Sunday, April 5, 2015

CSAT : Study Plan, Strategy and Books Required for UPSC IAS Preparation

CSAT : Study Plan, Strategy and Books Required for Preparation

The first and foremost question that comes in the mind of every upsc ias aspiration is how to  prepare for upsc ias exams. And then this question leads to series of other questions like

How to prepare for upsc csat exams:

What should be my study plan for the preparation
Answer: Go through the entire syllabus and highlight the topics which you know and which you dont. Prepare the study plan and cover all those topics with the help of book list provided below.

Which books should i study for upsc ias preparation
Answer: The important books required for upsc ias preparation are given below this post. Read this entire article to know about all the books required for upsc ias preparation.

How much hours should i study daily
Answer: Number of hours does not really matter. All you need is target certain portion of the syllabus and decide how much can you finish in one day and try to finish that portion. If that takes 2 hours or 18 hours a day is solely upto your grasping capacity and complexity of the subject. Some subjects do require extra research other than that provided in books. So it may take more time.

Can i clear upsc exams by preparing for exams along with my job
Answer: Yes, just spare few hours daily just for preparation. Also see the above answer.

Before we even begin, let us have a look on the question pattern of UPSC Prelims Exams 2014 with that to the previous years.

2014 2013 2012 2011
History 6 15 20 13
Geography 10 14 11 11
Polity 11 18 25 17
Enviornment and Biodiversity 28 22 23 22
Economy 10 18 12 18
Science & Tech 9 13 9 19
Indian Culture 14
Agriculture 8

As we can see that number of questions on Enviornment and Biodiversity and Indian Culture have been subsequently increased, whereas there is significant drop in the number of questions on History and Polity.

For the 2016 UPSC Civil Services aspirants its quite evident that they'll  have to alot a bigger chunk of time on topics including Biodiversity and Indian Culture along with the entire syllabus including History Geography Polity etc. Who knows UPSC may ask more questions from History and Polity next time. In a nutshell you'll have to prepare more and give an extra effort this time.

Before you even think of planning to start with your prelims preparation, first thing you need to do is go through the entire prelims syllabus very minutely many times. Keep referring the syllabus during your preparation as it will give you the clear idea of what exactly you need to study and what not.

So lets dig in to the prelims syllabus one by one and rig up the preparation strategy

************ PAPER 1: GENERAL STUDIES ************

Firstly one book that most of the Civil Services Aspirants highly refer and recommned is

General Studies for Civil Services Preliminary Examination Paper - 1 (2015) (English) 1st Edition by Tata McGraw-Hill

It covers the entire General Studies syllabus and provides with hundred of MCQs(Multiple Choice Questions) for preparation. While refering the book go through one topic at a time. For example, if you start with the History Chapter, then finish up with History books(discussed below) and then go through the History content of TMH and only then attempt the MCQs

Having a Question Bank with thousands of questions covering the General Studies Paper can prove highly beneficial.
14000+ Objective Questions - General Studies (English) 3rd Edition by Manohar Pandey

(A) Indian History

    (i) NCERT Books: Go through NCERT text books from Standard 8 to 12. It will more of less cover up the History protion of Prelims syllabus.

  (ii) Standard Books for Prelims Preparation:
  India's Struggle for Independence  by Bipan Chandra


This books is very important both for Prelims and Mains. The exhaustive content provides with additional information that you will not find in the NCERT books. Its a treat to read this books and its very famous among the civil services aspirants. Go through the entire book from first to the last page and revise it couple of times and you'll be done with the History syllabus.

(B) Geography
Syllabus : Indian and World Geography -Physical, Social, Economic; Geography of India and the World.
 (i) NCERT Books: Go through NCERT textbooks from standard 8 to 12.

 (ii) Standard Books for Prelims Preparation:

(a) Indian and World Geography by Majid Hussian

 The book gives in detail info on all geography topics and covers the entire geography syllabus.

Atlas is a must for understanding the geographical locations. Oxford Atlas comprises of wide vareity of data of world and indian geography

(C) Indian Polity
Syllabus: Indian Polity and Governance -Constitution, Political System,Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc. 

Strategy: Indian Polity is intresting and important part of the syllabus. 2014 GS paper had  11 questions on Indian Polity. When you prepare Indian Polity for Prelims, you are also preparing it for Mains questions.

TWO Books that sums up your preparation for both Prelims and Mains are mentioned below.

     The Book is solely written for prelims exams. The language used is lucid and very easy to understand for anybody who is reading the Indian Polity for very first time. The book is highly recommended for Prelims exams. Remember, revison of this book 2 to 3 times is highly advised.The more you revise the better.

     This book gives you the indepth know how of the Indian Constitution. It is very much helpful for Mains examination in General Studies and Public Administration. Read DD basu after you are finished reading Laxmikant. The language of the book is quite high and hence it will be difficult to understand for anyone who is studying Indian Polity for first time. Therefore it is advisable that you go through Lamikanth first which is very easy to understand and then come to DD basu.

(D) Economy
Syllabus : Economic and SocialDevelopment - Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector initiatives, etc.
     Economy Questions fluctuates between 10 to 20 in Prelims. You need to be well versed with the economic erminologies. Sometime economy questions are coupled with current afairs situation.
(i) NCERT text books 11 and 12 standard

(ii) Standard Books for Prelims: We have mentioned two popular books below. Get any one of them for the sake of Civil Services exams.

The book discusses all the matters of indian economy in an well phrased and easy manner.The authors have analytical and clinical approach to the subject maintaining unbiased objectivity. The book suffices all your content needs till MAINS exams. However, if you are a noob, it is strongly advised that you go through the NCERT texts first and then hop on to this book, as the standard and terminology of this book is outsanding.

The book comprises of all the contents of the Prelims syllabus in well detailed and easy to understand manner. All the topics are simplified to an extent that noobs can easy understand the topics.

(E) Enviornment and Biodiversity(EnB)
       The Enviornmnet and Biodiversity gets the bigger chunk of Prelims questions since past 3 years CSAT exams. It is one of the most important topic and good command over this topic can easily yield you a ticket to Civil Services Mains undoubtedly.
    (i) IGNOU and NIOS Material : Covers all basics, terminologies and nitigrities realted to Biodiversity
       (ii) Standard Books:

(F) Indian Culture : 
For the first time there were 14 questions on Indian Culture in Civil Services 2014 Prelims. This makes it a very important topic for prepaprationa as most of the aaspirant till now did not give much importance to Indian culture, as they used to give to History and Polity.
 Facets of Indian Culture (English)

The book comprises of chapters on religion and philosophy, music, dance, theater and cinema, art and architecture and language and literature

(G) Science and Technology

science and technology for upsc ias csat examsScience and Technology is one more important subject which has significant number of questions in upsc csat exam. Its easy but sometimes the easiest question is asked in so tricky manner that even the best among you will think for a while before answering. So this subject must be prepared well and in details. The book mentioned below will help you solve this purpose.

(H) Current Affairs : News Papers are best sources of current affiars. Make it your habit to read atleast one Newspaper a day. The Hindu and Indian Express are the best options for current affairs. Selective reading of newspaper is the way to go, you do nothave ot read it all. News pertaining to government policies, economy, science and technology and the editorial pages should be carefull read. If possible do make the habit to make notes or keep the paper cuttings of important topic with you for future reference.

    ************ PAPER 2: CSAT *****************

This paper tests your aptitude, analytical skills and your command over English language.
Generally the questions related to Basic Numeracy, General Mental ability, Data Interpretation and Sufficiency, Decision and Problem solving, Interpersonal Skills and communication skills, Logical and Analytical skills along with English comprehensions are asked in this paper.
    Strategy: You should prepare all the topics along with practice papers. REMEMBER: Time Management is the key here. You should be able to solve atleast 80 questions in 120 minutes. Practice reading the long comprehensions in shorter time as possible. Also questions of numeracy and logical reasoning can be solved even by eliminating the options.

This book covers all the topics related to CSAT Paper 2 except English. This book will not only help you preparing the CSAT but is also very usefull for other competitive exams such as Bank PO etc. Prepare the topics one at a time and solve the practice questions. Once you are done with the syllabus, go for practice papers given in the book.

(ii) Its been observed in the CSAT paper that aspirants find it tough reading the comprehensions and answering the questions quickly due to shortage of time. Even though you have very good command over English it gets little harder when you have to attempt 4 to 5 comprehensions quickly. Practice is the key here.



  1. My whole hearted applause for you because of clearing my confusion positioned in mind over 6 months in couple of minutes.....

  2. This is the most comprehensive yet brief information that I could get to clear all my doubts. Thank you.

  3. Thank u so much for such valuable information

  4. Thx for such valuable information

  5. thank you sooo much for such a great valuable information.
    now I get clear all my doubts about civils. really heart full thanks to you sir/mam

  6. Thank u so much for the clear guidance to the beginners.

  7. thanks a lot...brief provided is indeed very helpful.

  8. thank you for clear explanation it was very useful to me

  9. what about NCERTs for prelims??????

  10. what about NCERTs for prelims?????

  11. i fill the application form of NDA, when will UPSC released admit card? i m waiting....

  12. thank you for clear explanation it was very useful to me and cleared all my confusion.

  13. I feel good after reading this....much confidence

  14. you are the man... thanks really thank you so so much... I was not aware where to start preparing for the exam and where to stop. after reading your blog I think I can now make my base to make a kick start in my preparations. Thank you so very much.. u r gr8

  15. and Sir one more doubt I have is about csat 2nd paper. If you can provide other books that can explain the topics in a much elaborate way would be much appreciated..

  16. I want to know the reservesation's of upsc csat recruitment.plz tel me

  17. Thanks alot because I had many books with much of confusion.

  18. I really appreciate your work..sir..thanks a lot for the enlightment