Very best of the candidates who have cleared the UPSC examinations have always been vocal about the books they read, the classes they took and the mentors they looked up to for motivation. In turn, after clearing the examination, they also become sources of inspiration for many other aspirants who are on the way. What does it take? How much one needs to do? What are the books which will help to prepare for the IAS examination? There may be many tips and tricks that many ones will offer you; today, however, I am listing some of the books and simple tweaks to the routines which helped me reaching the interview stages in my last year's attempt.
Never Panic: Once you start, there will be many who will doubt you and would try to bring you down. Don't listen to them - just keep doing what you do. Stay calm and composed and your aim should be looking at your goal and keep moving.
Don't read late night: Yes, you have to avoid it. A healthy mind lives in a healthy body and that's why you need to take care of the sleep cycle. Late night readers seldom do any better than those who read during the daytime but minutely and follow a genuine routine. Don't compromise with your mental and physical health.
Start with the basics: Exactly, and that's why people suggest you go for the NCERT books at the beginning. Once you brush your basics, you can reach the advanced stages of studies and explore alternate perspectives to make one of your own. For example, a book by K. Siddhartha, Geography Through Maps can be your companion for the advanced as well as the basic level. It will help you a lot with your prelims and also with advanced if you are a geography student. Geography Through Maps answers most of your questions on the geographical qualities of India and also brings to you the most important facts about all the states of India, all the main cities in India, major projects from various sectors and all the major geographical features.
Recreation is important: Long hours of continuous studies can break your consistency and you do need some entertainment at times. You can spend a few minutes listening to good music or watching sports. However, if you are a hardcore reader, you can rather spend your time reading some fiction or challenging non-fiction book. For example, in my leisure, I am reading Merlin Franco's A Dowryless Wedding which is a sarcastic go on the Indian society struggling to get out of this dowry custom. I also enjoyed reading a Hindi book by Dr. Pramod Kumar Agrawal - Bhrashtachar: Charchit Kahaniyan. These books help you staying focused and regaining your concentration level and getting back to the study table with a fresh mind.
Choose your books wisely: Yes, this is very important for the goal you have decided! UPSC examination is a little scary to many students and that's why many institutions take advantage of it by compelling the students to get the books of their choice. You have to take a very good care of it by choosing only the books you think will help you.
For example, I have recently bought a book on the UPSC interviews - All About IAS Interview and I can assure you that this is the best I have found till now! It takes me through the bits of information which I might have missed during my last year's interview and spoiled my very good result! So, you have to make the last call on your book choices very wisely.
Below are the links to all the books that I have mentioned in my article. You can buy them from Amazon by clicking on the links:
All the best for your mains preparation!
article by Sudarshan for The Best Books