The Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) is an important segment of the IAS exam. CSAT assesses applicants’ general aptitude, with a minimum qualifying rate of 33% of overall points. Applicants are often perplexed by the syllabus and plans for the IAS aptitude exam. It should be noted that once a student receives at least 33 percent in CSAT, his or her GS paper will not be assessed.

While this paper is merely qualifying in type, its place is significant because it serves as a gateway to the UPSC Mains stage of the exams. While the syllabus for aptitude tests for civil services is almost identical to that of exams such as the CAT, NMAT, XAT, and others, there is a gap in difficulty ranges.

In this blog, you will learn some strategies to crack the UPSC aptitude test of the IAS exam.

What is the Civil Service Aptitude Test?

CSAT, also known as GS II, is the 2nd paper of the Prelims test, which was launched in 2011. The aim of the CSAT was to test applicants’ general knowledge and aptitude abilities. The following are the key subjects included in this paper:

  • Quantitative Ability.
  • Verbal Ability and Reading comprehension.
  • Reasoning.
  • Data Interpretations.

How to Prepare for Aptitude Test?

We encounter a number of adversaries while studying for the UPSC Prelims test. Much of the time, it will be General Studies Paper II-CSAT, and in some cases, it will be a friend who is also studying for the same test.

Follow the below IAS exam preparation tips to score well in the UPSC aptitude test.

Remember the Exam Pattern

The structure of the CSAT exam should be known before preparing for the UPSC aptitude examination. It’s a 200-point paper with 80 questions, with 2.5 points awarded for each right answer and 0.83 points deducted for each wrong answer. The CSAT paper has a total time limit of 2 hours.

Also Read: How to Concentrate on Studies for UPSC Exams? Here’re 12 Powerful Tips to Boost Your Preparation

Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses

The applicant will determine how much time he or she has to bring into their training by analysing their positive and weak areas. The previous year’s papers can be picked up and solved. This can assist them in determining their level of aptitude and how to improve their vulnerable areas.

Give Importance to Basics

It is said that a solid base is needed for a building to remain upright. The fundamental principles are critical for exam performance in any subject. As a result, candidates should schedule their training in such a manner that they focus on the fundamentals of the subjects they find challenging first, and then practise shortcut approaches to deal with them such that they might answer as many questions as possible in the shortest amount of time and the highest level of precision.

Studying Daily

Studying for a brief period of time on a daily basis yields greater results than studying for long periods of time only on weekends. As a result, an applicant taking the exam must devote at least 4 to 6 hours per week to aptitude. That could be 2 hours every other day or 1 hour each day. This will allow candidates to stay in contact with concepts on a regular basis, and they will not have to run over the same concepts over and over again as the exam approaches.

Proper Time Management

Candidates must keep track of the time at all times. When solving problems at home, one can keep the time limit in mind as well. The writing exam attempt should be split into 3 rounds

  • Round 1- These questions are simple to answer and can be completed in a matter of seconds.
  • Round 2- These problems are a little difficult, but they can be answered if the examinee can devote a little more time to them after Round 1.
  • Round 3- These are the more challenging questions that candidates can attempt if they have time after completing Rounds 1 and 2. It is important to remember that in order to complete all three rounds of a CSAT document, one must be easy. The secret here is pace and precision, which can be achieved by using shortcut techniques, Vedic mathematics for quick measurements, and speed multipliers.

Also Read: How to Balance Optional and General Studies to Clear UPSC? Here’s the Way to Ace the Balancing Game

English and Reasoning

  • English Comprehension accounts for 40-45 percent of the questions on this test, so it’s important to pay attention to it. Reading newspapers and standard books would improve aspirants’ morale and increase their performance percentages if they are not confident in this region.
  • Apart from English Comprehension, Data Interpretation is the second most relevant subject in the curriculum, accounting for 10-15% of all questions. The difficulty level in this field is extremely low, and X Standard expertise is all that is needed.
  • Although without much experience, logical and verbal reasoning is an environment where one can perform well.

Take Mock Tests

Taking Prelims-based Mock Tests is beneficial in this situation and should be taken seriously. Students take mock exams to get a feel for the final exam. Mock exams include a practise run for most students who are about to take a big exam for the first time in life.

Well before the actual competitive test, putting the student in the same position and experiencing the same level of anxiety can instil some self-analytical ability and trust in the student. In reality, Mock Tests tend to reduce pre-exam anxiety because the applicant has already taken a version of the exam, so he will be more patient on the final exam.


Doing something almost right and doing something entirely right is the contrast between winning and losing. Persistence breeds trust and a positive mental outlook combined with clear action breed success. The civil service needs an applicant with a clear vision and a strong work ethic.

Modern administrative processes are subjected to many pushes and pulls from various angles, and the problems are genuinely complex in nature. When the essence of tasks changes, the bureaucratic system must evolve in order to successfully fulfil its functions and obligations.

The UPSC is constantly working to strengthen the screening process, which is why the Civil Services Examination syllabus has been revised three times in the last decade.

Also Read: What are the Toughest Questions asked in UPSC CSE Interviews? Check to be Prepared for the PI Round

How to Prepare for Civil Services Aptitude Test? Learn Some Effective Preparation Tips Here
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How to Prepare for Civil Services Aptitude Test? Learn Some Effective Preparation Tips Here
CSAT can be the most difficult and time-consuming section of a UPSC exam. But it is not impossible to crack. Learn some preparation tips in this blog to help yourself. Click here to read on.
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UPSC Pathshala
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