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Which books should I read?

I assume that you are acquainted with the exam. If you are not you can read this website. A better thing you can do is get hold of IAS Planner, a book published by Chronicle Books, and which will clarify all your questions. This is a very helpful book with loads and loads of statistics, although a little outdated. I will highly recommend this book for all those who seriously consider taking the exam, but are clueless about all details.

This is a big exam, perhaps the biggest competitive exam in India. Most agree that nowhere else do you have to read as much. Thus, you would have to cover much area, read many books. Since, time is always at a premium, you would prefer to read those books which will directly help you in your preparation.

The difficult part about answering this very innocuous question is that reading books will never harm you, no matter what you read. So, it is difficult to say- don't read this book. Reading anything is better than reading nothing, of course. And in the GS paper you never know what you are asked- if you are a very well read person, chances are more that you have come across the answer. Given this, should I launch into an extensive and blind perusal of books? Should I read anything and everything that I can lay my hands on? Well, that would be a foolish venture.

A well read person is one who has cultivated the habit of reading books over the years. That is not something that you can become over one year, just like that. As you start preparing for the Civils, you are already well read or you are not. But your selection to the next stage would depend upon what you do next- not what you did before you started preparation, but after. Your selection would depend upon how much you have covered, and how thoroughly. Selective and intensive reading, rather than extensive reading is the mantra. Reading one good book ten times is better than reading ten books one time, because in the latter case you won't remember a thing. The struggle is to find the right books, so that you can utilize your precious time reading them, rather than wasting your time in the useless venture of reading books that would make no difference to your bottomline.

The funda of reading books or other material is simple: if it is not in the syllabus, do not read them. Don't even take a glance at it. However, just keeping an eye on the syllabus won't do. Many a times the syllabus is very broad and vague, for example the GS syllabus at the Prelims level, and even at the Mains level. The syllabus as such give you no idea as to what kind of questions you would be actually asked- the most important thing. Therefore it is mandatory to keep an eye on the type of questions that is to be expected. Previous years' question papers, and other sample papers are a must.



IAS 2007 - Mains Final Results


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Frequently Asked Questions - FAQ
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Mistakes I Made
Prelims - Choice of Subjects
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Which books to read?


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Limited Usefulness of Coaching Institutes
Nation Civil Service - A Critical Review
Good Governance - A Distant Dream
IAS as Career Option for IITians
What Ails Civil Services?


IISWBM Coaching Centre - A review
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