Since announcement for 2011 prelims to be replaced by CSAT has been made, people are confused and anxious regarding its syllabus. This is natural since a totally different syllabus form the present one will offset the advantage enjoyed by those preparing for last 2-3 or even more years. Lets see what different sources have to say about CSAT:-
1)Students would have to give two objective-type papers that have emphasis on testing their "aptitude for civil services" and "ethical and moral dimension of decision-making".
2)The UPSC had told the government two years ago there was a need to test not just the knowledge of aspirants in particular subjects but their aptitude for "a demanding life in the civil services".
3)Recommendations of the 10th Administrative Reforms Committee: - The Preliminary Examination should consist of an objective type test having one or two papers on general studies including the Constitution of India, the Indian legal system, Indian economy, polity, history and culture. There should be no optional subjects.
The following questions pattern will be asked in CAST -
- Current Affairs from National and International Events
- Logical Reasoning and Decision Making Solution
- Quantitative Ability
- Data Interpretation from Graphic and Chart
My initial impression about CSAT was same as the point made by solidindian.com. However, what made me change my mind were the point no-3 and the following:-
a) Switching completely to a content speculated in point 4 will give an undue advantage to science/engineering/management students, something that UPSC would not like to do.
b) A radical changeover from current status in not a characterstic of government institutions.They like to proceed in small steps while trying to maintaining some continuity. One step has already been taken in this year's prelims by asking questions from geography that involved some analysis as well as knowledge of physical geography.
c) "Aptitude for civil services" cannot exclude knowledge and understanding of India's History, Economy , Constitution and its political systems.
I would add the following to the speculated syllabus: -
- Questions from Constitution patterned along decision-making situations.
- Questions from geography involving data-interpretation and analysis
- Questions from History and Economy will also be there, though much more complicated than current ones.For example, instead of single-correct or multiple correct choice questions, questions would be having answers having varying degree of suitability/relevance to the question. Students might have to rank 4 different specified reasons for Rise of Muslim League in increasing order of importance. These are questions that involve decision-making as well as sound knowledge of History.
While existing sources for GS prelims continue to have relevance for CSAT, aspirants are advised to consult the following as well: -
- Questions asked in Banking P.O., S.S.C.
- Data- Interpretation from Any Management Exams Guide.
This is all I can speculate for now. Hope for the best and sit with a cool mind in the exams. Nothing else will make/mar your performance in prelims than your state of mind, especially in CSAT where you have to rely more upon your analytical skills than memory management.