How to Choose the Best Resource for UPSC Study Material?


Candidates preparing for UPSC Civil Services Exam always want to know from where they can get the best study material for the preparation. Though there are many sources from which they can collect the information, the opinion of the expert matters in its context. That's why in today's article, we are providing you with a complete picture of how to select the best resource for the preparation.

So let's start-

What Is UPSC Study Material, And Where Can I Find It?

UPSC study material refers to the resources and materials required to prepare for the Civil Services Examination of the Union Public Service Commission, which selects candidates for various posts in the civil services of India.

For this selection process, candidates should qualify an exam (UPSC). This exam is conducted in three phases −

  • Preliminary examination.

  • Main exam.

  • Interview.

It includes many subjects like history, geography, politics, economics, science and current affairs.

UPSC study material may also include textbooks, reference books, newspapers-magazines, online resources, and coaching material. Some popular sources for CSE material include the following −

  • NCERT Books: NCERT textbooks are widely used for UPSC preparation, as it lays a good foundation for the aspirants on basic concepts.

  • Standard Reference Books: Textbooks by authors like Laxmikant, Vipin Chandra, Ramesh Singh are popular among scholars for their wide coverage of specific topics.

  • Newspapers and Magazines: Newspapers like The Hindu and Indian Express and magazines like Yojana Patrika, Kurukshetra, and Frontline provide valuable information on current affairs and related topics.

  • Online Resources: Under this, there are many prominent websites like Clear IS, and Unacademy which provide online course study material and mock tests for UPSC preparation.

  • Coaching Material: Many coaching institutes provide CSE study material, which includes notes, question papers and test series.

One can grab them from UPSC bookstores, online bookstores, and coaching institutes. A few materials are also available online for free such as NCERT books, previous year questions, and online courses.

What Are Some of the Best Websites to Refer to, For UPSC Materials?

If you are preparing for UPSC Civil Services Examination, the following relevant websites will help you find the best UPSC study material −

UPSC Official WebsiteTutorials PointClearIAS
Jagran JoshStudyIQIASbaba
ForumIASChanakya IAS AcademyDrishti IAS
Civils DailyThe Indian ExpressGradeup
The HinduLive MintRajya Sabha TV
PRS LegislativePIB (Press Information Bureau)Ministry of Finance
Lok Sabha TVMinistry of External AffairsMinistry of Health and Family Welfare
Ministry of Home AffairsMinistry of Environment, Forests and Climate ChangeMinistry of Law and Justice
Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers WelfareMinistry of EducationMinistry of Tribal Affairs
Ministry of DefenceMinistry of CultureMinistry of Social Justice and Empowerment
Ministry of Commerce and IndustryMinistry of Personnel, Public Grievances and PensionsMinistry of Youth Affairs and Sports
Ministry of Science and TechnologyMinistry of Women and Child DevelopmentNational Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS)

How Do I Know Which Websites Are Reliable Sources for UPSC Materials?

This question of doubt is a major concern for many of those candidates who are totally dedicated towards UPSC preparation. And the answer for this, is to focus on the following aspects to check the reliability of that particular website.

  • Reputation: Check the website's reputation with the UPSC community, see recommendations from experts and UPSC toppers.

  • Accuracy: Make sure the website provides accurate and up-to-date information. Be sure to check the information sources and also verify.

  • Content Quality: Check the quality of the content on the website, make sure it is well researched and provides valuable insights.

  • User Reviews: People who have used that website for their UPSC preparation must have definitely given their reviews in the comment box. Do read those comments and see what people say about that website.

  • Expert Authors: Check whether the website is contributed by experts and experienced teachers for UPSC preparation.

  • Official Sources: Check whether the website gets information from official sources such as government sources, reports, and documents.

  • Advertisement: If there is an excessive advertisement promotion on a website then it can be assumed that the website is not moving towards providing unbiased information, and that website can be easily bought.

All these methods can help you to find the best UPSC material providing website/a reliable source.

Types of Study Materials for UPSC Preparation

Various types of study materials are available in the market for UPSC preparation. These are some of the examples that you need to focus on −

  • Syllabus: You would be surprised to know that nothing can be the best study material for UPSC preparation than following the UPSC syllabus. Because it gives you a clear picture of what you have to focus on.

  • NCERT Textbooks: NCERT Textbooks are the most basic and essential materials for UPSC preparation.

  • Reference Books: Reference books are specialized books, which provide in-depth information on specific subjects and topics. These books are useful for advanced studies.

  • Online Resources: There are many websites and applications and online platforms that provide study material for UPSC preparation.

  • Coaching Institutes: Coaching institutes provide you with comprehensive study material, under which study notes, question papers, test series, and classroom lectures, all are provided. Joining a coaching institute gives you an organized and structured approach to UPSC preparation.

  • Current Affairs: Staying abreast with the latest news and events is important for UPSC preparation. Reading newspapers, magazines, and online news sources helps in understanding current affairs and their relevance in the UPSC exam.

  • Question Papers: Preparing the previous year’s question paper gives you proper knowledge, which helps you to understand the exam pattern, and difficulty level of the questions.

  • Government Reports and Documents. Reports and documents published by the government and other authorities can provide information on topics and target topics related to the UPSC exam.

By using these study materials, a candidate can prepare comprehensively for the UPSC exam.

What Is the Difference Between Free and Paid Study Materials for UPSC?

We have listed below 10 differences between free and paid UPSC-CSE study material −

  • Quality: Quality comes in between when comparing paid study material and free material. Often the quality of paid study material is better.

  • Depth of Coverage: Paid study material provides more comprehensive coverage of the syllabus as compared to free study material.

  • Structured Approach: The paid study material provides a structured approach to UPSC preparation.

  • Support: Paid study material often comes with additional support, which includes doubt-clearing, advice and guidance from experts.

  • Personalization: Under Personalization the paid study material can be personalized as per the needs and requirements of the candidate.

  • Test Series: Paid study material usually includes a comprehensive test series which provides regular practice and feedback to the candidate.

  • Access to Resources: Paid study materials often provide access to additional resources such as books, audio and video lectures, and other online resources.

  • Up to Date Information: The paid study material can be updated regularly with the latest information and changes in the UPSC exam pattern syllabus and other important updates.

  • Saves Time: Paid study material can save time as it provides a structured approach to UPSC preparation.

  • Cost: The most important difference between free and paid study material is the cost as free study material is available without any cost, and generally paid study material can be costly.

How Can I Assess the Quality of UPSC Study Material Before Using It?

Before using UPSC its quality is important to ensure that you are preparing effectively for the exam. Here are some tips for you to assess the quality of UPSC study material −

  • Check the credibility of the author.

  • Verify the information.

  • Analyze and verify content.

  • View user feedback.

  • Author rating.

  • Evaluate the source.

Using all these methods, you can assess the quality of UPSC study material, and choose effective resources for your preparation.


Q1. Are there any free websites available for UPSC preparation?

Ans. Yes, there are many free websites available for UPSC preparation such as-

  • ClearIAS

  • Insightsonindia

  • Jagran josh

  • StudyIQ

Q2. What are the different types of study materials available for the UPSC exam?

Ans. The different types of study material available for UPSC exams include-

  • Books and textbooks.

  • UPSC specific magazines.

  • Newspapers and current affairs magazines.

  • Online resources & video lectures.

  • Online courses.

  • Mock tests & test series.

Q3. What are some common mistakes that candidates make while using UPSC study material?

Ans. Some of the common mistakes that candidates make while using UPSC study material include the following −

  • Excessive reliance on a single source.

  • Basic concept and neglecting fundamentals.

  • Emphasis on memorization rather than understanding.

  • Not revising enough.

  • Not practicing enough mock tests and previous year’s question papers.

Q4. Which are the best websites for UPSC mock tests?

Ans. Some of the best websites for UPSC mock tests include:

  • Unacademy

  • ClearIAS

  • Insightsonindia

  • Career Launcher

These websites offer comprehensive test series with detailed analysis and feedback to help candidates prepare effectively for the UPSC exam.

Updated on: 13-Apr-2023

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