UPSC CSAT is the General Studies-II section of the UPSC Civil Services Prelims exam. Despite the fact that it is a qualifying test, you will need to ace it with a strong UPSC CSAT Prelims Strategy. You must now get a score of more than 33%, or 66 marks, in order to be eligible for the 200-mark CSAT Prelims exam. Therefore, you may pass it easily if you have a clear understanding of the importance of each topic and the accompanying preparation advice.

Many applicants believe that the CSAT is impeding their ability to advance in their civil service preparation. But they fail to realize that in order to cover the CSAT issues, careful planning and a well-defined approach are required. You may do well on the CSAT if you prepare in advance and balance your efforts. One must realize that CSAT involves thorough knowledge and practice.

What is CSAT?

  • CSAT is a qualifying paper in which you need to score 33% to qualify. So to prepare for CSAT without coaching, one must follow the right study materials.
  • In order to qualify, you must receive a 33% on the CSAT. The proper study resources must be used in order to prepare for the CSAT without coaching.
  • Candidates must review the question papers from the previous year and make necessary preparations, as well as practise and take as many mock exams as they can.

Significance of CSAT

  • Since CSAT is a qualifying exam, its method will be different from Paper I GS’s. This will be really helpful for generating concentration for the GS paper as well as time management. Both individuals who are having difficulty with the CSAT paper and those who have very few questions about the CSAT will gain from using this approach.
  • It should be noted that the CSAT will take substantially less time than the GS exam.
  • There is definitely no need for you to devote much of your valuable time preparing for the paper because you just need to get 33% to pass. In order to assist you pass the CSAT paper relatively easily, we have developed the technique below.
  • Because this approach is so useful, it’s crucial that you adhere to it strictly.

UPSC CSAT Exam Pattern & Marking Scheme

  • The UPSC CSAT exam comprises of 80 questions, and there are 2 hours given for the exam.
  • In the CSAT paper, each question is worth 2.5 points, for a total of 200 points.
  • Giving erroneous responses will result in punishment. However, if a question is left unattempted/unanswered, no marks will be withheld.
  • The candidate is punished 1/3rd of the total marks assigned to that question, i.e., 0.83 marks will be reduced.

UPSC CSAT Exam Syllabus

The UPSC CSAT Exam syllabus as prescribed by the UPSC in their notification consist 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)

Best Tips To Prepare UPSC CSAT 

The UPSC CSAT is a prerequisite for the UPSC Civil Services Preliminary Examination. However, to guarantee selection in the preliminary round, you must earn 66 or more out of a possible 200. So realising the significance of CSAT is the first step towards acing it.

Tips to prepare English and Decision Making for CSAT

·To review the fundamentals of grammar, read Wrenn Martin’s English Grammar and Composition or SP Bakshi’s Objective General English.

· Regularly read Hindu Editorials to develop your reading and comprehension abilities for RC sections.

· Increase your vocabulary by reading widely or by using flashcards or vocabulary modules.

· If you have the time, you may also read straightforward English books to improve your vocabulary and reading and comprehension abilities.

Tips to prepare Maths and Logical Reasoning for CSAT

  • Look at the papers from last year to get a sense of the depth of each issue you should address.
  • Begin by gaining a fundamental grasp of each subject. For that, you may also sign up for our CSAT course.
  • After that, continuously practise the principles to help them stick.

UPSC CSAT Exam Trend Analysis 

Year/TopicsMaths & Basic NumeracyLogical & Analytical ReasoningDecision MakingReading ComprehensionData Interpretation

Tips to Prepare for UPSC Paper 2 (CSAT)

Your application would be denied even if you pass the General Studies paper 1 of the UPSC Prelims and get a score above the cut-off while failing the CSAT paper. This demonstrates the significance that CSAT has. Therefore, be sure to stick to a proven UPSC CSAT preparation plan that will enable you to ace the test with ease. The following are the stages for CSAT UPSC 2023 preparation:

1. Take UPSC CSAT very seriously

  • Since CSAT is of a qualifying nature, most of the students take that for granted. As a result, even after scoring high in General Studies Paper-I, these candidates did not qualify for the Mains examination.
  • Make sure you devote enough time to CSAT preparation while preparing for Prelims. The CSAT syllabus is well-defined and can be easily prepared with practicing. One to two hours of daily preparation is all that is needed to pass this exam. Review your notes or solve a CSAT mock test each Sunday in order to stay on top of your game.

2. Analyze yourself before starting the preparation

  • Knowing your strengths and weaknesses in relation to the CSAT paper is essential before beginning preparation.
  • Try to solve previous year papers and review them to identify your weak points. This will give you an idea of how prepared you are.
  • If you score above 100 marks, you are well above the qualifying standard and don’t need to prepare. However, if your score is less than 100, you should identify your weak areas and then opt for topics that are simple to prepare.
  • It doesn’t matter how low your score is. Begin working on the areas that need improvement immediately, and everything will go as planned.

3. Get a comprehensive UPSC CSAT manual

  • Many CSAT manuals have been released by reputable publishers. The CSAT Manual by Tata McGraw Hill, on the other hand, is the one most often suggested. The usefulness of a booklet like this cannot be overstated. It is a one-stop destination for all of your prep needs.
  • You don’t have to read the entire book from beginning to end in order to benefit from it. The book is split down into sections, and you may pick and choose which sections you want to read based on your interests. This book covers a wide range of subjects thoroughly. In a matter of minutes, you can practice and revise each topic.

4. Practice Online Mock Test Series

  • Candidates who are unable to score well on the CSAT paper should take a test series from a trustworthy coaching centre. Taking a test series can help you prepare for the CSAT since it keeps you on top of your game while also familiarising you with the CSAT exam pattern & syllabus.
  • Practice for at least an hour a day. Depending on your needs, this can be cut down to 3-4 hours each week or to one mock paper per week.
  • It’s not enough just to know the subject; you must be able to solve the problems in the allotted time. As a result, the most important thing is to keep practicing! Mock exams are the greatest approach to get meaningful practice.
  • Improve your speed and accuracy by taking practice tests every Sunday.

Best Strategy to Prepare UPSC CSAT

Tips to prepare for English Comprehension

  • Regularly read Hindu Editorials to improve your reading and comprehension abilities.
  • To improve your grammar, read Wrenn Martin’s English Grammar and Composition or SP Bakshi’s Objective General English.
  • To improve your reading and comprehension abilities, as well as vocabulary, you might read short English books.
  • The best way to learn new words is to read a lot or use Flash cards or Vocabulary modules.

Most Important Maths Topics for UPSC CSAT Prelims

The majority of candidates find it extremely challenging and time-consuming to prepare for all the topics in math for the CSAT prelims. You don’t have to prepare all the topics, though. Utilize the chart below to help you plan your Prelims preparation, and give the high-priority subjects top importance as you get ready for this topic. To determine the questions’ level of difficulty, consult the paper from the prior year.

Linear Equation Number System %, profit loss, SI-CI Ratio Proportion Variation Speed Time Distance Work Averages, Alligations Data Interpretation Geometry: Area Volume PerimeterArithmetic Progression Polynomial Factorization Coordinate GeometryPermutation Combination Probability Statistics Trigonometry

 General Mental Ability:

  • This section’s syllabus covers subjects including numbers, relationships between numbers, orders of magnitude, graphs, charts, data sufficiency, tables, etc. as well as basic numeracy and data interpretation. The questions have matriculation-level difficulty.
  • Start by studying fundamental mathematical concepts like speed, time, distance, work, etc.
  • Try to answer as many of the questions from the UPSC sample question papers as you can.
  • Lastly, by working on more practice exam papers, you can shorten the time it takes to answer questions.

Logical Reasoning:

  • Practicing questions from the previous year’s question papers is the most effective strategy to get ready for the CSAT exam’s logical reasoning section.
  • You’ll encounter inquiries similar to the CSAT 2014 questions (we are giving only one here – refer to the detailed strategy for a comprehensive guide on this section)


“Buses are the cause of more accidents than cars, and trucks cause fewer accidents than buses”, which of the following conclusions can we draw?

(a) There are more buses on the road than trucks.

(b) Car drivers are more careful than bus drivers.

(c) Truck drivers are more skilled than either car or bus drivers.

(d) None of the above 

Answer: (d)

·  You don’t need to give it much thought. All that is required is ‘objective reasoning’ ability. The questions in this area are quite simple in nature, save and until something.

· It is simple to crack with enough practise using the book GS Manual for Paper 2 – TMH.

· The book addresses inquiries that are two levels above UPSC level. Don’t disregard these somewhat more challenging questions. By using them in practise, the actual CSAT test is quite simple.

Decision-making and problem-solving:

  • Use the GS Manual TMH or the book Concise CSAT by Madhukar Bhagat.
  • Find the answers to 40–50 questions to get a sense of what the UPSC expects of you.
  • Make a decision using both ethics and common sense.
  • As we have seen in the past, acting unethically will lose you points.

For example:

Questions will be like (this is from CSAT 2014):

While travelling in a Delhi-registered commercial taxi from Delhi to an adjacent city (another state), your taxi driver informs you that he has no permit for driving in that city, he will stop at its transport office, pay the prescribed fees of Rs. 40 a day. While paying the fees at the counter, you find that the transport clerk is charging extra Rs. 50 for which no receipt is being given. You are in a hurry for your meeting. In such circumstances, what will you do?

  1. Go up to the counter and ask the clerk to give back the money which he has illegally taken.
  2. Do not interfere at all as this is a matter between the taxi driver and the tax authorities. 
  3. Take note of the incident and subsequently report the matter to the concerned authorities.
  4. Treat it as a normal affair and simply forget about it.

It is a situational dilemma. If you act ethically with pragmatism, your answers will be correct. You can choose either (1) or (3).

Best Books for CSAT Preparation for UPSC

With the right approach and strategy, you will also need to have the right books for effective CSAT Preparation for UPSC. below we have mentioned some of the highly recommended books you shouldn’t miss while preparing for CSAT.

  • Analytical Reasoning- M K Pandey
  • Cracking the Civil Services Aptitude Test Paper-II by Arihant
  • A Modern Approach to Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning by R.S. Aggrawal
  • The Mantra of CSAT Paper II by Gautam Puri
  • General Studies Paper-II for UPSC Preliminary Examination by Tata McGraw Hill


Let’s take a moment to review a few fundamental principles before we wrap up our plan. such as motivation, stability, relaxation, and revision. Revision is crucial for CSE preparation since it improves memory the more you do it. So, we suggest that you update at least once a week, if not more frequently. Without modification, the fight is only partially won. Since you cannot cover every topic at once, it’s also important to maintain steadiness and discipline. Go little by little, step by step, and keep your discipline and attention. As much as you can, calm down. The phrase “fear of the unknown is most crippling” is also applicable when it comes to the Prelims exams since you never know how the questions will be constructed. So, have faith and adopt the approach that others have successfully used before you. As soon as you’re done reading this, fight that fear with faith and start making your preparations. Best luck!