What is CSAT in UPSC? Full Form, Pattern, Syllabus and CSAT Scores

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What is CSAT in UPSC?

What is CSAT in UPSC? CSAT full form is Civil Services Aptitude Test, is an integral part of the UPSC examination process.

The UPSC CSE Exam is a highly competitive exam in India that selects candidates for various civil services. The Preliminary exam has two papers, Paper 1 and Paper 2, with Paper 2 being the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT).

The CSAT (Civil Services Aptitude Test) was introduced in the year 2011 and is designed to test a candidate’s aptitude, logical reasoning, analytical ability, decision-making skills, and comprehension ability. To pass the CSAT exam, candidates are required to obtain a minimum of 33% marks.

In this article, we will provide you with a concise guide to the UPSC CSAT 2024 Exam, including CSAT Subjects, CSAT syllabus, UPSC CSAT pattern, CSAT Scores, and preparation tips to help you clear this critical exam/paper. Let’s start answering your question: What is CSAT in UPSC?

What is CSAT in UPSC? Why is it so Important?

The UPSC CSAT exam is very important for aspirants dreaming of qualifying for civil service positions in India. It evaluates their aptitude, comprehension, and analytical abilities, essential for effective administration. The importance of the UPSC CSAT Exam typically includes:

  • Determining Final Order of Merit: Both UPSC Prelims Paper-1 (General Studies Paper) and Paper-2 (CSAT Paper) were considered for the final order of merit to qualify for the UPSC mains examination.
  • Response to Candidate Objections: In response to objections from some aspirants, UPSC made CSAT a qualifying paper in 2015, altering its weightage in the ranking order.
  • Passing Requirement: Candidates must score a minimum of 33% (66 out of 200 marks) in the CSAT paper to pass the Civil Services Preliminary Examination, as per the current UPSC examination structure.
  • Eligibility for Mains Examination: Only candidates who score 66 or more in GS Paper-2 and exceed the UPSC-mandated cut-off marks in GS Paper-1 are eligible to appear for the civil services mains examination.


If we are talking about What is CSAT in UPSC.It is incomplete wothpu the discussion on UPSC CSAT Pattern.Ensure to practice regularly and refer to previous years’ question papers to get a better understanding of the exam pattern and types of questions asked. Below we have stated UPSC CSAT Pattern 2024:

UPSC CSAT Pattern 2024UPSC CSAT Pattern Details
Total Marks200
ModePen and Paper
Duration2 Hours
Number of Questions80
Negative Marking1/3rd of the Alloted Mark deducted per Negative Answer
Qualifying Marks33% or 66.67 Marks

UPSC CSAT Scores – Minimum Qualifying Marks

The Union Public Service Commission has fixed the minimum qualifying marks for the UPSC CSAT paper at 33%. The paper is worth 200 marks, and candidates must score at least 66 marks to pass.

CSAT Exam Strategy

Although passing the UPSC Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) requires preparation, you can succeed if you use the appropriate strategy and methods. Find out more with this simple-to-follow strategy created with UPSC CSAT Preparation in mind.

Study MethodDescription
Join CSAT CourseIncrease the pace of your learning through structured courses.
Join Prelims Test SeriesPractice consistently with mock tests and assessments.
YouTube Classes on CSATDeepen understanding and access to a wider range of questions.
Read Books on CSAT and Solve More QuestionsAccess to a wider range of questions can increase the chances of getting the questions right during the exam.

CSAT Subjects – Detailed Syllabus

It is crucial to understand the CSAT syllabus topic-wise to avoid encountering unfamiliar question types that may cause a mental block during the exam. The following are the CSAT subjects that an aspirant must cover:

Interpersonal skillsLogical reasoning
Decision-making and problem-solvingGeneral mental ability
Basic numeracy and Data interpretation  

CSAT Syllabus: Maths

The CSAT detailed syllabus Maths includes fundamental arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and statistics. Proficiency in these areas is very important for scoring well in the quantitative section of the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT).

CSAT Syllabus: Reasoning

The CSAT detailed syllabus reasoning syllabus includes topics like logical reasoning, analytical ability, data interpretation, and decision-making skills. Mastery of these areas is very important for success in the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) conducted by the UPSC.

Logical Reasoning & Analytical Ability (LR & AA)

Data Interpretation & Data Sufficiency (DI & DS)

CSAT Question Paper

Hope you have understood What is CSAT in UPSC. Now let us discuss the importance of CSAT Question Paper.UPSC CSAT Question Paper are a valuable tool to ace the Civil Services Examination. They provide information about the format, kinds of questions, areas of importance, and time management techniques of the test. Additionally, they give candidates a way to evaluate their development and boost self-esteem. Candidates should make tackling UPSC past year examinations a regular part of their preparation regimen by including it in their study schedule. By doing this, people increase their chances of passing this difficult exam and fulfilling their ambition to work in prominent administrative positions for the country. Let’s practice the CSAT Question Paper:

YearCSAT Question Paper
2022 CSAT Question Paper Link2022 csat paper
2021 CSAT Question Paper Link2021 csat paper
2020 CSAT Question Paper Link2020 csat paper
2019 CSAT Question Paper Link2019 csat paper
2018 CSAT Question Paper Link2018 csat paper
2017 CSAT Question Paper Link2017 csat paper
2016 CSAT Question Paper Link2016 csat paper
2015 CSAT Question Paper Link2015 csat paper
2014 CSAT Question Paper Link2014 csat paper

CSAT Trend Analysis

The UPSC CSAT (Civil Services Aptitude Test) trend analysis reveals evolving question patterns that require critical thinking, analytical skills, and comprehension. It reflects a shift towards assessing problem-solving abilities and logical reasoning rather than rote memorization. Adaptability to changing exam patterns is very important for aspirants to excel in this competitive examination.

YearMath & Basic NumeracyLogical & Analytical ReasoningReading ComprehensionDecision MakingData Interpretation

Changes in CSAT Patterns Till Now

The UPSC Preliminary stage underwent significant changes over the years, particularly regarding the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT). The below timeline shows the evolution and alterations in the CSAT within the UPSC Preliminary examination framework.

  • Before 2011, the Prelims comprised two papers: General Studies (GS) and an optional subject paper.
  • In 2010-2011, UPSC revamped the system, making both papers worth 200 marks each. The former GS Paper II transformed into the CSAT, focusing on analytical skills. \
  • Initially introduced in 2011, the CSAT paper counted similarly to GS Paper I. However, in 2014, controversy erupted, particularly among rural candidates, alleging unfairness in CSAT.
  • Responding to this, the Central Government announced in August 2014 that CSAT marks would not be counted, making it a qualifying paper with a 33% qualifying criterion from 2015 onwards. Since then, the CSAT pattern in UPSC Prelims has remained unchanged, serving as a qualifying paper with no marks counted.

CSAT Book for UPSC

The UPSC CSE Prelims CSAT Paper covers subjects like basic numeracy (up to class X), data interpretation (up to class X), decision-making, problem-solving, communication skills, general mental capacity, logical reasoning, analytical ability, and English comprehension. These subjects require excellence in both reasoning and numbers. Here, some reputed CSAT Book for UPSC are essential because they help in preparation in a shorter amount of time.

CSAT Book for UPSCKey FeaturesDirect Link to Buy
General Studies Paper II for UPSC Preliminary Examination–Thorough analysis of previous year question papers 
—Model question papers based on emerging trends 
—Accurate content developed by renowned academicians
Click Here
Analytical Reasoning by M K Pandey–Simple language
–Comprehensive coverage of analytical –reasoning topics 
–Numerous practice questions with solutions
Buy Now
Cracking the Civil Services Aptitude Test Paper II by Arihant–Covers all CSAT sections
–Detailed explanations and solutions of previous years’ question papers
–5 sample sets for additional practice
Buy Now
The Mantra of CSAT Paper II by Gautam Puri–Follows exam pattern
–Solved papers of previous years’ question papers
–Conceptual clarity with sample working exercises
Buy Now
A Modern Approach to Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning by R.S. Aggarwal–Comprehensive coverage of verbal and non-verbal reasoning
–Additional practice questions included
–Clarity in concepts
Buy Now
UPSC Previous Year Question Papers For Last 10 Years – Civil ServicesUPSC Exam Date 2023 and 2024 (Out)
How to Prepare for the Indian Foreign Service Exam 2023?Best Books for Indian Foreign Service Exam: Insights from IFS Officer and Link to Buy Books
How Many Questions in UPSC Prelims?How Many UPSC Aspirants Selected Every Year?


Is UPSC CSAT difficult?

The difficulty of UPSC CSAT varies for each candidate based on their aptitude and preparation. With thorough study and practice, candidates can overcome challenges and perform well.

How do you qualify for CSAT?

To qualify for CSAT, candidates need to achieve the minimum qualifying marks set by UPSC, which is typically 33%. It is essential to prepare comprehensively and understand the exam pattern thoroughly.

How can I pass UPSC CSAT exam?

To pass UPSC CSAT, focus on understanding the syllabus, practice regularly, and manage time effectively during the exam. Utilize study materials, solve previous year papers, and seek guidance if needed.

What is the minimum question for CSAT in UPSC?

UPSC does not specify a minimum number of questions for CSAT. However, candidates must aim to answer enough questions correctly to surpass the qualifying marks threshold, typically set at 33%.

This was all about the “ What is CSAT in UPSC?”. For more such informative blogs, check out our UPSC Exams Section, or you can learn more about us by visiting our  Indian exams page.

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