Your essential NCERT and NBT reading list

All IAS aspirants know that NCERT books are necessary for IAS preparation but most of them often do not know which NCERT books they have to read for the Civil Services Examination. To address this problem, we have compiled a list of “must-read” NCERT text books below. Many of these books are available online at but certain books have been discontinued from publication now. These books, for the great value they still offer, must be obtained from libraries, bookstores dealing in used / old books or in photocopied form.

In the recent years, certain books published by the national Book Trust (NBT) also have emerged in importance at par with the NCERT books due to their usefulness vis-à-vis the Civil Service Examination. We are providing a list of these essential NBT books too.

All these sources are invaluable in terms of:

  1. Simple language
  2. Strong emphasis on clarity of fundamental concepts
  3. Extensive research behind the presented content
  4. Authentic information, no mistake (rarely found any)
  5. Being source of questions in the examination
  6. Imparting knowledge step wise

Our advice to all serious IAS aspirants is to start the preparation with these NCERT and NBT books, and later supplement them with advanced level notes (such as those offered by Evolution), higher textbooks, periodicals and news magazines.

Here, we go with the list wishing you good luck with your basic readings.



(Old textbooks for XI and XII)

Modern India: Bipan Chandra

Medieval India: Satish Chandra

Ancient India: RS Sharma

An Introduction to Indian Art (New book for XI th)

General Science

All Science Textbooks from Std. VI to Std. X


All Geography Books (Old editions): From Std. VI to Std. X

New edition for Std X: Contemporary India

New edition Geography books: For Std. XI, XII

Indian Economy

Understanding Economic Development (X th)

Indian Economic Development (XI th)

Macroeconomics (XII th)

Indian Polity

Indian Constitution at Work (XI th)

Politics in India since Independence

Indian Society

Indian Society (XII th)

Social Change in India (XII th)

Other NCERT books

Selected themes in World History

Chapters on Environmental Ecology in XII th Std. Biology Textbook

NBT Books

Our Constitution: Subhash Kashyap

Our Parliament: Subhash Kashyap

Our Political System: Subhash Kashyap

Our Judiciary: BR Agarwala

Ecology and Sustainable Development: PS Ramakrishnan

India’s Foreign Policy since Independence: VP Dutt

India’s Security in a Turbulent World: Jasjeet Singh

Contemporary Art in India: A Perspective: Pran Nath Mago

Panchayati Raj in India: M. Aslam