UPSC is one of the toughest and competitive exams in India. It includes two stages, prelims and mains exam. Every year lakh of students embark on their UPSC journey but only a few hundreds of them can clear it successfully. These candidates come from different backgrounds like science, engineering, medical, commerce, etc. To master the basic humanities subjects they require building their base first.
There is a famous quote by C.N.R. Rao
“Build a strong base. The journey to peaks of excellence requires a strong base camp.”
NCERT books are published by the central authority of India. These books are written in simple and clear language for a better understanding of the core theme of the subject. Moreover, they are seen as compulsory by UPSC aspirants. In this article, I will describe a complete list of NCERT books for UPSC preparation.
Importance of NCERT from UPSC Perspective
NCERT is considered as the basis of the UPSC perspective. These books are highly recommended by toppers to build a strong foundation for each subject. This is written in simple and clear language for a basic understanding of each subject.
These books can become a stepping stone for the success of candidates. These NCERTs are prepared by most reputed authors such as Satish Chandra, Arjun Dev, Bipan Chandra, etc.
# Prelims Perspective
NCERTs are helpful for you from the perspective of the UPSC exam. If you analyse the previous year question papers of UPSC CSE you will find out that many questions are derived from NCERTs. Every year more than 35-40 questions come from them.
# Basic Understanding
NCERTs are the basic reading books for a clear understanding of different subjects of UPSC. These are written in the simplest language possible. Even beginners can understand the concepts. It helps you to build a strong foundation for the core subjects of UPSC.
# Simple to Understand
NCERTs are written in simple and clear language. It is published to develop a basic understanding of different subjects. It helps aspirants to grasp the ideas for several topics.
# Information is Authentic and Reliable
Information about NCERTs is a genuine and reliable source for preparation. This information is reliable as it is designed by government officials after detailed research.
# Reputed Authors
These books are written by prominent authors like Satish Chandra, Bipan Chandra, M. Laxmikanth, RS Sharma, etc. They have published these books, especially old NCERTs, after long research.
Also Read: UPSC IAS General Studies Books
Complete NCERT Books List for UPSC Preparation
NCERTs are important to kickstart your UPSC preparation. Therefore I have listed complete NCERT books for UPSC preparation.
|Class VI – Our Past|
|Class VII – Our Past -I|
|Class VIII – Our Past II and III|
|Class IX – India and the Contemporary World – I|
|Class IX – India and the Contemporary World – II|
|Class X – Themes In World History|
|Class XII – Themes In Indian History – I|
|Class XII – Themes in Indian History – II|
|Class XII – Themes In Indian History – III|
|Ancient India (class XI) by RS Sharma|
|Medieval India (class IX) by Satish Chandra|
|Modern India (class X) by Bipin Chandra|
Indian Society (NCERT)
|Class VI – Social Science: Social & Political Life I|
|Class VII – Social Science: Social & Political Life II|
|Class VIII – Social Science: Social & Political Life III|
|Class XI – Sociology: Understanding Society|
|Class XII – Indian Society|
|Class XII – Social Change and Development in India|
Art and Culture (NCERT)
|Class XI – An Introduction to Indian Art|
|Class XI – Living Craft Traditions of India|
|Class VI – The Earth Our Habitat|
|Class VII – Our Environment|
|Class VIII – Resource and Development|
|Class IX – Contemporary India – I|
|Class X – Contemporary India – II|
|Class XI – Fundamentals of Physical Geography|
|Class XI – India – Physical Environment|
|Class XII – Fundamentals of Human Geography|
| Class XII – India – People and Economy
Political Science (NCERT)
|Class IX – Political Science: Democratic Politics Part – I|
|Class X – Political Science: Democratic Politics Part – II|
|Class XI – Political Science: Indian Constitution at Work|
|Class XI – Political Science: Political Theory|
|Class XII – Political Science I: Contemporary World Politics|
|Class XII – Political Science II: Politics in India since Independence|
|Class IX – Economics|
|Class X – Understanding Economic Development|
|Class XI – Indian Economic Development|
|Class XII – Introductory Microeconomics|
|Class XII – Introductory Macroeconomics|
Science and Technology (NCERT)
|Class XI – Chemistry & Biology|
|Class XII – Chemistry & Biology|
Environment and Ecology (NCERT)
|Class XII – Biology|
|Class XII – Psychology|
How to Read NCERT Books for UPSC?
NCERT should be approached in a manner to ensure success. Here are some effective tips on how to read NCERT books for UPSC?
# Try to read all the books at first reading. Don’t try to understand the concepts first.
# In the second reading try to understand each and every concept. And do solve each exercise to evaluate yourself.
# Now you should read it again and try to make short and crisp notes from them.
# Take your knowledge to the next level by combining your theoretical knowledge with the practical one. Try to figure out how the country runs based on your knowledge.
Is it Sufficient to Read NCERT Books?
NCERTs are good books for understanding the core themes of basic subjects. If you are from a non-humanities background then you won’t be able to understand books like From Plassey to Partition from Sekhar Bandyopadhyay, Indian Polity by RK Mukherjee, etc.
NCERTs helps you to understand basic subjects so that aspirants can build a good foundation for UPSC. It is important to understand that NCERTs are good for building a base for various disciplines like Political Science, Modern history, Geography, etc. But you also have to read other books to gain expertise on different subjects.
New NCERT v/s Old NCERT
|Old NCERTs||New NCERTs|
|Edition||Published before 2005||Published after 2005|
|Illustrations||Old NCERTs contain fewer diagrams and illustrations||New NCERTs contain diagrams and illustrations. They are colourful and attract the attention of the reader.|
|Content||# These books are text-heavy.
# Old NCERTs are written by prominent authors.
|These books are written concisely and coherently.
# New NCERTs are written up to point
|Available||Difficult to find||Easy to find|
|Factual Information||Contains lots of facts and figures||Lacks facts and figures|
|Subject||There is not much explanation||They contain detailed explanations|
Best NCERT Books (Old NCERT)
History and Economics
Best NCERT Books (New NCERT)
Polity, Geography, Science and Technology
Can I Skip the NCERT of UPSC CSE?
A multi-level building is built over a strong base. Without a strong base, a tall building will fall by a gust of wind. It is the same case with NCERT. They are the first steps of your UPSC preparation. You can skip them if you have a strong grasp of core subjects. But if you want to score better and are of another stream don’t try to skip them.
Best NCERT Books for UPSC Preparation
|History and Culture||Book List|
|Ancient History||‘Ancient India’ by RS Sharma|
|Medieval History||History of Medieval India by Satish Chandra|
|Modern History||‘A Brief History of Modern India’ by Spectrum
‘Concise History of Modern India’ by Sujata Menon
|World History||World History by Norman Lowe|
|Indian Culture||‘Facets of Indian Culture’ by Spectrum|
|Physical Geography||Certificate Physical And Human Geography|
|Indian Geography||India: Physical Environment (NCERT)|
|World Geography||Fundamentals of Human Geography (NCERT)
Certificate Physical And Human Geography
|Polity||Indian Polity by Laxmikanth|
|Indian Economy||India People and Economy (NCERT)|
Important Books to Read for UPSC Preparation
|Ancient India||India’s Ancient Past by R.S. Sharma
History of Ancient and Early Medieval India by Upinder Singh
|Medieval India||History Of Medieval India by Satish Chandra|
|Modern India||History Of Modern India by Bipan Chandra.
India’s Struggle For Independence by Bipan Chandra
A Brief History of Modern India by Rajiv Ahir
|Post Independence||India After Gandhi by Ramchandra Guha
India Since Independence by Bipan Chandra
|Indian Society||Indian Society: Themes and Social Issues by Nadeem Hasnain|
|India and Culture||The Wonder That Was India by A.L. Bhasham|
|World History||Modern World History by Uddipan
Mastering Modern World History by Norman Lowe
History of the World by Arjun Dev
|World Geography||World Geography by Majid Husain|
|Physical Geography||Physical Geography by Savindra Singh|
|Human Geography||Human Geography by Majid Husain|
|Geography of India||Geography of India by Majid Husain|
|Maps||Oxford Student Atlas for India|
Polity and International Relations
|Polity and International Relations||Book List|
|Constitution||Introduction to the Constitution of India by D. D. Basu|
|Indian Polity||Indian Polity by M. Laxmikanth|
|Governance||Governance in India by M.Karthikeyan|
|International Relations||Pax Indica by Shashi Tharoor
India and the World by Surendra Kumar
The India way by S. Jaishankar
|Indian Economy||Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh
Indian Economy by Nitin Singhania
Indian Economy Key Concepts by Shankar Ganesh Karuppiah
Science and Technology
|Science and Technology||Book List|
|Science and Technology by Sheelwant Singh|
|Environmental Studies: From Crisis to Cure by Rajagopalan
Environment for Civil Services Prelims and Mains by Khuller
|Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude by Awdesh Singh
Ethical Dilemmas of a Civil Servant by Anil Swarup
How to download NCERTs for free?
You can download free pdfs of NCERT books from here.
NCERT books are important for your UPSC preparation. It is the best way to start your UPSC preparation. They are sufficient for prelims and acts as a good base for the mains exam.
Try not to skip them as they are very important from a civil service examination perspective. You should read all chapters without skipping anyone as they are interrelated to each other.
If you want to kickstart your UPSC preparation under the guidance of professionals, visit UPSC Pathshala. UPSC Pathshala is the best website for UPSC preparation. You will find different courses, mock tests, notes materials, video lectures, etc. You will also get one-on-one advice from experts through several meeting apps.