UPSC CSAT Exam 2022 - Syllabus, Pattern, Question Paper

By Shubhra Anand Jain|Updated : July 10th, 2022

CSAT or Civil Services Aptitude Test was introduced in the year 2011 as a part of the UPSC Prelims exam. The aim of adding CSAT to the UPSC CSE exam is to test the analytical skills, interpersonal ability, decision-making, general mental ability, aptitude, and reasoning ability of the candidates. The CSAT is a qualifying paper in the UPSC Civil Services Prelims exam and aspirants need to score at least 33% to pass which seems easy, but in reality, UPSC has been known for its unpredictable questions. It would take diligent preparation and a rock-solid strategy to get the minimum marks in the CSAT Exam.

It is crucial for the candidates to know everything about CSAT Exam so that they can begin their preparation. Below we will be covering detailed information about CSAT such as the exam pattern, syllabus, and previous year’s questions to help the candidates ace this exam.

Table of Content

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. The CSAT 2022 has been conducted on 5th June 2022 in the second shift after the GS Paper 1 from 02:30 P.M. to 04:30 P.M. Candidates preparing for the upcoming CSAT exam must be aware of these facts.

  • 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

CSAT 2022 Parameters

Details

CSAT Full Form

Civil Services Aptitude Test

CSAT Paper 

UPSC Prelims GS Paper 2 

CSAT Questions

80

CSAT Total Marks 

200

Negative Marking in CSAT 

0.83 (1/3rd Marks)

CSAT Qualifying Marks

66 Marks 

CSAT Exam 2022

CSAT 2022 has been conducted on 5th June 2022 in the second shift i.e. 2.30 Pm to 4.30 Pm. It is essential that the candidates qualify for the CSAT Exam 2022 or they won’t be able to clear the Preliminary stage of 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 questions. Candidates need to score at least 33% or 66 marks to qualify for this paper.

CSAT Exam Pattern

Number of Questions

80

Time Allotted

2 Hours

Negative Marking

Yes, 0.83 Marks

Total Marks

200

Type of Exam

Offline

Qualifying Marks

66 Marks (33%)

CSAT Syllabus 

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.

  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), 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

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.

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.

Year\Topics

Reading comprehension

Data Interpretation

Math & Basic numeracy

Decision making

Logical & Analytical reasoning

2011

39

5

11

8

17

2012

40

0

3

9

28

2013

33

9

11

6

21

2014

31

6

20

0

23

2015

30

2

30

0

18

2016

28

0

31

0

21

2017

30

0

28

0

22

2018

26

14

18

0

22

2019

30

0

32

0

18

2020

26

0

42

0

12

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 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.

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FAQ's on CSAT

  • CSAT Stands for Civil Services Aptitude Test also known as UPSC GS Paper 2 and is a part of the UPSC Prelims examination. This paper is added by the commission to test the analytical, decision-making, logical, and aptitude abilities of the candidates. CSAT is qualifying in nature and candidates need to score at least 33% or 66 marks to clear this paper. Candidates who fail to qualify for CSAT will be exempted from the merit list despite scoring well in the General Studies-1. 

  • The CSAT paper includes 80 questions and candidates will get 2 hours to complete the paper. Each question carries 2.5 marks and the total marks of the CSAT paper will be 200. There will be a negative marking of 0.83 for each wrong answer, however, there won’t be any negative marking of unattempted questions. Candidates must understand the UPSC exam pattern for Prelims GS-2 in order to have an effective preparation strategy.

  • No, CSAT is not removed from the UPSC Exam 2022. CSAT or the General Studies-2 paper is still part of the UPSC exam 2022, and candidates must come up with a solid preparation strategy to ace this exam. It is however a qualifying paper and the marks are not counted in merit. 

  • Candidates need to score at least 33% of 200 marks which is equal to 66 to qualify for the CSAT, so scoring above 66 would be a good CSAT score. before 2015, the marks secured in both GS-1 and CSAT of the UPSC Prelims were considered for the merit list. However, the commission decided to make CSAT a qualifying paper in 2015. Candidates must remember that despite fetching good marks in the General Studies-1, they won’t make it into the merit list if they fail to qualify for CSAT.

  • Yes, CSAT is the compulsory paper in the UPSC exam. It is also known as the general studies-2. However, CSAT is a qualifying paper which means candidates only need to score at least 66 marks out of 200 on this paper. Candidates must analyze the risks before answering as there is a negative marking of 0.83.

  • Yes, there is a negative marking for the CSAT paper and it will be ⅓ marks of the total marks allotted to the question. For every wrong answer, ⅓ marks of 0.83 marks will be deducted. However, there is no negative marking for unanswered/ unattempted questions. Candidates must keep these things in mind, and analyze the risk before attempting the questions.

  • Even though it is qualifying in nature the previous year’s questions have been very tough so candidates need to have a rock-solid preparation strategy to clear the CSAT paper. Candidates need to spend a decent amount of time on CSAT paper. They need to look at the previous year’s CSAT questions in order to understand the difficulty level. Candidates must attempt as many as mock tests possible because this paper requires so much practice. Also choosing the right CSAT books would be crucial for the preparation. 

  • The total marks for the CSAT exam is 200, and there are 80 questions. Each question carries 2.5 marks. Candidates need to score at least 33% or at least 66 marks to qualify for this paper. So if one scores more than 33% then he/she will qualify for the CSAT paper. There will be a deduction of 0.83 marks for every wrong answer.

  • Since 2020 the questions of the CSAT exam have become a little tougher than in previous years. But the good news is the CSAT syllabus is defined and it can be easily prepared through practice. If the candidates dedicate enough time to the preparation he/she will be easily able to answer the questions. Additionally, a solid strategy would be required to cover each area of the paper.

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