Anudeep Durishetty AIR 1 Booklist for Prelims

This is a book list for prelims compiled by Anudeep Durishetty All India Rank 1, UPSC CSE 2017. Hope this toppers books list will be helpful for your UPSC prelims 2019 preparation.

The list of books:


  1. Indian Polity by Laxmikanth


  1. Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh
  2. articles
  3. Macroeconomics – NCERT Class XII
  4. Indian Economic Development – NCERT Class XI
  5. Economic Survey (Selective reading from Prelims perspective)
  6. The Hindu
  7. Internet for understanding concepts (Arthapedia, Google, Youtube)

Ancient History of India

  1. Old NCERT by RS Sharma

Medieval History of India

  1. Old NCERT by Satish Chandra (Selective Reading)

Modern History

  1. A Brief history of Modern India- Spectrum Publications
  2. India’s Struggle for Independence – Bipan Chandra (Selective Reading)
  3. NCERT by Bipan Chandra (For the period 1700s to 1857)

Indian Art and Culture

  1. An Introduction to Indian Art – Class XI NCERT
  2. Chapters related to culture in Ancient and Medieval India NCERTs
  3. Centre for Cultural Resource and Training (CCRT) material
  4. Heritage Crafts: Living Craft Traditions of India -NCERT

Environment and Biodiversity

  1. Shankar IAS book

General Science

  1. General Science books – IX and X standard
  2. The Hindu (Note down and read about the latest scientific terms, discoveries and inventions frequently mentioned in news)
  3. Google and YouTube


  1. Fundamentals of Physical Geography XI NCERT
  2. India: Physical Environment XI NCERT
  3. Fundamentals of Human Geography XII NCERT
  4. India: People and Economy XII NCERT
  5. Certificate Physical and Human Geography: GC Leong
  6. PMFIAS (Excellent resource for understanding complex topics)
  7. Google and YouTube

Govt Schemes  

  1. Govt schemes compilation by the website Civils Daily

General Trivia (Eg: Global groupings, Reports, Institutions, Rankings etc)

  1. Any coaching material
  2. Google

Current Affairs

  1. The Hindu
  2. Civils Daily
  3. ForumIAS

Via Anudeep Durishetty All India Rank 1, UPSC CSE 2017.

Suggested reading:

Busting some UPSC exam myths

The challenging Civil Services Examination (CSE) conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is spread over an entire year, divided into three extremely competitive stages, in which anything can go wrong at any stage leading to one’s failure.

This must sound scary to over seven lakh aspirants who will be sitting for the exam. While beginning their preparation, many students have partial knowledge about the exam, its nitty-gritties and preparation strategy. Confused by half knowledge and filled with fear, many of the students start believing in myths floating around. Here are some things aspirants should avoid.

Myth: IAS officers/aspirants should know everything about every topic/subject under the sun.

Reality: No, they do not. But since this is a generalist exam, they are supposed to be generally well read, with a balanced outlook towards issues. Moreover, the syllabus of the exam is huge, covering many subjects. So, an IAS aspirant is generally much more aware than others. What is required is a general understanding of the topic and conceptual clarity. The exam does not require one to be an expert in a topic, rather, aspirants should have general awareness and analytical skills.

Myth: I need to remember a lot of facts to clear CSE.

Reality: No, the exam does not test factual knowledge at all. It tests your understanding, conceptual clarity and analytical skills. However, some facts are considered to be the basis of building perspective, which are important to know. So, you should know a few basic facts such as size of the GDP, demographic data, and so on, but it will be easier to remember them once you understand their significance.

Myth: You need to be a topper throughout to clear the exam.

Reality: Although being a topper helps, it does not guarantee you success in this exam. What is required is general awareness, logical reasoning and good writing skills. If you can develop those, you can clear this exam even if you had a second division in Class X or XII. Yes, you might have to explain in the interview as to why you scored less, but it is not held against you if you have a valid reason.

Myth: You cannot clear the exam without the help of a coaching institute.

Reality: Wrong. In the new era, one can make use of various great resources, such as mobile apps and websites. Coaching centres do have a study plan that they enforce on you, but it cannot guarantee success and they charge an astronomical fee, which many aspirants cannot afford. It is important to first understand where you stand and how much you need to improve. Once you know your study objectives, you can decide between self-study or joining a coaching institute.

Myth: Writing skills cannot be improved, so one should read now and directly write in the exam hall.

Reality: This is one of the biggest mistakes one can make. Writing at home and writing in the exam hall are two entirely different scenarios. There is so much pressure in the exam hall that you can find it hard to think about new points. So, if you do not practice, you would not be able to finish the paper on time. Writing skills improve slowly, hence, it is more important that you practice regularly. Consistent writing practice helps in honing articulation which leads to better expression, and, ultimately, better marks.

Myth: You must attempt more than 90 questions to clear prelims.

Reality: This is not true. Another myth that has been made popular by some of the ‘hacks’ and ‘shortcuts’ floating in the market is that if you attempt more questions it is easier to get more marks. It doesn’t work like that. To attempt more number of questions correctly, one needs to have a certain level of “intuition”. And that level of intuition comes from years of reading and internalising information which helps in creating links between topics.While a well-read person may attempt a disproportionately large number of questions and still manage to get them correct, not everyone can do it. So, one should attempt only those questions one is reasonably sure of, and not because someone gave you a hack. You need to practice and figure out a strategy that works well for you.

Myth: One needs to study 16 hours a day to clear.

Reality: Let’s face it. No one can study for 16 hours per day for an extended period and not crash. Moreover, it is not the hours that matter, rather the quality. So, you have people who clear by studying for four to five hours a day alongside a job, and people who have studied for 12 hours per day continuously for months. You must find your balance.

Myth: You need to read many books on a single topic to gain absolute “mastery” over the subject.

Reality: First, “mastery” over any subject is a super ambitious target, in case of UPSC exam. Second, it is always better to understand a single book in great depth rather than reading multiple books to understand a topic. Also, even though you have read and understood something, it takes time to get internalised as you are going to study many new topics. If you don’t make notes and revise, you might not be able to retain them effectively. If you genuinely understand a topic and want to expand your knowledge and/or build more perspective, reading more books can certainly help.

Myth: One must read standard books from cover to cover and make notes on every topic in the syllabus.

Reality: Absolutely not. Apart from NCERTs and some books, nothing is required to be read cover to cover. Though reading and acquiring knowledge is almost always helpful, it is far better to adopt a topic-wise approach. Break down the syllabus in keywords and try to cover them from relevant sources and books. Also, making notes is important. But they shouldn’t become an end-in-themselves. They should aid in your understanding and help in effective revision. Making a mind map is far better, and so is scribbling on the margins, than making traditional notes.

To sum up, we know you face a daunting task. But we hope that you’ll enjoy the learning experience instead of becoming anxious and burning out. Focus on the mantra of “Read, Revise, Internalise.” It is also important not to blindly follow any advice that is doled out to you, including this one.

The writer is head, UPSC exam preparation community, Gradeup.

Via The Hindu 

Prelims booklist and strategy by Siddharth Jain AIR 13

Siddharth Jain AIR 13  has shared his Prelims booklist and strategy in his official blog,These are the suggested books and sources from which one has to study for prelims.

Prelims booklist and strategy

These are the books and sources from which one has to study for prelims

  • Geography :Read the Ncerts of class 11 and 12.Watch Videos on Mrunal by Rajtanil solanki mam on geography(This will help you in both prelims and mains). Book by mahesh kumar barnwal on geography(available in market and online).Memorize world maps(for this you can type how to memorize european countries using mnemonic on you tube(just an example,you can do this for various continents),this will make things easier for you)  .After this you can refer NCERTS from class 8 th to 10th if time permits.
  • Culture:Indian Art and culture(By nitin singhania),Refer to CCRT(But it is complicated,so atleast see the topics mentioned in CCRT),An introduction to Indian Art (11th class NCERT),Learn folk dances and music if possible from spectrum book on Indian culture.Further in Indian Year book there is a chapter on various states>Go through it.
  • Polity:Indian polity(Laxmikanth) plus second chapter of India Year Book .
  • Environment:Shankar Ias notes on environment(Available in the market)
  • Economy:Videos on Mrunal plus Sriram notes on economy(available in the market)
  • Science and technology:Shankar Ias notes on science and technology(available in the market) plus Science Moniter(It is an episode from Rajya sabha TV,the videos can be seen on you tube)
  • Science:Instead of doing all the Ncerts, pick any coaching material related to general science.They generally compile the Ncerts material
  • History:
  • Read the old Ncerts of class 11th /12th(There is world history in class 12th i guess.If so skip it for prelims).After that pick up the new ncerts on ancient and medieval Idnia and go through it quickly(i.e.give more time to old NCERTS).
  • Spectrum (for modern India)
  • For history between 1757-1857 ,old Ncert (12th class) by Bipin Chandra

 Other than the above mentioned sources I did current affairs from Vision IAS material and followed almost all the videos on

Further i learnt all the national parks,wildlife sanctuaries (whatever was possible).


If we analyse via probability,our chance of getting positive marks in any question increases even if we can eliminate one of the option and randomly chose from the other 3.So I was very sure that I will attempt all the hundred questions.This may not work for the ones , who are not  good with intelligent guesses.I practiced many mock papers ,so that I develop the skills which will help me in making calculated guesses.(The strategy might backfire. I am just telling what I did)

Further join or pick up a test series which has separate tests for each of the section.Example a separate test on polity .This will ensure that you practice each and every section nicely.Then you can give combine tests.

I used to google the last year questions to get a hint about the source of questions.I practiced questions from last year papers.One can buy a book (i bought vishal publications book) to practice last year papers.

UPSC IAS CIvil Services PRELIMS STRATEGY: Kumar Ashirwad, Rank 35

I will share some suggestions that I feel could really help you. Not all of these suggestions will be exactly suitable to you. You can modify some suggestions to suit your own style/approach. I will attempt at giving a broad framework or strategy rather than the specifics. Feel free to tweak the framework if you deem it rational.

Read the Full article on UPSC IAS CIvil Services PRELIMS STRATEGY: Kumar Ashirwad, Rank 35, Prelims GS-1 Marks 140 (2015).Alternatively you can compare our suggested books list too .

Prelims Important Material and Links

I see a lot of sites and blogs coming up for UPSC aspirants ,every one trying to help in their own way and share the good stuff with the aspirants, so here are some Prelims Important Material and Links

Starting with Previous GS papers, all are scans from UPSC site.

Affairs cloud have done a tremendous job in collecting all the schemes at one place.

More links coming soon !

Need your help and support for Prelims Important Material and Links,

Friends if you have a blog or site do share with us mail to [email protected] or use the comments section, if you know any other site which have good content or material please do share with us, we all love Insights and Mrunal so , sites other than them will be wonderful 🙂