CSAT paper syllabus and analysis

INTRODUCTION- CSAT paper syllabus and analysis 

UPSC introduced the CSAT paper in 2011. Earlier there was an optional subject objective type paper in preliminary examination and a common GS paper. The basic objective was to check the innate ability of students and to provide a common evaluation standard. Post 2015 the CSAT paper had been made qualifying.


  • Paper consists of 80 questions each carrying 2.5 marks.
  • One has to score 33% to qualify the exam.
  • Negative marking- 1/3rd of the marks allotted to the questions will be deducted for every incorrect answer.
  • Duration- 2 hours
  • The qualifying nature and the level X standard questions in CSAT mean that serious candidates do not need to memorise or go through multiple books.


1.Logical Reasoning and analytical reasoning

    • Alphanumeric series
    • Reasoning Analogies
    • Artificial Language
    • Blood Relations
    • Calendars
    • Cause and Effect
    • Clocks
    • Coding-Decoding
    • Critical path
    • Cubes and cuboids
    • Data Sufficiency
    • Decision Making
    • Deductive Reasoning/Statement Analysis
    • Dices
    • Directions
    • Embedded Images
    • Figure Matrix
    • Input-Output
    • Mirror and Water Images
    • Odd One Out
    • Picture Series and Sequences
    • Paper Folding
    • Puzzles
    • Pattern Series and Sequences
    • Order & Ranking
    • Seating Arrangements
    • Shape Construction
    • Statement and Assumptions
    • Statement and Conclusions
    • Syllogism

2.Maths and Basic Numeracy

    • Number system
    • HCF and LCM
    • Basic Algebra
    • Fraction
    • Percentage
    • Simple interest and compound interest
    • Average
    • Ratio and proportion
    • Chain rule
    • Time, work and wages
    • Profit, loss and discount
    • Time and Distance
    • Set theory, Venn diagrams

3. Data interpretation

4.Reading comprehension


  • Since the paper is qualifying in nature, so one should devote proportionate time for preparation.
  • Step 1- One should do a section wise analysis of  the previous year question papers.
  • Step 2- Select your resources for each section.
  • Step 3- Practice is the only key. Devote at least 1 hour daily.
  • Step 4- Attempt as many full length mock tests as possible. It would help in self evaluation and time management during the exam.


  • McGraw Hill CSAT manual
  • RS Aggarwal – Quantitative  aptitude
  • Word power made easy – Norman Lewis

TREND ANALYSIS- CSAT paper syllabus and analysis 

CSAT paper syllabus and analysis

RELEVANCE in other exams:

CSAT/ Aptitude is relevant in other exams as well.

  • State PCS prelims
  • UKPCS mains – paper 7 (120/200 marks aptitude)
  • CAPF
  • CDS
  • SSC
  • RAILWAYS etc.

Oracle IAS tips/view:

  • To clear IAS prelims, you need at least 66 marks out of 200 for CSAT (GS Paper 2). The paper 2 is qualifying in nature. The merit will be decided by GS paper 1.
  • If you are thinking that scoring 66 marks out of 200 for CSAT is not a big deal, you may be mistaken.
  • We have seen many candidates who end up worrying after the exam.
  • The difficulty level of this paper is steadily increasing.
  • You need to take this paper seriously.

For Engineering and science background aspirants:

  1. Download and solve last 5 year CSAT PAPERS
  2. Try not to make mistake in the Mathematics section and the LR section. It takes less time and is scoring.
  3. Solve 7–8 mock test papers before the exam.
  4. Weak point could be the paragraphs (English comprehension) section. Practice 2–3 paragraphs (English comprehension) daily in the last few months.

For Arts and Non-science background students:

  1. Practice one hour daily as per your schedule.
  2. Focus on mathematics and DI section.
  3. Solve SSC, Other UPSC exam papers like CAPF, CDS etc.
  4. Note down all the  mathematics formulas and  logical and analytical reasoning methods.

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  • For getting detailed feedback on your answers and improve answer writing
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Hemant Bhatt
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