NCERT Books for UPSC form the major part of the syllabus of the UPSC Civil Services Examinations. So every aspirant falls back or should fall back on the basic NCERT books. However, though each aspirant reads the same books, there are some top rank holders and then there are others who don’t even make it through the first stage or Prelims.  So what differentiates these two sets of candidates? The difference, therefore, is not in what they are reading, but how they are reading it. 

So what exactly is expected out of you in the UPSC Exams as far as the knowledge on the subjects is concerned? It is expected that you have a thorough understanding of the subject, that you understand the reasoning associated with each topic and that you remember the important facts of the subject. It is also expected that you are able to reproduce all this in the answers as required during the examination.

How to Read NCERT Books for UPSC Preparation?

Before we give you the NCERT book list for UPSC, you need to know the steps for how to go about reading the books.

Step 1

How are you going to read each subject and each topic? We suggest starting from the books of the sixth standard. Initially, the books will seem to be very easy and you will be going through the chapters very fast. At this stage, try not to stop to understand concepts if you are unclear. Just go on reading to get an idea of the subject. How it works, what the logical connections are, how each chapter flows to the next and get a general sense of the topics in the subject. This will be your first step.

Step 2

Reread the subjects again, but this time with the objective of understanding each concept of each topic. This is the step where you will seek external help to understand if required and not skip any topic to go to the next. Do not skip any part of any chapter either because generally, a chapter to be understood requires knowledge from the previous chapter’s topics. So at this stage make sure you understand every nook and corner of the book. Underline concepts that you need to remember, make notes and do short revisions if required so that you are comfortable with the topics. Also, solve each question in the exercises following the chapters. In case you are unable to solve the problems, you need to redo this step and go back to understanding the concepts.

Step 3

Do a final reading of the subjects. During this reading, you should be so comfortable with the subject and the topics that you read smoothly without much pause. Of course, you might find things you had missed earlier, facts and data and some concepts, however, on the whole, you will be comfortably covering chapter after chapter quite fast. Work on your notes and make them concise and crisp at this point so that you can revise each subject in a very short period of time. If you have done the earlier steps correctly, you should find this step to be easy and quite enjoyable.

Step 4

Finally, correlate the everyday events that you are reading in the newspaper to the subjects you have read. For example, if a government scheme on poverty alleviation is in the news, try to make use of it and revise other similar schemes from the past or the constitutional framework in which such schemes are made. This will really help to cement both the current affairs topic and the static syllabus topic in your mind.

If you do your reading following these 4 steps, you will already be ahead of the lacs of aspirants who aspire to crack this exam but don’t know how to study for it.

However, here is a little more to take you even further. Let us look at how to internalize the topics rather than just read them. This is exactly what UPSC expects out of candidates, not just knowledge, but a deep understanding of the topics correlated and connected with reality.

NCERT Book List for UPSC

You should refer to UPSC NCERT books for building up the foundation whether you are looking to build a foundation of history subject, you should opt for History NCERT for UPSC. For political subjects, you should opt for Polity NCERT for UPSC.


UPSC Books

Indian Polity

Indian Polity – M Laxmikanth


NCERT XII (Modern Indian History)

India’s Struggle for Independence – Bipan Chandra

NCERT XI (Ancient & Medieval)

Facets of Indian Culture – Spectrum

International Relations

Current Affairs
NCERT XII (Contemporary World Politics)


NCERT VI – X (Old Syllabus)

World Atlas
Certificate Physical Geography – G C Leong

NCERT XI, XII (New Syllabus)


CSAT II – Arihant

Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning – R S Aggarwal

Tata McGraw Hill CSAT Manual

For more information on CSAT, check the linked article



Economic Development & Policies in India – Jain & Ohri

Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh


NCERT notes for UPSC will help you in your preparation for the UPSC examination. In this article, we have provided you with the general books and books by NCERT list for UPSC. Hopefully, this will be helpful for you. You can also share your thoughts with us about NCERT books for UPSC preparation. TO share your thoughts, comment in the below box.

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How to Read NCERT Books for UPSC Preparation? Here’s the Complete Guide You should Follow
Confused about how to read NCERT books to boost your UPSC preparation? Click here and get to know the best NCERT Books for UPSC preparation to rank on the top list to get your dream come true.
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About the Author

Payal Ghosh

Payal is an FRM and an XLRI Jamshedpur alumnus interested in things as diverse as Waste Management and photography. She has over 16 years of work experience and is passionate about writing, teaching and sustainable living. Helping students and seeing them succeed makes gives her motivation to push herself further.

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