Apart from NCERT books mentioned in the comments section of this post, and The Hindu, a monthly magazine (any standard one – not all) and a business newspaper, following are the books one should compulsorily read to get a strong base for clearing the Preliminary exam.
(This is just a list – as more number of aspirants are requesting, I am putting it here. Later a detailed strategy for prelims will follow)
Books for Prelims:
PAPER – I
- From Plassey to Partition – A History Of Modern India (A must buy in my opinion)orA Brief History of Modern India – Spectrum Publications (For Mains, you should read the book by Bipan Chandra, but it is better if one can finish it before Prelims if you have more time)
- The Indian Economy – Sanjiv Verma (this is for people who find economy difficult/distasteful -a must read before you hop for other books)
- Indian Economy : For Civil Services Examinations 5th Edition (2013) – Ramesh Singh (This book is now universally recommended by every one – should be read only after reading the above book by Sanjiv Verma)
- Indian Polity for Civil Services Examinations 4th Edition – Laxmikanth (For prelims you don’t have read any other book on Polity except this one. However, for Mains, you should read D D Basu as it helps you to form opinions to attempt some difficult questions in the exam)
- Certified Physical and Human Geography – Goh Cheng Leong
- Environment & Ecology: Biodiversity, Climate Change and Disaster Management : General Studies for Civil Services (Main) Examination – Paper II and IV (This is both for Prelims and Mains )
- 1000 Plus Questions on Indian Polity: General Studies for Civil Services Preliminary Examination (Paper – 1)
(Purely for Practice purpose – don’t expect questions from these books to appear in the exam)
- The Pearson CSAT Manual 2013: ( This book is for not reading the material inside. Buy it for Questions inside – for practice purpose. Strictly for beginners) or you can buy this: General Studies for Civil Services Preliminary Examination 2013 (Again for Questions – buy any one) - Remember to buy the latest Editions!!
- India 2013 – Publication Division, Govt. of India (Buy the latest edition next year, or even this one will do)
- Indian Polity Question Bank – TMH
- General Science Question Bank – TMH
- Geography (India+World) Question Bank – TMH
- Social & Economic Development Question Bank – TMH
- 14000+ MCQs For Paper-I Prelims
PAPER – II
Actually, you don’t need any special books for Paper- II if you have some basic knowledge in Maths and relatively good in basic English. But, for most beginners, especially from Arts/Commerce background, some basic idea is needed on Paper – II, if not unnecessarily they start to think that Paper-II is full of Maths, reasoning and its is very difficult etc.
- Cracking the CSAT Civil Services Aptitude Test with Solved Papers
- Tata Mcgraw Hill Manual of GS Paper-II – 2014
Above books must be read only after completely reading NCERT textbooks:
Class VI to Class XII – Social Science – (Geography, Polity, History, Economics and Sociology – Class XI and XII)
Class VI to X Science – for non-Science students + Class XII Biology last 5 chapters.