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How to prepare for prelims CSAT ?

Many aspirants feel that the CSAT is a hindrance to their progress during the preparation for civil services. But they don't understand that, one needs proper planning and a clear strategy to cover the topics of CSAT. If you plan ahead and balance your efforts, you will be able to score very well in the CSAT. One must understand that- CSAT requires a good understanding and practice.

UPSC Prelims Syllabus (PDF)

Free CSAT Practice Test

How to prepare for prelims CSAT

The CSAT paper is divided into a number of sections, which can be managed according to the level of each candidate. Here are some of the major sections of the paper and the strategy to deal with them:

Comprehension and Interpersonal Skills

The Comprehension has become a primary section in all recruitments. The toughness of the question in the comprehension section can managed, after the adequate amount of practice. But aspirants must improve their basic English. Reading newspaper reports, editorials and magazines will be helpful in sharpening your reading skills. The important aspect is practising the question from the comprehension section from previous years question papers. One can also attempt passages which are easy and topics which are familiar. Make sure you should create a habit of reading and referring to dictionary.

How to Prepare for Civil Service Prelims Examination

Logical reasoning

Logical reasoning hold an important part in CSAT. The difficulty level of the reasoning section in the CSAT paper is not high for any aspirants. Generally, a candidate can solve the questions if one is aware of the types of questions in the reasoning section. In order to attempt most questions effectively, one should practice at least 50 - 60 questions every day. The candidate should understand and read about the topics, concepts which are important. But, simple reading the questions and answers will not be helpful without practicing them.


Decision making section is an important section which tests the decision making skills. Since the questions are not technical and are situation based and generic one need to practice a lot of questions. The purpose of the section is to measure the use of logic and common sense in solving of problems confronted in administration. Daily practice and solving previous year question paper will help to cross this hindrance.

Basic Numeracy & Data Interpretation

The questions on Basic numeracy in the CSAT paper will be easy, since most of them are matriculation level. Regular practice and understanding of the basic concepts helps to score better. Logical reasoning needs more practice. Practising 40-50 questions from the section is a must. In order to succeed in data interpretation one need to learn and study the concepts of statistics. One of the positive elements is that toughness of the section is not high. Most of the questions are based from data table and bar graphs. Anyone who can understand the basic concepts can attempt this questions. Candidates with good practice along with the mathematical part of the section.

Tips for preparing CSAT Exam

  • Solve 2-3 previous year questions within 2 hours.
  • Analyse your answers and improve your weak areas.
  • Allot around 10–15 hours/month.
  • Take regular tests to measure your performance.
  • Time management is utmost important of CSAT.
  • Solve healthy and mock tests with other candidates.
  • Always practice the same book and never several books on CSAT.

UPSC CSAT Subject Wise Breakup

Year Maths & Basic Numeracy Logical & Analytical Reasoning Decision Making Reading Comprehension Data Interpretation
2015 30 18 0 30 02
2016 31 21 0 28 0
2017 28 22 0 30 0
2018 18 22 0 26 14
2019 22 18 0 30 0
2020 39 10 0 25 1

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