How to prepare for CSAT (Maths)

Part 2 of 3

Table of contents

Sure shot way to fail CSAT? Ignore maths!

Many aspirants make this classic mistake of ignoring the maths and relying on language comprehension / reasoning. However, looking at the nature of comprehension questions where multiple interpretations are possible, it will be unwise to do so.

Thus, it's better to prepare basic numeracy and Arithmetic related topics from the maths section.

This post is part 2 of a 3 part series, for part 1 - click here

Part 2: Quantitative Aptitude (Maths)

It includes - Basic Numeracy, General Mental Ability, Data interpretation.

Quantitative Aptitude Tests evaluate the numerical ability and problem-solving skills of a candidates. In UPSC CSAT, around 25-30 questions are asked every year from this section.

Essential tips to prepare Maths

Start from the basics

Prepare the basics of mathematics, such as number system, percentages, averages, etc. You should have absolute command over these fundamental mathematical operations.

Identify your strengths and weaknesses

This will help you determine which questions to solve on priority in the exam. Eg. If you are weak in Permutation and Combination, solve the questions from this topic in the end. Don’t waste your time on it.

Focus on conceputal clarity

The fundamental concepts of the topics should be clear. Take guidance from your teacher if you get stuck on a particular topic. Do not leave any topic, even if it seems unimportant, as questions can be asked from anywhere. Revise the concepts as and when possible.

Don’t rely on tricks! Make your core strong. This way, even if UPSC asks tricky questions, you can answer them. E.g. You should be aware of the basic concepts such as types of numbers, LCM, HCF, divisibility tests etc in number system topic.

Read the questions carefully

Read the questions carefully so that you understand them correctly. If you can convert word problem into mathematical expression, half your problem is solved.


Solve previous year's papers and also mock tests of UPSC prelims. It will help you get familiar with the pattern and structure of questions. The key mantra to clear the CSAT cutoff is practice and speed. Notice the silly mistakes committed and try to avoid them. These mistakes can include calculation errors, formula errors etc.

For topic wise practice questions - Click here

Cheat sheet

Quantitative Aptitude includes a lot of formulas, theorems, tables, etc. Write down the important ones that needs to be remebered on paper. Prepare short notes on each topic to be revised multiple times.

Solve questions in round system

Just like GS, solve CSAT questions in a round system. Solve the simplest questions first, mark the questions that looks solvable but are tricky for the second round. Lastly, identify the questions which are to be solved only if you there is some extra time in end.

Skippable questions

There will be tough questions in this section - added to waste your time. We call them homework questions, they are not meant to be solved in the exam hall. If you don't know how to solve the question within 20-30 seconds, leave  it for later.

Want a mentor?

Target CSAT Course

  1. Comprehensive coverage of all topics
  2. Weekly Doubts day sessions
  3. CSAT workbook
  4. Regular mentor calls.

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