Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) is conducted by UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) every year to select candidates for Civil Services Main Exam. Those who pass the Mains Exam and Interview can join prestigious Indian government services such as IAS, IPS, etc.
The new syllabus was introduced in 2011. It has two papers:
Paper I: General Studies and Current Affairs
It consists of all the topics from old syllabus of Paper I except general mental ability. It also has new topics such as economic and social development and general issues on environmental ecology, bio-diversity, and climate change.
Paper II: General Mental Ability
Paper II of Civil Services Aptitude Test includes general mental ability (shifted from Paper I) along with comprehension, interpersonal skills including comprehension skills, logical reasoning & analytical ability, decision-making and problem-solving, basic numeracy, data interpretation and English language comprehension skills.
The preliminary examination consists of two papers of objective type (multiple choice questions) and carry a maximum of 400 marks. This examination is meant to serve as a screening test only. The marks obtained in the preliminary examination are not counted for determining their final order of merit.
There are two compulsory papers of 200 marks each. Paper-I consists of 100 questions with each question carrying 2 marks each while Paper-II has 80 questions with each question carrying 2.5 marks each.
There are four alternatives for answers to every question. The question papers are set in both in Hindi and English. However, questions relating to English language comprehension skills are tested through passages without proving Hindi translation in the question paper.
There is negative marking for incorrect answers. If you give a wrong answer, one-third of the marks assigned to that question is deducted as penalty. If you give more than one answer, it is treated as a wrong answer even if one of the given answers happen to be correct. If a question is left blank i.e. no answer is given, there is no penalty for that question.
Nationality: You should be the citizens of India for the Indian Administrative Service and the Indian Police Service.
Age Limit: You should not aged less than 21 years and not more than 32 years. (In case of candidates belonging to SC/ ST category, the upper age limit is relaxable up to five years. In case of OBC candidates, the upper age limit is relaxable up to three years).
Educational Qualification: You should possess a degree of any of the universities incorporated by an Act of the Central or state legislature in India or other educational institutions established by an Act of Parliament.
Number of Attempts: You can apply to a maximum of 6 times. The candidates belonging to OBC category can apply for a total of nine times. This restriction on the number of attempts will not apply in case of Scheduled Caste and Schedule Tribe candidates.