About CSAT

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts examinations every year for prestigious government posts. The UPSC exam is conducted in two stages- Preliminary and Mains. IAS Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) is a part of the Prelims exam and is conducted as one of the papers. This test is conducted to test the critical thinking and logical reasoning of the candidates. The syllabus of IAS CSAT is also set accordingly

  • The CSAT paper is also called General Studies II in the context of the Prelims exam.
  • CSAT is tentatively scheduled for 26th June 2024 this year.
  • The candidates have to necessarily clear the Prelims exam in order to appear for the Mains.
  • Therefore, this paper forms an important part of the preparation.
UPSC CSAT 2024 Overview
Exam conducting body Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)
Exam Prelims
Paper CSAT/ General Studies II
Official Website UPSC

The CSAT/ General Studies II paper’s syllabus is less as compared to the syllabus of the General Studies I paper. The syllabus is set in accordance with testing the analytical aptitude of the candidates. Below are the topics that will be covered in the CSAT/ General Studies II paper.

  • 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)
UPSC IAS CSAT Exam Pattern

The UPSC Prelims General Studies I and CSAT/General Studies II paper will be conducted on a single day. Both the papers will be objective type. The CSAT paper will be of a total of 200 marks. Following is the exam pattern of CSAT.

Paper Number of Questions Maximum Marks Total duration
CSAT/ General Studies II 80 200 2 hours
  • Every right answer is rewarded 2.5 marks.
  • For Every wrong one-third marks will be deducted.
  • The questions are of objective type.
  • No marks are deducted for unattempted questions.
UPSC IAS CSAT Qualifying Marks

The UPSC CSAT paper is qualifying in nature. The total marks is 200 and candidates need to score at least 33% marks to qualify for the next round. This comes up to nearly scoring 66 marks out of 200. Candidates should not ignore this paper just thinking it is a qualifying paper. It should be prepared with equal dedication.

UPSC IAS CSAT Preparation Tips
  • Practice 4-5 Reading Comprehension on a daily basis. You can also learn new words to enhance your vocabulary.
  • This will help you comprehend the reading comprehension better.
  • Logical reasoning and data interpretation are also very important. Get yourself comfortable with numbers and increase your calculation skills.
  • Divide your time wisely and give equal time and importance to General Studies I and CSAT/ General Studies II. Some of the questions are lengthy and time-consuming. So candidates should also prepare for writing speed.
A Brief Timeline on CSAT in Prelims Examination
  • Prior to 2011, the UPSC Prelims followed the recommendations of the Kothari Committee in 1979.
  • Back then, the UPSC Prelims comprised two papers:
  • GS – 150 points
  • Paper-II – 300 marks on one of 23 optional subjects.
  • The UPSC revised the Civil Services Exam's preliminary stage in 2010-2011. There are two more papers to go. Both papers, however, are now worth 200 marks.
  • The UPSC Prelims GS Paper II became a test of IAS hopefuls' analytical abilities. The GS Paper II is commonly known as the CSAT ( Civil Services Aptitude Test).
  • The CSAT paper was counted similarly to the GS Paper I in UPSC Prelims when it was first introduced. Candidates, mainly from rural backgrounds, claimed that the CSAT paper unfairly hampered their chances of passing the UPSC exam, which sparked extensive debate.
  • As a result, the Central Government declared in August 2014 that CSAT scores would no longer be counted and that it would only be used as a qualifying paper (33 per cent qualifying threshold) beginning in 2015. Candidates from 2011 were also given a second shot.
  • From the year 2015, The pattern of CSAT in UPSC Prelims has remained the same.
  • Yes, you have to apply separately for UPSC Prelims.
    No, you don't have to apply separately for the UPSC CSAT paper.
    The total marks of the CSAT paper are 200.
    There are 80 questions in the CSAT paper.
    Candidates have to compulsorily appear for both the papers in UPSC Prelims.
    The selection process of UPSC has three stages - Prelims, Mains and Interview.
    The UPSC Prelims has 2 objective papers - General Studies I and General Studies II/ CSAT.
    The UPSC Mains will have 9 theoretical papers.
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