How To Prepare For The CSAT Paper In Civil Services?

By Sashikanth Sai

Every Civil Services aspirant must be aware of the Preliminary exam pattern which consists of two papers, namely, General Studies (GS) and Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT). The government introduced the CSAT paper in 2011 and since then there is a lot of discussion whether the board is trying to put a hurdle to non-English background aspirants. This has resulted in the aspirants take to the streets across the country.


Of course, there is no point in discussing all these because the board has made the CSAT, a qualifying paper. And the minimum qualifying marks fixed at 33%. Though it is a qualifying paper, many aspirants fail to surpass the fixed-point due to their language skills. No need to worry, one can keep them at bay with a little effort and extensive practice. Let's tour the paper starting with syllabus.

CSAT Syllabus

Paper-II CSAT (200 marks) - 2 hours
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 paper consists of 6 to 9 reading comprehension passages and each passage will contain 2 to 7 questions. Aspirants can dedicate more than three minutes for every passage because the total duration of the exam is two hours and a candidate need to answer just 80 questions. Go for the detail-study when there is a requirement. And make a habit of fast-reading.

Interpersonal Skills

There is no need of special subject knowledge in this section, however, practising the questions in any workbook is good enough. One has to understand the importance of communication skills and its uses.

Logical Reasoning & Analytical Ability

Logical Reasoning & Analytical Ability

This section is also a scoring one, if you are able to understand the trick while reading the question. Aspirants should pick a practice workbook of their choice and start solving them. The practice is the only key to this section.

Decision Making & Problem-Solving

There will be around 6 to 8 questions on the decision making. Aspirants are suggested to answer this section first because there is no negative marking and out of four options, two are correct. However, this section will not take much time if your mind is fresh.

General Mental Ability

This is a familiar section to aspirants who are also preparing for the bank examinations. However, the important topics in this section are percentages, ratios and proportions, LCM & HCF, clock, time and work and permutation.

Basic Numeracy

As mentioned in the syllabus, the level of Class X is more than enough. Aspirants need to be careful with the data interpretation and data sufficiency, because they are the traps in the CSAT question paper. And we suggest you to take up this section at the end of the examination.

The CSAT paper is just a qualifying paper and always treat it like that. Giving a cornerstone position will not give any rewards. Pick a book of your choice and try solving all the questions. This preparation is good enough to crack this paper.

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