How to Prepare CSAT for UPSC CSE?

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Table of Content: –

  1. What is the CSAT?
  2. What is CSAT Pattern for UPSC CSE?
  3. What is Syllabus for UPSC CSAT?
  4. What is CSAT marking scheme?
  5. Strategy to Qualify CSAT for UPSC CSE Prelims 2024
  6. Tips to qualify CSAT Paper
  7. Important Books for CSAT Preparation
  8. Latest Update about CSAT Exam 2024

CSAT: The UPSC Civil services Preliminary examinations consists of two papers: – 

(1)Paper 1 comprises General studies and (2) Paper 2 comprises CSAT paper. In this article we are focusing on details and strategy to prepare for CSAT paper of USCE Prelims. The UPSC Civil Services Aptitude Test was introduced in 2011 to test candidates’ analytical skills. At Elite IAS coaching in Delhi, we provide the best training for CSAT paper. It is also available in our programme for online coaching for UPSC.

What is the CSAT?

  • The Civil Service Aptitude Test is commonly known as CSAT. It is a qualifying paper in the UPSC prelims examination. Thus, the aspirants need to score only passing marks. 
  • To qualify the CSAT paper of prelims the aspirants need to score 33 per cent marks in this paper. 
  • Broadly, the CSAT paper tests a candidate’s logical reasoning and analytical skills, decision-making and interpersonal ability, general mental ability, and reading comprehension.
  • The aspirants should be aware of the unpredictability of the UPSC CSE. They should understand that it takes diligent preparation to get the minimum marks. 
  • As compared to GS 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.

What is CSAT Pattern for UPSC CSE?

CSAT is the second paper in the UPSC Prelims. Officially, it is known as General Studies Paper-II. The CSAT exam pattern for UPSC:

  1. Number of Questions asked in CSAT Paper: 80 Questions
  2. Maximum Marks: 200
  3. Type of Questions: – Objective type (Multiple Choice Questions)
  4. Negative Marking: 1/3rd of negative marking
  5. Time required for Exam: 2 hours
  6. Language of CSAT exam paper: English/Hindi
  7. CSAT qualifying marks: 66 marks (33% qualifying criteria)

What is Syllabus for UPSC CSAT?

Following is the CSAT (Civil Services Aptitude Test) syllabus for UPSC 2024.

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

What is CSAT marking scheme?

  • The CSAT Paper 2 carries 200 marks. 
  • In this paper, 2.5 marks are allocated for every correct answer. 
  • For every wrong answer, a negative marking 33%. It means that 1/3rd of the score is deducted for every wrong answer. It implies that 1 mark is deducted for three wrong answers.
  • For questions that are left blank, there will be no scores allotted. 
  • Decision making section doesn’t have any negative marking.

Strategy to Qualify CSAT for UPSC CSE Prelims 2024

  1. Analyse Previous Year Questions: –The best ways to prepare for CSAT is to analyse the previous years’ question papers. This analysis will help the aspirants understand the requirement of the paper. Once thorough with the paper pattern, aspirants should prepare each section separately.
  2. Focus on Weak Area of CSAT – The aspirants should solve previous year question papers for Prelims GS2 paper. This will help identifying their weakest topic of UPSC CSAT Exams. 
  3. Time Management – Time management plays very important role in CSAT paper. The aspirants should attempt the practice papers. While solving the papers, they should take into consideration the time spend in solving each question. One should practice more to reduce the average time spent on solving a question.
  4. Practice Mental ability Questions: The questions covered under this section majorly includes topics like time and distance, time and work, percentage, permutations, and combinations among others. Candidates can practice these topics from class 10-12 NCERTs. 
  5. Focus on Logical reasoning: Logical reasoning may consume the most time to solve questions but it can be one of your strengths in the CSAT paper. The aspirants can solve these questions only with prior practice. Aspirants should solve mock tests and questions on various topics keeping the time frame in mind. Practice will help aspirants save time in solving questions on exam day. 
  6. Make Reading a Part of Your Day : The comprehension asked in the CSAT paper is of moderate level. Despite this, the aspirants end up losing precious marks in the comprehension section. They spend excessive time in solving a passage. The most effective way of preparing this area is by including reading in your daily routine.
    • Read articles, columns, magazines like Kurukshetra, Yojana to improve your language skills and reading speed.
    • Read the Editorial Section of the Newspaper daily.
    • Watch debates on LSTV, RSTV This will help improve your language skills
  7. Mark The Keywords in Comprehension: – The CSAT paper consists of a number of comprehension passages. The aspirants are required to manage the time and solve each of them in the minimum time possible. To minimize the time and solve the passages correctly, the aspirants should focus on the keywords of the comprehension. While solving a comprehension, mark important keywords while reading the passage.These keywords lie in each question. The aspirants go through the questions first before reading the passage. This makes it easier to solve each question when you identify these keywords while reading the passage.
  1. Build good Vocabulary: –To build good vocabulary, the aspirants should focus on reading as much as they can. This will definitely help to better understand the passage. Also, learn new idioms and phrases to upgrade your vocabulary. Read until you are able to get the meaning of the editorial completely. 
  2. Practice solving CSAT mock tests: – While solving mock papers, identify which type of questions you are repeatedly attempting wrong and correctly, Analyze your performance in the mock papers. According to that, solve your strength topic first in the exam hall. If you are good at comprehension, solve those questions first and keep the time-consuming questions for the end. 

Tips to qualify CSAT Paper: –

  1. Start preparing for CSAT before four months for the prelim’s exam.
  2. Refer to previous years’ question paper to understand the exam pattern.
  3. The aspirants should set aside 2 hours from their daily study routine for practising CSAT.
  4. While solving a comprehension, mark important keywords while reading the passage.
  5. The aspirants should pursue planned strategy for each area covered in the paper. 
  6. It is very much importance to focus on time management while solving questions in the CSAT exam.
  7. A candidate should not spend more than two to three minutes if stuck on a certain question.
  8. Aspirants should identify their strengths and weaknesses related to a subject.

Important Books for CSAT Preparation

  1. Previous Year Question Papers analysis
  2. A Modern Approach to Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning by R.S. Aggarwal
  3. TMH Manual Paper 2-CSAT by McGraw Hill
  4. Analytical Reasoning by M.K. Pandey
  5. Cracking the CSAT Paper 2 by Arihant Experts

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