“Is there a single book which covers all topics for IAS exam (Prelims and Mains)?”.
We get this query often from our readers.
Nothing wrong which such a line of thinking – as there are hundreds of books in the market for each specific area in the UPSC syllabus for Civil Services Exam, enough to confuse all beginners.
But is there such a book which covers all topics for IAS exam Prelims and Mains?
No. Unfortunately or fortunately – no. IAS exam is not like school or college exams, and there is no such all-in-one book which covers all possible questions in UPSC CSE.
Considering the vast UPSC syllabus, even if any publisher releases such a book, you can imagine how big and bulky it would be. Still, if an author creates a 10000-page all-in-one book, don’t you think that UPSC can frame questions outside the scope of the same? Yes, they can.
“Okay. There is no such thing as a complete all-in-one book. But can you suggest some books which can give proper directions for a beginner?”
Yes. We can. As a beginner, what you need is the proper direction. That’s why we always recommend a mix of three essential items – (1) ClearIAS mock exams (which include previous year questions), (2) ClearIAS study materials (which are easy-to-learn and free), and (3) good books.
In this post, we shall suggest some good guides and manuals (apart from textbooks) from leading publishers, which you should not miss. Though not a replacement of authentic textbooks, Civil Services Exam manuals can sometimes be very handy – for beginners and veterans.
For beginners who don’t know what to study and whatnot, these manuals give a proper direction and thus help save time. For veterans, these books are quick-revision materials.
All-in-one manuals are prepared solely with IAS exam syllabus in focus. Also, these are less expensive considering the cost of purchasing numerous different books.
Guides for UPSC Civil Services Preliminary Exam (Paper 1 and Paper 2)
General Studies for Civil Services Preliminary Examination Paper I by Pearson (combo of 6 books) is a good choice if you are looking for an all-in-one-manual for IAS prelims. This is a set of 6 books, each book in separate binding, which makes it handy. You can buy online English Edition or Hindi Edition.
For Prelims CS Paper 2 (CSAT), you may go for General Studies for Civil Services Preliminary Examination Paper 2 by Pearson.
There are similar manuals by many other leading publishers like McGraw Hill Education, Arihant etc. as well. See some of the popular options. Note: Just buy one book each for GS Paper 1 and GS Paper 2.
- Pearson CSE Manuals: Paper 1 (Buy English Edition | Buy Hindi Edition); Paper 2 (Buy English Edition)
- MHE CSE Manuals: Paper 1 (Buy English Edition | Buy Hindi Edition); Paper 2 (Buy English Edition | Buy Hindi Edition)
- Arihant CSE Manuals: Paper 1 (Buy English Edition | Buy Hindi Edition); Paper 2 (Buy English Edition | Buy Hindi Edition)
Now having covered the manuals for Prelims, let’s see the all-in-one manuals for Mains – which has papers like Essay, General Studies Paper 1, General Studies Paper 2, General Studies Paper 3, and General Studies Paper 4)
Guides for UPSC Civil Services Main Exam (Essay, GS1, GS2, GS3, and GS4)
Get the combo set which contains
- IAS Mains General Studies Paper 1 (GS1) by Arihant
- IAS Mains General Studies Paper 2 (GS2) by Arihant
- IAS Mains General Studies Paper 3 (GS3) by Arihant
- IAS Mains General Studies Paper 4 (GS4) by Arihant
Apart from these get the below books for the essay:
- Essays for Civil Services and Other Competitive Examinations by Pulkit Khare.
- Selected Contemporary Essays by Saumitra Mohan
How helpful are the above-discussed manuals and guides?
The manuals and guides can neither completely replace the authoritative textbooks nor assure you 100% of all questions. But these guides can serve as a good starting point for beginners and quick-revision material for veterans. If you go through these books, you will get all the basic essentials needed for cracking IAS exam.
Once you are on the proper-track, we recommend you read as many books from the recommended list of books for IAS preparation, based on the recommendation of toppers. This list includes many books like Laxmikanth for India Polity, Bipan Chandra for Indian History etc.
For updating current affairs topics, you may also need to reference books like Economic Survey, India Year Book, Yojana, Kurukshetra etc. Last but not least, only when you start taking ClearIAS mock exams along with your regular learning, you can ensure that you are on the right track. All the best!