The reality is CSAT is tricky but not difficult. The students in their preparation are not able to find a fine line between tricky and difficult. Hence either the students tend to take the CSAT paper very easily or the students tend to overdo the CSAT preparation to the level of the CAT exam. Both these approaches are recipes to disaster.
Problem: Neglecting CSAT (Science background students) or Being insecure about CSAT (Non science background students)
This problem is further exacerbated by the market in two ways which complicates the learning curve of CSAT for all upsc aspirants. Firstly, you see many banking faculties teaching CSAT for UPSC in several coaching institutes. This is not an ideal approach because banking exams will ask questions which require calculations and formulae whereas CSAT questions can be solved with common sense and street smartness. Secondly, the CSAT materials available in the market are copy pasted questions and solutions from other exams such as CAT, Banking and so on. This results in UPSC aspirants solving questions that are either too difficult or too calculative. The best example would be the passages available in the market. These passages are completely different from the passages asked by UPSC.
All these problems make students work incessantly on CSAT and still fail to find success. This is because their entire preparation is aligned wrong and the “WRONG” is further reinforced by the coaching institutes and available materials.
So the next question is how to decipher the demands of CSAT exams. The best and the only way is to analyse the previous year questions of CSAT in the same way as we do for our general studies. Take the last 10 years paper and divide them broadly on 3 lines:
Quantitative Aptitude, Logical reasoning and Comprehension. Make three docs on the following names and dump all the previous year questions to their relevant docs. After separating them into these categories now separate the questions within each doc topic wise. For instance questions in quantitative aptitude can be segregated into time and work, speed and distance and so on. Also questions in logical arrangement can be divided into blood relations, arrangement and so on.
Doing this exercise will give you a precise list of topics one should prepare. In addition, by reading the questions which are segregated topicwise, you’ll get a very good idea about the level of difficulty that is asked in the UPSC CSAT paper. This realization forms the core of your CSAT success. Any aspirant who has done the above exercise will know two things: one, the exact topics one needs to prepare and the second is the level of difficulty or depth an aspirant should prepare on every topic.
We hope that by now you have somewhat made up your mind on how to approach CSAT. If not, read the article again until it makes sense.
Note: We are actually designing something to help all students who have that fear in them facing this CSAT paper!!! Our aim is to make you clear the paper with a smile and we strive on achieving it. COMING SOON!!
We will constantly work for your success 🙂