How to prepare for CSAT???

This seems to be an obvious question in the minds of many IAS aspirants. Although I have given some pointers here, I guess a more detailed explanation is called for.

  • Step 1: If you went through the UPSC civil services preliminary question papers of the past few years you would've noticed that UPSC is giving less importance to conventional stuff and laying more stress on general awareness, applied science, maps, mental ability, and of course, current affairs.
    The same pattern should hold for the the GS paper of CSAT. Instead of mugging up coaching classes notes, you will be better off focusing on the topics mentioned above. Books to refer? Manorama Year Book is a must for GK, The Hindu for current affairs and GK, Oxford College Atlas for Geography, Subhash Kashyap and bare constitution for Polity, focus more on Modern History than ancient and medieval. You should prepare current affairs of the last 2 years and not just 8 months. The pattern has changed drastically.
  • Step 2: Mental Ability. Yes it's importance and number of questions are ever increasing. Although many candidates have got by without attempting mental ability questions so far. But don't refer to RS Agarwal, rather, prepare mental ability from CET or MAT notes for MBA. CAT level is higher and not required.
  • Step 3: Get ready to answer some psycho-analytical questions from previous year papers. You will be asked situational questions that test your overall personality and decision making ability. I will detail such questions in some other post.



Subject: Changes in syllabus and pattern of the Preliminary Examination from 2011 in the scheme of Civil Services Examination

  • As per the decision of Government of India, there shall be change in the syllabus and pattern of the Preliminary Examination from 2011 in the scheme of the Civil Services Examination.
  • The Preliminary Examination shall now comprise of two compulsory Papers of 200 marks each and of two hours duration each. Detailed below is the new syllabus and pattern of the Preliminary Examination, which is brought to the notice of the prospective candidates intending to appear at the Civil Services Examination (CSE) in 2011onwards:
  • Paper I - (200 marks) Duration: Two hours
    • 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 - that do not require subject specialization
    • General Science.
    Paper II- (200 marks) Duration: Two hours
    • Comprehension
    • 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).
    • Questions relating to English Language Comprehension skills of Class X level (last item in the Syllabus of Paper-II) will be tested through passages from English language only without providing Hindi translation thereof in the question paper.
    • The questions will be of multiple choice, objective type.
    • A set of sample questions for both Papers would be put on the UPSC website in due course for reference of the prospective candidates.
    • The prospective candidates are advised to note that no changes are being introduced at this stage in the Civil Services (Main) Examination and Personality Test in the scheme of Civil Services Examination (CSE).

Analysis of the changes in IAS Exams Syllabus:

Sample papers will be provided by UPSC which is good as candidates will not be heading towards a blind alley.

  • Both papers will be of 2 hours duration which means time management will be crucial factor in scoring.
  • Roting is out as no more optional paper. Wide study of all topics mentioned is required.
  • Mental ability, logical reasoning has gained added importance so expect more questions from these topics.
  • English comprehension is a factor now. Candidates from non-English background will need to vastly improve their English reading and comprehension skills as it is mentioned that no Hindi or other language translation of the passages will be provided in the exam.
  • Syllabus is more clearly defined now especially concerning Economics, Geography and Climate Change which is again good for the candidates.
  • Role of coaching classes will decrease somewhat as analytical questions relating to decision making cannot be "taught" but require common sense and presence of mind.
  • Expect some situational questions as this blog has consistently advocated.
  • Inter-personal and communication skills will also be tested. So candidates will do well to start improving the same.

The eligibility criteria for CSAT examination is:

  1. Only Indian candidates are eligible.
  2. Candidate must have complete graduation in any discipline from a recognize University.
  3. The age is between 21 to 30 years on 1st August. Final year graduation candidate can also apply for CSAT.

For Further details you can refer to this website:


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