Civil Services Preliminary examination now restructured as Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT), incorporates certain changes in the preliminary examination pattern.It redefines recruitment process of Civil Services Exam. As is well known, the Test is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for the enrollment of the three designated-Indian Administrative Services (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and Indian Police Service (IPS), under two grades.
CSAT is seen as a definitive step to choose suitable candidates by examining their aptitudes considered essential for decision-making. This is a contrast to the scaling system for different subjects adopted earlier that was considered controversial. However, there will be no changes in the Mains as well as the Interview rounds of the overall examination procedure.
Effective since 2011, CSAT as a preliminary test emphasizes more on testing the candidates for their analytical ability rather than the factual and theory-based exam followed earlier. CSAT consists of two papers- Paper I and Paper II – both carry equal marks, It is designed to be independent and neutral for graduates of all disciplines. This concept is purported to be transparent in terms of marks allocated devoid of any bias. It is also meant to examine the logical thought-process communication abilities and fluency in English supposed to be basic to the consequent performance of the candidates in this service. Moreover, such an examination has made it easier for the UPSC to select more proficient civil servants with a propensity towards logical thinking and efficient communication skills so essential in Civil Services and Administration.So rather than being perceived just as an expert of any one of the subject, it is expected that civil servants are more logical and communicative in their administrative chores of bureaucracy.
Eligibility for CSAT
Any degree holder or a final-year student-awaiting results by July of the academic year-of any discipline from a recognized university.
A General category candidate shall not be less than 21 years or more than 30 years on 1st August of the examination year. Age relaxations are applicable in case of OBC/SC/ST/PH category students.
Whole general-category candidates can avail four attempts, OBC/PH category students to seven attempts and SC/ST candidates can take any number of times as long as the age limit is within the eligible age.
Minimum Pass Criteria for CSAT
A general category candidate should score about 220 marks to pass CSAT while the range for reserved category candidates is about 180-200 marks.
No separate cut-off mark for Paper I and Paper II as aggregate of both papers is considered.
The CSAT is to select qualifying candidates for the next level exam namely the Mains. However, the Mains scores are independent regardless of CSAT scores.
About 12,000 candidates out of the lakhs who take the CSAT qualify for the Mains every year.
Paper I: (200 Marks : Duration 2Hrs)
- Current events of national and international significance
- History of India and Indian national movement
- Indian and World Geography: Physical, Social, Economical
- Indian Polity and Governance: Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Money, Right Issues
- Economic and Social Development: Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives
- General issues on Environmental Ecology, Bio-Diversity and Climate Change
- General Science
Paper II: (200 Marks-Duration 2Hrs)
- General 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, Orders of magnitude, Data Interpretation including charts, graphs, tables etc (Class X level)
- English language comprehension (Class X level)