CSAT Exam Strategy For UPSC IAS Exam By Yuvraj IAS
Best books for CSAT (GS Paper-II):
The books recommended by IAS toppers for acing the UPSC Prelims – CSAT (GS Paper II) are given below:
- CSAT Paper – 2 Manual by TMH
- Analytical Reasoning – M. K. Pandey
- Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning – R. S. Aggarwal
However, since the CSAT exam in UPSC CSE was made qualifying in 2015, candidates need to score only 33% to qualify for Mains, provided they score above the cut off in UPSC Prelims – GS Paper I.
The qualifying nature and the level X standard questions in CSAT mean that serious candidates do not need to memorize or go through multiple books.
First, all candidates should try to solve UPSC’s previous year question papers for CSAT and then decide on a preparation strategy.
CSAT marking scheme:
- The CSAT paper consists of 80 questions which the candidate has to finish in the allotted time of 2 hours only.
- Each question carries 2.5 marks in the CSAT paper making the total to 200 marks.
- Candidates must remember that there is negative marking in the CSAT paper.
- For every incorrect answer, the candidate is penalized 1/3rd of the total marks allotted to that question, i.e., 0.83 marks will be cut.
- If a question is not attempted, i.e., the candidate leaves it blank on the OMR sheet, no marks will be cut for that question.
CSAT strategy for IAS Prelims:
- Candidates should not ignore the CSAT paper thinking it is only a qualifying paper.
- If candidates feel that their general English comprehension and basic math skills are not up to the mark, they should spend a decent amount of time on the CSAT paper.
- This holds true especially for aspirants from the humanities and arts background who have not been in touch with such subjects ever since their school days.
- For those candidates who are at ease with the type of questions asked in the CSAT paper, practicing the adequate number of UPSC previous years’ question papers for CSAT will do.
- But if candidates do not practice the CSAT question papers, it would be very difficult to complete the 80 questions in the prescribed time limit of two hours.
- Remember, candidates should score at least 66 marks. If they do not qualify, even very high marks in the GS paper I will not help them clear the IAS prelims stage.
- For candidates to increase their speed in solving math questions in the CSAT paper, they can take help from certain well-used maths tricks. Refer to this article Maths Tricks to Break the CSAT Bricks for the same.
- Questions from data interpretation, logical reasoning, etc. are generally easy but if the candidate is unfamiliar with them, answering them can be a tricky affair. This is where practice becomes essential.
- Also, some of the CSAT questions are lengthy and rather time-consuming. It becomes doubly important for candidates to practice mock test papers or enroll for a reliable CSAT test series.