Since CSAT is of qualifying nature, it means you have to score just 33% to pass the paper, which means you have to time-manage your strategy for this paper in such a way that its preparation is neither neglected nor goes too far that the GS Paper-I preparation is affected which actually builds the merit.

The full form of CSAT is Civil Services Aptitude Test and its objective is to judge the candidates on their reading, analytical and reasoning skills. Some students have started to find it a little challenging because of the increasing difficulty level and changing trend, but by following a proper strategy, it is still not that hard to crack.

The strategy would be helpful for those struggling as well as those who need only some improvements. For simpler understanding, let’s divide it into steps-


Step-1: Take CSAT actual seriously


  • There are actually candidates who have failed to pass this paper and the majority of the reasons involved are either the carelessness or inability to assess the changing trend of the paper and solving strategy required respectively.


  • There is no greater disappointment than finding out that you failed prelims because of a qualifying paper despite scoring higher in GS 1.


Step-2: Know the pattern of the exam


  • Every right answer is rewarded 2.5 marks.
  • For Every wrong one-third marks will be deducted.
  • The questions are of objective type.
  • No marks are deducted for unattempted questions.


Step-3: Analyze the topic-wise distribution from Previous years.


Reading comprehension is one of the most difficult sections of the CSAT paper and analyzing the above chart, luckily, its weightage has remained the same, though Quantitative aptitude has gained prominence over the years and the reasoning section is now at its minimum.

Seeing the analysis and changing trends, it would be wrong to say that preparing just for a particular section would still be enough to clear it but it would be best to say that pick and choose your easy and scoring topics and leave the difficult ones.

Step-4: Assess your level before beginning the preparation

  • It is important to know your strengths and weaknesses in relation to the CSAT paper.


  • Solve the previous year’s paper and check it to analyze your weak areas. If your score is above 100 marks, you need minimal to no preparation as you are well above the qualifying marks.


  • However, if your marks fall below 100 marks, you should identify the weak areas, start working on them immediately along with looking for topics that can be easily prepared.

Step-5: If comfortable, go for a comprehensive CSAT Manual or specific books

  • GS Manual Paper-II by TMH
  • Concise CSAT by Madhukar Bhagat – TMH Publications
  • Cracking the CSAT Paper 2 – Arihant Publications
  • Word Power – Normal Lewis
  • Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning- R S Aggrawal
  • Analytical Reasoning- M K Pandey
  • Quantitative Aptitude- R S Aggrawal

Step-6: Plan your schedule months before Prelims

You can either keep it every Sunday for practicing the concepts and learning important topics or whatever way you feel like, but be regular in your approach

Thinking that you will do altogether when you’ll be done with GS-1 or just some days before prelims, then you are already making your Prelims preparation doubtful.



Step-7: If not books (and financially sound), then buy a dedicated course

This way you will have your lectures planned and will get into a habit of maintaining regularity.

Step-8: Practice Mocks to develop your strategy

Step-9: Prepare a repository of formulas for last minute revision or you may refer to OnlyIAS CSAT Booklet.pdf

After covering all the important points related to CSAT, it is also important to get reminded of the fact that the syllabus is big in itself and similarly your motivation should also be. Remaining steady and well-disciplined is the necessity. You don’t need to over-exhaust yourself, but just remember to find a way to revise. Without revision you’re not even halfway through. Don’t let it become monotonous, as then you will not be able to enjoy. Get up and plan it the moment you finish with this article.

Go bit by bit, day after day and the fact that you are not where you want to be, should be enough motivation to keep going until it’s achieved!

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