UPSC CSAT Syllabus 2022: Exam Pattern, Books & Preparation Tips

September 9, 2022

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

The Union Public Service Commission Civil Services Aptitude Test (UPSC CSAT) 2022 is a part of the preliminary exam of the Civil Services Examination (CSE). The CSAT Exam is designed to judge the analytical ability, reasoning skills and aptitude of the candidates. More importantly, it is only a qualifying paper meaning that candidates only have to clear the 33% cutoff  to clear the CSAT exam. No rank list is prepared for this paper. So, all those candidates who clear the required cutoff move to the next stage.      The official notification for the CSAT Exam was released on 2nd February 2022 by the Union Public Service Commission which provides all the necessary details about the exam. The UPSC CSAT Exam is a great career opportunity for Engineering, Medical Science, and Law students and for students holding a bachelor’s degree. Candidates who qualify for the Preliminary Examination move forward to the Mains Examination. Thereafter, candidates who ultimately qualify for the Mains Examination along with the Personal Interview stage are selected for the Civil Service Posts all over India.

UPSC CSAT Syllabus

CSAT Preliminary Exam is the first stage of evaluation by UPSC in selecting candidates for Indian Administrative, Indian Foreign Services, Indian Police, and other services for the Government of India.

UPSC Civil Service ExamPaper – I – General StudiesPaper-II – Civil Services Aptitude Test
Total number of questions10080
Total Marks200200
Type of Questions askedObjectiveObjective
Mode of examOfflineOffline
Negative Marking1/3 of total marks for question1/3 of total marks for question

The syllabus of both these papers is different.

The General Studies paper-I will have topics related to current affairs, Indian national movement and Indian History, International Relations, Climate Change, India, and its relation with the neighboring countries. Candidates should prepare about socio-economic relations India has with the neighbors and its International presence with the world economy and other countries.

General Studies Paper-II will have topics like English comprehension, decision making, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills. Candidates should prepare for logical reasoning, mental ability, and basic numeracy and data interpretation problems of class X.

Candidates can find the detailed syllabus for both papers on UPSC’s official website, also should prepare for topics covered in the syllabus from the books recommended by subject experts and exam authorities. Candidates should refer to the previous year’s exam papers for the kind of questions asked and understand the exam pattern.

Read More – How Can I Start Preparing for UPSC Civil Services

Syllabus for General Studies Paper-I

General Studies Paper I has lots of politics-based questions. The main topics that candidates must study while preparing for this exam are-

  • National and international current events
  • Basic and General sciences
  • General knowledge
  • Environmental Studies and research
  • Ecology
  • Climate Change
  • Biodiversity
  • Various social and economic developments and their effects.
  • Social and economic inclusion
  • Poverty-its causes, and effects
  • Various initiatives by social sectors
  • Our political system
  • Panchayat Raj
  • Constitution of India
  • Amendments in the Constitution of India
  • Government and its branches
  • Rights and duties of citizens
  • Policies
  • Public Support
  • Public complaints
  • Human Rights
  • Social Rights like rights of women, rights of children, etc.
  • Indian Political movement
  • Indian history of freedom
  • National and world geography. Its effect on social structure and economy.
  • Current national and international affairs in relation with India
  • Physical, economical, social democratic impact of India and its neighboring countries
  • General issues such as environmental ecology, climate change and bio-diversity
  • Indian History and national Indian movement

Syllabus for General Studies Paper-II

General Studies Paper-II tests general aptitude and reasoning skills. There are questions about the English language and grammar too for candidates. This paper mainly contains topics that are covered in class X in almost all the boards of education in India. Preparing for General Studies Paper-I is very easy. All candidates must study from class X books and guides to know previously asked questions and understand the exam pattern.

The main topics covered in this paper are-

  • English comprehension
  • Basic Maths- this includes various mathematical topics of class X level.
    1. Arithmetical questions
    2. Formula based problems
    3. LCM,HCF etc.
    4. Exponent in factorial etc.
  • “Interpersonal skills” such as
    1. Communication skills
    2. Leadership skills
    3. Critical thinking
    4. Problem-solving, etc.
  • Decision making
  • Data analysis and interpretation
    1. Graphs
    2. Tables
    3. Data based question
    4. Charts
  • The general mental ability that includes questions related to-
    1. Time and work
    2. Speed, time, and distance
    3. Venn diagram
    4. Ratios and Proportions
    5. Permutation and Combination etc.

Check out the updated Date & Notification schedule for UPSC CSAT

UPSC CSAT Exam Pattern

UPSC CSAT or Civil Service Aptitude Test has two papers. It is the preliminary exam for the civil service exams in India. Candidates need to clear both these papers. Only after clearing these two papers, they can appear for UPSC mains and a personal interview.

Before appearing in these exams, candidates must remember few things. Most important is that there are limited numbers of attempts for UPSC civil service exams. If candidates appear only for UPSC CSAT, it is counted as an attempt. Therefore, candidates should sit for this exam only when they are fully prepared.

Following are few points to help understand the exam pattern of the UPSA CSAT-

  • The UPSC CSAT exam is an offline exam.
  • UPSC CSAT has two papers- General Studies Paper I And General Studies Paper-II
  • Both papers have objective questions.
  • Each paper is of total 200 marks.
  • Candidates need to clear both these papers, separately.
  • First paper General Studies paper I have 100 questions. Each question is of 2 marks.
  • The second paper General Studies Paper-II has 8 questions and each question is 2.5 marks.
  • These are objective-based papers; therefore each question has 4 options.
  • There is a negative marking in these questions.
  • Each candidate will get a question paper in both Hindi and English
  • Question papers are not available in any other language
  • It is compulsory to appear in both exams.
  • There will be a gap of 3 hours between the two papers.
  • For each paper, candidates get 2 hours.
Sr. No.Paper/ EventQuestionsMarks (each question)Negative markingTime
1General Studies Paper I1002Yes (0.33 mark is cut)2 hours
2General Studies Paper-II802.5Yes (0.33 mark is cut)2 hours

General Studies Paper I

General Studies Paper I is an objective question-based exam. Following are the important points-

  • There is a cutoff mark for this exam.
  • Cutoff marks are declared by UPSC on their official website after the exam.
  • This paper also has negative markings.
  • For every incorrect answer, candidates would lose 1/3rd of the total marks for the question as negative marks.
  • There is no topic-wise mark distribution.
  • This is an offline exam.
  • There will be a gap of 3 hours between both exams.

General Studies Paper-II

General Studies Paper-II is an objective question-based exam. Following are a few important points-

  • This paper is the qualifying exam.
  • Candidates need to score 66 marks to qualify for the UPSC mains.
  • The syllabus of this exam is mostly based on the Mathematics and English comprehension of class X.
  • Negative marking is there for the exam. Candidates would lose 1/3rd of the marks for every wrong answer.
  • Paper-II has 80 questions with 2.5 marks for each question.
  •           The total time given for this paper is 2 hours.

Based on the cutoff marks for General Studies Paper I and qualifying marks of paper II, candidates will get selected for the UPSC Mains and Personal Interview.

CSAT Prelims exam cut off marks depend upon various factors such as

  • Total number of candidates appearing for the CSAT exam for the year
  • Vacancies for civil service positions in that year
  • Level of difficulty candidates faced due to tough questions asked
  • Maximum marks scored 
  • Reservation policies
  • Last year cut off marks
  • Cutoff marks vary with Candidate’s categories (General, OBC, SC, ST)

Know More – UPSC CSAT Admit Card and Interview call letter

There is a list of books that are suggested for every candidate appearing for the UPSC CSAT exam. Since both the papers have a very different syllabus, the suggested books by exam authorities are also different.

General Studies Paper I

For the first paper, General Studies Paper I, of the UPSC CSAT exam recommended books are – 

Sr. No.Recommended BookAuthor/PublicationTopics Covered in the book
1Politics in IndiaNCERT Grade 11th and 12thThese books will cover the basics of Indian politics. It will also have pre-independence politics.
2Social Studies (History, geography, civics) book.NCERT 8th grade to 12th gradeThese books will help in preparing topics of Indian history, geography, and economics. Candidates can also learn about the effects of geography on the economy.
3Indian Struggle of IndependenceMr. Bipin ChandraHelps in understanding and learning about the great Indian Movement.
4Indian PolityMr. M. LaxmikanthThis is the benchmark book for preparation in Indian Politics
5Certificate of Physical geographyMR. GC LeongIt is the most suggested book for learning geography.
6National and international relationsNCERT grade XI and XII 

Apart from these books, candidates must also go through Oxford Atlas to understand international demographies and their impacts on the Indian continent.

Regular consumption of newspapers such as The Hindu and various magazines such as Yojna is also highly recommended.

General Studies Paper-II

For General Studies Paper-II of the UPSC CSAT, the following books are recommended – 

Sr.No.BookAuthor/ PublicationTopics to read
1General Studies Paper-II for UPSC Preliminary ExaminationTata McGraw HillThis has previous year’s papers. This also has short paragraphs to practice.
2Analytical ReasoningM K PandeyVarious suitable examples to practice. It will clear conceptual doubts too.
3Cracking the Civil Services Aptitude Test Paper-IIArihantTest papers covering topics such as data interpretation, interpersonal Skills, problem-solving skills, etc.
4Quicker MathsM. TyraFind various questions and practice papers to clear doubts and understand concepts.
5English and Maths BooksNCERT Grade 8 to 12These will help in the practice of basic English and basic numeracy.

Know More  – UPSC CSAT Result & Cut off Marks

UPSC CSAT Preparation Tips

The Civil Service Exam is one of the toughest exams. UPSC CSAT is the preliminary exam and clearing this exam is necessary to move ahead towards the UPSC Mains. Therefore, candidates appearing for the UPSC CSAT must remember the following points-

  • Candidates must study all the topics in each of the papers in the UPSC CSAT exams.
  • They should also consult different books and make notes to prepare for the subjects listed in the syllabus.
  • Candidates should prepare for the exam by practicing from previous year’s papers in order to understand the nature of the questions asked, understand the pattern and find out how to answer these questions
  • Candidates should clear the basic concepts in various subjects like basic numeracy, logical reasoning, interpretation, data analysis, etc.
  • Time management is also important. There are only two hours for 100 questions in one paper and 80 questions in the second paper. Candidates should learn about time management. They should also increase the speed to solve the question.
  • Candidates should prepare for General Sciences Paper-II seriously
  • Regular consumption of daily newspapers is very important. It will help candidates to stay in touch with the different political and social situations in our country and in the world.
  • Having a fixed study schedule is very important.
  • There is a fixed number of times a candidate can appear for UPSC Civil Service Exams. Appearing only in UPSC CSAT will be counted too. So one must appear for these exams only when they are prepared.

Check Out Other Exams – 

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Q.1 Is there a negative marking in the UPSC CSAT exam?

Ans. Yes, UPSC CSAT exam has negative marking, for every incorrect answer for the question there will be a deduction of 1/3 of the total marks of the question. For example, UPSC CSAT prelims paper II has 80 questions for total of 200 marks. hence, each question will be of 2.5 marks. If a candidate attempts a question with the incorrect answer – 0.83 marks will be deducted.

Candidates have to be very careful while attempting the questions and prepare for the exam from different recommended resources (books, guides, previous question sets etc.) during their preparation. 

It is better not to attempt the question, rather than attempting a question and guess the answer from available options as the negative marking for every incorrect answer will greatly impact the candidate’s score and reduce their chances of a good score.

Q.2 How many papers are there in the UPSC’s CSAT exam?

Ans. CSAT exam conducted by UPSC has three stages of evaluation – CSAT Prelims, CSAT Mains, and personal interview.

There are two (2) papers for CSAT UPSC Prelims.

  • General Studies Paper-I
  • General Studies Paper-II

There are nine (9) papers for CSAT UPSC Mains.

Essay Paper
General Studies – IGeneral Studies – II
General Studies – IIIGeneral Studies – IV
Indian Language PaperEnglish Language Paper
Optional Paper-IOptional Paper-II

Q.3 How many questions are there in the UPSC CSAT exam?

Ans. UPSC CSAT prelims have two papers

  • General Studies Paper I and
  • General Studies Paper-II 

Paper-I will have 100 questions and Paper II will have 80 questions. Both Paper I and II are 200 marks each. 

Q.4 What is the syllabus of the UPSC CSAT exam?

Ans. The syllabus for the CSAT exam 2022 conducted by UPSC has two papers each of 200 marks.

The syllabus for Paper I have the following subjects

  • Current Events
  • History of India and the Indian National Movement
  • Indian and World Geography
  • Indian Polity and Governance
  • Economic and Social Development
  • Environmental Ecology, Biodiversity, and Climate Change
  • General Science

The syllabus for Paper-II has the following subjects

  • Comprehension
  • Interpersonal and Communication skills
  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability
  • Decision-making and problem-solving
  • General mental ability
  • Basic Numeracy and Data interpretation (Class X). 

The syllabus for Mathematics subject CSAT UPSC exam 2022 is as given below

CSAT Maths SyllabusTopics covered
Basic NumeracyNumber System, L.C.M. & H.C.M., Rational numbers & ordering, Decimal fractions, Simplifications, Square Roots & Cube Roots, Surds & Indices, Ratio & proportion, percentages, averages, set theory, divisibility rules, remainder Theorem
General Mental abilityPartnership, Profit & Loss, Time and Distance, Trains, Time & work, Work & Wages, Boats & Streams, Pipes & Cisterns, Simple interest & Compound interest, Allegation & Mixtures, Mensuration & Area, Permutations & Combinations, Probability, Geometry

The syllabus for reasoning subject for the CSAT UPSC exam 2022

CSAT Reasoning syllabusTopics
Logical reasoning & analytical ability (LR & AA)Analogy, Classification, Series, Coding-Decoding, Blood relation, Direction Sense Test, Logical Venn  directory, Alphabet Test, Seating arrangement, and mathematical operator
Data interpretation & Data sufficiency (DI & DS)Table Chart, Pie Chart, Bar Chart, Arithmetical Reasoning, Inserting the missing character, Eligibility Test, Number, Ranking and Time sequence Test, Clock, Calendar, Problems on Ages, Cubes & Dice, Syllogism, Statement & Arguments, Statement & Assumptions, Statement & Course of Action, Statement & Conclusions, Deriving Conclusion, Assertion & Reason, Punch Lines, Situation Reaction Test, Cause & Effect, Analytical Reasoning, Mathematical puzzles & patterns

Q.5 Is CSAT tough in UPSC?

Ans. Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) conducted by Union Public Service Commission is one of the toughest exams in India. These tests are aimed at selecting best talents for high-ranking positions across Indian administrative services across various states of India, Indian Foreign Services and Indian Police services.

CSAT exam 2022 has topics and difficulties across the syllabus as below

Paper II has the following level of difficulty asked per topic-

TopicLevel of difficulty in CSAT exam
Logical reasoning and analytical abilityEasy to moderate
Decision-making and problem-solvingModerate

Q.6 Is CSAT paper easy?

Ans. The General Studies Paper II CSAT exam 2022 civil services exam can be easy to appear if the candidate follows a planned strategy.

  • Candidate appearing for Civil service exam if devotes sincerely one to two hours daily and prepares for the subjects listed in the syllabus.
  • Paper-I needs 33% of marks to qualify whereas cut-off marks required for Paper II is 90-95 marks out of 200 marks.
  • Candidates should refer to the previous year’s question papers, understand the exam pattern and check for the answers from the guide. 

Q.7 What is asked in CSAT paper?

Ans. CSAT syllabus is very vast, it is difficult for candidates to figure out

  • what are important topics from the syllabus
  • what to study,
  • how to prioritize, and
  • Make a good study plan.

Candidates decide how much should they prepare for each topic from the weightage of topics distributed across the exam papers.

For example CSAT syllabus paper-I has English that is divided into three sections – Reading Comprehension, Quantitative Aptitude, and Logical Reasoning/Decision making. The Candidates should evaluate the breakup of weightage each topic is divided into for CSAT UPSC exam in order to pay adequate attention and prepare for topics according to their weightage in the papers.