GS Paper - 4

How To Prepare UPSC Civil Services Mains Paper-4 (GS-4)

GS-1 broadly covers Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society.

Under this heading  total 12 topics and around 40 sub-topics are given in the syllabus.

Two important things fundamental to your exam preparation:

Get familiar with all the topics and sub-topics by writing them many times – they should be  strongly etched in your memory.

Keep a copy of the syllabus always with you no matter where you are.

Now, how to deal with GS-1?

Assuming you are now familiar with the syllabus of GS-1, we will discuss a topic by topic what to read, from where to read and what not to read for these topics.


Indian Culture will cover the salient aspects of Art forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

In this topic, the sub-topics are  – Art forms, Literature, Architecture – from ancient to modern times. All you need to study for Art and Culture part is just TWO sources:

  1. NCERT Books
  2. NIOS Books

Among NCERT books, one indispensable source to read first and foremost before proceeding to any source is: Class XI NCERT  An Introduction to Indian Art.

Once done with this book, then read following NCERT books. Here, in the following books, along with reading history of India, look for art and culture related topics and make a note of them. You will not find separate art and culture chapters in  these books, you have to mine them.

  1. NCERT Class VI – History – Our Past
  2. NCERT Class VII – Our Past -I
  3. NCERT  Class VIII – Our Past II and III
  4. NCERT Class XII – Themes In Indian History I
  5. NCERT Class-XII – Themes in Indian History – II
  6. NCERT Class XII – Themes In Indian History III

You have to read only a few chapters from each book that are related to Sub-Topics. For ex, you have to read only Chapters 2 and 3 from Class-XII -Themes In Indian History-II book.

Along with the above NCERT books, you should start reading NIOS Book on art and culture:

You can download them here:  NIOS Art and Culture