Sunday, January 20, 2013

Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) 2013 – Syllabus & Pattern

The Preliminary Examination shall now comprise of two compulsory Papers of 200 marks each and of two hours duration each. Detailed below is the new syllabus and pattern of the Preliminary Examination, which is brought to the notice of the prospective candidates intending to appear at the Civil Services Examination (CSE) in 2013 onwards:

Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) 2013 – Syllabus & Pattern

1. Scheme of Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination 2013/ Pattern of Civil Services Aptitude Test 2013
No. of Papers2

Nature of Papers
  • Objective Type/ Multiple Choice Question paper
  • Compulsory for All ( No optional subject from 2011)

Paper I – General Studies
  • Total marks - 200 marks
  • Duration – 2 hours

Paper II – Aptitude
  • Total marks - 200 marks
  • Duration – 2 hours

2. Syllabus
Paper I | 200 marks | Duration: 2 hours
Current events of national and international importance
History of India and Indian National Movement
 Indian and World Geography - Physical, Social, Economic geography of India and the World.
 Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.
 Economic and Social Development – Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc.
  General issues on Environmental ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate Change - that do not require subject specialization
 General Science
Paper II | 200 marks | Duration: 2 hours
 Interpersonal skills including communication skills;
  Logical reasoning and analytical ability
 Decision making and problem solving
 General mental ability
 Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude etc.) (Class X level), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. -Class X level)
 English Language Comprehension skills (Class X level)
 i)Questions relating to English Language Comprehension skills of Class X level (last item in the Syllabus of Paper-II) will be tested through passages from English language only without providing Hindi translation thereof in the question paper.

Test taking techniques to score better in Civil Services (P) Exam 2013

All the hard work that Civil Service aspirants have put in the past months or years culminates in the month of May 2013. Instead of worrying about getting tense about the Civil Services (Preliminary) Exam, try to get your hands dirty by just doing a few things:

Mock Exams or Simulated Exams help you to realize what mistakes you will possibly make if you take the real exam at that moment. So make all your mistakes on Mock exams, learn from your mistakes and don't repeat them in the real Civil Services Preliminary Exam. Your score on the CS (P) E will not only depend on your knowledge, intelligence and attitude but is also dependent on certain requirements that become clear only when you take the test. Your career is too important to experiment with. You cannot afford to prepare and take the CSAT and then learn from your mistakes. Mocks are a valuable tool to understand what's missing in your preparation, and, later, to realize that if you know everything – what changes you still need to make in the way you handle yourself during the real exam to get an optimum score. 

A mock exam will give you some holistic cues such as:

(a) Easy questions on which you make silly mistakes

i)            Reason – You are either not concentrating enough or you need to develop the stamina to use your brains for 2 continuous hours.

ii)            Solution – Study for longer periods of time without much needed breaks. It's a marathon, prepare accordingly.

(b) Questions which you couldn't understand during the mock test but could easily crack later with a fresh mind.

i)            Reason – You need to have the ability to concentrate for 2 long hours.

ii)            Solution – Stop succumbing to the temptation of breaks during study-sessions. You are justifying yourself when you think that after a break you will understand better or get a better score.

(c) A clear idea about your comparative preparation of the various topics and the delicate balance in your preparation between Paper I and II.

i)            A lot of students work really hard for the exam. They peak up their preparation before the exam, get bored of covering the same syllabus topics and get complacent. This shouldn't happen. Don't get into the habit of sitting in your room and studying endlessly. Instead freshen up a bit and interact with your peers who are also preparing for the exam. Learn what they are working on, which books, what problems they are facing or acing at, etc. This will keep the fire burning in your belly and will give you reasons to work harder.

Work hard and smart – Nothing beats hard work but towards the later stage of your preparation, you need the edge of smart work to rise above others.  Revise and master the concepts and rules taught in books and classes. Attempt practice exercises according to stipulated time and have the attitude – How can I get even a single question wrong?

Become flexible enough to imbibe the rules of this game – The practice material that you have is not to be covered for the heck of being covered. It's not a formality – You have to learn from your mistakes. If you get a single question wrong on a practice exercise, then this question has something that evaded you.

Analyze the question to figure out:

(a)    how does the right answer compare with your wrong choice

(b)   why did you get attracted to the wrong answer

(c)    why you did not get the correct answer

Figure out:

i)            Is there a certain rule / concept that I did not know?

ii)            Is there a rule/concept that I knew but I could not apply it as I did not get the hint or key word, or

iii)            Did the question just evade me and I just do not know how to crack the question?

Solution for all three is – Research the question and get your answer from books, peers or teachers.


Even though you've spent the last several months preparing for the exam, you're probably feeling slightly anxious about the CS (P) Exam. In addition to developing an approach to each section of the exam, you need to be mentally prepared for the challenges presented by the exam. Most test takers feel some anxiety, and the most prepared are those who have worked hard and learnt to manage that anxiety. Having a plan to manage stress is essential to achieving your optimal score.

Be Positive

If you encounter a situation expecting to be successful you are much more likely to be successful than if you expect to fail. Consider the following two statements by two different students:

  1. I'm never going to get this. If I mess the CS (P) Exam, I will be a failure in life.
  2. I am well prepared and deserve to do my best. I know what to expect and I am ready to succeed.

You will take no time to figure out which student is going to do better. Whether it's looking in a mirror and saying affirming statements or writing a positive thought on your rough paper on test day, it's very important to go into the actual exam expecting to be successful. If you expect to fail why would you be at the test in the first place? This can be a difficult exercise at first, but you must get yourself in a frame of mind to succeed. When you dwell on negative thoughts, your mind isn't free to work on the test. Trust that you are well prepared. If you've attended all the classes and done the hard work, you are better prepared than most of the population. Have confidence that you are going to be great!

Know the Test

When you take an aptitude test such as the Civil Services Aptitude Test, you have a lot of work to complete in a limited amount of time. Mastering the huge quantum of syllabus, by its very design, makes the Civil Exams a stressful experience. However, you've worked hard and learned how it works, and you know what to expect. Keep in mind:

  • An easy question appears on the test – handle the easy question with extreme caution. Most of the aspirants – good, bad or ugly – will get an easy question right. Even you will get it right, but even on an easy question there is a chance of you making a silly mistake. So, if a question seems easy to you, take a moment extra to double check on the answer, before you finalize and choose the answer.
  • A hard question on the test is a good sign, not a bad one. A bulk of students would not have prepared properly for the exam and such students will not be able to handle a difficult question. Remember that you have to "earn" the hard questions on this test. The hard questions are the differentiating factor-they separate the grains from the chaff. By getting difficult questions right, you ensure your selection to the next stage.
  • If a question looks really strange or too difficult for you, take a breath and remain calm. Try to figure out what it's testing, and apply the appropriate technique. If you're absolutely stumped, just move on. Maintain the pacing and approach you've learned from your practice tests. Do not let a horrible question shake your confidence.
  • Accuracy vs. Attempts – Your selection does not depend on attempting more questions, but on getting more questions right. The sword of Negative Marking also hangs on your head.
  • As much as the Mock Tests serve as "dress rehearsals', practice tests are not quite the same as the "real" tests. This is where visualization techniquescome into play. If possible, visit the test centre before the day of your actual exam. Get a feel for the layout of the centre. At most test centres, you'll be able to see the testing room through a window in the lobby. This will help you simulate the actual CS (P) Exam in your mind's eye in your last few days of preparation. There are two important keys to visualization: See yourself succeeding and imagine yourself overcoming every type of obstacle. You are unstoppable. You have prepared hard to be successful and you deserve to be successful.

Control the Physiological Responses to Anxiety

It's normal to feel a little nervous on the day of a big event. Your breathing gets shallow, and you may even feel a little sick in your stomach. Something that you can do that will ameliorate these symptoms is deep breathing. Close your eyes and imagine that your torso is an empty cylinder. Take a deep breath, filling the cylinder. Slowly release all the air from the top of the cylinder to the bottom. You will feel yourself start to relax within the first few breaths. Your breathing should be deep and regular. This exercise will generally take about half a minute. It's time well spent because folks who are highly stressed are not going to give their best performance. Once you have given your brain that little extra oxygen and gotten yourself focused back on the task at hand rather than on your stress, get back to the test and start cracking the questions.

Countdown to the CS (P) E' 13

All your hard work will be put to the test on the day of the actual CS (P) Exam 2013. The final week can be very stressful, and events on the day of the test have the potential to rattle unprepared testers. To help guarantee that you will emerge successfully from the Prelims Exam, here is some advice for the time leading up to your exam.

The week leading up to the CS (P) E'13

Continue to practice regularly until you take your exam. Finish the last remaining practice material a few days before your exam. It's best not to do it the day before, as you'll want time to review the last test and work on any last-minute problem areas. If any specific topics are still giving you trouble, do some targeted work in those areas. Review your class notes, and practice questions dealing with those topics. Continue to work problems in the books that you trust.

Take Care of Yourself

In the days leading up to the test, try to get regular exercise and adequate sleep. Exercise, even a short walk, helps you manage your stress. You may have a little trouble sleeping the night before the test, so you want to be well rested in the days leading up to the test. To be at your best, your body must be conditioned to be awake and ready to work at the time that your test paper is given. Become accustomed to waking up at the proper time for the entire week leading up to the test. It is also important not to go to bed at a ridiculously early hour the night before the exam. Fourteen hours of sleep the night before the test is not necessary, and any deviation from the sleep schedule you have established in the final week is a dangerous idea.

Continue with Your Visualization Techniques

The final week leading up to the CSAT can inspire all kinds of negative thinking. Being excited about the test is normal, even helpful. Letting the importance of the CSAT inspire feelings of dread is not. Use your stress management techniques to keep yourself in proper focus through the end of the exam: Now is not the time to start thinking that you are going to fail.

The Night before the Test

Don't over study the evening before your test! Your performance depends on your work over the last several months, not in the last few hours before the exam. Have a light dinner or watch a movie. Do not do any more practice work because you are as ready as you are going to be.

A Final Word

It is important that you chase the success in the exam with the single mindedness of  a cricketer who wants to win at least the man  of  the match award, if not the man of series award. What is most important is just to retain your cool and take the exam with the Attitude of a winner.  Best of luck – and now go for the kill.

Make effective use of Mock Tests

  • Do not get discouraged by your initial low score.
  • Put more emphasis on your weak spots while retaining good grasp on strong ones.
  • Test yourself at a regular interval of time.
  • Make a mental note of areas that you have covered and what remains to be covered.
  • Be analytical in response.
  • Revise your stuff a number of times.
  • In the first round attempt only those questions about which you are absolutely sure.
  • Do not get stuck at any question.  Go on moving from question to question and come back to the difficult ones at the end.
  • Since there is a negative marking, hence in the second round, attempt only those questions in which out of the four probable answers you are sure about two, so that there is a fifty per cent chance that the answer marked by you is correct.  Try the elimination technique to arrive at the best answer.
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