If you are eying the key to unlock the door-way to the key positions in the Union Government, State governments and public-sector undertakings, it is time you to brace yourself for the first hurdle on your way to attaining that key - Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT).

CSAT is the Civil Services Preliminary exam conducted by UPSC in order to screen eligible candidates for the Civil Services Mains exam, which if cleared successfully will help you land a job in the Civil Services. This year the Civil Services Preliminary exam is to be held on August 24, 2014.

It might seem a little overwhelming when it comes to preparing for these exams, so here are some handy tips to help you gear up for the preliminary hurdle.

But before that let us have a look at the paper pattern:

The Civil Services Preliminary Examination consists of 2 Papers of 200 marks each. The Papers are objective type with multiple choice questions and are to be completed in 2 hours each.

Paper I: General Studies
Paper II: General Aptitude
Tips to ace IAS prelims:

  • It is easy to get overconfident as ranks in the Preliminary Exams are not considered and only a pass is required however it is important to put your full efforts in preparation.
  • The style of syllabus in both Papers is different and accordingly your preparation strategy should also be adjusted. Paper I stresses on memory and retention skills while Paper II tests your conceptual and problem solving skills.
  • Create a study schedule and adhere to it
  • Prepare a chart/diagram for Paper I that will help you understand the interlinking of the topics and make remembering them a lot easier
  • Write short notes point-wise for important topics to help you prepare
  • Use flash-cards to remember definitions
  • Current affairs are very important so it is necessary to stay updated with Newspapers, magazines and the internet
  • Focus on important events that have occurred over the past 5 years
  • Study the political science, economics and history portions from Class 10th and Class 12th books but don't spend too much time going in detail
  • To prepare for Paper II it is important to remember that all concepts are based from Class 10th
  • Revise mathematics and English Grammar from your Class 10th books
  • Solve previous year paper so that you are familiar to the kind of questions asked in the exam.
  • Always time yourself while solving sample papers to improve on your speed.
  • Widen your reading to help with English Comprehension
  • Solve puzzles to help with logical thinking
  • General Studies is a topic that is not easily exhausted; it is important to keep updating your knowledge throughout

All The Best!