Which NCERT Books Are Required For UPSC?

NCERT books, primarily designed for students, have earned a remarkable reputation among UPSC aspirants for their comprehensive coverage of relevant topics in the UPSC syllabus.

These books, ranging from topics like Biodiversity to Geography and spanning thousand-year histories to contemporary politics, have been meticulously crafted by NCERT authors to provide crucial knowledge for UPSC preparation.

Why Choose NCERT Books for UPSC Preparation?

The content within NCERT books is not only comprehensive but also presented in a manner that is easy to comprehend and memorize. This combination of depth and simplicity equips UPSC aspirants with a strong foundational understanding of various subjects.

For beginners, these books serve as an excellent starting point before diving into more advanced reference materials. It’s worth noting that many IAS toppers and educators consider NCERT books to be indispensable for UPSC preparation.

Amidst the challenges of UPSC exam preparation, gathering study materials can be one of the most time-consuming tasks. As a solution, we’ve compiled all the necessary information regarding NCERT books in this article.

We will not only list the relevant books but also provide insight into the key topics within these books that will help you navigate both the Prelims and Mains examination effectively.

When it comes to cracking the UPSC examination, selecting the right study materials is crucial. NCERT books offer several advantages that make them an ideal choice for UPSC aspirants:

  1. Comprehensive Coverage: NCERT books cover a wide range of topics, from basic concepts to advanced information. They are designed to provide a solid understanding of fundamental subjects, making them an excellent starting point for those new to UPSC preparation.
  2. Clear and Concise: The language used in NCERT books is clear and straightforward, making it easier for aspirants to grasp complex subjects. This clarity is essential for retaining information, especially when preparing for a rigorous examination like UPSC.
  3. Reliability: NCERT books are authored by experts in their respective fields, ensuring the accuracy and reliability of the content. This reliability is essential for UPSC aspirants who need to rely on accurate information for both prelims and mains.
  4. Structured Learning: NCERT books are structured systematically, allowing aspirants to progress logically through topics. This helps in building a strong foundation in subjects like History, Geography, Economics, and more.
  5. IAS Topper’s Choice: Many successful IAS toppers have acknowledged the significance of NCERT books in their preparation. Their recommendations highlight the role these books play in mastering the basics.

Subject-wise Importance of NCERT Books:

Now, let’s delve deeper into the subject-wise importance of NCERT books for UPSC preparation:

NCERT Books for UPSC Preparation

When considering NCERT books for UPSC, it’s essential to focus on classes 6 to 12, although you don’t need to cover every single book. We’ve categorized the book lists to simplify your selection process.

Paper I (General Studies)

Indian Society Books (Sociology and Social Studies):

Understanding society is pivotal for civil servants, and NCERT’s Sociology books offer valuable insights into this subject. These books cover the dynamics of Indian society, social issues, and much more.

  • Indian Society: NCERT Class VI – Social Science: Social & Political Life I
  • Indian Society: NCERT Class VII – Social Science: Social & Political Life II
  • Indian Society: NCERT Class VIII – Social Science: Social & Political Life III
  • Indian Society: NCERT Class XI – Sociology: Understanding Society
  • Indian Society: NCERT Class XII – Indian Society
  • Indian Society: NCERT Class XII – Social Change and Development in India
  • NCERT Class 11 – Sociology Book – Introducing Sociology
  • NCERT Class 11 – Sociology Book – Understanding Society
  • NCERT Class 12 – Sociology Book – Indian Society
  • NCERT Class 12 – Sociology Book – Social Change and Development in India

History Books:

History forms a substantial part of the UPSC syllabus, and NCERT History books are a great starting point. They introduce aspirants to ancient, medieval, and modern history, providing a well-rounded historical perspective.

  • History: NCERT Class VI – Our Past – I
  • History: NCERT Class VII – Our Past – II
  • History: NCERT Class VIII – Our Past III
  • History: NCERT Class IX – India and the Contemporary World – I
  • History: NCERT Class X – India and the Contemporary World – II
  • History: NCERT Class XI – Themes in World History
  • History: NCERT Class XII – Themes in Indian History – I
  • History: NCERT Class XII – Themes in Indian History – II
  • History: NCERT Class XII – Themes in Indian History – III
  • Old NCERT History books (RS Sharma, Satish Chandra, Bipan Chandra & Arjun Dev)

Geography Books:

Geography is another vital subject, and NCERT Geography books equip aspirants with essential knowledge about India’s physical and human geography. Maps and climate information are particularly useful for answering geography-related questions.

  • Geography: NCERT Class VI – The Earth Our Habitat
  • Geography: NCERT Class VII – Our Environment
  • Geography: NCERT Class VIII – Resource and Development
  • Geography: NCERT Class IX – Contemporary India – I
  • Geography: NCERT Class X – Contemporary India – II
  • Geography: NCERT Class XI – Fundamentals of Physical Geography
  • Geography: NCERT Class XI – India – Physical Environment
  • Geography: NCERT Class XII – Fundamentals of Human Geography
  • Geography: NCERT Class XII – India – People and Economy

Art and Culture Books:

These books introduce aspirants to the rich and diverse cultural heritage of India. Understanding Indian art and culture is essential for the UPSC exam, and NCERT’s offerings provide a foundational understanding.

  • Art & Culture: NCERT Class XI – An Introduction to Indian Art
  • Art & Culture: NCERT Class XI – Living Craft Traditions of India (Chapters 9 & 10)

Paper II (General Studies)

Polity Books:

NCERT’s Political Science books delve into the Indian political system, the constitution, and political theories. These are fundamental topics for both prelims and mains and provide the necessary context for understanding India’s governance.

  • Polity: NCERT Class IX – Political Science: Democratic Politics Part – I
  • Polity: NCERT Class X – Political Science: Democratic Politics Part – II
  • Polity: NCERT Class XI – Political Science: Indian Constitution at Work
  • Polity: NCERT Class XI – Political Science: Political Theory
  • Polity: NCERT Class XII – Political Science I: Contemporary World Politics
  • Polity: NCERT Class XII – Political Science II: Politics in India Since Independence

Paper III (General Studies)

Science & Technology Books:

Science and technology are critical aspects of UPSC preparation. NCERT’s Science books, along with specific chapters in Chemistry and Biology, provide the basic knowledge needed to tackle science and technology-related questions.

  • Science: NCERT Class VI
  • Science: NCERT Class VII
  • Science: NCERT Class VIII
  • Science: NCERT Class IX
  • Science: NCERT Class X
  • Science: NCERT Class XI – Chemistry: Unit 14
  • Science NCERT Class XI – Biology: Units 4 & 5
  • Science: NCERT Class XII – Chemistry: only download (b) is normally required
  • Science NCERT Class XII – Chemistry Part I
  • Science NCERT Class XII – Chemistry Part II Unit 16
  • Science: NCERT Class XII – Biology: Units 8, 9 & 10

Economics Books:

The Indian Economy is a crucial component of UPSC exams, and NCERT Economics books help aspirants understand the fundamentals of economic development in India. These books cover topics like GDP, inflation, and economic policies.

  • Economy: NCERT Class IX – Economics
  • Economy: NCERT Class X – Understanding Economic Development
  • Economy: NCERT Class XI – Indian Economic Development
  • Economy: NCERT Class XII – Introductory Microeconomics
  • Economy: NCERT Class XII – Introductory Macroeconomics

Environment & Ecology Books:

As environmental concerns become increasingly important, NCERT’s Biology chapters on ecology and environment offer valuable insights. Understanding these topics is essential for both prelims and mains.

  • Science: Class XII – Biology: last four Chapters (13 to 16)

Paper IV (Ethics)

Psychology Books:

For the ethics paper, NCERT Psychology books are recommended. They provide insights into human behavior and ethical considerations, which are essential for answering ethical dilemmas in the examination.

  • NCERT Class 11 Psychology
  • NCERT Class 12 Psychology

By following this comprehensive list of NCERT books, along with their download links, UPSC aspirants can build a solid foundation for their exam preparation journey. These books offer a wealth of knowledge and serve as valuable resources for every serious candidate aiming to succeed in the UPSC examinations.

In conclusion, NCERT books serve as the bedrock of UPSC exam preparation. Their comprehensive coverage, clarity, and reliability make them a valuable resource for aspirants aiming to excel in this highly competitive examination.

By utilizing these books strategically and supplementing them with advanced reference materials, candidates can build a strong foundation and increase their chances of success in the UPSC examination.

NCERT books for UPSC-related FAQs

These FAQs provide insights into how aspirants can effectively use NCERT books for UPSC preparation and address common doubts that candidates may have regarding their role in the exam preparation process.

Q. Are NCERT books sufficient for UPSC preparation?

Answer: While NCERT books are an excellent starting point and provide a strong foundation, they may not cover the entire UPSC syllabus comprehensively. It’s advisable to use them as primary sources for building concepts and then supplement them with advanced reference materials, current affairs, and practice papers to ensure a more well-rounded preparation.

Q. Is it necessary to study all NCERT books mentioned in the list?

Answer: No, it is not necessary to study all NCERT books mentioned. The list is categorized by subjects, and aspirants should select books based on their strengths and weaknesses. Focus on the subjects that require more attention, and use NCERT books accordingly.

Q. Can NCERT books be used for both Prelims and Mains preparation?

Answer: Yes, NCERT books are valuable for both Prelims and Mains preparation. They provide a foundational understanding of subjects required for Prelims, and their content is often relevant for Mains as well. However, for Mains, you should delve deeper into topics and supplement with additional reading.

Q. Where can I download NCERT books for UPSC preparation?

Answer: NCERT books can be downloaded for free from the official NCERT website (ncert.nic.in). Additionally, there are several educational websites and apps that provide NCERT books in PDF format for easy access.

Q. How should I effectively use NCERT books in my UPSC preparation?

Answer: To effectively use NCERT books:

  • Start with the basics by reading NCERT books to build a strong foundation.
  • Take notes and make summaries for quick revision.
  • Supplement with advanced reference books for in-depth knowledge.
  • Practice answer writing for Mains using insights gained from NCERT books.
  • Stay updated with current affairs alongside your NCERT-based preparation.

Q. Are old NCERT books relevant for UPSC preparation?

Answer: Old NCERT books, authored by renowned historians like RS Sharma, Satish Chandra, Bipan Chandra, and Arjun Dev, are still considered relevant for UPSC preparation. They provide a different perspective and can be used as supplementary reading material to gain a deeper understanding of historical topics.

Q. Can I rely solely on NCERT books to crack the UPSC exam?

Answer: While NCERT books are a valuable resource, relying solely on them may not be sufficient to crack the UPSC exam, especially in the current competitive environment. It’s advisable to use NCERT books as a foundation and supplement them with a diverse range of study materials, current affairs, test series, and practice papers to enhance your preparation.


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