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CSAT Overview

UPSC Civil Services Preliminary Examination consists of two parts

  1. General Studies – Paper I
  2. Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) – Paper II

CSAT (Paper II) is only a qualifying paper and a minimum of 33% marks are required to be eligible for clearing the UPSC Preliminary Exam. The final selection is based on the marks of Paper I only, given the candidate has scored 33% in the CSAT (Paper II).

Paper I Syllabus

200 Marks; Duration: Two Hours; Number of Questions: 100
UPSC Civil Services Prelims General Studies Paper 1 Syllabus

  1. Current Affairs: Events of national and international importance
  2. History of India and Indian National Movement
  3. Indian and World Geography – Physical, Social, Economic geography of India and the World.
  4. Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.
  5. Economic and Social Development – Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc.
  6. General issues on Environmental Ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate Change (no subject specialization required)
  7. General Science
Paper I Analysis
Topic 2011 2012 2013 2014
History and Culture 13 20 15 21
Economy 18 12 18 6
Polity 17 25 18 13
Geography 11 11 14 15
Environment & Bio-diversity 22 23 22 21
Science & Technology 19 9 13 17
Current Affairs       7
Total 100 100 100 100
CSAT (Paper II) Syllabus

CSAT Paper II: 200 Marks; Duration: Two Hours; Number of Questions: 80

  1. Comprehension
  2. Interpersonal skills including communication skills
  3. Logical reasoning and analytical ability
  4. Decision making and problem solving
  5. General mental ability
  6. Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude etc.) (Class X level), Data Interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. – Class X level)
  7. English Language Comprehension skills (Class X level).
  8. Questions relating to English Language Comprehension skills of Class X level. (will be tested through passages from English language only without providing Hindi translation)

Marking Scheme: Total 80 questions have 200 marks, thus each question is of 2.5 marks. There is a negative marking of 33% or 0.83 marks. A candidate needs to score a minimum of 33% in the CSAT Paper to qualify the UPSC Prelims Exam.

CSAT Paper II Analysis
Topic 2011 2012 2013 2014
Basic Numeracy 13 3 19 19
General Mental Ability 15 16 12 7
Decision Making & Problem Solving 6 7 6 0
Analytical Ability & Logical Reasoning 10 14 12 22
Comprehension (Both English & Hindi) 27 32 23 26
English Language Comprehension Skills 9 8 8 6
Total 80 80 80 80

Educational Qualification

  • The candidate must hold a degree of any of Universities incorporated by an Act of the Central or State Legislature in India or other educational institutions established by an Act of Parliament or declared to be deemed as a University Under Section-3 of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956, or possess an equivalent qualification
  • Candidates who have appeared or intend to appear for the qualifying examination and are awaiting results are also eligible to appear for the Preliminary Examination. All such candidates who qualify to appear for the Civil Services Main Examination must produce proof of having passed the said examination along with their application for the Main Examination.
  • The UPSC may in exceptional cases treat a candidate without the foregoing requisite qualification as an eligible candidate if he / she has passed an examination conducted by other institutions, the standard of which justifies his / her admission in the opinion of the Commission.
  • Candidates with professional and technical qualifications recognised by the Government as equivalent to professional and technical degrees.
  • Candidates who have passed the final year of MBBS or any Medical Examination but are yet to complete the internship can also appear for the Main Examination. However they must submit along with their Main Examination application, a certificate from the concerned authority of the University / Institution that they have passed the final professional medical examination. At the Interview stage they must then produce a certificate from a competent authority that they have completed (including internship) all the requirements for the award of the Medical Degree.


  1. For the Indian Administrative Service and the Indian Police Service, a candidate must be a citizen of India.
  2. For other services, a candidate must be either :—
  1. a citizen of India, or
  2. a subject of Nepal, or
  3. a subject of Bhutan, or
  4. a Tibetan refugee who came over to India before 1st January, 1962 with the intention of permanently settling in India, or
  5. a person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia and Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India.Provided that a candidate belonging to categories (b), (c), (d) and (e) shall be a person in whose favour a certificate of eligibility has been issued by the Government of India.Provided further that candidates belonging to categories (b), (c) and (d) above will not be eligible for appointment to the Indian Foreign Service.A candidate in whose case a certificate of eligibility is necessary, may be admitted to the examination but the offer of appointment may be given only after the necessary eligibility certificate has been issued to him/her by the Government of India.
Number of Attempts and Age Limit for Appearing in UPSC Civil SErvices Exam 2016:
  • For General Category candidates, the new age limit is 32 years and the number of attempts is 06.
  • For OBC Category candidates, the new age limit is 35 years and the number of attempts is 09.
  • For SC/SC Category candidates, the new age limit is 37 years while the number of attempts unlimited.
  • For Physically Handicapped candidates, age limit is 42, 45 and 47 years for General, OBC and SC/ST category respectively while the number of attempts is 09 for General and OBC and unlimited for SC/SC category.
  • The changes in the number of attempts and age limit will apply w.e.f. Civil Services Examination 2014.
  • Certain categories of persons as specified in the Commission’s Notice as published in Employment News/Rozgar Samachar are eligible for age relaxation.

Eligibility Table

Category Maximum Age Attempt
General 32 6
OBC 32+3=35 9
SC/ST 32+5=37 As many as upto age limt
Physically disabled
(Blind, Deaf-mute, Orthopedic)
32+10=42 if general then 9
OBC then 9
SC/ST- then upto age limt
J&K domicile if general then 32+5=37
OBC then 32+5+3=40
SC/ST then 32+5+5=42
PH then 32+5+10=50
depending on above categories viz.Gen, OBC, SC/ST, Disabled
Disabled serviceman discharged from duty if general then 32+3=35
OBC then 32+3+3=38
SC/ST then 32+3+5=40
Ex-serviceman with five years duty* specific condition on page2 of notification if general then 32+5=37
OBC then 32+5+3=40
SC/ST then 32+5+5=42