The Union Civil Service Commission (UPSC) annually organizes the Civil Service Examination to recruit Group A and B officers in central government. About 10 lakh applicants apply for the 700 to 800 vacancies each year, so the pass rate is as low as 0.075 percent.

Therefore, to qualify for this exam, a candidate should not only have a solid study plan, but also a comprehensive list of books to help them make the right choices from a pool of books available in online and offline. To help applicants, here is a list of books by subject that has been consistently recommended by UPSC Top of Pages.

List of books from the UPSC CSE – Geography

For this section, applicants should largely focus on clarifying their basics of physical geography, political geology, and other geological facts. The best source to brush up on the basics is – the NCERTs. Time and time again, backers have stressed the importance of NCERTs and we support it.

For geography, read NCERT textbooks for grade 6-12 supplementing it with a world atlas. Cards help to memorize concepts longer. For advanced geography, ‘Certificate of Physical and Human Geography ‘by GC Leong is another recommended book.

UPSC CSE Book List – Indian History and Heritage

History is a broad subject including the study of ancient, medieval and modern history as well as post-independence India. Indian heritage and culture is also an integral part of the history curriculum.

Ancient India by RS Sharma (Old NCERT) covers the Ancient History curriculum and there were many questions directly asked from this book during the preliminary exam. Satish Chandra’s History of Medieval India (former NCERT) covers the topics of Medieval India well.

For Modern History, “A Brief History of Modern India” by Spectrum as well as “A New Look at Modern Indian History” by BL Grover covers topics of modern history in a well-explained manner. For Indian heritage and culture, the aspirant should consult Spectrum’s “Facets of Indian Culture” book as well as the “Center for Cultural Resources and Training” website.

UPSC CSE Book List – Indian Polity

Popular as the “Indian Politics Bible” among UPSC aspirants, Laxmikant’s “Indian Politics” is one of the most relevant books for understanding the constitutional structure of the country. Apart from this, “An Introduction to the Constitution of India” by DD Basu and “The Constitution of India” by PM Bakshi are two other recommended books.

UPSC CSE Book List – Economics

For understanding basic economics concepts and terminology, the Class 9-12 NCERTs are the best sources for UPSC aspirants. Apart from that, Ramesh Singh’s “Indian Economy” and Economic Survey are also recommended. However, both of these sources are very extensive and applicants should practice a selective study method in accordance with the UPSC CSE curriculum.

UPSC CSE Book List – Environment and Ecology

Over the years, the number of questions asked in this section has increased significantly. Therefore, aspirants should place emphasis on its preparation. Recommended books for this section are – Environmental Studies for Undergraduate Courses by Erach Bharucha and Study Material provided by NIOS.

Aspirants are also expected to closely monitor the development projects of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, the Government of India and the United Nations UNFCCC.

UPSC CSE Book List – Science and Technology

Other than the general science curriculum, there are not some recommended books for preparing this section. Applicants should focus on current events related to the science and technology program prescribed by the UPSC and closely monitor the ISRO and DRDO websites for the latest developments.

Current Affairs is an important part of the UPSC Utility Questions document. Therefore, apart from the static program, applicants should regularly follow current events.


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