Analytical skills, Reasoning Ability and Aptitude of IAS Aspirants
CSAT Exam Pattern
What is CSAT ?
The full form of CSAT is the Civil Services Aptitude Test. It was introduced in the year 2011 as a part of the UPSC Civil Services Exam (Preliminary) to test the analytical skills, reasoning ability and aptitude of IAS aspirants.
While the controversy over the introduction of CSAT, officially known as the General Studies Paper-II, in UPSC exam still continues, the Civil Services Aptitude Test will continue to be a part of the UPSC Prelims.
CSAT stands for Civil Services Aptitude Test. It is a part of the UPSC Prelims (Civil Services Exam – Preliminary). However, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) refers to the exam as General Studies (GS) Paper – II.
Hence, in the context of UPSC Prelims, GS Paper II refers to the CSAT while in context of UPSC Mains, GS Paper II is the Polity (etc.) paper.
Candidates are advised to understand the complete UPSC syllabus and the syllabus of CSAT in UPSC Prelims to avoid confusion.
CSAT Exam Pattern
The CSAT exam pattern for UPSC 2021:
- Number of questions: 80 Objective-Type (MCQ) questions
- Negative Marking: Yes (1/3rd of the maximum marks for the question)
- Time: 2 hours
- Type of Exam: Offline exam
- Language of CSAT exam paper: English/Hindi
- Maximum Marks: 200
- CSAT qualifying marks: 66 marks (33% qualifying criteria)
CSAT Syllabus – GS Paper II- UPSC Prelims 2021
The CSAT (Civil Services Aptitude Test) syllabus for UPSC 2021 comprises the following broad categories:
- 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)
- English Language Comprehension skills (Class X level)
CSAT Marking Scheme
CSAT marking scheme
- The CSAT paper consists of 80 questions which the candidate has to finish in the allotted time of 2 hours only.
- Each question carries 2.5 marks in the CSAT paper making the total to 200 marks.
- Candidates must remember that there is negative marking in the CSAT paper.
- For every incorrect answer, the candidate is penalised 1/3rd of the total marks allotted to that question, i.e., 0.83 marks will be cut.
- If a question is not attempted, i.e., the candidate leaves it blank on the OMR sheet, no marks will be cut for that question.
CSAT Preparation Strategy
CSAT strategy for IAS Prelims 2021
- Candidates should not ignore the CSAT paper thinking it is only a qualifying paper.
- If candidates feel that their general English comprehension and basic math skills are not up to the mark, they should spend a decent amount of time on the CSAT paper.
- This holds true especially for aspirants from the humanities and arts background who have not been in touch with such subjects ever since their school days.
- For those candidates who are at ease with the type of questions asked in the CSAT paper, practising the adequate number of UPSC previous years’ question papers for CSAT will do.
- But if candidates do not practice the CSAT question papers, it would be very difficult to complete the 80 questions in the prescribed time limit of two hours.
- Remember, candidates should score at least 66 marks. If they do not qualify, even very high marks in the GS paper I will not help them clear the IAS prelims stage.
- For candidates to increase their speed in solving math questions in the CSAT paper, they can take help from certain well-used maths tricks.
- Questions from data interpretation, logical reasoning, etc. are generally easy but if the candidate is unfamiliar with them, answering them can be a tricky affair. This is where practice becomes essential.
- Also, some of the CSAT questions are lengthy and rather time-consuming. It becomes doubly important for candidates to practice mock test papers or enrol for a reliable CSAT test series.