What is the Importance of CSAT in UPSC Prelims?

CSAT (Civil Services Aptitude Test) refers GK test, which includes logical reasoning, analytical ability, problem solving and basic numeric ability, comprehension, interpersonal skills, and English language skills. The minimum percentage to qualify for the UPSC prelims exam is 33%. More specifically, the marks play a vital role in the UPSC cut-offs instead of the merit. Before appearing for the CSAT, one must solve the previous year’s papers and mock papers for their betterment. Though it has been heard that the ClearIAS offers the last year’s UPSC questions retake Exam on CSAT in a timely manner. Only four months or even less time is required to provide for the UPSC prelims exam.

Reasons to study CSAT?

The CSAT paper is qualifying in nature. As the syllabus is quite easy compared to other papers, one must not take it too casually and give sufficient time to prepare for it thoroughly. While providing the UPSC prelims exam, one must score a minimum of 66marks out of 200, and general candidates must score 98 marks out of 200 for the CSAT paper. Clearing the CSAT Paper with the passing marks is most important to appear in the MAINS Exams, as it is the beginning step of the UPSC. There is a change in the nature of CSAT. It is getting more difficult day by day. The score does not matter for the prelims, but the passing marks do.

What is the Exam pattern of the UPSC paper?

The CSAT paper includes 80 MCQs and objective-type questions, which the candidate is supposed to complete within 2 hours. Each question is marked with 2.5 marks, which totals 200 marks. For every incorrect answer, the candidate gets a negative marking. Similarly, if the candidate does not attempts a question, he does not get any marks. 

Sometimes the paper gets so tricky and hard that scoring 100 marks gets even more difficult. The English comprehension of class 10th level got replaced with the general mental ability test and comprehension. The number of questions in comprehension, general mental ability, reasoning, and maths got higher in level with low cutoffs. 

So the paper can be much longer than the previous and past exams. The paper, for two hours, consists of Interpersonal skills that is communication skills; logical reasoning with analytical ability, decision-solving with problem-solving skills, general knowledge; basic numerics, which includes numbers and their relations and their order of magnitude; data interpretation which contains charts, graphs, tables, etc.

Tips and tricks to prepare for the Exam

Two papers that are GS paper 1 & paper 2 (also known as CSAT) are considered as the first level for appearing in the UPSC CSE. The candidate must provide more time to the GS than CSAT. But must also have touch with the CSAT preparation. 

While preparing for the Exam, one must solve at least 4 to 5 questions per day, mainly applicable for tricky questions or comprehensions. In the last month, before appearing for the Exam, one must invest their time in preparing for the CSAT Paper after the GS preparation has been done. 

One must also go for preparing the mock test papers for their betterment. The UPSC consists of too many questions. The candidate must work hard on their weak points. It is recommended that the candidate must go for the comprehension strategies to crack difficult and tricky questions. One must take 5 minutes to read and understand all the questions given on the paper and start solving the paper with the easiest questions.


According to the successful candidates and toppers, one must practice the right model questions of past year’s papers on a serious note. The ClearIAS started providing a retake examination option for UPSC prelims. It is intended to organise only to help the candidate analyse their performance and skills and get the knowledge about the reasons behind the questions asked. It also saves one’s time and increases their marks.

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