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Is NCERT enough for IAS prelims?

  • Categories
    Strategy for UPSC Prelims
  • Published
    2nd Dec, 2021

Among the range of questions that aspirants has to face, one of the most important question that aspirants has to face is; Is it enough to cover NCERT books for prepartion of preliminary examination. During the Preparation of Civil services examination, it is important to read important books for the respective subjects.

Starting Civil Services Prepartion:

  • Aspirants should look to prepare for Prelims examination by covering NCERT books as their first priority. Starting civil services examination is the most important yet toughest part of the Civil services examination.
  • Aspirants should look to complete NCERT books as the first priorities, later on they can read other books to develop knowledge base on the subject matter. Clearing civil services examination is the tricky one and is considered as delicate blend of all subjects Questions.

Importance of NCERT books for Prelims:

  • NCERT books act as foundation base, aspirants should not see covering NCERT books as last thing. E.g. for certain subjects like Geography, science & Technology or Word History and Indian History NCERT books are the best.
  • For other subjects, Students can read different books in the market, like for Indian Economy aspirants can read book of Ramesh Singh or for Polity Aspirants should read Book of Laxmikant. No person can say that he or she did not study the relevant books for the IAS Exam during IAS preparation.
  • The basic concepts are the same in all the books but the application of the concept makes all the difference hence some books are considered as the best books. The main issue is to do a selection of appropriate or best books that are quite relevant and effective for IAS preparation.

Find out some of the appropriate Strategy in Paper Wise Form:

General Studies Paper I

Indian History

  1. Ancient History: ‘Ancient India’ by RS Sharma (Old NCERT) is very good video which has coverage of UPSC IAS Prelims syllabus. Every year, large number of questions can be found from this book itself.
  2. Medieval History: History of Medieval India by Satish Chandra (Old NCERT) is more relevant in this section because through this book majority of prelims questions can be solved easily.
  3. Modern History: For covering Modern Indian section, ‘A Brief History of Modern India’ have good coverage of the Modern History syllabus for IAS Prelims Exam.
  4. Indian Culture: For this section, the aspirant should go through the book ‘Facets of Indian Culture’ by Spectrum and also through the website of ‘Centre for Cultural Resources and Training’.

Ancient History

1.‘Ancient India’ by RS Sharma (Old NCERT)

Medieval History

1. History of Medieval India by Satish Chandra (Old NCERT)

Modern History

1. ‘A Brief History of Modern India’ by Spectrum

2.‘Concise History of Modern India’ by Sujata Menon

Indian Culture

1.‘Facets of Indian Culture’ by Spectrum

2. CCRT website

Indian Geography

  • Old NCERT books are most preferred for the preparation of Indian Geography. For Physical Geography Goh Cheng Leong’s ‘Certificate Physical and Human Geography’ is more relevant.


1. Old NCERT books

2.Physical Geography by Goh Cheng Leong

3.For Maps Oxford School Atlas

Indian Polity

  • Books most recommended for the preparation of Indian Polity are ‘Indian Polity’ by Laxmikanth, ‘An Introduction to the Constitution of India’ by D. D. Basu and 'The Constitution of India’ by P. M. Bakshi.

Indian Polity

1.Indian Polity by Laxmikanth

2.An Introduction to the Constitution of India by D. D. Basu

3.The Constitution of India by P. M. Bakshi

4.Old NCERT books for Indian Polity


  • For the basic concepts and terminologies of economics, NCERT books are enough for IAS Preparation. It is essential to reach the Macroeconomics Class 12th textbook by NCERT
  • For further study on Indian Economy, most recommended books are ‘Indian Economy’ by Ramesh Singh, ‘Indian Economy’ by Mishra and Puri and the precise material of Economic Survey.

Indian Economy

1.Class 11 and Class 12 NCERTs

2.Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh

3.Indian Economy by Mishra and Puri

4.Current Economic Survey

Science & Technology

  • For this section, IAS aspirants must stick to the daily newspapers because the questions asked under Science & the Technology section of the IAS Prelims Exam, are generally based on current events. The NCERT books of class 9th and 10th are also recommendable for IAS Prelims Preparation but not necessary (in case they have enough time).

Science and Technology

1.Newspaper (The Hindu, Economic Times, The Indian Express)

2.ISRO Website, other Online Resources

Environment and Ecology

  • For the preparation of the Environment and Ecology section, the IAS aspirants must go through the study materials provided by NIOS. Apart from that aspirants should keep a close watch on the development projects of the Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India, and the United Nations’ UNFCCC.

Environment and Ecology


1.NIOS Study Material for Environmental Studies 2.Newspaper, Online Study Material

Essential Books for IAS:





Ancient History

‘Ancient India’ by RS Sharma (Old NCERT)

World Geography

1.Fundamentals of Human Geography (NCERT)

2.Certificate Physical And Human Geography

Medieval History

History of Medieval India by Satish Chandra (Old NCERT)


1.India People and Economy (NCERT)

2.Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh

Modern History

1.A Brief History of Modern India by Rajiv Ahir

2.World History by Norman Lowe

3.‘Concise History of Modern India’ by Sujata Menon


Indian Polity by Laxmikanth

Indian Culture

1.‘Facets of Indian Culture’ by Spectrum

2.Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania

3.CCRT website

Current Affairs

The Hindu, Indian Express, PIB, Jagran Josh

Physical Geography

Certificate Physical And Human Geography

Science & Tech

1.Notes by Shankar IAS

2.Daily Newspapers

ISRO website

Indian Geography

India: Physical Environment (NCERT)

Environment & Ecology

1.Recent Events on Climate change through Newspapers

2.NIOS Study Materials

Starting prepartion is one thing and achieving success is another. IAS aspirants should not prefer a large number of books for any subject and should go for selective studies. Along with NCERT Books, aspirants should follow standard books and study materials only.

Verifying, please be patient.

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