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Important books for UPSC Mains exam recommended by toppers 2020

Civil Services Prelims is the first hurdle to the candidates in their IAS journey, preliminary exam marks are not counted for final merit. After announcing the preliminary results there is no time to start preparation for mains.
So you have to prepare for both mains cum prelims. 
Mains examination is the second phase in civil service examination pattern. This phase is descriptive in nature. In this phase you have to write 2 language papers (qualifying in nature), 1 General Essay, 4 General Studies Papers, 2 Optional Papers. For detailed syllabus of each paper, please go through the UPSC Official website.
Here we are mentioning the most important books for UPSC Civil Service Examination General studies Paper 1.

Best Recommended Books for UPSC IAS Mains General Studies Paper 1 by Toppers

Topics in General Studies-I: History and Geography of the World and Society, Indian Heritage and Culture.
Indian heritage & Culture
Art & Culture by Nitin Singhania (Buy on Amazon) – This is the most recommended book. It covers the most topics in Prelims as well as mains. 
Ancient Indian History
Ancient History by RS Sharma (Buy on Amazon)  – This is a huge book for the ancient Indian History section. But you need to focus on social, cultural and religious outlook from each and every topic.
Modern Indian History
India since Independence by Bipin Chandra (Buy on Amazon) 
World History by Arjun Dev (Buy on Amazon) 
Old NCERTs are the best option from 6th – 12th


Best Recommended Books for UPSC IAS Mains General Studies Paper 2 by Toppers

Topics in General Studies Paper 2 covers the Polity, Governance, Social Justice and International relations, Constitution.
To score good marks in this paper, you need to gain thorough understanding of political concepts. In Constitution section the best and most recommended books are Introduction to the Constitution of India by D.D. Basu and Indian Constitution at Work (NCERT) are the best books.
 Introduction to the Constitution of India by D.D. Basu – (Buy on Amazon) 
Indian Polity:’Indian Polity by Laxmikanth’- (Buy on Amazon) 
Governance in India by Laxmikanth – (Buy on Amazon) 
 Above mentioned books will cover most of the polity topics. You can also read NCERTs.
Administrative Reforms Commission Report: This is the most helpful resource for Organizational structure of Indian Government, Reports on local governance, capacity building and more topics will cover ( ARC Report )
India Year Book – This is a huge book, so you don’t need to read from first page to last page. You can focus on some important topics like welfare schemes, Health and Education related information. Buy On Amazon
Yojana – This is also very useful for Essay paper as well as other papers. Some editions will give the information like E-Governance, Women Empowerment and many topics
For International Relations the best source is the Ministry of External Affairs Annual report. 

Best Recommended Books for UPSC IAS Mains General Studies Paper 3 by Toppers

Topics in General Studies-III: Science & Technology, Economic Development, Environment, Biodiversity, Security and Disaster Management
Indian Economy NCERT Books 11th & 12th 
Indian Economy for Civil Services by Ramesh Singh (Buy on Amazon)
Economic Survey: Focus on Highlights
Ministry of Environment is the best source for Environment and biodiversity section.
For Biodiversity and climate change another source is UNFCCC Website
Science & Technology: Read News Paper & Major Online portal on Science & Technology. 
Best Recommended Books for UPSC IAS Mains General Studies Paper 4 by Toppers
Topics in General Studies- IV: Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude
NCERT 12 class Book Psychology covers Attitude, thinking and perception.
Ethics & Integrity – Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude for Civil Services Examination by G. Subba Rao  (Buy on Amazon)
Indira Gandhi National Open University ( IGNOU ) Ethics study material also helpful.
For Moral & Ethics – Justice: What’s the right thing to do? – By Michael Sandel (Buy on Amazon)
ARC Report on Ethics
Maintain exclusive notes for each subject and revise 2 – 3 times before one month of the mains exams is the best method to clear the main examination. 
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Best Books for UPSC Prelims recommended by Toppers

Best Books for UPSC Prelims recommended by Toppers

Syllabus and Recommended Books for Civil Services Preliminary Examination

Most of the Civil Services Toppers recommended very few books to clear the civil service preliminary examination. There are plenty of books in the market for civil service examination, but very few of them will cover the syllabus. Reading too many books are the first thing to avoid in this most prestigious exam. So the main problem is selecting the right books for preparation. We have prepared a list of the best books for UPSC Prelims recommended by toppers. By opting the below listed books you can save your most valuable time during your preparation. 

Books for Civil Services Prelims General Studies Paper 1

– Indian History
Ancient History – For Ancient History ‘ Ancient India ‘ by RS Sharma
Medieval History – ‘ History of Medieval India ‘ by Satish Chandra – You can Buy from Amazon
Modern History – A Brief History of Modern India by Spectrum – Buy from Amazon
Indian Culture – Facets of Indian Culture by Spectrum – Buy from Amazon

– Indian Geography
Physical Geography by GC Leong – Buy from Amazon
Oxford Atlas
Old NCERT books

– Indian Polity
The Best Book for Polity is ‘ Indian Polity ‘ by Laxmikanth – Buy from Amazon
For Constitution related topics, read ‘ An Introduction to The Constitution of India ‘ by DD Basu – Buy from Amazon

– Indian Economy
For a basic understanding of economics, NCERT books are enough for UPSC Civil Services Preliminary Exam. Another good book for the economy is ‘ Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh. 

– Environment & Ecology
For this topic, please go through the government sites of the Ministry of Environment & Forests, UNO and  follow one of the best National News Paper (The Hindu)

– Science and Technology
National News Paper 
Indian Space Research Organization Web Site

– Current Affairs
For current affairs related information, please read News Paper daily and make notes of important events. 


Books for Civil Services Prelims General Studies Paper 2

UPSC Civil Services Preliminary Examination General Studies Paper 2 contains the following Topics

Logical Reasoning and Analyticsl Ability
English Reading Comprehension,
Problem Solving & Decision Making.

The Candidate must secure 33% to qualify this paper.
Logical Reasoning, Analytical Ability & Mathematics – RS Agarwal
English Comprehension – Yojana
Decision Making – Read News Papers


The Civil Services aspirants should not go for too many books for any Subject or Topic. You should always stick to the Basic Books like NCERTs, Standard books by well known authors only. You should focus on revision, revision and revision only.

Civil Services Main Examination Syllabus & Suggested Books – here