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UPSC Books and Mock Tests for IAS/IPS Exam 2022 

Topics Covered: Recommended Book List (NCERT & other books for specific subjects) for UPSC IAS for General Studies, Prelims Exam & Mains Exam, Strategy of Utilizing Books, UPSC Mock Tests, Benefits of Solving Mock Tests & Tips on Solving Mock Tests

If you wish to clear the UPSC IAS Exam you need to inscribe onto the innermost echelons of your heart, a remarkable quote by the great American academic, Charles William Eliot,

If you wish to clear the UPSC IAS Exam you need to inscribe onto the innermost echelons of your heart, a remarkable quote by the great American academic, Charles William Eliot, 

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” 

That’s because throughout the entire duration of your UPSC CSE preparation your books need to be your best friend. 

So, getting to the benefits of reading from the various UPSC books. These books will render you with a superior perspective on life and the world. 

That’s a great reward in and of itself if you ask me, leaving aside the question of if that’s enough to help you clear the IAS exam in your first attempt or not. 

Long story short, going through all the books for UPSC will definitely help you become more confident and wiser as a person, and these traits are something that an IAS officer should certainly possess. 

Having said that, I still remember the time I was preparing for the UPSC exams back in the day. I used to live and breathe UPSC books. 

It was in the moments that I spent with the IAS books that I got to learn so much about our nation and the world, nature, science, history, politics, finance, and whatnot. Gosh! Such a transformative time it was for me. 

However, I would also like to add that even though books are the greatest for the purpose of gaining knowledge, reading just from them to complete the UPSC syllabus will not be enough. 

To clear the IAS exam, you’d also have to test your waters by putting all of your bookish knowledge to the test. To do so you’d have to solve as many UPSC mock tests as you can. 

So, without further ado, let’s begin.

Table of Content – UPSC Books and Mock tests for IAS/IPS Exam 

UPSC Books 2022

According to me as well as several toppers of previous IAS exams, the best way to start your UPSC preparation is by reading through the NCERT books for UPSC and then moving on to the standard UPSC book list for 2022 (consisting of the standard books).

Also, you should be mindful about the type of IAS books that you choose for your preparation, given that the UPSC prelims and UPSC mains are very different from each other and would need 2 different sets of reading material for each.

The UPSC Prelims, being an entirely objective type of paper would need a separate booklist and the UPSC Mains being entirely subjective in its nature would need its own.

To know more about the UPSC CSE exam pattern, you can go over to the blog I have written on the same.

Anyway, in this section of the blog, I have mentioned the names of all the important UPSC books according to the different phases and subjects of the UPSC CSEs.

A key point to note here, any good booklist should always be comprehensive enough to cover the entire syllabus of the exam.

For your reference, I am linking the blog on the UPSC IAS Syllabus for Prelims & Mains.

I have started with the NCERT books for UPSC. Here’s the list:

Best NCERT Books for UPSC

Listed below are the best NCERT books for UPSC according to the various subjects of the UPSC exam (of both Prelims and Mains Phases)

NCERT Books for History:

NCERT Books for Indian Society:

You can also refer to class 12th Sociology book.

NCERT Books for Art and Culture:

NCERT Books for Geography:

NCERT Books for Political Science

You should read the Class 9 to class 12 polity IAS books in detail, with a special focus on the ones of the 11th and 12th class. (out of which cover the topic of World Politics, if time permits).

NCERT Books for Economy:

NCERT Books for Science & Technology:

NCERT Books for Environment & Ecology:

Note: For the subject of Economics, you can refer to the NCERT books of class 9 to 12. However, if you are familiar with the basics of the subject already, reading from the economics books of class 11 and class 12 (macro & micro both) would be sufficient.

For the subject of science, you should refer to the textbooks of class 9 and 10. That should be good enough for your IAS exam preparation.

NCERT Books for General Studies Paper 4:

  • Subject of Ethics: NCERT Class 12: Psychology: This is not too significant from the exam perspective; however, you can go through this IAS book for the basics. However, remember to read selectively.

That wraps up the list of all the NCERT books for UPSC. Now let’s take a look at the IAS Books according to the different phases of the UPSC exam.

Best UPSC Books for IAS Prelims

In the IAS prelims round there are 2 papers and both are objective type in nature. That means both have multiple-type questions with negative markings for each wrong answer.

I have already mentioned the NCERT books that you’d need to go through for the prelims in the section above. However, below I have given the list of the best IAS books for the Prelims round (apart from the NCERTs):

Subject UPSC Books
History 1. India’s Struggle for Independence – Bipan Chandra
2. Facets of Indian Culture – Spectrum
Geography 1. Certificate Physical Geography – G C Leong
2. World Atlas
Indian Polity 1. Indian Polity – M Laxmikanth
Economics 1. Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh
2. Economic Development and Policies in India: Jain & Ohri
International Relations 1. Current Affairs
CSAT 1. Tata McGraw Hill CSAT Manual
2. CSAT II – Arihant
3. Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning: R S Aggarwal

Best UPSC Books for IAS Mains

If you are able to clear the Prelims stage of the IAS exam, then you’d have to appear for the Mains. In the IAS Mains, there are 9 subjective type papers out of which 2 are subjects that you can choose from.

So, accordingly, I have mentioned down below a list of the best UPSC books for your preparation for the Mains round of the IAS (apart from the NCERTs):

Subject UPSC Books
History, Indian Heritage & Culture [GS Paper 1] • An Intro to Indian Art Part 1-Textbook in Fine Arts for Class 11
• Bipan Chadra’s India’s Struggle for Independence
• Bipan Chandra’s India after Independence
• Satish Chandra’s History of Medieval India
• RS Sharma’s Ancient India
Geography [GS Paper 1] • Majid Husain’s Geography of India
• Majid Husain’s World Geography
• World Atlas
• GC Leong’s Certificate Physical and Human Geography
Polity & International Relations [GS Paper 2] • M. Laxmikanth’s Indian Polity
• DD Basu’s Introduction to the Constitution of India
• Rajiv Sikri’s India’s Foreign Policy
Economy [GS Paper 3] • Ramesh Singh’s Indian Economy
Ethics [GS Paper 4] • Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude for Civil Services Main Examination by Subba Rao and P.N. Roy Chaudary

These are all the list of books that I have for you as far as the Prelims and the Mains rounds of the UPSC are concerned.

However, there are 2 optional subject papers in the Mains exam that would require you to read from the books pertaining to the particular subjects of your choice.

Let’s now look at the other essential study material from which you’d have to read apart from all the books that I have already mentioned above:

Other Study Materials:

  1. 2nd ARC Report
  2. Economic Survey (Latest)
  3. Budget (Latest)
  4. Finance Commission Report (Latest)
  5. Annual reports by central ministries
  6. Niti Aayog Action Agenda
  7. Current Affairs – The Hindu Newspaper, Yojana Magazine & PIB Releases

Remember, the suggested UPSC booklist should become your best friends in your preparation for the UPSC CSE. These books along with a devoted work ethic and a strong preparation strategy will hold you in good stead to become an IAS/IPS officer.

Do check out my suggested preparation strategy for UPSC CSE.

Now to mention some important points on the best approach.

How to Optimally Utilize Suggested UPSC Books

  • It should be noted that the UPSC Syllabus is vast, and therefore, it takes a minimum duration of at least a year to read through comprehensively. Thus, make sure that you do not waste precious time reading from books that are not up to the mark or are below standard. By below standard, I mean books that might contain unauthenticated or incorrect information.
  • Make sure to take notes while reading from the IAS books that I have listed for you above.
  • There are some excellent books for UPSC preparation like Laxmikanth, & the NCERTs. Books such as these are tailor-made for the UPSC exams.
    This is because a lot of questions related to the subject of polity are asked directly from this book. These are the kind of books that you should read as thoroughly as possible.
  • In addition to the points that I have written above, there are a lot of books that consist of information in a “notes”- like format. So, in a way, books like these already do provide you with the notes that you need to prepare for the exam. Therefore, while reading such books do not waste your time making notes.
  • Lastly, you need to understand that even though there are books that are exceptionally well-written and informative, they might not be that useful. Therefore, as far as preparing for the UPSC is concerned, make sure that you read from books that are relevant only from the UPSC preparation standpoint.

That brings us to the end of this section of the blog. Now, considering that you understand the value of reading from all the IAS books that I have mentioned above, it’s time to understand why it’s equally important to test your waters by attempting UPSC mock tests.

UPSC Mock Test 2022

Attempting mocks and analyzing them is the cornerstone of any good UPSC exam preparation.

Your job as a UPSC candidate is not just to know the syllabus of the UPSC Prelims and Mains, like the back of your hand, but also to know how to apply your knowledge in real time by solving actual UPSC level questions. Solving UPSC Mock Tests is a pretty good way to do so.

That said, attempting mock tests is somewhat like the mock drills conducted in the army. The whole point of it is to recreate the actual UPSC exam experience, but in the confines of your study room without the actual stakes at play.

Assuming that you got my point here, let us take a look at the several benefits of solving UPSC IAS Mock tests 2022.

Benefits of  Solving UPSC Mock Tests

  • Know you’re the exam structure by heart: The immediate benefit that you’d notice after solving the UPSC mock tests and previous years’ papers is that you’d be able to commit the exam structure to your memory. That would in turn facilitate your understanding of things such as the sections to attempt first and the ones to leave out for later, based on your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Know your strong and weak points clearly: It would become easier for you to gauge your performances segment-wise, subject-wise, and level of difficulty-wise. You’d also get to clearly compartmentalize your strong and weak points according to the topics and segments.
  • Know the difficulty level of each question: One important benefit would be that you’d be able to easily decipher questions on the basis of their difficulty levels and the topics they encapsulate.
  • Become Fast: The next benefit is an obvious one. Taking more mock tests would mean better speed of comprehension and the ability to solve more in littler time
  • Become instinctive: Solving UPSC mock tests and previous years papers would make your moves more instinctive while marking the right answers while attempting the objective-type questions.

Now that you know the benefits of solving UPSC mock tests, it should be further noted that you should atleast attempt one IAS mock test or a previous year’s paper after you have already finished with your UPSC preparation. That way after solving the mocks you’d know which portions of the UPSC syllabus you still need to work on.

Access the previous years’ UPSC question papers from 2015-2021

Anyway, to elaborate on how to solve UPSC mock tests, you can go through the next section.

Benefits of Solving UPSC Mock Test

Tips on Solving UPSC Mock Tests

Since, in in the section above, I have mentioned the various benefits of solving the UPSC mock tests, in this section, let me jot down some important tips that you can use while doing so, I.e., solving mocks.

Using the tips given below you shall be able to make use of the Mock tests in the most optimal manner. So, here they are:

  1. Take your Prelims mock papers sincerely, giving 2 hours each for the GS and CSAT papers. And also, while taking your mock mains papers, take the papers using the official time duration of 3 hours for each.
  2. While solving the UPSC mocks make sure to solve your papers with a calm mind. The objective shouldn’t be just to solve it in the given time. You should make sure that your answers are right, and also of good quality (in the case of the mains papers). Therefore, 15 minutes here and there above the given time limit can be considered okay, but remember to not take any more time than that.
  3. Once you are done with a mock, do not consider your job done yet, you’d now have to analyze the questions in the mock thoroughly and also the answers you have written for each. That way you’ll be able to identify the concepts that you are weak at.
  4. After analyzing a mock answer sheet, do not move over to solving another one without first clearing your weak points.
  5. After clearing your weak points, go over to solve another mock, and do the same again, that is identify your weak points again. For this, you can take help from a mentor as well. You do not have to do this alone.
  6. Keep repeating this process till the very end.
  7. Also, remember to not spend too much time on one question while solving the mocks. Move on to the next question if you are not sure about the answer to the question you are stuck at.
  8. If you follow the process I have mentioned in the above points, you will start noticing improvement in your scores within a short span of time.

Remember, it is highly important to analyse any mock or previous year paper that you attempt. Go over the exam analysis of commerce and management optionals of 2017-2020 UPSC exams.

That concludes the segment of the UPSC mock tests.


That brings us to the end of this long, but I hope informative blog article. In this article, I have covered the topics of UPSC mock tests and UPSC books. With that, I bid you farewell for now and all the very best for the upcoming UPSC CSE.

Have a nice day!

CEO of Anujjindal.in

About Anuj Jindal


Anuj Jindal, the founder, is an ex-manager from SBI, with an M.Com from Delhi School of Economics. He also has a JRF in Commerce & Management and NET in HRM, along with more than 5 years of experience in the field of Education.

FAQs: UPSC Books and Mock Tests for IAS/IPS Exam

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    Which books are the best for Hindi medium aspirants in UPSC Exam 2022? 

    This is a very pertinent question, as a huge percentage of candidates that aspire to clear the IAS exam do their schooling in Hindi medium.   

    Therefore, to prepare for the IAS exam you can also read all the Hindi medium books from NCERT and the Hindi translations of all the popular IAS books that I have mentioned in the blog above.  

    To give an example of the Hindi translations of the popular IAS books, there’s भारत का राष्ट्रीय आंदोलन by Bipan Chandra for history, भारत की राज्यव्यस्था by M. Lakshmikanth for polity, भौटिक भुगोल by Majid Hussain for Geography, so on and so forth. 

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    Where can I find NCERT books for IAS Exam? 

    If you prefer reading e-books for the IAS exam, you may download the NCERT books of your choice from NCERT’s official website, that too absolutely free. But to make your work easy, I have listed all the NCERT books for UPSC, above which can be downloaded as well.  

    On the other hand, if you prefer to read from a hard copy of a book, you will find NCERT books at almost every bookstore near you that sells school books. To know the names of NCERT books you’d need for your IAS preparation you can refer to the blog article that I have written above. 

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    Which Indian Economy (Economics) books are the best for UPSC? 

    As I have mentioned in the blog above, the best books to prepare for the subject of economics are the NCERT books, then we also have: 

    • Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh 
    • Economic Development and Policies in India by Jain & Ohri.   

    Also, apart from these books you’d also need to refer to other study materials like the Economic Survey (Latest), Budget (Latest), Finance Commission Report (Latest), etc. 

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    Which books are the best for Art and Culture for UPSC? 

    For the subject of Art and Culture, the best books are the NCERT books of class 11th: 

    • An Introduction to Indian Art 
    • Living Craft Traditions of India (Chapters IX & X) 

    Apart from preparing from these books, you can also go through the various IAS Mock test question papers to understand the variety of topics asked from the subject of Art and Culture in the IAS exam. 

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    Are NCERT books enough for IAS? 

    Well, here I’d say that even though NCERT books should be the first books that you start preparing from, but my advice would be to strengthen your understanding further by referring to other books as well.  

    The best way would be to first read from the NCERT books, then go over to reading all the other IAS prelims books and IAS mains books such as the ones I have mentioned in the blog above.  

    Apart from these books, you’d also need to solve as many IAS mock tests as you can to understand which topics you are still weak at and work on it even more. 

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    Which book is the best for Indian Polity? 

    The best book for Indian polity, without a doubt, is M. Laxmikanth’s Indian Polity.  

    However, apart from this book, you should also prepare from the book called Introduction to the Constitution of India by D.D. Basu.   
    You’d also need to read all polity-related topics from the NCERT books of classes 9, 10, 11, and 12. 

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    What should be the difficulty level of the IAS mock tests that I should solve/attempt? 

    The difficulty level of the IAS mock tests or the UPSC test series should be a little higher than the actual IAS exam. That is because by solving IAS mock tests of higher difficulty levels, you’d be able to prepare much better for the actual IAS exam. You might even find the actual paper to be easier and may score high marks. 

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    What are the advantages of attempting IAS mock tests 2022? 

    The advantages of attempting mocks are many, and therefore should not be overlooked. One of the key advantages is that you’ll be able to maintain your focus, accuracy, and speed for the duration of the exams, may it be the Prelims or the Mains. But, as I said, that is just one. There are several other benefits as well. You can check it out in the article given above.   

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    What is the right time to start with UPSC Mock Test Series? 

    Let me begin this answer by saying that the best time to start with your UPSC Mock test series is right at the beginning of your preparation itself. Even before you have started with your syllabus. Then of course, as the exams come nearer and nearer, you should solve more and more mocks with increasing seriousness, making sure to do so as if solving a real exam.  

    Solving a mock test before starting your preparation would tell you where you are weak and where you are strong. Then you start your preparation accordingly. And after a while, again take a mock to gauge you strengths and weaknesses, and then carry on with your prep again.   

    Repeat this process until you’ve no weaknesses left. After that, right before the exams, you can sit down to take even more mock tests, solving them whilst imitating actual exam conditions. 

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