Analysis of UPSC CSAT papers under new pattern and high value preparation topics
Comprehension passages in CSAT have been undergoing a sea change and there are bound to be changes next year too in light of the government deciding to do away with English passages without translation but this is the story so far.
Up till now, there have been 28 (2011), 32 (2012) and in 2013, it was of 24 marks. These were comprehension passages that come with translations. Passages to test simply English knowledge (removed by a last minute intervention of government) were of 9 marks worth (in 2011), 8 marks worth (in 2012) and in 2013, it was again of 8 marks worth. So even if the pure English passage is removed, comprehension isn’t disappearing anywhere and a candidate cannot expect to succeed without cracking the CSAT comprehension paper.
The thing to remember is that UPSC comprehension passages are not like lower level exams such as bank exams, SSC or even State PSCs because CSAT comprehension ask questions that require comprehension and cannot be answered with a cursory reading. The passage will test understanding of the complete passage. In CSAT 2011 and 2012, one passage had about 5-6 questions but now there are more passages such as in 2013, one passage had only 2-3 questions. This means you need to read more number of passages and thus difficulty level of CSAT paper is rising.
But look at the bright side, if you crack the comprehension part, then half the battle is won. You answer them correctly and you gain so many marks, you are far ahead than all other candidates. Highlight the important phrases whenever attempting CSAT questions on passages.
Some high value topics are suggested below but no such list can ever be complete as UPSC is very unpredictable and keeps changing pattern suddenly but this list on basis of last three year papers-
• Logic: Basic understanding of logic. Any analytics book is good but M K Pandey’s book is considered the best by most candidates. R S Agarwal book on reasoning is also a good book.
• Assumptions and Inferences: How to draw inferences and assumptions, syllogism and connectives.
• Cause and Effect Theory
• Two and three statement type questions. All men are women, all women are kids etc type of questions.
• Comparison type of questions.
• Blood relations type of questions (for example, my uncle’s daughter is also my cousin etc type of questions).
• Arranging type of questions. B is sitting next to D, If C is sitting next to A etc type of questions are always asked.
• Schedule of classes and team selection.