Best way to prepare for UPSC civil services exam

prepare for upsc civil services
Credit: UPSC

While preparing for UPSC Civil Services, it is not hard enough to prepare as myths in the market heard by you about UPSC civil services preparation.

In this article, we will discuss the brief strategy of how to prepare for UPSC Civil Services as well as free resources and books to read and books to avoid too.

Let’s look at the syllabus for prelim first, remember that there is no main exam until you clear prelims.


Paper I – (200 marks)
Duration : Two hours
(100 questions)

-0.66 Marks penalty for wrong
Paper II-(200 marks)
Duration : Two hours
(80 questions)
-0.83 Marks penalty for wrong


1: Paper-II of the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination will be a qualifying paper with minimum qualifying marks fixed at 33%.

2: The questions will be of multiple choice, objective type.

3: It is mandatory for the candidate to appear in both the Papers of Civil Services (Prelim) Examination for the purpose of evaluation. Therefore, a candidate will be disqualified in case he/she does not appear in both the papers of Civil Services (Prelim) Examination.


Firstly, the aspirant should always prepare for prelim cum main instead of the only prelim. While reading books and making notes should focus on one exam at a time.

Do not need to buy every books and material that you can’t read so that instead of buying all,  try to read more effectively that you have and always Keep syllabus handy and stick with it.

No need read page by page just mark your topic to read into the index and read 1 topic many times rather than reading same from too many books.

Credit: NCERT

Role of NCERT / NIOS / State PSC books

  • NCERT is known as the bible to prepare UPSC civil services
  • Go through class 6th to 10th ncert page by page
  • Class 11th and 12th ncert selective reading only
  • It makes your basic strong and will help to create a rock-solid foundation of any subject
  • Toppers till the date prefer ncert is must while preparing for UPSC civil service
  • Sometimes questions ask directly from

NCERT and Other  Textbooks (Free Source) for UPSC Civil Services preparation 

Click on given link to download topic wise zip of textbook

  • NCERTs (History, Polity,  Geography, Science, Economy )
  • NIOS (Culture, Environment, biodiversity )
  • Tamilnadu PSC (History)
  • Watch free lectures and crash courses on Unacademy app.
  • Mrunal sir’s youtube channel is very useful, especially for Economy.

 1. History of India and Indian National Movement

Mainly history has been divided into five parts such as 1. World history 2. ancient Indian history 3. medieval Indian history 4. modern Indian history and 5. post-independence history.

For prelim, the aspirant should focus on just three parts excluding World history and post-independence history. While art and culture are also there in history.

  • New-NCERT
  • TN-Class:11/12
  • Nitin Singhania’s Book on Culture
  • Spectrum- Brief history of modern India by Rajiv Ahir ( available in English and Hindi also)

2. Polity

  • Laxmikant for polity 4 to 5 Q ask directly from it and enough for the polity.
  • Right issues and other news follow PIB website.
  • Follow For the latest bill passed or amended.

3. Science and technology 

  • NCERT of class 6th to 10th and NCERT of 11th and 12th selective topics
  • Thursday edition of The Hindu for S & T
  • Monthly compilations of current affairs

4. Geography

5. Economy


  • NCERT Class 9th to 12th
  • Economy by Ramesh Singh
  • Budget & Economic Survey
  • Mrunal sir’s economy
  • India Yearbook 2018 Ch.7,13,14,19,21
  • Use Arthapedia for the word that you not understand


6. Environment-Biodiversity & Agriculture

  • Shankar IAS Environment Book
  • Current affairs related to climate change & biodiversity

7. Current Affairs

  • Newspaper- The Hindu, the Indian Express
  • Daily The Hindu summery on Unacademy app
  • Monthly compilations of current affairs
  • Magazines- Yojana enough if have more time than read Kurukshetra, DrishtiIAS
  • RSTV channel debates

UPSC Civil Services: Syllabus (pre + main): DOWNLOAD