What is CSAT?
CSAT ( Civil Services Aptitude Test) is commonly known as the General Studies-2 in the UPSC Prelims, and it has been a part of the UPSC Syllabus since 2011. CSAT 2022 as a part of the Prelims Exam is scheduled for 05 June 2022. The CSAT Exam will be held in the second shift after the GS Paper 1 from 02:30 P.M. to 04:30 P.M. Candidates must note all the details about CSAT Exam to ensure that they are fully prepared before the exam.
- At first, the CSAT or UPSC GS Paper 2 marks were counted in preparing the merit list for the Prelims exam.
- In 2015, the Commission made some huge changes in the UPSC Exam Pattern by making the CSAT paper qualifying in nature. As per the UPSC exam pattern candidates only need 33% of 66 marks out of 200 marks to qualify.
As compared to the UPSC GS Paper 1, the CSAT Syllabus is less and candidates can easily prepare it with practice. If one devotes enough time to practice for this paper then he/she can easily crack this paper. However, a planned strategy is a must to cover each section of this paper.
CSAT 2022 Parameters
CSAT Full Form
Civil Services Aptitude Test
UPSC Prelims GS Paper 2
CSAT Total Marks
Negative Marking in CSAT
0.83 (1/3rd Marks)
CSAT Qualifying Marks
CSAT Exam 2022
CSAT 2022 is all set to be conducted on 5th June 2022 and Candidates who aspire to become civil servants must level up their preparation to ace this paper. It is essential that the candidates qualify the CSAT Exam 2022 or they won’t be able to clear the UPSC Exam. Candidates must check the CSAT exam pattern, and syllabus and come up with an effective strategy to fetch good marks in this paper.
You must remember that qualifying this paper shouldn’t be the sole purpose, you need to look forward to scoring big in this paper to be on the safer side. The qualifying marks for CSAT 2022 are 66 marks out of 200 marks.
CSAT Exam Pattern
Without knowing the CSAT exam pattern candidates won’t be able to figure out an effective preparation strategy. That’s why we are going to cover the CSAT paper pattern in detail here. There will be a total of 80 questions in the CSAT exam and the time allotted for the paper will be 2 hours. Each question carries 2.5 marks, and the total marks will be 200.
For every wrong answer, 1/3rd of the total marks given to the question will be deducted which means 0.83 marks. However, there is no deduction for unanswered/unattempted questions. Candidates need to score at least 33% or 66 marks to qualify for this paper.
CSAT Exam Pattern
Number of Questions
Yes, 0.83 Marks
Type of Exam
66 Marks (33%)
CSAT or General Studies-2 Syllabus is designed to test the analytical, aptitude, and decision-making ability of the candidates. The CSAT syllabus covers basic numeracy, comprehension, general mental ability, etc. Candidates need to practice thoroughly to fetch good marks in this paper. The complete UPSC CSAT Syllabus is covered below.
- 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 CSAT Syllabus is a part of the UPSC Prelims Syllabus as GS 2. The syllabus provides an overview of the topics to be covered for the upcoming IAS Exam. Aspirants must solve UPSC Previous Year Question Papers for CSAT to identify the question trend and prepare accordingly.
CSAT books are an essential part of the UPSC CSAT exam preparation. By choosing the right CSAT books candidates will be able to fetch good marks in the CSAT exam. There are so many UPSC Books available but one must choose only the right ones in order to have an effective preparation. Below we have compiled a list of highly recommended CSAT books.
- Analytical Reasoning- M K Pandey: This one has been one of the highly popular books for analytical reasoning because of its simple language, and ability to explain the concept in a clear manner. It would definitely help the candidates solve maths questions easily. Additionally, it has sample questions covered to help out the aspirants.
- The Mantra of CSAT Paper II by Gautam Puri- Those who are searching for a CSAT book that covers the previous year’s questions, then this is the right one for them. It comes with sample working exercises as well to enhance the analytical and logical skills of the aspirants.
- Cracking the Civil Services Aptitude Test Paper-II by Arihant- Just like its name suggests, this book has covered all things that would help one to crack the CSAT paper. Here the topics like Data Interpretation, Analytical Ability, Problem-Solving Skills, Decision Making,- General Mental Ability, etc. have been discussed clearly.
- A Modern Approach to Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning by R.S. Aggrawal- This book clearly explains the basic analogy, non-verbal reasoning, and analytical reasoning. Candidates will find the latest trending question and also solving techniques in this book.
- General Studies Paper-II for UPSC Preliminary Examination by Tata McGraw Hill- It is another popular CSAT book, where short comprehensions are also included, and it offers a detailed analysis of the previous year’s questions as well.
CSAT Preparation Strategy- Step-by-Step Approach
Since the introduction of the CSAT in 2011, many candidates find this paper highly challenging. However, the commission decided to make it a qualifying paper, still the candidates shouldn't take it lightly. Since 2015 the CSAT paper has been tough, and the UPSC aspirants are feeling nervous about attempting this paper. But the CSAT paper can be easily handled with a little effort and practice, and we are going to cover how you can ace this paper.
- Don’t take CSAT lightly- since CSAT is qualifying in nature, many aspirants don’t take it seriously and they end up disqualified. So make sure you are giving enough time in the CSAT preparation. Taking UPSC CSAT seriously is the first step toward having effective preparation. No matter how much you score in the GS-1, you will be exempted from the merit list without qualifying for CSAT. so don’t aim only to qualify this paper, make up your mind to score more than 120 marks.
- Evaluate your level- it is crucial to know where you stand before beginning your preparation. Find out your strengths and weaknesses in the CSAT paper. To analyze your level you can attempt UPSC Previous Year’s Question Paper. By the end of it you will figure out your weaknesses and then you can start working on them.
- Choose the right books- you would need the right study materials for CSAT exam preparation. The CSAT manual by Tata Mc Graw Hill is a highly recommended CSAT manual that will allow you to revise and practice each topic in a short period of time. You can also refer to other CSAT books that we have covered above.
- Mock Tests- You can only be able to clear the CSAT paper by devoting your time to practice. Mock tests are the best way for you to practice the CSAT questions, you will encounter some possible questions from the UPSC exam point of view. Additionally, it will help you enhance your time management skill, and accuracy as well.
- Practice is the Key- The questions from the logical reasoning, data interpretation, etc are scoring but if you are not familiar with these, then answering the questions would be very tricky. That is why practice is the key, and the more your practice the better you will be able to finish the paper within the allotted time.
CSAT Exam Preparation Tips for English and Decision Making
Candidates find the English and decision-making section challenging but we will share some tips below that will help you to score big in this section.
- Revise the basic concepts of English grammar, and read English grammar and composition by Wren n Martin.
- Find time to read the Hindu Editorials regularly to develop good comprehension skills and reading skills for RC passages.
- Improve your vocabulary, you can do it with extensive reading or vocabulary modules,
- If you find time then read English novels as it will help you with your comprehension, reading, and vocabulary skills.
CSAT Exam Preparation Tips to Cover the Maths and Logical Reasoning
Candidates can only fetch marks in these sections if they practice enough. Glance through the previous year’s CSAT question paper and understand the complexity level, important topics, and the depth of covering a topic. Build a solid foundation for each topic, and after that keep practicing consistently to apply the concepts.
CSAT Exam Previous Year Question Paper
One of the most important resources for CSAT exam preparation is the UPSC GS-2 previous year question paper. UPSC has been unpredictable when it comes to framing the questions. That is why it is vital for the aspirants to take a look at the previous year's question paper to understand the complexity level of the question, exam pattern, paper pattern, recent trends, and important topics from the CSAT Syllabus, etc. Below we will provide the UPSC CSAT previous year’s questions, and candidates can download them directly from the given link.
Candidates can take a look at the CSAT question paper from UPSC Prelims 2021 to 2014 below and download them from the given link.
- Download CSAT UPSC Question Paper 2021 - SET A
- Download CSAT UPSC Question Paper 2021- SET D
- Download UPSC CSAT Question Paper 2020 PDF SET-A
- Download UPSC CSAT Question Paper 2020 PDF SET-B
- Download UPSC CSAT Question Paper 2020 PDF SET-C
- UPSC CSAT Prelims 2019 Question Paper PDF
- Download Prelims CSAT 2018 Paper
- Download CSAT 2017 Paper
- Download UPSC CSAT 2016 Paper
- Download CSAT 2015 Paper
- Download UPSC CSAT 2014 Paper
CSAT Trend Analysis 2011-2020
Candidates can check the number of questions came from different categories from the year 2011 to 2020 below. It would help the candidates to find out the important sections from the CSAT syllabus, and they will be able to prepare accordingly.
Math & Basic numeracy
Logical & Analytical reasoning
In UPSC 2020 five questions were from data sufficiency, and you can see from the above table how important is to give time to reading comprehension in CSAT. additionally, Maths and Basic numeracy become another crucial section from the examination point of view. So if a candidate prepares for these two sections thoroughly then he/she will be able to qualify for the CSAT paper easily.
CSAT History in UPSC Prelims
Let’s discuss the pattern of CSAT all over the years below.
- Prior to 2011, the Kothari Committee was in the charge of UPSC Prelims, and there were two papers in the UPSC Prelims- GS with 150 marks and Paper II- one of 23 optional subjects.
- In 2010-2011 the exam pattern got revamped by UPSC and there were two papers worth 200 marks, and a CSAT paper was introduced.
- After the introduction of CSAT, it was counted similar to the GS paper 1 in the UPSC Prelims. But there was a controversy as the rural background candidates alleged that the CSAT paper is hampering their chances of clearing the UPSC Prelims.
- Due to this in 2014, August the commission decided to make the CSAT paper qualifying, and from 2015 onwards the CSAT paper became qualifying in nature in which a candidate was required to score 33%.
- After that, there have been no changes in the CSAT paper.
CSAT Answer Key
Above we have covered the CSAT previous year’s question paper. Candidates who are solving these questions papers would require the CSAT answer key for that particular year to self-evaluate themselves. Below we have provided the direct link to download the UPSC Answer Key for CSAT, and candidates can download them directly from the given link below.
- CSAT Exam 2020 Answer key
- CSAT 2019 Answer Key
- UPSC CSAT 2018 Answer Key
- CSAT 2017 Answer Key
- UPSC Prelims 2016 Answer Key for CSAT
- CSAT 20155 Answer Key
CSAT vs CAT
Often beginners get confused between CAT and CSAT. While CSAT (Civil Services Aptitude Test) is an exam conducted by UPSC, Common Admission Test (CAT) is an all-India test conducted by the IIMs (Indian Institutes of Management) for MBA Admissions.
CSAT is also known as the General Studies-2 paper in the UPSC Prelims round. CSAT tests the analytical, problem-solving, aptitude, and decision-making ability of the candidates.CSAT is qualifying in nature, so the candidates only need to score at least 33% (66 marks) to clear this paper.
Candidates who crack the CAT exam will be eligible for admission to the IIMs or other business schools in India. CAT focuses more on the aptitude test and the verbal part so you need different strategies to prepare for these exams.