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IMPORTANCE OF NCERTs – How to read NCERTs ? & Should you read All NCERTs?



In society, we often learn about something or someone through opinions floating around in society. Any prospective aspirant who remotely entertains the idea of diving into UPSC CSE preparation comes across various such opinions given by a multitude of people. One such common advice that an aspirant comes across during their UPSC preparation journey is- ‘YOU MUST AND SHOULD READ NCERTS TO CLEAR THIS EXAMINATION’

Such an opinion though true to a certain extent, it does not help an aspirant. The reasons for it are quite obvious since it does not address aspects like: ‘Why should we read NCERT’? ‘What all NCERTs should one read’? ‘Can I read the gist of NCERTs available in the market’? ‘Should I make notes whilst reading NCERTs’? ‘Is it worth reading NCERTs’? ‘What is the need to read NCERTs when the same topics are covered elsewhere?

Any opinion rendered that raises more questions than it was supposed to answer is to be avoided. Here, we have made an effort to address these simple and yet very important questions for the benefit of aspirants. Hope it helps you all in your journey.

First and foremost, yes, it is highly advisable for you to read NCERTs. The reason for it is quite simple enough. Everyone in society, irrespective of the region or their economic status can access NCERTs. Most of the topics on which questions are framed in UPSC exams are discussed in the NCERTs. If you avoid reading NCERTs, you are starting your UPSC preparation on the wrong note!!!

Secondly, the topics covered in NCERT though covered in the standard books available in the market, but the phrasing and the wording of these standard books at times might be difficult to comprehend, however, that is not the case with NCERTs, they are prepared by some of the most intelligent minds in the country after thorough research and presented to you in a manner which makes even the most complicated topics simple enough to understand. Understanding a topic in a simple manner is of utmost importance, particularly when you are trying to make your foundation strong.

Thirdly, should you read all NCERTs from 6-12th grade? It helps if you can, however, there are certain NCERTs that should be read exclusively for optional subject purposes. Though we advise reading NCERTs from 6-12th grade, we advise you to follow the path given to you by your subject experts in this matter.

Fourthly, try to avoid reading the GIST OF THE NCERTS available in the market, the reason being these are at times compiled in such a manner that they come across as difficult and a lot less engaging to the mind. When your mind is engaged, the probability is you will understand and more importantly, retain the topic better.

Another important and rather the most important question, how to read NCERTs? There are two approaches to start with- you can either read NCERTs relating to a particular subject from ascending to descending order or you can read in terms of topics. Ex: The topic tropical cyclone might be discussed in two different Geography related NCERTs, what one can do is to first make a list of topics in all geography-related NCERTs and then proceed to read a particular topic (in this case tropical cyclone) in its entirety rather than reading the bits and pieces as you might have done if you go with the first approach

While reading an NCERT, please make sure it is ‘ACTIVE READING’ and not passive reading. Active reading means engaging with the topic, trying to understand it, rather than mugging it up. You should focus on the key terms that authors have used to explain the topic, focus on the definitions they have used, the structure they have used, the maps they have used and most importantly examples they have used to convey the meaning of a topic. If you make notes on all these crucial aspects, it will also help you to revise the topics quickly and easily when needed.

At the end of an NCERT chapter, you will find exercise questions, though they might appear simple, we encourage you to solve them; particularly the descriptive questions since some of them are quite engaging and challenging as well.

By this time around, we believe you have understood the importance of NCERT in the journey of a UPSC aspirant. The question of whether it is worth reading an NCERT, we are sure you can answer that now by yourself.

If you have any more queries regarding how to approach the NCERTs still, feel free to contact us. We are always happy to address your queries and make your UPSC journey that much more effective and efficient and more importantly, enjoyable as well!


All the best,

Team Insights.