Smart Work for IAS : This article is written with a special focus on the minimum requirements of IAS exam. The importance of this discussion is at a time when there are a wide variety of resources available around every aspirant to make him/her get confused. There is no shortage of books, materials or coaching in the market, but there is no proper guidance regarding what to study and what not. The root concept of smart work for clearing IAS exam lies in the same – knowing what to study and what not.
Utopian model of Civil Services Preparation:
If you are thinking that you need to read N number of books (the big ones, you know, with near size of a pillow and N is a variable which starts only from the smallest possible 3 digit number), attend IAS classroom coaching at ABC institute, BCD institute and XYZ institute for specialized classes for each subject, browse 15-20 websites and prepare notes from 5-10 newspapers and magazines each day to clear IAS, you are probably wrong. The exaggerated actions highlighted above are Utopian cases, which are neither practical nor necessary to clear Civil Services Exam. Even if an imaginary person does all what is stated above, there is still chance that he/she not clear Prelims/Mains.
So what matters in UPSC IAS preparation is not the quantity (volume) of materials one had gone through, but the quality of learning and revision done. Besides, aspirants should develop personalized strategies knowing their strengths and weaknesses, as general strategies might not work in individual cases.
Books needed for UPSC Civil Services Preparation
As books in physical form are an indispensable prerequisite for IAS preparation, candidates should not worry spending a few bucks on the necessary books for UPSC exams. In-fact from the very beginning aspirants should keep aside a sum of around 5000-10,000 entirely for basic books, magazines and newspapers. But what are the essential books for IAS preparation?
Two versions of candidates can be observed if we keenly analyze the book buying habit of aspirants. The first group are extremely reluctant to spend on books, though they are happy to spend thousands on coaching classes (without any use), drinks, latest gadgets or parties.
The second version of aspirants consider being a book collector as the prerequisite for becoming an actual collector. Rooms of these guys can at any time beat any central library in terms of quantity of materials 🙂
We at ClearIAS.com suggest a middle path. Though books are life long assets and the money spend on books can be seen as an investment, you should also consider the time factor. You have only limited time and UPSC does not expect you to read all the text books and magazines available in the market.
So candidates are advised to adopt a basic minimum program in the case of books and study materials that should be bought. Depending upon on time available, you may expand your book base from this basic minimum.
Even the minimum book list (listed below) might look exhaustive for some of the aspirants, but unfortunately we can’t help that. The one year long UPSC exam cycle expects you to go through at least these basics. 🙁 After all, you are doing smart work for IAS, and not any school tests! 🙂
Smart Work for Clearing IAS : Books and Materials
Clear IAS has released free mobile apps (android apps as well as iPhone apps) as a complete self-study package for free. Our android app has already crossed 1,00,000+ downloads. We have also launched full length timed online mock test series with negative marking for UPSC Prelims which can be attempted at the url www.cleariasexam.com.
Basic books you should cover before you take IAS Exam : Prelims and Mains
A detailed list of useful books needed for IAS preparation is available on ClearIAS.com. This article is a miniature form of the same list for beginners, who can/should later expand their book bases to the detailed list. You may also check the article Strategy and Books for Early Birds To Clear IAS Exam if ‘civils’ is a long term plan.
Basic Materials or Books for History Preparation for UPSC Civil Services Exam
- NCERT Books – Std 6-12
- India’s Struggle For Independence – Bipan Chandra
- (Additional books for mains GS : History Of Modern India by Bipan Chandra, Facets of Indian Culture – Spectrum)
Basic Materials or Books for Geography Preparation for UPSC Civil Services Exam
- NCERT Books – Std 6-12
- (Additional books for mains GS : Indian And World Geography – Hussain, Certificate Physical and Human Geography – Goh Cheng Leong)
Basic Materials or Books for Polity Preparation for UPSC Civil Services Exam
- Indian Polity for Civil Services Examinations – M. Laxmikanth OR Introduction to the Constitution of India – Durga Das Basu
- India Year Book
- (Also get updates about latest happenings related to Parliament like Bills from the official websites.)
Basic Materials or Books for Economy Preparation for UPSC Civil Services Exam
- NCERT Books – Std 11-12
- Indian Economy – Ramesh Singh OR Indian – Economy – Uma Kapila
- Economic Survey (2012-13)
- India Year Book
- (Must read : Economy section of The Hindu newspaper.)
Basic Materials or Books for Science and Technology Preparation for UPSC Civil Services Exam
- NCERT Books – Std 6-12
- (The Hindu newspaper Science and Technology section)
Basic Materials or Books for Environment Preparation for UPSC Civil Services Exam
- (The Hindu newspaper Environment section)
- Ministry of Environment updates.
Basic Materials or Books for Foreign Policy Preparation for UPSC Civil Services Exam
- Ministry of External Affairs updates.
Basic Materials or Books for Ethics Preparation for UPSC Civil Services Exam
Basic Materials or Books for Current Affairs Preparation for UPSC Civil Services Exam
- The Hindu News Paper
- India 2013 – Publication Division
- Manorama Yearbook 2013 OR Mathrubhumi Yearbook 2013 Plus
Basic Materials or Books for CSAT Paper 2 (Prelims) Preparation for UPSC Civil Services Exam
- CSAT 2013: General Studies for Civil Services Preliminary Examination (Paper – 2) by TMH OR Crack Civil Services Prelims (Paper – 2) by Disha Experts
What not to Study for IAS?
As we have covered the minimum materials (under basic minimum program!) one should study for clearing IAS, let us cover another most important area – What not to Study for Clearing IAS. You should never spend much time on the areas listed below. ( These details are never worth the time of a serious UPSC aspirant!)
- Bollywood and all the other “filmwoods”- Don’t spend time remembering the pet names of actresses, music director’s uncles’ names, gossips, latest flops and masala stories.
- Sports – Names of sports persons might be asked for 2 or 5 markers if they had made any notable achievement, but don’t spend time remembering all the centuries of Sachin, sixes hit by Gayle, IPL purple caps etc. Remember that you are going to write UPSC exam and not any Crorepathi shows in Television.
- Politics – Neglect the entire local/state politics news. Just brief through central politics news, but there is no need to mug up the details of stories.
- Names of Uganda President, Currency in Kiribati etc unless these makes headlines during the year.
In short, right materials along with a focused approach in alignment with the UPSC syllabus and previous question papers is the mantra for clearing UPSC exams with minimum time, effort and expense. Hard work without focus might not help you, but smart work in the direction required by UPSC surely will!