How To Read NCERT For UPSC Preparation

how to read ncert for upsc

UPSC(IAS) EXAM: To ace UPSC exams NCERT books are a must. Books published by NCERT will help build a good understanding of the subject area from which you can further develop and learn. Here goes a few insider tips and pointers on how to go through books published by NCERT for cracking your UPSC exams in a short time span like a month.

The NCERT books are designed to provide students with high-quality and well-researched content for UPSC preparation to understand basic concepts. This makes the reading of NCERTs a must for every aspirant. To prepare for UPSC Prelims 2023, one must go through the 6th to 12th NCERT books before diving into the complete Syllabus of UPSC.

Time management and smart study are two of the most important factors to prepare for UPSC. Well, a considerable amount of time is needed for the preparation but if you have any time constraints and you are confused about where to start then we are here to help you with some guidance and methods that will aid you to cover the whole NCERT book in a month.

Before diving into how to read NCERT for UPSC let us first find out why they are important.

Is Studying NCERT For UPSC Exam Necessary?

UPSC syllabus is as vast as the sea. There seems no limit to it but the right choice of books, strategies, time management, and smart study with hard work will lead you to success. Aspirants sometimes struggle to read large texts of books. This happens since students are not usually strong with the basics. NCERT books are designed to provide you with a strong base and it is advised to give some time to these books before going for some standard books of UPSC.

Importance Of Reading NCERT Published Books For UPSC

It is important to study NCERT-published books for UPSC civil service examination as it forms the basis for most subjects covered in the exam. The best thing about NCERT books is that it provides content in a simple format with lots of pointers and tables. This makes it easier for us to understand the content and well as to memorize the facts efficiently. But you must ensure that your process of reading is efficient. Highlight as you read so that it is easier to revise later. Also, it is best that you read these textbooks a minimum of three times.

As much as possible, divide the NCERT books by syllabus topics to ensure that you cover all the topics in a short amount of time.

Moreover, you should know that NCERT has no fixed time limit for reading. You can finish the entire NCERT in three to four months, although it may take you 4.5 months to finish them all. But if you’re a slow reader, you can easily memorize the topics of NCERT books within one to two months. As long as you have the right schedule and the time dedicated to reading, NCERT books will provide you with a solid foundation from which you can build on with other topic-relevant books.

The first way to read NCERT-published books for the UPSC-conducted civil service examination is to go subject-wise. This way, you’ll read all NCERT books, class-by-class. You’ll find it easier to understand each subject if you read them subject-by-subtopic. Besides, this method will also help you retain information longer. Moreover, reading NCERT books in a subject-wise fashion will make you familiar with the subject content.

How To Read NCERT For UPSC

NCERT books have been devised to help learners comprehend concepts at an extremely deep level. Moreover, NCERT textbooks are free to download from the official website of NCERT, making them even more attractive as a study material option when preparing for your UPSC examinations.

Here are some tips that will make you understand how to read NCERT for UPSC and hence will help you to cover whole NCERT books for the UPSC Prelims:

Follow APT (Approach, Priority & Time) Formula:

1. The Approach:  Starting with the right approach does matter a lot. There can be two ways to study from NCERT books :

  1. Class wise
  2. Subject wise

The class-wise approach is used to cover all the books of a particular class starting from class 6th up to class 12th. This could be useful when there is a time constraint.

The subject-wise approach helps you to read the complete set of books by choosing one particular subject at a time and covering the books related to that subject starting from class 6th. However, we suggest going through the subject-wise approach as you can understand all the concepts clearly and also remember the concept for a longer time.

2. Prioritization: The syllabus of UPSC is vast. Therefore, you have to prioritize
among different subjects. There are various subjects covered in NCERT books like Sociology, GeographyHistory, and Science. Choose a subject in which you feel you are weak and need proper preparation. Start preparing for it in the first place. This will give you a lot of extra time to review yourself and revise the toughest part before the exam.

3. Time management: A lot can be written on this subject but here we are going
to tell you a simple thing. If you are running out of time then time management becomes a key factor for any exam.

The Dos-

  1. Make a timetable: Keeping oneself motivated is a herculean task especially when there is a lot to study and there isn’t that much time left for the exam. Only a proper planner, especially in the case of UPSC preparation, could do the job successfully. NCERT books require your attention in the first twenty to twenty-five days and in the last five days, you can keep them for revision. Make a subject-wise list that will ascertain you cover all topics in the syllabus. 
  2. Make brief notes: Notes are lifesavers for last-minute revision. NCERT books are huge. Therefore, making comprehensive notes carefully will help to revise everything with less effort and in minimum time. This is one way to ensure that what you are doing is in fact effective reading.
  3. Revision: Before wrapping up for the day it is ideal to revise whatever you have learned. Even 20 to 25 minutes of your time can ensure an effective outcome. To remember what you have read the entire day, you just have to revise every concept.
  4. Mocks: Mock question paper does the same magic as talking to yourself in front of the mirror. Mock tests show your everyday progress and from them, you can keep a track of yourself. Make sure to go through your weak portions thoroughly. Try to attempt a minimum of one mock test every day.
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The Dont’s-

The NRNP Model (No relying, No procrastination):

  1. No relying: Relying on the probability of specific topics which most coaching classes or websites have covered is an unreliable strategy. The thing you must remember is that UPSC does not adhere to a concrete question paper pattern. The questions posed every year in UPSC exams vary drastically. To rest upon the probability of such an unpredictable question pattern is senseless. So, the safe option is to learn or at the least read, at least once, all books published by NCERT.  
  2. No procrastination: The reading phase is a must and procrastination is the worst enemy of our time. If you have only one month to cover a portion of the Syllabus, that is reading a set of 40-44 NCERT books then you just can’t take the risk of laziness even for a single minute.
    “A single minute of procrastination can destroy a month of hard work and discipline”.
    – Peter Vekselman says

Which Are The Must-Read Books From NCERT For UPSC Exam?

As we discussed earlier, books from classes 6th to 12th are extremely important to cover a large amount of the entire Syllabus of the UPSC Civil Services Examination. We have also mentioned important and relevant topics/chapters of some books. Links to download for free from the NCERT website are also available. Read on to know the must-read list of books from NCERT for UPSC CSE.

Must Read NCERT History Books

  1. Themes in Indian History-IThemes in Indian History-IIThemes in Indian History-IIIClass 12
  2. Themes in World History Class 11
  3. India & the Contemporary World-II Class 10
  4. India & the Contemporary World-IClass 9
  5. Our Pasts-IIIClass 8
  6. Our Pasts-IIClass 7
  7. Our Pasts I – Class 6

NCERT Geography Books – Must Read!

  1. 6th – The Earth: Our Habitat
  2. 7th – Our Environment
  3. 8th – Resources & Development
  4. 9th – Contemporary India I
  5. 10th – Contemporary India II
  6. 11th – Fundamentals of Physical Geography, India: Physical Environment
  7. 12th – Fundamentals of Human Geography, India: People & Economy

Must Read NCERT Books for Economics

  1. 9th – Economics
  2. 10th – Understanding Economic Development
  3. 11th – Indian Economic Development
  4. 12th – Introductory Microeconomics, Supplementary reading material in Economics – Introductory Macroeconomics

Must Read NCERT Books for Political Science

  1. 9th – Democratic Politics I
  2. 10th – Democratic Politics II
  3. 11th –Indian Constitution at Work, Political Theory
  4. 12th – Contemporary World Politics (Chapter 8 – Environment & Natural Resources), Politics in India Since Independence

Must Read NCERT Books for Sociology

  1. 11th – Introducing Sociology
  2. 12th – Social Change & Development in India, Indian Society textbook

Must Read NCERT Books for Culture/Fine Arts

11th – An Introduction to Indian Art

Must Read NCERT Science Books

  1. 6th –  Chapter 9: The Living Organisms & their Surroundings
  2. 7th –  Chapter 7: Weather, Climate & Adaptations of Animals,  Chapter 9: Soil
  3. 8th –  Chapter 1: Crop Production & Management,  Chapter 5: Coal & Petroleum,  Chapter 7: Conservation of Plants & Animals,  Chapter 12:  Friction,  Chapter 18: Pollution of Air & Water
  4. 9th –  Chapter 14: Natural Resources
  5. 10th –  Chapter 14: Sources of Energy,  Chapter 15: Our Environment,  Chapter 16: Management of Natural Resources
  6. 11th – Biology
  7. 12th – Biology – Unit X: Ecology ( Chapter 13 – Organisms & Population,  Chapter 14 – Ecosystem,   Chapter 15 – Biodiversity & Conservation,  Chapter 16 – Environmental Issues)


Covering NCERT Books in a month is not a difficult task. With the right strategy, anyone can do it. Before going on searching and downloading NCERT books, one should strategize their preparation according to the points discussed above. We hope you, now, have the answer to how to read NCERT for UPSC Civil Services Exam Preparation.

Besides NCERT books, Examarly is a platform to supercharge your exam preparation journey with at least twice the pace. Here you can find various resources relevant to every topic in one place. Do give it a try and we wish you all the best.

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