth

Indian Polity by M. Laxmikanth is also referred to as the bible of the political scenario in India. It is one of the best books to understand the historical background of the constitution of India with all the stories related to it. Although it is 800 pages, experts recommend reading it twice or thrice for getting all the questions on polity right. It is quite lengthy but is worth reading to deliver what is required for an IAS exam, and no other book would be needed after this.

  1. A Brief History of Modern India: Rajiv Ahir, Spectrum

Most UPSC aspirants are confused on the books to refer to for the history of India. With tons of books in the market, A brief history of Modern India written by Rajiv Ahir and published by Spectrum is one of the most concise summaries of the history of India.

Moreover, if you have time, then you can also read History of Modern India by Bipan Chandra for acing your Indian history knowledge.

  1. Certificate Physical and Human Geography by GC Leong

Though written 40 to 50 years ago, Certificate Physical and Human Geography by GC Leongis a must read for UPSC exam. It delivers a substantial theoretical background to you. The first section of the book is essential for getting a better understanding of all the concepts of geography around the world. Atlas by Black Swan or Oxford must also be referred to enhance your knowledge.

  1. NCERT Books

If your knowledge from school days, i.e. through reading NCERT textbooks from 6th to 12th is intact, you need not bother with additional books for History, Social Science, and Science. The NCERT serieswill do the job magnificently. Give these a read once or twice as per your requirement.

  1. Current Affairs

Inculcate a religious news-reading habit; it will not only help keep you apprised of the current affairs around the world but also strengthen your writing skills and help you evolve regarding your thinking capacity. The Hindu, BBC, the Indian Express are among the most recommended and trustworthy sources as per experts. Indulge in leisure reading of books by notable authors to broaden your horizons and adapt fluency in your language. Read articles to improve your essay writing skills so you can present your thoughts articulately and comprehensively.

  1. Practice Papers

Acquire previous year questions papers of the prelims and mains to identify the norm of questions that are asked. Practice these regularly. Take online tests to track your progress and enhance your time management skills.

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is Director at Neostencil, an Ed-Tech startup funded by the Times Group. He previously founded Testcafe - also in the ed-tech space that then got acquired. He has extensive experience in the Education industry, with past exposure to investment banking, technology, real estate, and retail consulting. He is an Engineer from McMaster University, Canada and an MBA from IIM, Ahmedabad.