Study Material for IAS: A Complete Guide


Whenever IAS aspirants begin their preparation, they always ponder upon what to study and from where to study. These questions are very common and general. A good mentor can be very helpful in answering these questions. After  thorough assessment of the UPSC syllabus and UPSC pattern,one can come to a conclusion that roughly we need study materials for two stages: UPSC Prelims & UPSC Mains. Firstly, make a point to cover syllabus of prelims with a perspective of UPSC Mains. Only then  you can  think of succeeding at this prestigious examination. Let us have a look, at the requirements.

Stage-1, UPSC Prelims is a kind of screening test. It focuses mainly on elimination, so that only selected candidates can move on to the next stage. That is why, for clearing UPSC Prelims and eventually UPSC Mains, one must have a sound grip over the Static portion  of the syllabus and the Current Affairs. For this, use both technology and traditional methods, to make your preparation much more effective and smarter. If we talk about traditional methods, then it involves preparing notes form certain recommended books. Here is a list of recommended books for UPSC Prelims & Mains:

  • NCERT : History, Geography, Polity(Civics) of classes 6th-12th, Science of classes 6th-10th and Economics, Fine Arts  only of classes 11th-12th.
  • History for UPSC :   Ancient India by RS Sharma, Medieval India by Satish Chandra and Modern India by Rajiv Ahir, Spectrum.
  • Polity for UPSC :   Indian Polity by M. Laxmikant, Introduction to the Constitution of India by DD Basu
  • Geography for UPSC : Oxford school atlas, Geography – A comprehensive study by Mahesh Kumar Baranwal,
  • Economy for UPSC:   Indian Economy Book by Ramesh Singh
  • Art and Culture for UPSC:   Indian Art & Culture by Nitin Singhania.
  • Environment for UPSC:   Environment for Civil Services Prelims and Mains by Dr. Khullar, JA CS Rao


Books especially for UPSC Mains:

  • Ethics for UPSC: Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude by Subba Rao
  • History of modern world by Jain Mathur
  • Social problems in India by Ram Ahuja and much more.

These are few books, which are recommended as best for IAS preparation. But make sure that you revise and re-revise these  and stick to these limited books only, instead of jumping from one to another. This will save your time and energy and make your preparation much more efficient. If we talk about the use of technology in UPSC preparation as a safeguard to your time and quality preparation, then UPSCCONNECT provide lucid, simple and precise video lectures for UPSC on every topic. So try to utilise these videos to prepare for UPSC. It is just  simple calculation-

(Video lectures+ Self made notes = Best material for UPSC preparation)

However, for Current Affairs, newspaper reading also helps. Recommended ones are The Hindu or The Indian Express. Follow 1 year current affairs, before your examination. For UPSC Prelims, practice as many objective type questions from books like Manohar Pandey. For Prelims, CSAT paper, have a grip over Maths up to class 10th level. And practice Maths, reasoning and comprehension, from any suitable book. Follow previous years papers strictly. You can get them from either official UPSC website or even in the downloads section of our site UPSCCONNECT. Analyse them and then sit down to study. For UPSC Mains, answer writing skills need to be good. You should write your answers in points and include flow charts and diagrammatic representations. For Essay writing, practice at least 150-200 essays and follow a good format for it.

The most important aspect of UPSC preparation is consistency and regular revision. Open the dimensions of your mind and while answering for Mains, include all the aspects such as political, social, economical etc. impacts and reforms relevant to it. Many more books and online courses can be recommended for UPSC preparation, but following limited material that too meticulously, can be proved as beneficial for you. This was all about study material and its use.

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