CSAT Paper Analysis

Civil Services (Prelims) 2016-Paper II had 80 questions. Each of the 80 questions carried equal marks of 2.5. For each of the questions, 0.833 marks was deducted for any wrong answer marked. Out of a total of these 80 questions, there were 27 English questions (from 23 passages), 22 Reasoning and 31 Maths questions. These questions, however, were placed in a random order. In English part, all the questions were pertaining to the passages. The nature of the questions was such that the answer cannot be obtained by simply scanning through the passage. The nature of the questions were such that in order to attempt them, a diverse application of skills was required -speed reading skills, accurate comprehension, ability to draw inferences, understand the inherent assumptions, decode the tone of the author, understand the writing style etc. In general these questions were DIFFICULT. So, for all those candidates who had not done basic practice would have found this area a real tough one to crack. However in the test area of "Maths" and "Reasoning", some of the questions were doable. Still, there were some qs from Maths & Reasoning which were more time consuming. Again, students, who had not done enough practice would have faced enormous difficulty there. While the overall difficulty of the paper has been on the higher side, a well prepared candidate can still identify about 40 qs (out of a total of 80 qs) which are doable in nature. Even if one concentrates on these questions and attempt them, once can cross the cut-off marks of 33%.

The questions can be classified area-wise. The table below gives the broad overview of the questions which were there related to each of the test areas.

Comprehension 27 67.5 DIFFICULT
Basic Numeracy 30 75 MODERATE -DIFFICULT
Analytical Ability & Logical Reasoning 23 57.5 MODERATE -DIFFICULT
General Mental Ability

Let us analyze the different types of questions from each of the test area, number of doable questions in each of the test area.


No. of Questions:27

The paper had 27 questions from a total of seventeen passages. The passages were drawn majorly from subject areas like Social, Economics, Environment, Polity. The questions demanded deeper understanding of the concept, extending beyond the passage. None of the questions could be answered without a thorough reading of the passages. Overall, the Comprehension passages were moderate -difficult. The length of the passages (40 words per passage to 270 words per passage) were more or less on the similar lines as the previous year. In most of the questions, you have to identify the correct/incorrect statement(s)/assumption(s)/inference(s). A score, which is definitely achievable, in this test area, alone, will be 25+ marks.

S No Starting words of the Passage Number of Qs Level of difficulty
1 By killing transparency and competition, crony capitalism 1 Moderate
2 Climate adaptation may be rendered ineffective if policies are not 1
3 Understanding of the role of biodiversity in the hydrological 1
4 In the last decade, the banking sector has been restructured with a high degree 1
5 Safe and sustainable sanitation in slums has immeasurable 1 Moderate -Difficult
6 To understand the nature and quantity of Government proper for man, it is necessary 1 Difficult
7 The nature of the legal imperatives in any given state corresponds to the effective 1 Difficult
8 About 15% of global green house gas emissions come from agriculture practices. This includes 1 Moderate
9 As we look to 2050, when we will need to feed two billion more people 1 Moderate
10 All humans digest mother's milk as infants, but until cattle began being domesticated 10,000 years ago 1 Moderate -Difficult
11 The conceptual difficulties in National Income comparisons between underdeveloped and 1 Difficult
12 An increase in human made carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could initiate a chain reaction 1
13 Historically, the biggest challenge to world agriculture has been to achieve a balance 4
14 Accountability, or the lack of it, in governance generally, and civil services, in particular 4 Moderate
15 In general, religious traditions stress our duty to god, or to some universally ethical principle. 2 Difficult
16 Biomass as fuel for power, heat, and transport has the highest mitigation potential of all 4 Difficult
17 We are witnessing a dangerous dwindling of biodiversity in our food supply 1 Moderate -Difficult
TOTAL (17 Passages) 27


No. of Questions:30

The number of questions pertaining to Basic Numeracy was 30. The questions were from different topics (Numbers, Equations, Ratio, Time & Work, Time & Distance, Averages, Mixtures, Geometry & Mensuration, Probability etc). A candidate, well prepared, can answer at least 13 questions, with at least 80% accuracy in about 35 minutes.

S No Topic/Area Number of Qs Nature of Qs Number of doable Qs
2 Equations, Ratio 6 3
3 Percentages, Profit, Loss 5 2
4 Averages, Mixtures, Alligations 4 2
5 Time & Work 2 1
6 Time & Distance 2 1
7 Geometry & Mensuration 4 1
8 Probability 1 -
9 Permutations & Combinations 1 -
Total 30 Moderate -Difficult 12


No. of Questions:23

This test area comprises questions from topics like Sequencing, Arrangement, Distribution, Coding Decoding, Critical Reasoning etc There were at least 10 doable questions (out of 23). A good time allocation strategy will be 35 minutes for these questions.

S No Topic/Area Number of Qs Nature of Qs Number of doable Qs
1 Directions 3
2 Distribution (Puzzles) -2 sets 8 4
3 Coding Decoding 1 1
4 Critical Reasoning (Inferences, Conclusions, Assumptions) 3 1
5 Cubes 1 1
6 Arrangement -Circular 1 1
7 Quants based Reasoning 2
8 Arrangement -Linear (Set based questions) 3 1
9 Miscellaneous 1
Total 23 Moderate 10