Must-Read Books for UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam Preparation

One of the most significant factors that determines whether a candidate makes it through the UPSC Civil Services IAS exam or not is the books he refers to. Having a reliable and limited set of books to study is the hallmark of a Smart study. The list provided below is in accordance with the needs of the examination. We have also factored in the dynamism of the examination and presented the booklist with enough precision

Art & Culture (Both Prelims and Mains)

  1. NIOS on Art and Culture
  2. NCERT Fine Arts Class XI
  3. Nitin Singhania – Select Chapters

Ancient and Medieval History (only for Prelims)

  1. New NCERTs: Class 6th to 12th
  2. Old NCERTs (if possible)

Modern History (Both Prelims and Mains)

  1. New NCERTs: Class 6th to 12th
  2. A Brief History of Modern India: Spectrum
  3. India’s Struggle for Independence

Post-Independent India (Both Prelims and Mains)

  1. India after Independence: Bipan Chandra
  2. India after Gandhi: Ramachandra Guha (only if time permits)
  3. Mains All TOPICS Uncovered section

World History (only for Mains)

  1. NCERTs – Themes in World History
  2. Old NCERT by Arjun Dev

Indian Society (Both Prelims and Mains)

  1. Follow the Current affairs
  2. Mains All TOPICS Uncovered section

Geography (Both Prelims and Mains)

  1. GC Leong (for conceptual clarity)
  2. NCERTs: Class 6 to class 12
  3. Atlas
  4. Mains All TOPICS Uncovered section

What are the books provided by Legacy IAS?

we provide you the list of Best books for the IAS Exam Preparation. The UPSC Syllabus is considered to be very vast and there are a lot of books that need to be read. We have tried to provide you an extensive list of books for UPSC IAS Exam preparation. The IAS Exam or the Civil Services Exam is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).

Following are the books prepared by our best Legacy IAS team with vast experience in content developments supervised directly by our best faculty in respective subjects.

Study Material of Legacy IAS

Indian Polity and Governance (Both Pre and Main)

  1. Indian Polity: Laxmikant (Do not study anything else)
  2. Governance in India: Laxmikant
  3. Few topics not found in these books can be availed in Resources: All topics Uncovered
  4. Schemes and Policies: Current Affairs by Legacy IAS

India’s Foreign policy and Diaspora (Mostly Main)

  1. Follow the Current Affairs by Legacy IAS
  2. Ministry of External Affairs
  3. Static issues covered in Resources: All topics Uncovered

Indian Economy (Both Pre and Main)

  1. Get the basic understanding of concepts from Legacy IAS notes
  2. Economic Survey and Budget summary by Legacy IAS. Do not read it like any other book. You need to analyze. What happens when the EU lowers the export tariff on garments from India? How does the recent budget impact spending on rural India etc
  3. Newspaper Business/Economy section. In this, if you do not understand a term, say ‘import cover’, then look it up on the internet.
  4. 11th Standard NCERT

Environment (Both pre and Main)

  1. Legacy IAS notes
  2. An annual report from Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Control (Available on the official website). It’s a very good read. Will help you in GS III as well.

Science and Technology (Both Pre and Main)

  1. Down to Earth Magazine
  2. Science and technology notes from Legacy IAS
  3. Current Affairs by Legacy IAS

Internal Security Challenges and Disaster Management (Only Main)

  1. Internal Security Challenges by Ash0k Kumar
  2. IDSA website
  3. 2nd ARC report (Report 3) on Disaster management

Ethics and Integrity (Only for Main Exam)

  1. Legacy IAS notes
  2. Lexicon Dictionary
  3. Michael Sandals Videos on Youtube
  4. Previous year question papers
  5. 2nd ARC report on Ethics (report 4)


Following the Legacy IAS Newsticles on a regular basis will be a great source for adding value to your Essays. To get better at articulating the Essay and have a proper understanding of how to approach the Essays, practice Essay writing on the topics provided on a weekly basis. The Essay Question and its model answer are uploaded under the Resources: Weekly Essay and Case Study section on the home page

Current Affairs

  1. Read the Hindu News Paper, Articles from the Indian Express
  2. Study the summaries of newspapers and analyses of editorials from the Legacy IAS Current Affairs Section
  3. Follow PIB: Summary provided daily by Legacy IAS
  4. Take Daily Current Affairs Quiz

Legacy IAS Academy – India’s Best IAS Coaching in Bangalore provides top UPSC Coaching Classes and personal guidance for Civil services exam preparation.

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