The most essential books for cracking UPSC-CSE are NCERTs. People will suggest you join a coaching or start reading a newspaper first etc. Don’t touch any single newspaper or any other resources until you go through NCERTs first. Let’s understand this by an example. Suppose you are reading a newspaper and read the headline “Money Bill passed by LokSabha” or say “Retail Inflation rate plunged to 3.1% in the quarter ending in December”. Now different questions will keep arising in your mind like “What is Money Bill?”, “Why only LokSabha”, “What is Inflation?”, “What is retail inflation?”, “Why was it calculated on quarterly basis?”
Now you will have to find these concepts in NCERTs of Economics and Polity. So by following this exercise, every time you read a new headline in a newspaper; you’ll have to find its concepts in NCERTs. Don’t you think that at the end this exercise gives you very little output by giving more effort? Rather you should go through the NCERTs first as many times as you can. This will build up your foundation and will create a base that will further push you up at every stage of your preparation.
Start reading NCERTs from Std.6th to 12th. Read NCERTs thoroughly and remember that NCERTs are for concept clarity and not for memorizing information provided in it. You will be provided a list of suggested readings which have suggestions for NCERTs also. Try to follow it first.
NCERTs are like Bibles, Bhagavad Gita and Quran for UPSC. You need to understand the theme without memorizing the contents. You may find NCERTs not to be contemporary, as they are not updated on a regular basis. For an average student reading NCERTs take 2-3 months. Give it that much time. Don’t rush it. Believe in the process. After NCERTs you can jump to newspapers. Read our next blog for the same.