UPSC Prelims 2018 Books List and resources

Google all you want about UPSC Prelims 2018 Books List , listen to as many topper talks as you want and talk to as many seniors as you can , you will end up some what with the following books any how, because we have arrived here after doing the same , so have some faith as we are not only giving you books list but will also explain why you need to read them .

Every year prelims pattern changes, weight-age of some parts of syllabus like polity etc goes up(2013), some times it goes down(2016) , some times static part gets less attention and current affairs gets all the glory (2016).  But you cannot clear prelims just because of one subject or by reading current affairs alone , you will have to balance, for example current affairs might boost your score around hundred , but to cross that cutoff you need static part help.

Don’t take my word for it , Mrunal Bhai has written an in depth article analyzing the UPSC Prelim GS-2017 paper.

Static Part have been divided in to few major subjects. History , Polity , Economy , Geography, Science , Environment and Bio diversity . And then Current affairs contrary to popular belief not any thing and every thing under the son (at least not most of the times) .

I wont repeat my self, if you are a serious aspirant and know the importance of revision and highlighting your books go for paperbacks and dont chase after summary or PDF’s , if you are not understanding what I am saying today and excusing yourself with I am poor etc… looking for Laxmikanth summary and wasting time online, I have news for you friend , on 03.06.2018 you are going to regret it because you did not revise properly.  Ask those who failed prelims but worked very hard, they will totally agree with what I am saying, Revision will separate as what they say men from boys, and women from girls.  Your call, that is the last time I am ever going to emphasize on having the same book every time you read.



  •  Ancient India – RS Sharma
  •  Medieval India – Sathish Chandra
  •  Modern India – Bipan Chandra First 7 chapters from there on you will find same thing in standard text books.
  • The above three are must read for basic foundation, they are useful in mains too , keep previous papers book  with you , read a chapter from the ncert , after that go through the previous papers book, you will see how many previous questions came from these NCERT books.
  •   Themes in Indian History 3 parts .
  • Tamilnadu Textbook 11th class. For ancient , selected chapters.
  • Google Drive link for all History NCERT books .

Standard text books :

  •  Brief History of Modern India (Spectrum Publication) * must read for Prelims  why this book, this book is summary of Bipan chandra it self, its a notes of a topper, so making notes again from this will be futile and time wasting exercise, also at the end of the chapters he neatly summarizes the chapter in one or two pages, along with quotes. Even topics like press, women , various movements are neatly bifurcated to help the aspirants even in mains, so going beyond this at-least for prelims is not advisable.
  • Bipan Chandra India’s struggle for Independence. For the bigger picture and deep understanding , you will not miss much if you read spectrum alone, but if time permits a wonderful read .
  • Plassey to partition by Sekhar Bandyopadhyay, suggested by few toppers, deeply analytical and mostly useful in mains. But Bipan chandra or this only after you are done with Spectrum.

Art and Culture:


NCERTs 6th to 12th google drive link 

Indian Polity

  •  Political Science NCERTs (11th and 12th Standard)
  •  Indian Constitution at Work
  •  Politics in India Since Independence
  • Indian Polity – Laxmikanth ,* must read  probably the most unanimously accepted, recommended book for UPSC exam , there is no need go beyond this one for prelims, mains and Interview for polity. Almost all questions on polity 99% of them can be solved by reading laxmikanth properly, it is our lack of revision and clarity that fails us not the book . You will be surprised at the detail and depth the book offers at same time making it a lucid read for such a dry topic . If there is such thing as UPSC booker prize, Laxmikath will win it hands down. Still not convinced , that’s blasphemy.


Science NCERTs

7-12 NCERT. Mrunal Bhai has kindly created a table to read chapter wise.

74, 13, 14 & 155 & 61,2,10; 11 & 12
811 to 163 to 62, 8, 9 & 10
98 to 121 to 45,6,7 & 13
1010, 12 & 131 to 56 to 11
111,5,81,142 to 5
121514,164,5 then 7 to 16

Hindu Newspaper Science and Tech Weekly Column (Sunday) also you can read this section from Vision or Vajiram monthly current affairs section . Do not Ignore this section, you will never know what UPSC might throw at you , one question is enough to destroy your dream . So at-least read most obvious topics and revise previous questions.

Indian Economy

  •  Economy 11th and 12th NCERTs  Micro and Macroeconomics and  Indian Economic Development, dont go in to graphs and other data just the concept. once you are done, shift to Ramesh Singh.
  • Indian Economy – Ramesh Singh this book covers every thing in syllabus, useful in both prelims and mains, given that you also are in sync with daily current affairs. Best part is will update with budget and economic survey latest data, so I will recommend to buy it in next march or Feb, till then watch all mrunal videos.
  • For basic understanding of economics in very simple and exam oriented way I recommend, MRUNAL bhai ! Economy Lectures for UPSC General Studies follow his videos and you will understand every thing you need for prelims.


You need to have static knowledge , rote learning (Tiger reserves etc ) mixed with geographical knowledge, to solve some questions, rest all are based on current affairs. Please go through previous question papers.

Current Affairs:

  • The Hindu  Selective reading , giving more importance to editorial and opinion section. If you miss any thing Vision or vajiram will cover it in their current affairs, so focus on developing analysis and learning about news and events, after a month or so current affairs magazines will be released, they will act as revision to what you already read in newspapers, they should always be your first source of knowledge and information.
  • Indian Express Opinions and explained sections only.
  • Live Mint Opinion page only.
  • Vision IAS Current affairs or Vajiram Monthly current affairs . Also Vision or Shankar IAS will release materials like ranks, World organisation and Government schemes, so do not waste your time researching, they will do all the work for you, just sit back , read , revise and write tests.


Other Important Books

  •  India Year Book – PIB Publication, you can read the summary of this one or selected chapters .
  • Economic Survey suggested to read in full , will help in mains and prelims, with out revision time waste to read it even the first time. So plan accordingly.
  • 14000+ Objective Questions – General Studies forget about answers (some errors), will help you gain so much knowledge and understanding in little time, read the textbook, solve the questions.. you will notice the difference .


I used to have mortal fear of maths,but slowly with practice you can over come this fear,I did not knew even the basics and it used to be a huge problem,but thanks to Narendra(my friend) and Mruanl Bhai’s posts on maths I started with NCERTS for basics then I moved on to other books.

Rajesh Verma book is perfect for those who are like me,who hate maths. Trust me he explains in very easy way,you can do most of the problems.


The standard in CSAT is not complicated or tough but time taking,so Practice is the only solution to manage time. If you are like me again who never did any reasoning or dont know how to solve basic problems, Arihanth CSAT guide is a good place to start.


Luckily for me I have the habit of reading books and blogs, this helped me immensely in this section,Reading is the only practice,read editorials of various news papers daily . Arihanth CSAT will help.

practice practice Practice … the only mantra for CSAT .

Finally will all these help you to clear prelims ?

Honestly we believe in this books list, we want you to succeed and write your mains, but reading with right orientation and knowing how much is more important than mere reading , so how will you know you are in the right path , only by writing test series.

Those who set question papers will do through analysis of past paper and present news, and set questions on the similar lines, for example do you know what are the 8 core sectors ? you must have read Hindu daily IIP, in business section , but have you taken time to find what they are ? what is their weight-age ?

Both these are UPSC prelims questions ! you can check any standard test series you will find questions on this topics because they set paper in such way, these kind of insights you can gain only by writing test, solving previous papers.

Practice, I have no idea who you are, if you are still here reading this , I sincerely believe you are dedicated aspirant , trying to learn some thing , learn from quality sources, the money you invest in test series is an investment in your future not a hole in your pocket. You are paying for the skill of analyzing and giving all that gyan and helping you . it is worth paying .

Write as many tests as you can , learn from your mistakes, work hard, UPSC is no joke, take this exam very seriously, you might be talented and smart, still you cannot master every thing in less time, the right time is now , start today ! believe in that and start, as Sun Tzu says Victorious warriors win first and then go to war. 

Hope this post helps you to consolidate the books list, and start your preparation . Your comments are most welcome, all text books links are amazon affiliate and rest are google drive links.

Thank you .

9 thoughts on “UPSC Prelims 2018 Books List and resources”

  1. Sir how can read these too numbers of book. I have not been manage my time. And every day i got disapontement. ….
    Plz sir help how can i manage☺

    • hi, If you summarize the post, I technically suggested one source for one topic, and the syllabus have so many topics, you have to read most of the topics.Have reasonable targets, even the mighty laxmikanth can be mastered by reading 10 pages every day from now, and I am sure 6 months is enough time to complete all the books, initial stages are the hardest,once you are done with first reading , your revisions will go very nicely, all the best.


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