Role Of CSAT In UPSC Civil Services Prelims

If you are taking CSAT (Civil Services Aptitude Test) for granted, then you are committing a big mistake. CSAT is a game-changer in Civil Services Prelims exam that requires and deserves equal attention during UPSC exam preparation.

Also referred to as General Studies Paper-II of Prelims, it tests the candidate’s communication, comprehension, logical reasoning, interpersonal skills, analytical ability, decision making, problem-solving, mental ability, basic numeracy, data interpretation, and English language comprehension skills.  

CSAT is qualifying in nature, and the marks obtained in it are not counted for merit. However, you need to get a minimum of 33% in the paper to qualify for the Prelims exam. Hence, candidates should put sincere efforts into its preparation to score well.

Why Study CSAT seriously?

Though the paper is qualifying in nature, yet it requires thorough preparation.

As compared to GS Paper-I, the CSAT syllabus is defined and can be easily prepared with regular practice. However, most of the IAS aspirants take a casual approach to CSAT preparation and don’t give adequate time for the preparation.

To clear the Prelims exam, a candidate has to score at least 66 marks out of 200 for CSAT. It doesn’t matter how well you score in GS-I of Prelims. If you don’t clear CSAT, you fail the first battle of the UPSC Civil Services Exam and lose the chance to appear for the Mains exam.

There are several instances where candidates have performed well in the GS Paper-I but failed terribly in the CSAT paper.

The changing nature of the difficulty level of CSAT has surprised many candidates. It is a well-known fact that the CSAT papers of 2018, and 2019 were among the toughest.

The CSAT score doesn’t play any role in the final order of merit, but it indirectly impacts the Prelims exam cut-off. It is observed that cut-offs generally become low in years when the CSAT paper is tough. For instance, the Prelims Cutoff for 2018 and 2019 had been around 50% (For General Candidates) 98 marks out of 200 in 2018.

Having said that, you should leave no stone unturned in effectively preparing for the Prelims exam.

Also read: Explained: UPSC Syllabus and Exam Pattern 2021

CSAT Exam Pattern & Marking Scheme

  • The Prelims 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.

To effectively prepare for CSAT, it is strongly recommended to solve previous year’s question papers and mock test papers. To know more about How to Prepare for UPSC Prelims CSAT, click here.

We hope this article has helped you gauge the importance of CSAT, and you will treat the subject with equal attention as General Studies Paper-I.

Upgrade your Civil Services Exam preparation with PrepLadder and enjoy quality learning like never before. It has everything you need to ace UPSC exams 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.

So, what are you waiting for? Start your Civil Services Exam preparation with PrepLadder and enjoy quality learning like never before.  

All the best for your exam. Stay tuned to our Telegram Channel for more updates. 

Own Your Dream

Raminder Singh

Raminder is a Content Writer at PrepLadder. He is working to provide students with informative articles and the latest updates about UPSC and GATE exams.