How to Prepare For CSAT UPSC 2022 – Best Strategies and Tips

how to prepare for csat upsc

UPSC CSE Prelims comprises two papers, namely GS Paper 1 and GS Paper 2(i.e. CSAT).

CSAT Paper is equally important in UPSC Civil Services Exam as GS Paper 1. It is counted for merit ranking and is of qualifying nature.

To be eligible for the UPSC Mains, candidates are required to score a minimum of 33% marks in CSAT Paper. That simply means aspirants of UPSC have to focus on GS Paper 2 if they are weak in it.

It doesn’t require studying as much as what is required for the preparation of GS Paper 1. In this article let us discuss how to prepare for CSAT UPSC.


CSAT Syllabus

1 Comprehension
2 Interpersonal skills including communication skills
3 Logical reasoning and analytical ability
4 Decision-making and problem-solving
5 General mental ability
6 Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) (Class X level);
Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency, etc. -Class X level)
CSAT Syllabus

UPSC CSAT Paper Pattern & Marking Scheme

  1. The UPSC CSAT paper comprises 80 questions and the time designated for the paper is 2 hours.
  2. A total of 2.5 marks are given for each correct answer in the CSAT, for a total of 200.
  3. If a candidate chooses an incorrect answer, 1/3rd of the total marks allotted to that question will be subtracted from your total score.
  4. There are no penalty points associated with questions that are not attempted.


Pick a book that can cover a section of the CSAT. These books will have everything you need to succeed. They contain plenty of practice questions.

  1. GS Manual Paper-II – TMH Publications
  2. Cracking the CSAT Paper-2 – Arihant
  3. Concise CSAT by Madhukar Bhagat – TMH Publications

CSAT Preparation Strategy Tips

Since CSAT is qualifying by nature, learn how to prepare for CSAT UPSC with the strategies listed below:

  1. Know the syllabus: Since UPSC Prelims serves the first elimination round and the success rate is not more than 3%, it is required to know the syllabus before starting preparation of GS Paper 2(i.e. CSAT). Make a schedule according to that so that you won’t skip any portion.

  2. Identify the weak areas: Solve the previous year question papers (at least 1) first. This will help you to know whether you are able to solve the CSAT paper or not. Also, this will enable you to analyze your weak and strong areas. Henceforth proceed with your preparation of CSAT with your weak areas.

  3. Time Management: While solving a previous year’s CSAT Paper, note down the time you spent solving it. This will help you to know how much time you take in solving one paper and thereby focus on efficient time management. With practice, one can minimize the average time for solving the CSAT Paper of UPSC Prelims.

  4. Hold your strength: While solving a CSAT Paper, try to solve those areas first which are your strength. This will not only maintain your confidence but also boost your performance and reduce your panic level. Afterward, move to the other portion that is left to solve. In other words, solve the questions from easy to difficult ones.

  5. Solve Mock exams & Previous Year Papers: The UPSC CSAT can make or break your success at the preliminary stage of the Civil Service Examination. Practicing the UPSC CSAT mock exams will give you an edge over other candidates. A mock paper is specially designed for the UPSC civil service exam 2022 and is designed with a negative marking and qualifying nature. You can solve these tests to enhance your speed and accuracy.

    It is also essential to practice reading comprehension and data interpretation. Make a habit of solving previous years’ papers as well as sample papers of CSAT weekly or daily. This will keep you on track for qualifying UPSC Prelims.

  6. Practice from the book: Tata Mc Graw Hill publishes a CSAT manual, and though some are more useful than others, the CSAT Manual is by far the most popular. If your score is below 100 or you’re considering revision stuff for CSAT, this manual should be your first stop. All topics are comprehensively detailed in this book. This will allow you to practice and review each topic in an expedient amount of time.
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How To Cover Math Portion

For UPSC GS Paper II go through the mathematics book of classes 6 to 10. The questions in this section are not very hard but if ignored, will act as a barrier to your CSAT performance.

Basically, go through the books and clear your concepts. This will hardly take much time if you study seriously as you have already studied all of this in your school days.

Practice as many questions as you can about logical reasoning, analytical ability, data interpretation, and many more. Never step back from practice as practice makes you perfect for CSAT Preparation.

How To Cover Comprehension Part

Unfold The Complexity Of Comprehension

Read newspapers, weekly magazines, etc. which will improve your understanding level along with reading.

Make reading a habit. This will help you to understand the meaning of articles (which may be complex in nature) and you will be able to understand what the author is conveying through his/her article.

In short, reading will:

  1. Improve your vocabulary
  2. Help you to extract the actual meaning
  3. Increase your reading speed
  4. Minimize the time consumed in understanding a given article

Keywords, An Important Part Of Comprehension

Before commencing to read the comprehension, go through the question first and underline the keywords. As keywords play a vital role in answering comprehension questions in CSAT Paper. Then identify such keywords in a passage.

This will become easier for you to solve the question at a faster pace in UPSC.

How To Break The Complexity Of Comprehension?

  1. Reading: Make a habit of reading newspaper columns, magazines, etc. This will not only improve your vocabulary but also improve your English and enable you to consume less time in understanding the comprehension.

    In other words, it will improve your comprehension skills. This will save much time from understanding each statement of comprehension in the CSAT Paper. It will ultimately help you to finish your paper on time.

  2. Building a vocabulary: While reading newspaper columns or magazines keep a dictionary with you so that you can quickly make a view of hard words. This will improve your vocabulary. Henceforth there will be less probability that you come across such words that you are not familiar with in CSAT Paper.

  3. Analyzing its actual meaning: When your vocabulary, as well as understanding level, is better, then you’ll be able to unfold the meaning of the passage asked in CSAT. When you are able to analyze the actual meaning of the passage asked in CSAT Paper, then you are able to solve it correctly at a faster rate.

How To Solve Comprehension?

  1. Understanding what the question is demanding: That means before commencing to read a passage, read the question first. This will enable you to understand what you have to search for in a passage. This will save enough time as if you read the passage then go through the question and again come back to the passage for the answer, which will eat up your time.

  2. Elimination method: While solving a passage in UPSC Prelims GS Paper II try to use the elimination method. In this method eliminate the option which you think is the least possible to be correct. Reading a passage and eliminating an option one by one will lead you to the correct option.


Don’t take CSAT Paper lightly as it holds min of 33% marks. This means skipping this part will create a problem for you to qualify for UPSC Prelims.

This paper creates a difference between “Pass a UPSC Prelims” or “will appear for the UPSC Prelims next time“.

With Examarly your CSAT preparation for UPSC Prelims will be hassle-free.

We hope you get the answer to how to prepare for CSAT UPSC?

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