Important Books for Civil Services Prelims Exam


Civil Services Examination has been considered to be the toughest examination in India due to its vast syllabus and its extent has no boundaries. The competition for this exam is also huge that every year lakhs of candidates compete for hundreds of posts. Though the syllabus is vast and competition is high, if the exam preparation is planned in a right way, with suitable books, study materials accompanied with  guidance one can easily crack the exam. Lets see the pattern of the examination.

UPSC Exam Pattern

Civil Services Examination will be held in three phases: 




Prelims Pattern

Papers Exam Type Duration Total Marks No. of questions Marking Scheme
PI – General Studies Objective 2 hours 200 100 +2 & -2/3
PII – CSAT Objective 2 hours 200 80 +2.5 & -2.5/3


  • Paper I is only for merit and will not be considered for mains examinations.
  • Paper II (CSAT) is a qualification exam. Candidates needs to get not less than 33% (i.e. 66 marks) or above to qualify.
  • Paper will be in both English and Hindi .

UPSC Syllabus

PAPER I (General Studies) 

General Studies is a vast subject and the information obtained from books alone will not serve the purpose of cracking the exam. You need to acquire information from other resources like news papers, online resources, magazines etc. There is no substitute for your individual notes which you prepare while you go through the different books and materials.

The most important thing candidates need to remember is start the preparation with NCERT books. These books are very useful in laying good founding to the preparation. After getting good command on these books,start referring the books.

Below is the list of top books which are recommended by toppers of the CSE over the years.

Current Affairs:

  • Manorama Yearbook
  • India 2018
  • Yojana Magazine
  • Newspapers: The Hindu , Economic Times,

Indian History  

  •  A Brief History of Modern India, by Rajiv Ahir -Spectrum  Publication-Buy here
  • India’s Ancient Past, by R.S. Sharma-Buy here
  • A history of Medieval India, by Chandra Satish-Buy here
  • Indian Art and Culture, by Nitin Singhania–Buy here
  • NCERT Class 6th to 12th —Download NCERT books

Indian Polity

  • Indian Polity, by Laxmikanth — Buy here
  • Introduction to Constitution of India, by Durga Das Basu–Buy here

Indian and World Geography 

Indian Economy

  • Indian Economy- Ramesh Singh-Buy here
  • Economic Survey of India released by Ministry of Finance-
  • The Lexicon for Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Niraj Kumar-Buy here
  • NCERT Class 9th to 12th

PAPER II (Civil Services Aptitude Test – CSAT)

  • Comprehension
  • Interpersonal  communication skills;
  • Analytical and Logical reasoning
  • Problems solving skills
  • Mental Ability
  • Basic Maths (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) (Class X level),
  • Data interpretation ( graphs,charts, tables, data distribution etc. – Class X standard)

Other Important Books

  •  General studies II-Mc Graw Hill –
  • Arihant’s CSAT
  • Analytical Reasoning – MK Pandey
  • Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning– RS.Aggarwal



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