Best books recommended by IAS toppers for UPSC Prelims and UPSC Mains Exam

IAS toppers recommend that UPSC aspirants must start their IAS preparation with NCERT books. Once the aspirants get conceptual clarity on the topics, they will be ready for advance readings.


However, IAS toppers also caution all UPSC aspirants to keep their resources of study limited. You’ll gain more from reading one source a 100 time than reading 100 sources only one time.


The best IAS books can vary from candidate to candidate depending on their educational background, however, the UPSC books which are widely recommended for UPSC Prelims and UPSC Mains, not only by IAS toppers but also provided by Rau’s IAS Study Circle as part of its study material are listed hereunder:


1.   Ancient, Medieval Indian History

  • Old NCERT Class 11 – Ancient India by R S Sharma
  • Old NCERT Class 11 – Medieval India by Satish Chandra
  • NCERT Class 12 – Themes in Indian History, Part 1
  • NCERT Class 12 – Themes in Indian History, Part 2


2.  Indian heritage (ART & CULTURE)

  • NCERT Class 11 – An Introduction to Indian Art, Part 1
  • Indian Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania




4.  Post-Independence HISTORY OF INDIA

  • Spectrum – A Brief History of Modern India


5.  World History

  • Old NCERT (Class 10) – Story of civilization
  • OLD NCERT (Class 12) – History of the World by Arjun dev
  • NCERt Class 11 – Themes in World History


6.  Geography


7.  Environment

  • Environment & Ecology: A Complete Guide by R Rajagopalan


8.  Polity and Governance          


9.  Indian economy


10.  Society


11.  Science and Technology


12.  International Relations & Security

  • NCERT Class 12th – Contemporary World Politics.


13.  Ethics

  • Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude – G Subba Rao & P N Roy Chowdhury (retired IAS officers)


After completing these basic and standard reference books, Rau’s IAS provides all its students UPSC Prelims and UPSC Mains compilations of static syllabus and current affairs. These compilations are comprehensive yet precise compilation of everything important for the upcoming Prelims and Mains exam.


Rau’s IAS Prelims Compass

  1. History
  2. Indian Polity & Governance
  3. Indian Economy
  4. Geography, Environment and Ecology
  5. Science & Technology
  6. Budget & Economic Survey
  7. Government Schemes
  8. Current events of national and international importance


Rau’s IAS Mains Compass

  1. Economic Development
  2. Indian Society, social issues and social justice
  3. Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude
  4. International Relations and Security
  5. Indian Polity, Constitution & Governance
  6. Indian Culture, Heritage, Modern, Contemporary and World History
  7. Science & Technology
  8. Geography, Biodiversity, Environment & Disaster Management
  9. Essay

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