Book Recommendations for UPSC Prelims 2018

A stern warning for all the candidates should be; Don’t take Prelims lightly! Why should you? We think the trend of taking it lightly has continued for years—putting the Mains on the priority side. We all should realize that your intermediate Pre-boards from 12th standard are not similar to Prelims, in which even if you fail—you’d be allowed to appear for the finals. Neither the common approach is advisable for both Prelims and Mains, unlike Pre-boards and Boards.



  1. Preceding or done in preparation for something fuller or more important.

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Please, ‘Do not go with the definition!’ When we asked Nilanshi Gupta, IAS Educator, she said; “Preliminary Examination’ as a term—doesn’t have a serious tone. Hence, most of the casual aspirants doesn’t realize its real significance and often forget to invest dedicated 2-3 months just for a preliminary examination. You cannot get to the second stage if you trip down on your first.”

Students are advised to devote at least 3-months for preliminary examination, just to compete with the fact that you would be racing with almost a million other candidates. And, at the same time, you must acknowledge the brutality of UPSC which reduces the number from 1 million to 15 thousand in a single stage. According to UPSC notifications, prelims 2018 is falling on June 3rd, 2018, with less than 2 months on the table—you must speed up!

You must keep following key ideas in your mind before you start the preparation;

(Inputs from Aishwarya Raj, AIR 28, India Forest Service) – Follow him on Twitter: here

  1. Maximum Revisions from a few trusted sources is the key to cracking UPSC. It’s is advised that candidates must revise the syllabus at least thrice for the required retention and assimilation. Candidates should also avoid the ‘Must Read’ booklets in the market and changing their strategies after every month.
  2. Candidates must practice joining the dots by critical thinking and connect what they are reading to what they already know about the subject. According to Aishwarya Raj, AIR 28; preparing for UPSC is a mix of traditional learning along with excursions to National Museums, National Galleries and other places of importance.
  3. Analyze the sample papers/previous year question papers more than attempting them. Although the practicing is important, it’s of more importance that you understand the structure and the kind of questions UPSC asks in the paper.
  4. Students must get help if they are confused. But, if you have a strategy and a continuous source of motivation—you can very well do without coaching. Although a test series is always recommended.

To register for Prelims Test series – Click here 

Subject wise Book Recommendation

Current Events

Newspapers:  The Hindu and The Indian Express (Only stick to one of them)

Daily News Updates: There would be days when you wouldn’t feel like reading newspapers, you need not fret and refer to Daily News Analysis by Chanakya IAS Academy.


  1. Ancient India – 11th Class NCERT + Documentaries on ancient India, preferably the collection by BBC and Discovery.
  2. Art and Culture – Old Notes by Nitin Singhania, also visit Delhi’s National Museum if possible.
  3. Art and Culture – Fine Arts Books of 11th Class (at least read them thrice to retain)
  4. Indian National Movement – Struggle for Independence by Bipin Chandra.
  5. Medieval India – 11th Class NCERTs are enough


Indian and World Geography

  1. Class 11th and 12th New NCERTs
  2. Physical Geography by GC Leong

Note: Especially for Indian and World geography, it is advised to make your mind-maps and flashcards on the trivial topics to frequently revise them.

Here is an example: A reference mind map for History, do the same for Geography.

 ImageUploadedByStudent Room1433587374.383592

Also, Read 10 Tips for IAS Aspirants – Click Here

Indian Polity and Governance

Topics: Political System, Constitution, Public-Policy, Panchayati Raj, Rights Issues, etc.

  1. Indian Polity 5th Edition by Laxmikant
  2. The introduction of Constitution by DD Basu for specific topics.
  3. Make use of Mobile Apps – Download it and go through all the sections. These are the best for revisions.


Economic and Social Development

Topic: Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector initiatives, etc.

  1. Economic Survey – At least read it once and then revise it through the Chanakya IAS Academy’s Summary of Economic Survey 2017-18.  To Download – Click Here.
  2. Union Budget 2017-18 – Start by listening to the speech of Jaitley, followed by making notes and revising it by using the highlights of Union Budget 2017-18 by Chanakya IAS Academy. To Download – Click Here.
  3. Macroeconomics basics – Presentations by and 12th Class NCERT are more than enough for this topic. To Download the complete set of NCERTs, Click Here.
  4. Refer to Investopedia for understanding complex terms.
  5. Yojana – 1 to 2 chapters from each month’s copy. Others get repetitive. To Download – Click Here


General Science

The best thing you can do to get regular updates on General Science is by Turning on the Google Alerts for the following topics; Physics, Chemistry, Science, Biology

Environment and Ecology

Topic: Bio-diversity and Climate Change

Note: Start by analyzing previous year’s question paper and see the kind of questions asked and then begin reading for the subject.

  1. Environmental organizations through Wikipedia.
  2. Refer to the Ministry of Environment Website and read only what matters.

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  • It is advised that you must study current affairs along with your static subjects—integrate them to get the best out of your study plan.
  • For basics, stick to NCERTs. Nothing beats their basicity.
  • Going through the Economic survey at least once is highly recommendable as all economy questions are directly from the survey.
  • Meditate regularly to calm your mind, and always have a purpose while meditating. This alone has the capacity to ease your entire journey to UPSC.
  • Exercise regularly and keep a healthy diet to maintain a standard metabolism of your body. Avoiding this tip has more negative consequences than avoiding prelims.
  • Make a notebook of doubts; jot down all the doubtful topics and everything where you make errors.
  • Test series are must for all the aspirants. Practice the pattern at least 15-16 times to get a hold of the entire question paper, for the sheer reason that you do not want to get surprised on your real day.


To register for Prelims Test series – Click here 

Is there anything we are missing? Kindly comment below to let us know.




  1. Thanks for carrying forward and incorporating the suggestions given by me on your blog 🙂 Would have appreciated more if I was also informed about the strategy sharing ! All the best – Aishwarya Raj

    Liked by 1 person

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