# 29 GENERAL STUDIES 2 (CSAT): Pattern and Syllabus

What is CSAT? How many marks does it cover? Should I study for CSAT first?

CSAT stands for 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. UPSC preliminary round has two compulsory papers that are conducted on the same day via offline mode. To qualify for the mains written exam one has to clear both the papers. Paper 2 of the preliminary exam is qualifying in nature. You must score 33% in it. Each paper is of 2 hours duration worth 200 marks.

What is the pattern of CSAT? What is the syllabus of CSAT?

CSAT is of objective type consisting of 80 Multiple choice questions with 1/3rd negative marking for each. The syllabus precisely consist of :

  • Comprehension
  • Interpersonal skills including communication skills
  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability
  • Decision-making and problem-solving
  • General mental ability
  • Numerical ability 

How should I prepare for CSAT? How much time should I give for its preparation?

Although CSAT is of qualifying nature many tend to ignore it. But it is equally important to qualify for the mains exam.

There is no correct strategy which exist to prepare for the exam but those who are beginner must follow the following basic approach:

  • To prepare for CSAT you must revise and follow the pattern of previous year preliminary papers. This will give you an insight on the type and level  of questions asked in the exam.
  • If you are from a banking background then you can start by practising as many mocks as you can before 1 month of the exam. you can follow a one month preparation strategy .
  • Read articles daily to improve your reading and comprehension skills 
  • Thoroughly revise the syllabus for the exam.
  • If you are a complete beginner then prepare for every section separately 

You must understand that the CSAT paper is also about  time management while solving questions in the exam. You should not spend more than two to three minutes if you are stuck on a certain question. It is better to jump to the next question than spend extra time on one question. Time management can be learned by solving the mock tests before the exam. 

What books should I refer to for the CSAT preparation?

Previous year paper and mock are enough to help you prepare for the exam. However, if you wish to refer books you can go with following mentioned:

  • CSAT Paper – 2 Manual by TMH
  • Analytical Reasoning – M. K. Pandey
  • Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning – R. S. Aggarwal



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