How to Prepare for UPSC Prelims CSAT?

UPSC Prelims CSAT

The Civil Services Aptitude Test commonly known as CSAT or General Studies-II is a qualifying paper of UPSC Prelims and candidates need to score a minimum of 33% marks to qualify the Prelims exam.

CSAT was introduced in the year 2011 as a part of the Civil Services Examination (Preliminary) to test the analytical skills, reasoning ability, and aptitude of a candidate.

Importance of CSAT

Due to the qualifying nature of the CSAT paper, it is often taken casually by most of the candidates. They don’t devote sufficient time for its preparation. There are many instances where candidates have excelled in the General Studies-I paper but performed poorly in the CSAT. Under the present UPSC scheme of examination, candidates have to score a minimum of 33% i.e. 66 marks out of the 200 allotted for the CSAT paper in order to appear for the Civil Services Mains examination.

The changing nature of the difficulty level of CSAT paper every year has surprised many candidates. Hence, this paper should not be taken for granted as the UPSC exam comes with a surprise every year.

Before we throw light on “How to Prepare for UPSC Prelims CSAT?” let us first understand the CSAT exam pattern, marking scheme, and its exam syllabus.

UPSC CSAT Exam Pattern & Marking Scheme

  • The UPSC CSAT paper consists of 80 objective type questions and the time allotted for the paper is 2 hours. 
  • Each question carries 2.5 marks in the CSAT paper making a total of 200 marks.
  • There is a negative marking for incorrect answers. For every incorrect answer, 1/3rd of the total marks allotted to that question, i.e., 0.83 marks are deducted. 
  • However, if a question is left unattempted/unanswered, no marks will be deducted.

Also read: 50 Days Revision Plan for the UPSC Prelims Exam 2021 

UPSC CSAT Exam Syllabus

The UPSC CSAT Exam syllabus consists of the following broad categories:

  • Comprehension
  • Interpersonal skills including communication skills
  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability
  • Decision-making and problem-solving
  • General mental ability
  • Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) (Class X level), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency, etc. – Class X level)

The syllabus seems short enough but a casual approach may push you to the brink of failure so try to focus on key and weaker areas of the syllabus to make your preparation more effective and fruitful. A planned strategy like the one listed below will help you with the CSAT preparation.

CSAT Strategy for Prelims 2021

  • Since the exam is approaching closer, it is advisable to focus more on high yielding topics.
  • CSAT paper should not be considered a cakewalk. Candidates should devote sufficient time to CSAT preparation.
  • A decent amount of time should be spent on the CSAT paper if candidates feel that their Maths skills and general English comprehension are not up to the mark.
  • It is recommended to solve adequate amount of UPSC previous year question papers to get an edge in solving CSAT questions.
  • Apart from that, solve mock test papers to check your preparation level, very often.

Read more: How to Prepare for UPSC Prelims 2021?

How to Prepare for CSAT?

As compared to General Studies-I, the CSAT syllabus is defined and can be easily prepared through practice. If a candidate devotes one to two hours daily for the preparation, he/she can easily qualify this paper. The below mentioned crucial tips, if followed religiously can make the CSAT preparation more productive:

  • Make reading a part of your day to master the Comprehension section of the CSAT. Even though the comprehension asked in the CSAT paper is of Moderate level, aspirants end up losing 30-40 precious marks in the comprehension section.
  • The best way to prepare for the comprehension section is to develop a habit of regular reading. Read the Editorial Section of the Newspaper daily and weekly Magazines Kurukshetra or Yojana. If you have time, you can also read simple English novels to enhance your reading and comprehension skills as well as vocabulary. 
  • The questions covered under the Mental ability section majorly include topics like time and distance, time and work, percentage, permutations, and combinations among others.
  • Candidates can practice these topics from previously asked questions. Apart from this, candidates can refer to various Quantitative Aptitude books to practice shortcuts to solve these questions promptly in the exam.
  • Logical reasoning holds an important part in CSAT. The key to understanding logical reasoning is to practice, practice, practice, and the best source to start is to do previous year questions. The previous year’s questions help you to understand the demand of the UPSC from aspirants.

We hope that this article will help you in effectively preparing for CSAT and pass it without any hindrance.

If cracking the Civil Services Exam is your dream, then PrepLadder will help you to achieve it. It has everything you need to ace the CSE on one single platform.

This includes concise, effective, and well-planned video lectures by our Dream Team for UPSC, a well-structured and high yield QBank, highly competitive PrepTests based on real exam patterns, and Previous Year Papers in the form of tests

Keep following our articles to apprise yourself with the latest information about the exam. All the best for your exams.

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