An aptitude test is a very important test that will assess the ability of a candidate in a particular area of knowledge. General aptitude tests are not subject specific, they are more often conducted to test a person’s ability in general skills and knowledge.
What is CSAT in UPSC?
The Civil Services aptitude test or CSAT is a candidate’s first screening test in the civil services examination. It tests the candidate against a whole set of factors with respect to time efficiency and speed. The paper is set in both languages English and Hindi.
Why CSAT in UPSC?
- To test mental ability of candidates.
- To assess problem solving skills in candidates.
- To find out social awareness of candidates.
- To test comprehension and interpersonal skills of candidates.
- To gauge numerical skills in candidates.
- To assess English language skills.
- To gauge decision making abilities.
CSAT examination in UPSC
Civil Service Aptitude Test is conducted in the first stage, i.e. The Prelims Stage. If a candidate successfully clears the prelims, then he would take up the CSAT exam in the main exam. Those who do not qualify the prelims will not go to the mains.
- CSAT exam has 2 papers. Paper 1 is about General Studies. Paper 2 is the General Ability test.
- A candidate has to attempt both paper 1 and paper 2 in the prelims exam.
- Exam consists of multiple choice questions.
- Leaving out either paper 1 or paper 2 without attempting will lead to disqualification of the candidate in the exam.
- Each paper is conducted for maximum of 200 marks.
- There are totally 80 questions in the exam.
- Wrong answers attract negative marking. 33% of marks shall be deducted for every wrong answer.
- A candidate should score a minimum of 33% in paper 2 to get qualified for the next round of mains examination.
- Paper 2 is the qualifying paper but it is very essential for candidates to perform well in paper 1 also to get higher scores.
CSAT in the mains exam
- The English language paper is a qualifying examination and is held for 300 marks.
- The paper on essay carries 250 marks.
- There are 4 papers on general studies, each paper for 250 marks.
Things to expect in CSAT exam
- Tricky questions can be expected in the numerical section.
- Lengthy questions in comprehension part can also be anticipated.
- Questions in the logical reasoning and mental ability sections have higher levels of difficulty.
- All questions need reasonably higher time duration to solve.
- Majority of questions are lengthy.
- Simple, straight forward questions are rarely asked.
- Spend quality time in solving each question, but stick to a time limit.
- In the comprehension questions, attention to detail is a must. Just reading through passages without inferring the underlying context will serve no purpose. Read the passage thoroughly and understand it completely before jumping to answer questions on it.
- Reading should be an integral and most important aspect of your preparation. Don’t be too over confident with your reading skills. You need to master them with everyday reading.
- Improve your communication skills by holding healthy and useful peer discussions. Let it be focused towards your exam preparation.
- Practise and sharpen your writing skills.
- Logical reasoning part should be easy with everyday practise.
- Speed in problem solving is a great help!
- Go to your basic mathematics, master the fundamentals and make a huge list of all the important formulae and memorize them.
- Practise and more practise is the key to emerge successful in this exam!
- Read at least 2 newspapers every day.
- Building a good vocabulary through the preparation months is a must for English language.
- Refer to previous year papers to get a good hold and to have a fair idea of what to expect in these papers.
Points to remember
- Comprehensions are not as easy as they appear to be.
- Be good at managing time.
- Do not get carried away seeing the length of the question, the difficulty level may not be as high as you may assume it to be.
- Speed should be your best friend while attempting this paper.
- Important formulae, tricks and shortcuts of solving problems should be at your fingertips.
- Organise your ideas well when attempting essay questions. You should have clarity in your expression plus your thoughts should be highly relevant with the topic.
- For all numerical questions, it’s better to identify and understand the concept behind the question and then practise solving a lot of problems under each one of them.
- Work on your strengths, but work more on your weakness areas! You could aim for perfection with certain kinds of numerical problems, but the idea is to cover as much syllabus possible.
- NCERT books have a large base of data helpful for general studies papers of CSAT. Read through them thoroughly.
Important books to refer
- Quantitative aptitude by R S Aggarwal
- Cracking CSAT by Arihant Publications.
- CSAT complete book by Priyanka Prakasha.
- General Studies by Mc Graw Hill.
- General Studies Manual by Jha and Jha.
CSAT Syllabus explain in detail
UPSC CSAT Prelims Syllabus
CSAT Syllabus for Paper I:
- Current Affairs: Current events of national and international importance
- History of India and Indian National Movement
- Indian and World Geography: Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World.
- Indian Polity and Governance: Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.
- Economic and Social Development: Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc.
- General issues on Environmental Ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate Change (no subject specialisation required)
- General Science
CSAT Syllabus for Paper II:
- 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)
UPSC CSAT Mains Syllabus
UPSC CSAT Syllabus for Paper B: English:
- Comprehension of given passages
- Precise writing
- Language Usage and Vocabulary
UPSC CSAT Syllabus for Papers which are counted for Merit in the main exam:
Paper 1: Essay:
- Essays on multiple topics.
Paper 2 General Studies 1:
- (Indian Heritage/ Culture, World History & Geography)
- Indian culture covering the main feature of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from past to present times
- Modern Indian history from the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues
- The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country
- Post-independence consolidation and restructuring within the country
Part 3: General Studies 2 Syllabus:
- Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International Relations
- Functions and duties of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein
- Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
- Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian Diaspora
- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
- Development processes and the development industry- the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders
- Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these
- Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies
UPSC CSAT Syllabus for Paper 4: General Studies 3:
- (Technology, Economic Development, Bio-Diversity, Environment, Security & Disaster Management)
- Inclusive growth and issues arising from it
- Government Budgeting
- Development, Environment, Security and Disaster Management
- Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism
- Food processing and related industries in India- scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management
- Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate
- Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment
- Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
- Disaster and disaster management
- Linkages between development and spread of extremism
- Land reforms in India
UPSC CSAT Syllabus for Paper 5: General Studies 4:
- (Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude)
- Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships
- Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and ; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion
- Emotional, and their utilities and application in administration and governance
- Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and
- Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, and administrators; of family, society and educational institutions in inculcating values