How to Prepare for Prelims


  • Start with the NCERT textbooks. These texts provide  basic knowledge and conceptual clarity for various subjects which will be useful while reading advanced books.
  • Do make notes of what you have understood from these texts. Note making should be done considering both prelims and mains. This process will be helpful at the time of revision.
  • Current affairs are extremely important as per the latest exam trends
  • Do read at-least one Newspaper on  daily basis.   
  • Focus more on revision rather than reading different books.
  • Keep a book of solved past question papers always with you. Try to solve those questions after reading a particular topic 
  • Click here for Complete Prelims Book List


Ancient India13--2
Medieval India144--
Modern India76856
Current Affairs3337237-
Science and Technology4761512



  • The weightage of this section is considerably less
  • This section is also lengthy and the type of questions asked are mainly factual in nature
  • The following materials will give basic understanding :

Class 11 Tamil Nadu Board History book or Old NCERT Class 11 Ancient India​  or  Ancient India by RS Sharma (Same author) –

  • Note – Among the above mentioned books you should read atleast one book and the other one is optional. We suggest you to read Tamil Nadu History book due to the fact that UPSC is asking more questions based on South Indian Art and Culture. Old NCERT is written by RS Sharma hence both books ie Ancient India and old NCERT Class 11 provides same content.  

Old NCERT Class 11 Medieval India   or   History of Medieval India by Satish Chandra (Same author)

  • Note- Medieval India old NCERT and the History of Medieval India written by Satish Chandra provides same content as both are written by the same author.


  • An analysis of previous question papers shows that the weightage  of this section is relatively less
  • The following books will help to develop the understanding required for the subject 

Class 6 -12 History NCERT (Except chapters related to World History)

Modern History by Bipan Chandra ( Read upto 1857 revolt from this book rest from Spectrum)

Brief History of India by Spectrum Publications


  • In 2013 and  2014 there was a spike in the number of questions asked from this section but of late it has been considerably reduced  
  • This section is lengthy and factual, hence proper revision should be done
  • Considering the lengthiness of this section we are providing only a few sources
  • The following are the important books / materials available for this section :

Indian Art and Culture by Nithin Singhania

Culture material by National institute of open schooling

Class 6 -12  NCERT books on History – Focus should be on culture part

  • The  following website will also help to cover the left over topics:


  • This section is consistent in terms of weightage, hence thorough preparation is required 
  • The following are the important reference books for this section: 

NCERT class 6 -12th (11th standard NCERT – Constitution at work very important) ​

Indian Polity by Laxmikanth

  • Indian Polity by Laxmikanth should be revised as many times as you can.
  • The following websites and Magazines will help in dealing with the current affairs part : (Only for analysis of important bills and Acts passed by the Parliament)

Yojana Magazine


  • This is another important section considering the weightage of marks. Number of questions from this section has remained more or less consistent.
  • The following are the most important NCERT books  

Class 11 NCERT book

Class 12 – Micro and Macro economics NCERT book orMicroeconomics and Macroeconomics written by V.K Ohri 

Class  9th and 10th NCERT books should also be referred to

  • Important Reference book for this section are as follows :

Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh 

  • The dynamic or current affairs part of this section can be covered from the following materials :

Business Page from The Hindu newspaper

Economy Page from Indian Express Newspaper

Economic Survey



  • Economic survey is extremely important as questions have directly been asked from it in prelims as well as in mains
  • In Economics conceptual clarity is necessary as many questions are analytical in nature.


  • Of late the weightage of this section has been reduced considerably and the questions asked are mainly based on current affairs 
  • Important NCERT textbooks to be referred are as follows

Class 6 to 12th ( Class 11th NCERT books are extremely important) ​

  • Focus should be on Indian Geography 
  • Importance should also be given to Map based questions. Questions are asked usually from important places recently in news. Hence try to locate important places in maps while reading newspaper.      
  • You can also refer to the following reference books for conceptual clarity :

Certified Physical geography by GC Leong

Indian Geography by Majid Hussain

  • Indian Geography by Majid Hussain should only be referred to for conceptual clarity 


  • This is also an important section as the number of questions from this part are usually above 10 
  • The relevant chapters of Environment will be covered under the NCERT textbooks referred in Geography.
  • You should also refer :

Relevant chapters related to Environment from Class 12 Biology NCERT textbook

  • The following reference book contains almost all the important topics 

Environment by Shankar


  • Of late most of  the questions  asked in this section are related to current science and technology 
  • Some of the important materials to be covered for current Science and Technology are :

Science and Technology page from Hindu

Science Reporter monthly magazine 

Science and Technology by Neeraj Nachiketa for conceptual clarity for current based questions

  • Some question asked by UPSC are also related to General Science which can be covered from :

Class 6 to 10 NCERT

Chapter -14 from Chemistry NCERT Class -11

  • Focus should be more on the Biology part in General science section 
  • The following websites are also useful as UPSC used to make questions from contents of these sites :


Ministry of Science and Technology 

Ministry of Defence  


  • 23 questions in 2015, 37 in 2016 and 33 in 2017 were from this section,Hence this section is very important. 
  • Considering the importance of current affairs in Prelims and Mains we have made a separate section to deal with current affairs 


  • The strategy provided here is one generally adopted by the successful aspirants in clearing prelims
  • There can be different strategies for clearing the exam. You should follow the one which suits you the best. 
  • There can also be infinite number of books available in the shops for the given topics, but always remember that effective revision is only possible when you refer a few books. Hence extensive reading about a particular topic is not advisable.
  • Testing yourself at regular intervals is necessary and shouldn’t be ignored.
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