How to Conquer Civil Services Aptitude Test Paper (GS CSAT Paper II)?

While preparing for the UPSC Prelims examination, we come across several enemies. Most of the time it will be General Studies Paper II-CSAT and sometimes for some people, it will be their companion who is preparing for the same examination. Why should you compete and conquer your friend rather than competing with yourself and polish your knowledge? Why are we not taking any effective measures to beat him? Because we don’t know who the real foe is- whether it is the subject or our approach. This article will try its best to address this fact.

By attempting the CSAT Mock Tests now, candidates will better identify their strengths and weaknesses!!

 The following links given below will also be of immense help in helping the candidates exam in their preparation:

Know Exam pattern: General Studies Paper-II (CSAT)

Civil services examination is known as the toughest exam conducted in India by UPSC (Union Public Service Commission). There are three steps where an eminent panel of Civil servants selects the efficient candidates to the prestigious Indian government services such as IAS, IPS, etc.

The first stage is the Civil Services Preliminary Examination consisting of two papers- General Studies Paper I and General Studies Paper-II (CSAT) of 200 marks each. General Studies Paper I comprises 100 questions with each question carrying 2 marks each while General Studies Paper-II has 80 questions with each question carrying 2.5 marks each. The question will be of multiple choice and objective type. General Studies Paper II- CSAT is a qualifying paper with minimum qualifying marks fixed at 33%. Even though you only need to score 33% marks in CSAT Paper- II, it can become a little difficult because of the unpredictable nature of questions.

How to Conquer Civil Services Aptitude Test Paper

Why has CSAT emerged as a villain?

  • Contrastingly in 2014, General Studies Paper-II (CSAT) UPSC increased the difficulty level and number of Comprehensions, Basic numeracy, General Mental Ability, and Logical Reasoning.
  • Decision-making questions which were of 20 marks and Class X level English comprehension questions were removed.
  • Time-consuming nature of questions and lengthier paper

Know your Syllabus: General Studies Paper-II (CSAT)

  • Comprehension
  • Interpersonal skills including communication skills
  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability
  • Decision making and problem-solving
  • General mental ability
  • Basic numeracy (numbers and their relation, order of magnitude etc. of Class X level)
  • Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc of Class X level)

How to crack General Studies Paper-II (CSAT)

1. Comprehension

Comprehension has become an integral part of every competitive examination today. The Structure of General Studies Paper II (CSAT) 2013 was such that the exam contained 8 questions from the Comprehension part. Thus, it is an important part of the CSAT paper, and must not be left.

Reading and understanding the passage is an art. Most of the reading comprehension questions were inferential in nature and required a thorough reading of the passage. Candidates need to develop a reading habit to troubleshoot the problem that arises in comprehension. Reading newspaper editorials, magazines like Frontline, Yojana is more than enough to sharpen your reading skills. One has to read in detail with a sheer mind. If you are not able to get the meaning of the article completely, make a resolve not to move from the same until it is done.

Reading with understanding consumes time. But if one is practising it daily then he can increase the reading speed with understanding. While reading a passage, underline the keywords, new terminology etc which may help while answering questions.

 The vocabulary, the complexity of articles, reading speed, extracting the actual meaning and subject-matter are the common bugs which make comprehension a difficult area. At this point, the dictionary plays a vital role. Develop a habit of reading/ referring to a Dictionary and applying it in daily life conversation. If you have a smartphone, install a dictionary that makes reference very easy.

Knowing a passage and extracting the actual meaning is another issue. One has to understand the given passage objectively and thoroughly. When you read an article, read it with a preconception and examine carefully to extract the essence of the passage and understand the author what to tell us. This will ease the process of answering the questions like-‘Important message conveyed by the passage’, ‘With reference to the passage, the following assumptions have been made’, ‘The author’s central focus is on’ etc.

2. Interpersonal skills including communication skills

Interpersonal skills are the skills we use every day to communicate and interact with other people, both individually and in groups. Communication Skills, Listening Skills, Stress, Management, Assertiveness, Decision Making, Problem Solving, Verbal Communication and Non-Verbal Communication are the basic Interpersonal skills.

3. Logical reasoning

The level of difficulty of the reasoning section in the CSAT paper is not high. A candidate can solve the questions if one is familiar with the types of questions in the reasoning section. There is no need to search for books exclusively for logical reasoning. Daily practice and solving previous year question papers will help you to crack this barrier.

4. General mental ability, Basic Numeracy & Data Interpretation

This is the area where most of the candidates feel uncomfortable especially if they are not good at mathematics. But the reality is you need not master mathematics to crack the CSAT. The questions on Basic numeracy in the CSAT paper are of the Class X Level. According to the trend, it is very important to give special attention to this area. The previous year question paper clearly shows that the scrapped English Comprehension (Class X level) questions have been replaced with Comprehension and General Mental Ability questions. Daily practice can only bring you success. For some questions, you can even apply common logic to solve the question. Understanding of the basic concepts and formulas will enable me to crack this section. Refer to a book which covers the topics comprehensively like Quantitative Aptitude by R. S. Aggarwal, Cracking CSAT- Arihant Publications or GS Manual TMH. Knowing the principles and concepts of statistics are enough to deal with the data interpretation section.

Throughout your study ensure that you are giving enough practice time and attention for General Studies Paper II. The best strategy would be to solve 10-15 questions daily starting from now, especially complex comprehensions. Along with that start solving the previous year question paper also. Start loving CSAT; if you can love your enemy, you already have victory.

Get more UPSC related preparation materials and articles by visiting the links given in the table below:

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