Know about CSAT before preparing for it
Category : CSAT
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Civil service examination is conducted every year in the last week of May to recruit aspirants for various officer categories like IAS, IPS, IFS and so on. The results of the examination will be declared in the month of August-September and the main examination will be in October. Candidates passing the main examination will attend the interview and the final results will be declared by April next year.



Civil Service examination is conducted by Union Public Service Commission for the recruitment of group-1 and group-2 officers in various streams Aspirants clearing the civil service examination will be allotted IAS, IPS, IRS etc., on merit basis.


A graduate from a recognized institution is eligible to appear for the civil service examination. There is no minimum percentage and a mere pass is sufficient to apply for the exam. The candidate can be from any stream of specialization. Age limit is 30 for general candidates, 33 for OBC and 35 for SC/ST candidates. A general candidate can appear for 4 times in total, the same is 7 times for OBC candidate and unlimited attempts within the age limit for SC/ST candidates.

Civil Service Examination Pattern:

Civil Service Examination (CSE) has three rounds of examination in total. The first round of examination is called the Preliminary examination which is now called the Civil Service Aptitude test (CSAT). This is just a filtration examination and usually the number of students who move the next round of examination will be approximately 12 times of the number of posts. Students passing the CSAT have to take the main examination which is of descriptive type and finally the selected aspirants from the main examination have to take the interview to get selected for the high profile job.


How to prepare for Civil Service Aptitude Test (CSAT)?

The old pattern of preliminary examination which consisted of a general studies paper and an optional subject is now replaced with CSAT with two common papers. The first paper will be general studies and the second paper will be the CSAT paper consisting of aptitude and English in general.
General Studies for CSAT:
Aspirants should keep in mind that this is general studies and not general knowledge. General knowledge will be a part of the general studies paper. The General studies paper consist of the following subjects,
  •     History
  •     Indian National Movement
  •     Geography
  •     Indian Polity
  •     Economics
  •     General Sciences – Physics, Chemistry and Biology
  •     Current Affairs
  •     Environmental Ecology, Bio-Diversity, Climate change
Apart from the last topic rest of the subjects were almost the same as the previous pattern. Now the environment and ecology field has been given importance and has been included in the syllabus.
CSAT Paper – 2
  •     Interpersonal Skills
  •     Logical reasoning and Analytical ability
  •     Decision Making and problem solving
  •     General Mental ability
  •     Basic Mathematics
  •     English Comprehension.
Suggested Books for CSAT
General Studies:
History - NCERT 6th to 12th books, Spectrum Modern India guide. (Note: Indian National Movement comes in modern India)
Geography- NCERT 6th to 12th books, Certificate of physical geography by Goh Cheng Leong, TTK atlas, Orient Longman atlas.
Economics – NCERT 9th to 12th books, Pratoyogita darpan issue for Economics.
Indian Polity – Book by DD Basu or Lakshimikanth.
General Sciences – NCERT 6th to 12th.
Current Affairs – Daily newspaper preferably HINDU, weekly magazines like Frontline, Civil service examination monthly magazines like Wizard, Pratyogita darpan and India year book.


CSAT Paper-2:

For aptitude, logical reasoning, non-verbal reasoning R.S Agarwal is more than sufficient. CSAT issues are available in market with which comprehension can be practiced.

Points remember while preparing for CSAT:
  • A candidate need to prepare intensively for 5 to 6 hours or more depending on individual and his capability per day and this should be followed continuously.
  • Prepare your time table accordingly so that you cover all subjects within few months. If you are preparing for Indian polity today, then you can switch over to History or Economics the next day.
  • Read newspapers regularly. This will not only be helpful for preliminary exams, but also for main examination.
  • Allot time for revision periodically. Revision is mandatory to keep in touch with the wide range of subjects.
  • Practice the aptitude questions, comprehension etc., in paper 2 regularly and make it as a practice. Speed and accuracy plays a major role in CSAT paper 2.
Keep in mind that the preliminary examination is an objective paper and you need to prepare intensively. Have a look at the CSAT 2011 question paper to get a better idea of how the question paper is set. At present the trend is not focused on general knowledge in particular. For example they are not worried to know about who got which prize or similar to this. Having a glance at the question paper will give you brief idea about the present trend of paper. Both the papers will be for 200 mark each and top scorers will clear the preliminary examination. The marks of preliminary are not revealed as of now and this is just a filtration round and has nothing to do with the score in main examination and interview which actually decides your cadre.