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Old Tuesday, April 17, 2012
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Post Css q&a

CSS Q&A

After serving in the Pakistan Air Force for fifteen years, Mr. Nawaz Khalid Arbi switched over to the Civil Service by dint of sheer hard work and determination. Currently, he is serving as District Coordination Officer, Pakpattan and has the additional responsibilities of District Officer Human Resource Management, District Officer Planning and Executive District Officer Finance. He has successfully been coaching the classes of CSS students. In an interview with the World Times, he has given some very useful tips to the students who wish to appear in the CSS examination.

In the light of your personal experience and observation, what are the prerequisites for the students who wish to succeed in the CSS exam?

Students wishing to appear on the competitive examination must have a sound and solid academic base. It is unwise to appear in the CSS exam immediately after graduation, because, at this stage, most of the students are immature and inexperienced and have less knowledge and exposure. Thus, before attempting the CSS exam, it is better for them to get Master's degree in some subject, which would inevitably widen their knowledge, outlook and vision and raise their maturity level. An additional benefit of this strategy is that even if they fail to get through the CSS exam, they will have another option open for them. If with a fair command over English and the habit of studying with full concentration for long hours, students work sincerely for one or two years they are most likely to succeed, even if their previous academic career was not so brilliant. As CSS is a planned activity that requires systematic preparation under proper guidance.

There are a large number of academics for the guidance of CSS students. Are they really helpful for the students?

In some CSS academies, only a single man tries to teach all the subjects. If the students of such academies pass the examination, it is not due to the academies but due to the preparation of students and their hard work. Some other academies which have trained and skilful teachers, prove very helpful for the students. They not only assist the students in the preparation of their subjects but also help them in developing a particular type of attitude, because, CSS is not just an examination, it is the name of an attitude; and as long as the students do not have this particular attitude, they are not likely to succeed in the examination, no matter how intelligent, competent and hardworking they are.

How can the students acquire good marks in the written examination?

It all depends on the presentation and expression of ideas in a clear, concise, appropriate and convincing manner. The more convincing your presentation is, the more marks you are likely to obtain.

Many students pass the written examination but fail in the interview. What is your advice for such students?

Interview is not just the testing of your knowledge. It is the testing and assessment of your entire personality, including the balance, calm and composure of your personality. Thus, besides the display of your knowledge during the interview, you should remember several other important points. If you do not know the answer to a question, instead of beating about the bush, you should simply say sorry and without smiling. You should be able to introduce yourself nicely and rightly.

If a question is asked in Urdu, do not answer it in English. Do not get involved in controversies with the inter-viewers. Do not try to become overambitious and boastful of your knowledge, your answers should be brief, comprehensive and to the point. Some students start making long speeches in response to simple questions which proves counter-productive. If a question irritates you, do not get irritated or tense.

Try to remain calm and cool instead of showing irritation and anger. You should be courteous and polite throughout the interview. While answering the questions, you should use the word sir. If an interviewer gives you a tip or clue regarding a difficult question, you must express your gratitude to him. Too much use of body language leaves a negative impression on the interviewers. There must be a balance between the verbal and non-verbal communication.

Can cramming be helpful in passing the CSS exam?

While preparing for the exam, you have to cram certain things such as facts and figures, dates and names of places, etc. However, the cramming of detailed questions cannot be so helpful, because, interview is not just the test of memory, it is the evaluation of the entire personality. At times, some students memorise a number of questions and luckily they pass the examination because the same questions are asked from them.

However, after their selection, when they become a part of the bureaucratic fraternity, their ignorance is exposed in the presence of their colleagues. I personally believe that instead of asking mathematical type of questions such questions should be asked as may reveal the opinion, temperament and personality of the candidates.

How can the level of interviewers be improved?

If a person is a senior civil servant, a retired secretary or a retired general, it does not mean that he is necessarily a good interviewer. Interviewing is an art and those who wish to become a part of the panel of interviewers must be trained how to evaluate the personality of the candidates, putting aside their own prejudices and biases. I have to say with regret that most of our interviewers are not capable of taking interviews. A good interviewer must be a good and trained human resource manager. I am glad to note that things are now changing because we are now realising the consequences of wrong selection through inappro-priate interviews.

Many students fail in the essay paper. Would you like to give some tips or suggestions to them?

Essay writing is a skill which comes with practice. A person may have thousands ideas in his mind about a given topic, but he is most likely to fail if he does not have the skill of composition and presentation of those ideas with an effective and emphatic expression in the form of a well-knit and coherent essay.
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