How to read NCERT for UPSC

NCERTs as we all know are one of the crucial part of UPSC IAS Exam Preparation. The one and only question that comes to the mind of every fresh aspirant is "How to read NCERT for UPSC?"

NCERTs as we all know are one of the crucial part of UPSC IAS Exam Preparation. The one and only question that comes to the mind of every fresh aspirant is “How to read NCERT for UPSC?”

The new aspirants generally go through various online platforms and videos to look for their answer but none of the answer satisfies them. The different approach followed by different mentors is the major reason for such a confusion.


In his quest of discovering “How to read NCERT for UPSC?”, the aspirant generally end up being confused as NCERTs are in itself a big source of information which needs to be dealt with smart work rather than hard work.

Always remember that when it comes to reading, it’s not only about what you read but also how you read. As NCERT books are a must for all IAS aspirants, it also becomes important to know how to read them. Let’s first take a look at why you should read NCERT Books.

Why NCERTs are considered important for UPSC

  • Simplified: The language in NCERT Books are highly simplified for your better understanding.
  • Highly Authentic: NCERT books are an authentic source of information as the information published is provided by government agencies & institutions.
  • They are Standard book for all exams: They are standard books for all exams & questions therein are also reliable.
  • Relevant Information: NCERT books are checked and rechecked many times before they are published, so the information is correct.
  • Involve Extensive Research: NCERT books are written & published after a great amount of research has been done by reputed people in the field.
  • Good for understanding concepts: These books cover topics in a well framed manner. They start with the basics and go on to a higher level, unlike many other books. So, you are looking to clear your concepts NCERT is the way to go.

How to read NCERT Books for UPSC

Now that you know that why you should read NCERT books, let’s take a look on to how you should read NCERT books. There are two basic approaches that one should follow while reading NCERTs. These are:

  1. Class-Specific Study: The first method is reading all the books class wise starting from Std. 6th. This is a good way to read specifically for the exams when you have a time constraint.
  2. Subject-Specific Stude: The second method is to read the NCERT books subject wise. In this method you pick up one particular subject and read all the books from class 6 to 12.

The Obvious Question: Which Method is Best?

According to my personal experience and also many others the best method is to follow a subject-subject approach as you will get your concepts clear and will also be able to retain the information for a much longer time.

You must read NCERT books subject wise for exam preparation. The major advantage of reading the NCERT subject-wise will improve your understanding of the subject. Further, it will also boost your basic knowledge and will also sharpen your concepts. On the other hand, if you read NCERT books by following a class-specific approach, you will get less knowledge because this method creates gaps between the same subject.

You must understand this with this simple logic.

CLASS SPECIFIC: More time (more gaps between the same subject) = more memory loss

SUBJECT SPECIFIC: Less time (No gap between the same subject) = Better memory

If you have understood the above concept, then follow the following routine:

I : Start your IAS preparation from class 6 NCERT books.

II : Choose any subject of your interest.

III : Complete all chapters from the chosen subject in the targeted time.

IV : Move on to another class.

V : Then in the same way read all the books upto class 12 and complete the subject

VI : Repeat the same process with another subject in the same way.

How many NCERT books you have to read?

If we combine all the subjects from all the classes, then you need to read about 40-44 books in total.

How much time it will take to cover all NCERT books?

If we consider an average speed and efficiency, then to read about 40-44 books in total, it would take you about 3 days to complete one book which contains about 14-16 chapters. So, in total it would take you about 75-90 days to read and cover all the NCERT books.

How to cover the NCERTs?

  1. Make a timetable for yourself. (Make sure you follow it at all cost and not just leave it the next day)
  2. Note down the time that you have in your hands and also the time which you can devote to your reading.
  3. Make a list of tasks (for topics and subjects) that you have to complete in one month.
  4. Then break down this task list of 1 month to 1 week and then consequently to 1 day.
  5. This is the way you will achieve more of your targets in comparatively less amount of time.

“Change your 24 hours and you will change your life.”

Eric Thomas
About Civil Services ExaminationUPSC Prelims Strategy

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