UPSC preliminary is the first stage of the UPSC Civil Services Exam. Unless one clears this stage, the cannot qualify for the Mains or the Interview for the exam. The scores of the Prelims are not the only criteria for clearing the Civil Services Exam, but the combined scores of the three exams that decide the overall score of a candidate.

In this article, read about the CSAT books for Prelims that can help the candidate prepare for the exam, and find a preparation strategy that can be useful for candidates who are not so familiar with the exam or are dependent on self-study for the UPSC exam.

CSAT Books for UPSC Prelims

The Civil Service Aptitude Test, introduced in 2011, is one of the papers of UPSC Prelims examination. The first part of the exam is known as General Studies Paper-I that tests candidates on their general knowledge on various subjects listed for the exam, while General Studies Paper-II or CSAT tests the reasoning ability, analytical skills, and aptitude of the candidates.

Also Read: UPSC CSAT Exam Pattern and Marking Scheme 

Important Books and Resources

Books/ Study Sources Author/ Publication
Cracking the CSAT Paper-2 Arihant Experts
TMH Manual Paper 2-CSAT McGraw Hill
Analytical Reasoning M.K. Pandey
A Modern Approach to Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning R.S. Aggarwal
Unique Quintessence of General Studies Paper II CSAT for UPSC Civil Services Preliminary J.K. Chopra
The Mantra of CSAT Paper II Gautam Puri
Concise CSAT for GS Paper II Madhukar Bhagat
IAS Prelims 22 Years General Studies Topic-wise Solved Papers Disha Experts/ Vishal Publications
Yojana Magazine
Kurukshetra Magazine
CSAT Essentials 2018 Paper II Dr Manish Ranjan
News and Current Affairs The Hindu and Indian Express

UPSC CSAT Preparation Strategy

In order to crack the exam in your first attempt, you can follow the given preparation strategy.

Evaluate Your Weak Areas

Take a previous year’s question paper, and solve it. Evaluate your answers to understand the areas you lack in, like Mathematics, or reasoning, or verbal abilities, and then make up a list of the concepts that you need to work on first.


Pick up newspapers daily and read the editorial sections regularly. This would help you enhance your English language and vocabulary. If you don’t want to spend much time reading, you can watch news channels in English or government channels like Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha TV and note down some important keywords for your vocabulary and current affairs.

Also Read: 5 Non-Fiction Books You Must Read Before You Even Think of UPSC

Mental Ability

This section of the exam tests the basic Mathematics of the candidates. You can start by understanding the concepts from NCERT books until class X and practice the questions from mock papers and previous papers.


You can refer to some books on Ethics to understand how you’re supposed to answer the questions. It would advisable to not depend on your own opinions for the ethics questions, and instead, understand what kind of answers are expected from the candidates.


The CSAT paper for the exam is a qualifying paper and a minimum of 33% in the exam is needed to clear the Prelims. While the exam may not be tough for some people, it is advised that they don’t take it lightly. If you think you don’t need much time for the paper, prepare for the GS Paper I when you begin your preparation, and then move on to CSAT about two months before the exam and practice the paper every day. For more such engaging content for UPSC content, keep watching this space.

Also Read : Power of an IAS Officer: What does an IAS Officer Do? Check-out Everything in Detail

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CSAT Books for UPSC: An Effective Strategy for UPSC Prelims CSAT Preparation
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CSAT Books for UPSC: An Effective Strategy for UPSC Prelims CSAT Preparation
How to prepare for CSAT Prelims? What strategy to adopt for UPSC Prelims preparation? What are the important books for CSAT?
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UPSC Pathshala
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