How to Prepare CSAT

GS Paper II (CSAT)

CONNECT TO CSAT (basic information)

  • From 2011, the UPSC has introduced a new format for the Civil Services Preliminary Examination.
  • It has added CSAT in the form of GS Paper II.
  • The total number of questions asked in this paper is 80.

Connect to 2018 paper analysis

  • In 2018, 27 questions were from General Mental Ability, 13 from Data Interpretation, 14 from Reasoning & Analytical Ability and 26 questions were from English Comprehension.
  • In 2018 paper not a single question was asked from Decision Making & Problem Solving.

Future strategy for CSAT preparation (i.e for 2019)

  • Keeping in mind the pattern of last few years, we should not make the mistake of treating any of them as a  Model Paper for the next year Prelim Exam.
  • The emphasis should be on comprehensive preparation, rather than focusing only on areas which were dominant in the previous years’ papers.

In the final analysis, if we categories the questions beings asked, it is found that CSAT preparation  can be handled with ease. It is not as frightening as what is projected by many. It can be handled with a proper planning and strategy.

Connect to the format of CSAT

  • As per the decision of Government of India, there have been changes in the syllabus and pattern of the Preliminary  Examination from 2011.
  • The Preliminary Examination now comprise of two Paper compulsory Papers of 200 marks and two hours duration each.

General Mental Ability

  • Basic Arithmetic
  • Series Completion
  • Ven Average
  • Time and Distance
  • Mensuration
  • Pipe and Cisterns
  • Miscellaneous

 Data Interpretation

  • Charts
  • Graphs
  • Tables
  • Data Sufficiency
  • Venn Diagram

Reasoning and Analytical Ability

Decision Making and Problem Solving

English Language Comprehension Skills

Recommended book list for Paper II

  • Objective Mathematics – R.S Agarwal
  • NCERT Statics – Class XI
  • Objective English – R..S Agarwal

So what should be the preparation strategy for CSAT

  • The qualifying nature of the CSAT examination must be weighed along with the degree of complexity and changing pattern of questions.
  • With this balanced consideration, one will not fall into the trap of taking it lightly.
  • To avoid the last minute stress, it's always a better option to allot few hours daily for practicing CSAT; especially one or two months of before the Prelims.
  • You can start even earlier in case you feel you require more input from your end.  Keep evaluating your preparation by solving previous years' question papers and model test papers in a controlled environment.
  • Keeping in mind the changing nature of questions for the last few years, your preparation must also respond to the same.
  • This calls for equal importance to mathematics, reasoning and comprehension in terms of both speed and accuracy.
  • With a consistent, smart and evaluative mode of preparation, sailing through CSAT would become a much smoother process.


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