How to prepare for UPSC – Strategy | Suggested Reading | Part-II


How to prepare for UPSC – Strategy | Suggested Reading | Part-II

Welcome to | In the First Part, we have discussed why our youth is eager to get selected for the civil services and understood the nature of prelims part of UPSC CSE. Now we are going to understand the Syllabus of UPSC Prelims and suggested reading material for preparation.

How to prepare for UPSC - Strategy | Suggested Reading | Part-II
How to prepare for UPSC – Strategy | Suggested Reading | Part-II


Current topics/events having national & international importance:

This part of the syllabus is very wide and is highly diverse in nature. This wide coverage & diverse nature makes it the most challenging part of prelims. This part having wide coverage & diverse nature makes it the most challenging part of the CSE prelims. Here the real problem is not the current affairs, but our attitude towards it. Usually, we don’t prepare for this on a day to day basis and keep on postponing till the very close of prelims and stuck getting panicky about it. It is not going to be too easy to prepare for the current affairs at the last moment, as this section requires a vast amount of information from numerous fields. So, a solution is to prepare on a daily basis, making it a routine. Another thing we can take care about is the collection of information from multiple sources i.e. at least 2-3 different newspapers have to be read thoroughly along with some magazines to prepare properly. Have a focus on details of last one year’s events, and have knowledge of important events of the last 2-3 years at least.

History and Culture:

Nowadays, there are more questions from this section are being asked from the art & culture part. For this, we need to thoroughly read books like “The Gazetteer of India”, “The wonder that was India” by A.L.Basham, etc. The more emphasis to be given on Modern India (Modern Indian History), as UPSC asks many questions from this section. For Ancient & Medieval Indian History, NCERT books are sufficient, but for Modern Indian History/Indian Freedom Struggle, 2-3 books have to be read to prepare well.


This section includes the environment & ecology section. A large number of questions in the preliminary exam are asked from these two sections. So we need to pay sufficient attention to this section as this section carries more marks than any other section of the exam. For understanding geography, we have to read the Atlas. For preparing the environment and Ecology section magazines and websites can be used i.e., Magazine Down to Earth, etc.


This section requires thorough knowledge. we can read any good textbook on the Indian Constitution, but we have to supplement the reading with the reading of articles of the Indian Constitution & their interpretation from other sources. We also need to have look after the current developments in the judiciary, legislature governance issues, etc along with the constitutional provisions. Websites like, are very useful to update polity & law-related information. For the Prelims for this year[2019], some important topics to focus on are matters related to judiciary & landmark judgments’ of Supreme Court, Changes in RPA Act, 1951 & electoral laws.

How to prepare for UPSC - Understanding Prelims | Part-I
How to prepare for UPSC – Strategy | Suggested Reading | Part-II

Economic and Social developments:

Nowadays, the no. of questions asked from this section is decreasing, but questions about the current events in the economy of the country and the world are being asked. More questions from current economics are asked than the traditional questions from economics. The focus should be on Budget, Economic Survey, and careful perusal of economic news in pink newspapers (financial newspapers).

Schemes, Policies, and Programs:

Questions are also being asked about the various Centre/State Govt. schemes. For preparing these we need to have access to important Govt. websites, especially of the Agriculture, Rural Development, Social Justice, Women & Child Development Ministries, that announce and implement various schemes. The questions on this topic are not general nature, but requiring knowledge about the details of the schemes.

Science and Technology:

To better cover the S&T Section of the prelims, we have to acquire basic knowledge of the basic theories of branches of Science, i.e. Physics, Bio & Chemistry, by reading the NCERT Textbooks. Two, have to read the latest developments in S&T, i.e. the current affairs section, which we have to cover from newspaper and scientific magazines.

Score qualifying marks in Prelims – The Short Strategy:

Here what we have to remember is that we don’t need to aim at completing the syllabus of prelims. What we require is preparing selectively for the exam. Generally, around 110 marks are required to qualify in the General Studies paper of prelims. A safe strategy to achieve so is to have command over static parts of the syllabus e.g. Culture, Polity, History and ensuring at least 22-25 correct answers from these, and after that focus should be on other static areas(Geo, Eco, etc.) ensuring 15-20 correct answers. This ensures about 15 correct answers. At last, prepare for current affairs to score at least 15 correct answers. By following this pattern we can fetch around the marks 110 out of a total of 200 marks. Qualifying for the mains.


There are dozens of books available in the market for the preparation of UPSC(Civil Services Examination). But we need to shortlist the relevant booklist so as to prepare according to the demand of the exam. Now let us have a look at the suggested booklist for preparation from the prelims point of view.

How to prepare for UPSC - Strategy | Suggested Reading | Part-II
How to prepare for UPSC – Strategy | Suggested Reading | Part-II

Note: It is not suggested to read all the books. You have to choose accordingly. Also, keep in mind. It’s much better to read one book 10 times than reading ten books once.

Current Affairs:

  1. INDIA YEARBOOK – 2019, published by the Publications Division, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, New Delhi.
  2. Annual Reports of Ministries of
    (A) Environment and Forest
    (B) Tribal Welfare
    (C) Women and Child Welfare, Social Justice
    (D) Rural Development
    (E) Department of Science and Technology, Atomic Energy, Renewable Energy.
  3. Major Newspapers – The Hindu, the Tribune, Hindustan Times, TOI, etc.
  4. Current Affairs Magazines Websites:,


  1. NCERT:
    Modern India(Bipan Chandra), Medieval India(Satish Chandra), Ancient India(R.S.Sharma).
  2. The wonder that was India – A.L.Basham
  3. The Gazetteer of India- Volume-II
  4. Struggle for India’s Independence – by Bipan Chandra
  5. Social Background of Indian Nationalism – by A.R.Desai
  6. Modern India – B.L.Grover
  7. Raj to Swaraj – R.C. Pradhan

Art and Culture

  1. Publications Divisions books on art and culture
  2. The Arts of India – Basil Gray
  3. The Wonder That Was India(read the chapter on art and architecture) – by A.L.Basham
  4. The Gazetteer of India, Volume-II: Chapters on art, literature, and culture


  1. NCERT Textbooks – From Standard VI to XII (Click to download for FREE)
  2. ICSE Books – From Standard VI to X.
  3. Certificate Human and Physical Geography – Goh Cheh Leong
  4. Atlas by Oxford India publication

Polity and Constitution:

  1. Constitution of India – P.M.Bakshi or D.D.Basu
  2. Our Constitution – S.C. Kashyap
  3. Indian Federalism – P. Singh
  4. Indian Constitution – B.K. Sharma
  5. Indian Polity by M.Laxmikanth (Master This Book) – You can also go by reading only this one book again and again. Make this your Takiya Kalam. – The MOST FAMOUS BOOK ON INDIAN POLITY FOR CIVIL SERVICES.


  1. NCERT Textbook – Indian Economic Development (Click to download for FREE)
  2. Indian Economy By Ramesh SinghMOST FAMOUS(Best for the Beginners).
  3. Indian Economy – by Mishra and Puri
  4. Latest Economic Survey
  5. Yojana
  6. Major Financial newspapers

General Science:

  1. NCERT Textbooks from Standard X books on Physics, Chemistry and std XI and XII books on Biology  (Click to download for FREE)
  2. Magazine: Down to Earth

You can also read the part -I by clicking the button below:

How to prepare for UPSC – Understanding Prelims | Part-I

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