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List of Reference Books


To ace the Civil Services examination, you need to cover a few sets of books. These books can vary, depending on your background and interest. We, however, are providing you the list of books that are important for an aspirant who don’t have an iota of idea about the preparation.

For the benefit of all the aspirants, we are limiting this article to the General Studies section, and the optionals will be dealt with in the optional specific articles.

Before listing the books, we hope you have gone through the UPSC pattern and syllabus. If you have not, please read it so that you understand why the below listed books are important to cover.

Please don’t carry a notion that you can cover every question that UPSC throws at you by completing the books given below. Neither it is possible, nor it is desired by the UPSC.

Let’s divide the entire book list into two sections:

Fundamental books

Advanced books

It goes without saying that you opt for advanced books once you cover the fundamentals and not the other way round.

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Fundamental books


History NCERT: 6-12
Indian Polity



Advanced Books


General Studies 1


Modern History Spectrum
Art and Culture Nitin Singhania
World History Norman Lowe
Post-independence history Selected topics from India after Independence by Bipan Chandra
Indian Society Ram Ahuja



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General Studies 2


Indian Polity M.Laxmikanth
International Relations Pavneet Singh
Governance IGNOU Notes


General Studies 3


Economics Ramesh Singh
Environment Environment and Ecology by R.Rajgopalan
Disaster and Disaster Management IGNOU notes
Internal Security Lohit Matani


General Studies 4


Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude G. Subbarao
Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude Lexicon
Reports ARC 4th report and 12th report



These are the major books that you have to cover to have a good understanding of the topics. Reading books for every topic in the syllabus is neither feasible nor desirable. This article gives you a broad overview of what books you must follow to clear the civil services exam. You, however, are free to have your own set of books. This article does not restrict you from studying more books. The list however, is comprehensive and should be completed first. Does this list cover the entire syllabus? No. But, rest of the topics can be done with the help of internet or we, at Adda 247, can assure you that no topic will be left if you plan to come onboard.

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