How to Read NCERT for UPSC Preparation?

When it comes to UPSC preparation, the importance of studying NCERT books in detail cannot be emphasized enough. These books serve as a treasure trove of knowledge, succinctly covering a vast majority of the topics listed in the UPSC syllabus. So, make sure to read NCERT for UPSC preparation.

Therefore, prioritising the thorough study of NCERT books is of utmost importance. It is advisable to begin your preparation by immersing yourself in the content of NCERT books before venturing into other standard reference materials. 

This strategic approach ensures a solid foundation and a comprehensive understanding of the subjects, setting a strong base for further exploration and in-depth learning. By delving into the intricacies of NCERT books first, aspiring UPSC candidates can grasp the fundamental concepts and gain the necessary insights to tackle the examination successfully.

When it comes to preparing for the UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) exam, the NCERT (National Council of Educational Research and Training) textbooks serve as an invaluable resource.

 These textbooks provide a solid foundation of knowledge across various subjects, making them a crucial component of UPSC preparation. 

However, reading NCERT books effectively requires specific techniques to maximise comprehension and retention. This article presents effective strategies for reading NCERT books to enhance your UPSC preparation.

How to Read NCERT for UPSC?

NCERT Books serve as the foundation for preparing most subjects in the civil services exam. While they may not cover the entire UPSC syllabus, they provide a solid grounding in the fundamental concepts. When glancing through the NCERT Books, it is helpful to put yourself in the question-setter’s shoes to align with their mindset.

Tips for Read NCERT for UPSC Preparation

1. Follow a Sequential Approach:

Begin reading NCERT books from the 6th class level and progress up to the 12th class level. This ensures a gradual and comprehensive understanding of the subjects.

2. Keep the UPSC Syllabus Handy:

Have the UPSC syllabus readily available while reading NCERT books. This helps you correlate the topics mentioned in the books with the syllabus, enabling better alignment of your preparation.

3. Focus on Conceptual Clarity:

Read NCERT books to gain a solid foundation and conceptual clarity. Understanding the basics is crucial for tackling complex topics effectively.

4. Initial Reading for Overview:

During the first read-through, focus on getting a basic overview of the concepts. This initial reading may feel overwhelming, but subsequent readings will reveal their enlightening and insightful nature.

5. Create a Subject-wise Timetable:

Organise your study schedule by segregating subjects and sub-topics based on a disciplined timetable. This ensures that you cover the necessary NCERT material within a specified timeframe.

6. Micro-manage Topics in Second Reading:

During the second reading, delve into the topics in a more detailed manner. Take notes according to the topics mentioned in the UPSC syllabus, helping you consolidate important information.

7. Refer to Previous Year Question Papers:

Consult UPSC previous year question papers while reading NCERT books. Highlight important points based on the UPSC prelims syllabus, as this provides valuable insights into the type of questions asked in the exam.

8. Gradually Reduce Time for Repeated Topics:

As you proceed with further readings, allocate less time to topics you have already covered multiple times. This allows you to focus on new or challenging areas while maintaining a comprehensive understanding of the previously studied topics.

9. Adopt Subject-specific Note-making Strategies:

Different subjects require different note-making strategies. For instance, history may benefit from flowcharts and infographics for retaining factual information, while geography could utilize mnemonics. Customize your note-taking approach accordingly.

10. Relate Topics to Current Affairs:

Establish connections between NCERT topics and current affairs. This approach helps you cover the UPSC mains syllabus in detail, enhancing your ability to analyze contemporary issues from a broader perspective.

11. Emphasize Regular Revision:

Consistent revision is key to consolidating knowledge. Through regular and substantial revision, topics and aspects become clearer, increasing your retention and recall ability during the exam.

By incorporating these strategies into your NCERT reading approach, you can optimize your UPSC preparation and develop a strong conceptual understanding of the subjects.

Why Read NCERT Books for UPSC Exam?

Reasons to Study NCERT Books for the UPSC Exam

1. Simplicity and Clarity:

NCERT books are written in a simple and lucid language, making them easily understandable for aspirants. The clear and concise explanations help in building a strong foundation of knowledge.

2. Rigorous Research and Scholarly Inputs: The NCERT books are published by the government and undergo extensive research by eminent scholars. The study material is carefully curated, ensuring accuracy and reliability of information.

3. Widely Recognized Standard Books:

NCERT books are considered as standard reference materials for various competitive exams, including the UPSC exam. The topics covered align closely with the syllabus, making them indispensable for aspirants.

4. Accessibility and Availability:

NCERT books are easily accessible to all students and aspirants. They are published in both English and Hindi, catering to a wide range of learners. This availability makes NCERT books a go-to source for comprehensive study material.

5. Factual Accuracy and Reliability:

The information presented in NCERT books is meticulously reviewed and verified multiple times before publication. As a result, the content is highly reliable, and the facts presented are extensively checked, ensuring the accuracy of the information provided.

By studying NCERT books, aspirants can benefit from the simplicity of language, rigorous research, wide recognition, accessibility, and factual accuracy that these books offer, thereby enhancing their preparation for the UPSC exam.

Timetable to Complete NCERT for UPSC

Importance of Strategic Timetable to Complete NCERT Books for UPSC Exam

Covering approximately 40-45 books across all subjects from class 6th to 12th, it typically takes around 3-3.5 months to complete the NCERT Books. To ensure successful completion, a strategic approach and disciplined timetable are crucial. A well-structured study plan, prioritising core subjects, breaking down the syllabus, and maintaining consistency are key elements for effectively covering the NCERT Books. This strategic approach optimises preparation time and lays a strong foundation for UPSC Exam success.

Points to read for completing NCERT books for UPSC:

Approach to Complete NCERT Books for UPSC Preparation

1st Month: Gain Conceptual Clarity and Basics

– Acquire NCERT books for all classes and download the syllabus.

– Focus on the first reading to understand concepts and basics.

– Mark important topics while reading and maintain a disciplined timetable.

2nd Month: Refine Understanding and Practice

– Proceed to the second reading with the help of previous year’s questions.

– Micro-manage topics according to the UPSC syllabus and set daily, weekly, and monthly targets.

– Use a pen and eraser to refine notes, eliminating non-essential details and highlighting important points.

– Attempt mocks and analyse strengths and weaknesses.

3rd Month: Finalise Preparation and Revision

– By this month, most books across subjects and classes should be covered.

– Develop subject-specific note-making strategies, keeping notes concise for easy revision.

– During the final reading, use a highlighter to emphasise important points and fundamental concepts.

– Practice mocks and solve previous year’s questions alongside revision.

– After completing the NCERTs, rely on NCERT notes for efficient and focused revision.

Following this approach enables comprehensive coverage of NCERT books within approximately three months while emphasising conceptual clarity, practice, and revision. It helps in building a strong foundation for the UPSC exam preparation.

Which NCERT Books to Read for UPSC?

History, geography, social science, political science, economics, art and culture, and science and technology are all covered in the NCERT books for UPSC preparation.

NCERT Books for UPSC Preparation: History, Geography, Social Science, Political Science, Economics, Art & Culture, Science & Technology


– Class VI: Our Past

– Class VII: Our Past -I

– Class VIII: Our Past II and III

– Class IX: India and the Contemporary World – I

– Class IX: India and the Contemporary World – II

– Class X: Themes In World History

– Class XII: Themes In Indian History – I, II, III

– Old Class XI: Ancient India by RS Sharma

– Old Class IX: Medieval India by Satish Chandra

– Old Class X: Modern India by Bipin Chandra


– Class VI: The Earth Our Habitat

– Class VII: Our Environment

– Class VIII: Resource and Development

– Class IX: Contemporary India – I

– Class X: Contemporary India – II

– Class XI: Fundamentals of Physical Geography, India – Physical Environment

– Class XII: Fundamentals of Human Geography, India – People and Economy

Social Science:

– Class VI: Social Science: Social & Political Life I

– Class VII: Social Science: Social & Political Life II

– Class VIII: Social Science: Social & Political Life III

Political Science:

– Class IX: Political Science: Democratic Politics Part – I

– Class X: Political Science: Democratic Politics Part – II

– Class XI: Political Science: Indian Constitution at Work, Political Theory

– Class XII: Political Science I: Contemporary World Politics, Political Science II: Politics in India Since Independence


– Class IX: Economics

– Class X: Understanding Economic Development

– Class XI: Indian Economic Development

– Class XII: Introductory Microeconomics, Introductory Macroeconomics

Art & Culture:

– Class XI: An Introduction to Indian Art, Living Craft Traditions of India (Chapters 9 & 10)

Science & Technology:

– Class VI to X: General Science and Technology

– Class XI: Chemistry (Unit 14), Biology (Units 4 & 5)

– Class XII: Chemistry (Unit 16), Biology (Units 8, 9 & 10)

These NCERT books cover various subjects crucial for UPSC preparation. Studying them systematically can provide a comprehensive understanding of the topics and help in building a strong foundation for the exam.

Importance of Reading NCERT Books for the UPSC Exam

The UPSC NCERT Books provide comprehensive coverage of the Prelims and Mains syllabus. These books are written in a clear and accessible language, making it easier for aspirants to grasp the concepts. The content is presented in a well-structured format, aiding in the understanding of various topics. The NCERT Books are the result of thorough research and analysis.

When it comes to UPSC preparation, the NCERT Books serve as the foundation. They lay the groundwork for understanding fundamental concepts and principles. Aspirants are advised to begin their preparation with these books as they provide reliable and credible information. Moreover, the direct inclusion of NCERT-based questions in the UPSC exam reinforces the significance of studying these books.

By using the NCERT Books, aspirants can assess their performance and identify areas that need improvement. These books act as a benchmark for gauging one’s preparedness for the UPSC exam. The clarity and reliability of the content make the NCERT Books an invaluable resource for UPSC aspirants.

Does UPSC ask questions from NCERT Books?

The finest resource for building a solid foundation in any topic for the Civil Services Examination is NCERT books. Since the beginning, the UPSC has frequently posed questions that are directly taken from the NCERT books. If we look closely, certain questions from the UPSC exam were taken straight from the NCERT texts.

Why should one read all of the NCERT textbooks from 6 to 12 grades?

The NCERTs are extremely fundamental and provide a good foundation for learning. The NCERT Books are essential for laying the groundwork for all of the disciplines covered by the CSE syllabus. Having said that, it is usually advisable to start with the NCERTs at the basic level in order to establish a solid foundation.

How much time does it take to read through all of the NCERT books?

It would take you around three days to finish one book, which has about 14–16 chapters, and you would need to read roughly 40–44 novels in total. To read all the novels, it would therefore take you roughly 2.5 to 3 months.

Also Read:- Effective Techniques For Reading Newspapers For UPSC Preparation

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