Best Books For UPSC IAS Exam 2023 (UPSC Prelims and UPSC Mains)

Physics Wallah Academic Expert
October 31, 2023

Best Books For UPSC IAS Exam 2023

Best Books for UPSC IAS Exams: The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) Civil Services Examination is one of India's most prestigious and challenging competitive exams. Aspiring to become an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer is a dream shared by many, but realizing that dream requires meticulous preparation and the right resources. 

Among these resources, the choice of UPSC books plays a pivotal role in shaping the path to success. In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss the best books for UPSC IAS Exam 2023, covering books for UPSC Prelims, UPSC Mains, optional subjects, study materials, and why selecting the right books is crucial for your journey.

Best Books for UPSC IAS Exams UPSC Prelims

The UPSC Prelims examination is the first step in the challenging journey to becoming an IAS officer. To excel in the Prelims, aspirants must choose their study materials wisely. Here is a comprehensive table outlining the best books for various subjects tested in UPSC Prelims:

Best Books for UPSC IAS Exams UPSC Prelims

Best Books for UPSC IAS Exams UPSC Mains

The UPSC Mains examination is a significant step in your journey to becoming an IAS officer. It tests your in-depth understanding of various subjects and your ability to articulate your knowledge effectively. Here's a more detailed look at the recommended books for different subjects in UPSC Mains:

Best Books for UPSC IAS Exams UPSC Mains

Best Books for UPSC IAS Exams Optional Subjects

The selection of optional subjects in the UPSC Mains examination is a critical decision that can significantly impact your overall performance. To excel in your chosen optional subject, it is vital to choose the right study materials and books. Here are some in-depth recommendations for popular optional subjects:

Best Books for UPSC IAS Exams Optional Subjects

UPSC Study Material 2023

In addition to the core textbooks and reference materials, UPSC aspirants can benefit from a diverse range of study materials to enhance their exam preparation. These supplementary resources offer a well-rounded approach to understanding the complex and ever-evolving landscape of the UPSC Civil Services Examination. Here, we explore various types of study materials that can be invaluable in your UPSC preparation journey:

1. UPSC Previous Year Question Papers

Solving previous year's UPSC question papers is a fundamental aspect of your preparation. Here's why they are essential:

  1. Understanding the Exam Pattern: By reviewing past question papers, you can gain insights into the distribution of marks, the types of questions asked, and the exam's overall structure.
  2. Practice and Self-Assessment: Regular practice with previous year's papers allows you to assess your strengths and weaknesses, identify areas that need improvement, and fine-tune your exam strategy.
  3. Time Management: Solving these papers under timed conditions will help you manage your time effectively during the actual examination.

2. Current Affairs Magazines

Staying updated with current affairs is integral to both the Prelims and Mains. Current affairs magazines, such as "Yojana" and "Kurukshetra," provide well-structured, reliable, and concise information on contemporary issues. Here's how they can be beneficial:

  1. In-Depth Analysis: These magazines offer detailed analysis and insights into various national and international topics, helping you develop a profound understanding of current events.
  2. Time Management: They help you prioritize and select the most important news items, saving you from information overload.
  3. Essay and Interview Preparation: Current affairs magazines often cover topics relevant to the Essay paper and the UPSC interview, enhancing your overall preparation.

3. Mock Tests

Mock tests play a pivotal role in your UPSC preparation by simulating the examination environment and evaluating your readiness. These are available through various sources, including coaching institutes, websites, and mobile apps. The benefits of mock tests include:

  1. Real Exam Simulation: Mock tests closely resemble the actual UPSC exam, allowing you to experience the pressure and time constraints you'll face on the day of the examination.
  2. Performance Assessment: Mock tests help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, enabling you to fine-tune your preparation strategy.
  3. Time Management Skills: Regular practice with mock tests improves your time management skills and your ability to prioritize questions.
  4. Confidence Building: Scoring well in mock tests can boost your confidence and reduce anxiety on exam day.

Best Recommended Books for UPSC Exams

Tips for Choosing the Best Books for UPSC IAS Exam

Selecting the most appropriate books for your UPSC preparation is a critical decision that can significantly impact your performance. Here's a comprehensive set of tips to help you make informed choices when it comes to UPSC book selection:

  1. Refer to UPSC Syllabus: The UPSC syllabus is your ultimate guide. Before you choose any book, closely examine the syllabus to understand the topics and sub-topics required for the examination. Ensure that the book you pick comprehensively covers the syllabus.
  2. Check for Latest Editions: UPSC frequently updates its syllabus and question patterns. To stay aligned with the most current requirements, always opt for the latest editions of the recommended books. Newer editions often incorporate recent changes and insights.
  3. Balance Between Specialized and General Books: It's essential to find a balance between specialized books dedicated to a specific subject or paper and general reference books that provide a broader overview of multiple subjects. Specialized books offer in-depth knowledge, while general reference books serve as comprehensive guides.

Importance of the Best Books for UPSC IAS Exams 2023

Good IAS books serve as your guides, mentors, and companions throughout your preparation journey. Here are some key reasons why they are so crucial:

1. Strong Foundation

UPSC books provide in-depth knowledge, helping you build a solid foundation in various subjects. They cover the syllabus comprehensively, ensuring you have a deep understanding of the topics.

2. Syllabus Coverage

The UPSC syllabus is vast, and choosing the right books ensures that you cover every topic and subtopic as per the exam pattern. Comprehensive coverage is vital for success.

3. Clarity and Conceptual Understanding

Good IAS books explain complex concepts clearly and concisely. They help you grasp the subject matter easily, aiding in better retention and application.

4. Practice and Revision

Many UPSC books come with practice questions and previous year's question papers, allowing you to test your knowledge and practice answering questions. This is essential for effective revision.

5. Exam Relevance

Quality IAS books are up-to-date and relevant to the latest UPSC exam pattern and syllabus. They reflect the changes and trends in the examination.


In the pursuit of your dream to become an IAS officer, the choice of UPSC books is one of the most crucial decisions you'll make. These books will be your constant companions on your journey to success. 

Choose wisely, stick to your study plan, and keep the dream alive. Remember, success in the UPSC Civil Services Exam is not just about hard work; it's also about smart work. The right books are your stepping stones to success, so make each choice count. Best of luck in your UPSC 2023 journey!

Best Books for UPSC IAS Exams 2023 FAQs

Which book is best for UPSC IAS preparation?

There's no single "best" book for UPSC IAS preparation. It depends on the subject and your preference. However, popular choices include "Indian Polity" by M. Laxmikanth, "India's Struggle for Independence" by Bipan Chandra, and NCERT textbooks.

Which booklist is best for UPSC?

The best booklist for UPSC varies from person to person, but a standard starting point includes NCERT textbooks, followed by subject-specific books like "Indian Polity" and "Indian Economy" by Ramesh Singh.

What should I read first in IAS preparation?

In IAS preparation, start with the basics – NCERT textbooks for subjects like History, Geography, Polity, and Science.

How do I start reading for IAS?

Begin IAS preparation by setting a study schedule, understanding the syllabus, and starting with NCERT textbooks. Gradually move to standard reference books as you gain confidence.

How can I prepare for IAS through self-study?

To prepare for IAS through self-study, maintain a disciplined routine, access online resources, join test series, and stay updated with current affairs. Consider consulting coaching materials for guidance.

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