UPSC Civil Services Prelims Exam GS Paper-II, popularly known as CSAT is a qualifying paper and a candidate only needs to score 33% marks in CSAT Paper to qualify the Prelims exam. However, as we all are well aware of the unpredictability of UPSC, this paper should not be over-looked. Introduced in UPSC Civil Services 2011 Prelims exam, the CSAT paper had an untroubled syllabus and exam pattern. But with each year the difficulty level of questions is increasing, there is no set pattern followed to frame the paper as each year comes with a distinct level of questions. To help the UPSC Civil Services 2021 exam aspirants get through this qualifying exam, we have suggested important steps and tricks to plan your study for the CSAT paper.
UPSC Civil Services (Prelims) 2021 - CSAT Syllabus
Before beginning your preparation it is necessary that you go through the syllabus for the CSAT paper. The CSAT paper syllabus is broadly divided into the following categories:
- Reading Comprehension
- Interpersonal skills including communication skills;
- Logical reasoning and analytical ability
- Decision making and problem-solving ability
- General mental ability
One of the most tricky areas of CSAT paper is comprehension while Basic numeracy, General Mental Ability, and Logical reasoning are of higher difficulty and may take time to solve if not practiced. Given the uncertainty of the CSAT paper and the low cut-off, aspirants can follow the below-mentioned tricks to qualify the exam.
Tips to Prepare for the UPSC IAS Prelims CSAT Paper
Devote your maximum time for the preparation of your GS Paper I but allot a one hour slot for the preparation of GS Paper-II I;e CSAT paper. As compared to Paper I, the CSAT is defined and can easily be prepared if you dedicate one hour for its preparation daily.
★ Identify your Weakest Area - For identifying your weakest subject, you can solve previous year papers of UPSC Civil Service Exams. This will not only help you in the practice but also know your strong and weak areas.
★ Time Management - While attempting the practice papers it is necessary that you take into consideration the time you spend in solving each question. One should practice more to reduce the average time spent on solving a question.
★ Identify your Strong Subjects - It is recommended that once a candidate knows his strong subjects, he/she should solve questions from that section first. This will not only help them feel confident about their preparation but also assess their performance and not panic if stuck on a tricky question.
Strategy to Prepare Comprehension Section
Even though the comprehension asked in CSAT paper is of Moderate level, aspirants end up losing 30-40 precious marks in the comprehension section which makes all the difference in ‘Being Selected’ OR ‘preparing again for next year’.
★ Make Reading a Part of Your Day
The best way to prepare for the comprehension section is to read a lot.
- Read the Editorial Section of the Newspaper daily.
- Weekly Magazines Kurukshetra or Yojana preferably
- Watch debates on LSTV, RSTV This will help improve your language skills
Read the same with utmost sincerity and attention until you are able to get the meaning of the editorial completely. It can be the vocabulary of the editorials, their complexity or subject matter that may be difficult to understand but the regular and sincere effort will make help in solving comprehension.
★ Mark The Keywords in Comprehension
The CSAT paper has a number of comprehension passages. Hence it is necessary to manage the time and solve each of them in the minimum time possible. The trick to this is to find the keywords of the comprehension. These keywords lie in each question. Before reading the passage, it is recommended that the aspirants go through the questions first and mark the keywords in the question. Hence, it becomes easier to solve each question when you identify these keywords while reading the passage.
★ Enhance Your Vocabulary
Build your vocabulary by reading as much as you can. This is a sure-shot way to score well because you will better understand the passage. Practice has no substitute. Practice reading comprehension from previous year UPSC question papers to gain confidence and pace. Also, learn new idioms and phrases to upgrade your vocabulary.