Every year the UPSC throws a surprise with the questions that it asks. So we need to update the Booklist for the Prelims Examination. We are sharing with you the booklist for Prelims Examination 20202.
We believe that there are two criteria for selecting books for Prelims:
- One, is the relevance of the Book Text to the examination ( Pre + Subsequent benefit in Mains )
- Two, how common the book is.
Let us explain the logic of the second factor.
If more people read a book, it is better to read it because if a question comes from there, and you do not answer it – remember that everyone is answering it and therefore that question is contributing to the cut off marks.
On the other hand, if you read a unique book and you are able to answer a question from there , while it is good news, but remember that unique questions do not contribute to the cut off as most people do not answer it.
So, two things are recommended.
One, try not to get a question wrong from the standard book. Getting a question wrong from the standard book is pure suicide. More people flunk prelims because they got a very basic question wrong, than people who are maimed by ultra random questions.
Two, try not to base preparation strategy on aberrant questions. Every year there will be some questions, which will be a little random, so to chase it, we will not run after “unique questions” based Test Series. We will stick to standard sources.
So here is the booklist for Prelims 2020
Polity – For Prelims 2021
- Indian Polity by M Laxmikant : The Bible for Indian Polity remains a constant. The book for now is irreplaceable, even though the questions asked in UPSC have become a little more conceptual. Laxmikant’s Book provides a comprehensive coverage of Polity issues. Plus, we have seen that questions in Polity have dipped in some years in the last decade, but again come up – and were answerable from the book. Also, on the basis of popularity, the book stays at No.1 position and questions, if covered in this book should not be missed.
- Our Constitution ( NCERT ) : This book by NCERT is good for conceptual understanding. While we have felt that normally Laxmikant has been sufficient, Our Constitution is great for answering questions that have been asked in the past 2 years. Also, it bodes well for Mains preparation.
Geography – For Prelims 2021
Geography has always been a technical subject. And some people are simply good at it, while some are simply bad at it. Plus it does not have a Bible thing going for it. So here is the list
- NCERT 11th : Fundamentals of Physical Geography Class 11th remains in the Must Read, Must Chew, Must Digest list. You can download the book from this link. The book has to be mastered. We would strongly recommend that you read it in the order – Unit 4, Unit 6, Unit 5, Unit 3, Unit 2. You can skip Unit 1, in my opinion.
- NCERT 12th : Fundamentals of Human Geography is a book, which again stays in the Must Read list because it has some basic concepts that are needed not only for Prelims, but throughout the Mains Examination as well. You can download the book from this link.
- Certificate Physical & Human Geography : Popularly known as Goh-Cheng-Leong, this book can be read selectively. You can focus on certain chapters and Topics such as Coral Reefs / Landforms etc.
Modern History for Prelims 2021
- Spectrum’s Modern History : This books remains in the must read list. However, we can tell that with recent updates, the book has become a lot more bulky and in the coming years, if the size of the book is not reduced, it is likely to go out of fashion. When the student community first adopted this book in around 2008, it was much thinner and was solving the problem of reading a bulky test book – Bipin Chandra’s Struggle for Freedom. However, it itself has now become a bulky book. The book still remains the recommended book for modern history.
- From Plassey to Partition : This book has emerged in the past few years as a substitute for Spectrum for some people. In case you are completely tortured by Spectrum, you can take up this book. Keep in mind that while you may be able to answer UPSC questions by reading this book, you may not be able to answer test series questions – given that most test series people frame questions from Spectrum. And doing Test Series questions right is also equally important.
Ancient & Medieval India
- Tamil Nadu State Board Books : The twin set of Tamil Nadu State Board Books remain our favourite for Ancient & Medieval as the language is easy, major questions asked in past 10 years can be answered from the book, and the few obscure questions that have been asked, and may nt be there in the book require so much work that you can either prepare Ancient & Medieval or clear Prelims – but not both.
Environment & Ecology for Prelims 2021
- Shankar IAS Book : Again this book stays because
it is the most updatedit is the most commonly read book. Also, it has a good coverage for most topics from which questions have been asked in UPSC.
Art & Culture for Prelims 2021
- NCERT Fine Arts : NCERT Fine Arts, tops the list for a good resource for Art & Culture for Prelims 2020. The key here is that in 2014, questions asked from Art & Culture were not fund elsewhere apart from the Fine Arts Book. Also the book has important illustrations from which questions have been asked in the past years.
Science & Tech for Prelims 2021
Unfortunately, so far we do not have a S & T book which is not bulky as well as relevant. Here the best we can do is to solve past 20 years papers – every question. Also the questions here have largely been from Current Affairs, so coverage of S & T has to be from Current Affairs apart from Previous Years Paper.
Economy for Prelims 2021
- Ramesh Singh’s TMH Book : The TMH Book by Ramesh Singh remains the best alternative currently for Economy. The book has become a lot bulky, and candidates must ensure that the book is read selectively focusing on Public Finance, Banking, Inflation etc.
- Sriram’s IAS Economy Notes : This is not a secondary source per se, but an alternative to the TMH Book. Read this if you do not like the TMH Book.
Current Affairs for Prelims 2021
- Factly ( June 2020 – April 2021 ) : In our Opinion, the factly magazine remains the most relevant and concise for Prelims. You can get it from the download section of ForumIAS Blog.