Prelims Strategy

Some points that aspirants should keep in mind: –

Thumb Rule-Read-Revise-Practice Questions-Revise

  1. Carefully read syllabus multiple times so that you can remember topics of the syllabus. Remembering topics of the syllabus has great significance that you can select and deselect points while reading.
  2. You should begin with NCERT books. It is good for conceptual clarity. NCERT books help you immensly in all stages of your Exams.
  3. Do not read with multiple sources as it would confuse you and in the end you may lend up in not recalling the points, which are needed.
  4. In at least two reading one can able to do selective reading. For that you should start seeing previous year papers. Paper solving will give you enough hints to see from which paragraph of standard books UPSC is picking up the questions or from which concept questions have been framed.
  5. One topic one source in starting e.g. Peasant Movement in Indian History if you are covering from Spectrum book then no need to cover same topic from any other book. Once concept clarity comes you may refer one more source if you required.
  6. Internet is perfect medium for covering complex dynamic topic e.g. Internet of Things, Mobile Communication, Current Affairs etc.
  7. Keep reading and revising standard textbooks. Do not jump for shortcuts, as shortcuts or coaching notes do not give enough background to make concept clear, it should be additional one only.
  8. To read all subjects in association with Current Affairs. For example if you are reading Polity then always connect it with Current happenings so that it can be handy for you to understand and remember the concepts.
  9. Revision is vital for this exam. There are ‘N’ numbers of things to study which can be remember only if you are revising in a proper interval and underlining the matter you are studying.
  10. There are certain books, which have to be read without any if and buts. Along with these books you can go for some additional materials.

The list of books are given below:


  1. Indian Polity by Lakshmikanth


  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 Newspaper
  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 from any coaching like Civil Daily , PIB etc.

Current Affairs

  1. The Hindu Newspaper
  1. Indian Express

It is not exhaustive!  You can refer some more additional materials.