Strategy for Reading Materials for IAS Exam

 Strategy for Reading Materials for IAS Exam

If someone ask  which is most important factor that decide your success if you are willing to work hard with all dedication…………There will be only one answer:Study material.

If you are preparing for civil services you have to develop skill to differentiate between general knowledge and general study.syllabus for all exam is almost same but standard of question is different in different means you have to understand what kind of right material can help you in upsc exam.

study material for IAS exam should……..

  • cover all relevant aspect of topic in which upsc is interested.
  • it should be simple & self explanatory.
  • it should be authentic otherwise your all hard wok will go in vane.

many student relied on notes of various institutions but that is not correct way of preparation,.notes may be helpful for understanding some topic and to generate awareness about depth of topic.Best practise would be to study from books  even if you are doing some coaching classes.  atleast in your initial period of preparation you should develop habit of reading from books. atleast once you should read from book.

we will suggest books that will be helpful for pre and mains both.

Indian Polity  : 

The pattern of question in CSAT era is simpler than earlier .if someone prepare it very well strike rate may be very high 90-95%. it is simpler than other section of syllabus even if upsc ask difficult questions. The material availability is easy but you are required to do lots of practice to understand the language and meaning of question by practicing old paper of upsc.


Indian polity —M Lakshmikanth (TMH publication).A book that is good for pre and mains both in simple must read it 5-6 times for better result. you can buy online too on amazon.

introduction to constitution –D D Basu.good and concise book,only issue is language.difficult to understand for fresher.

Democracy in india :NCERT (old or new) Contemporary world :NCERT.

Indian foreign policy….Rajiv sikari/muchkund dubey.

website of ministry of foreign affairs…

Latest bill and current issue—PRSINDIA—

My gov  :

Social economic programmes  : Vikaspedia

Prime Minister of India website



If you analyse the old papers of history ias pre exam you will find the increasing number of question on art and culture (difficult too). History consist of Modern history:easiest to correct either be factual or twisted ,strike rate may be prelims one should cover from  coming of European power to independence.but in mains mostly  focused on history after 1857 to independence.

A Brief History of Modern India-spectrum publication (must read book.once read this book,then only any other book)

Modern india –12th old NCERT (BIPIN CHANDRA)

From Plassey to Partition and After: A History of Modern India-  Sekhar Bandyopadhyay

Ancient India : No fixed pattern of question ,sometime upsc ask 5-7 question and make it difficult part to attempt .most of the time 3-4 question upsc ask in prelims.there is limitation to prepare solid material by reading which one can ensure 100% strike should prepare it in such a way so that simple question can be attempted.

ancient history :R S Sharma (old Ncert)

or New Ncert can be also helpful

Medieval india :UPSC ask either no question or 1-3 question. book by sumit sarkar (old ncert) is good.

Art & culture …nowdays very important topic not only for pre but also for mains.there is too much details given in every source.but by smart work ,output can be increased.

Art and culture : spectrum , NIOS Material

website :


In general difficult to prepare  due to large syllabus and scope of has to prepare  basic concept of geography (Lithosphere ,atmosphere,hydrosphere,biosphere) that account for 40% of question.most of the difficult and twisted questions are asked from this part.2nd part is indian geography which is easy questionwise as well as preparation wise.Nearly 50% question of geography are asked from this part.3rd is world regional geography from where 10-15% questions are asked.Map reading along with book reading is must to understand concept and to remember it longer duration.

Oxford student Atlas/geography through map (K.siddhartha) : Atlas visualisation should be in your habit whenever you study geography.there is so much data in Geography,you need not required to memorise them but analyse those data by correlating them with map.Mind map of location is very important.

Basic books : NCERT 11th & 12 th geography

You may prefer to use book written  by Dr Khullar for 11th and 12th (saraswati publication) that is based on NCERT and up to date along with solution of question of NCERT.

Certificate Physical and Human GeographY  :  Goh Cheng Leong

Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change …

current debate :


This is one of the difficult section of general study.difficulty is because of candidates are not habitual to use economic term in daily life.Economic issues and their complexity makes it to understand clearly.clear connection among the principles,examples and issues  and applied application is necessary to answer IAS prelims and mains questions.In general UPSC ask 15-20% question from this section.but if one include question of social economic policies and programmes it weight increases to nearly 25% in GS paper.

we can divide whole  syllabus …

  • Basic understanding of term , definition and concept.
  • to use this basic to answer applied question.
  • social and economic policies and programmes.
  • current affairs related to economic issues

use Ramesh singh along with economic survey and internet.



Ecology and Environment

New pattern  started in  2011 has added this section more prominently in ias pre exam paper.if you look at ias pre exam paper of 2011,2012,2013,2014,2015 ,you will find that continuously this section account for nearly 20-25% of pre paper.Many part of this section overlap with geography section.But distinguishing part of  it from geography is current affairs based question along with issues related to climate change and global warming,biodiversity,government policies and action.




Textbook of Environmental Studies for Undergraduate Courses by Erach Bharucha.

Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change 

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) 


General Science

very difficult to social science background candidate.normally they try to avoid it.on other hand science graduate think their natural command over science and so do not much read  about this portion.As result almost all candidate negelect it.they do not think to prepare it properly.Contribution of this section varies from year to year that makes its preparation more vulnerable. most of the time they ask basic concept and their application in common man life,but many times they correlate with current happening in science.Mixed of basic and current make it difficult to many to answer it correctly.If you look the pre paper ,you will find mostly question from Physics biology and chemistry.Either they do not ask from chemistry or ask 1-3 question from application part.In case of biology ,focus is on human body ,their function and disease and nutrition.

SCIENCE : 9th and 10th NCERT

Biology :11th and 12th NCERT


Science and Technology

The best strategy to prepare for science and technology section of GS3 paper is to analyse the trend ,areas and depth of questions asked in new pattern of upsc mains exam ie in 2013,2014,2015.If you look the paper you will simply find out that answering those question require just knowledge of current happening in science and technology and responses and policies of government of india and new policy initiative at world level.But questions are mostly related to Indian concern.

But to write in lucid  and scientifically correct answer that a layman can understand you should have basic knowledge of each part of syllabus mentioned in paper   . so prepare basic part of  syllabus through INDIA YEAR BOOK chapter on science and technology  and website of various scientific department.You can use books of spectrum and TMH for basic part.Basic part seems lengthy,so go through only important aspect of a chapter.For current happening you can see the science and technology news updates.

Remember for writing technically correct answer ,you must prepare basic part either through books or from internet.Read some article published in The hindu or TOI.


Science and Technology : Ashok kumar (TMH)

science and technology news updates.



Current Affairs

How to study current affairs? Should candidate read only one newspaper or one current affairs magazine or both? Should candidate  consult multiple news paper and website.

Any news material on line or offline will help only if you have the basic understanding of subject have to develop ability to find out relevant news for ias exam.You have to find out critical element in news that is extra and you do not know about it. You  have to understand news in holistic way so that you can write about it in 200 words.

There is multiple sources for current affairs that create confusion among new candidate.They think how one can read such large  number of news.They waste large amount of time on reading current  and forget about basic part.Remember basic part is very important for prelims.although all website take news from same original source but some trimming, cut and paste,add/subtract and present try to read from authentic source and try to reduce number of should read Atleast The hindu and PIB.other papers depending on availability of time or weekly basis .


(Daily Analysis of Most Important News for IAS,PCS,Civil Services Exam from The Hindu,Indian Express,Business standard,PIB,PRS,IDSA,Frontline TOI and from GOI ministry.)

Daily News

RS TV (BIG PICTURE, DESH DESHANTAR,  SAROKAR).This is very important source where best expert discuss pros and cons of important issues and challenges that india is facing currently.



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