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Beginners Guide to CSS Competitive Examination

Please follow in order as directed.

  1. To check your eligibility you need to have a look at CSS Rules
  2. To know syllabi you need to browse CSS Syllabus

Once you browse the above links certain problems or questions would crop out in your mind. These are those certain problems, which we confront when we aspire to take CSS exams. These are:

  1. What optional subjects should I opt?
  2. Am I competent enough to take CSS exams?
  3. What is sufficient time span for preparation?
  4. How much should I study?

First we deal question 1:

There are two perspectives:

  • Optional subjects about which we learn that they are high scoring subjects.
  • Optional subjects about which we learn that they are not that high scoring subjects.

Perspective A:

No denying the fact that there are certain subjects, which are really marks yielding these subjects include all science subjects such as pure math, applied math, physics, computer sciences… and other subjects such as mercantile law, accountings etc. To analyze this perspective one should consider these points:

  • One's aptitude concerning the subject.
  • One's skill concerning the subject.
  • One's capacity concerning enhancement one's capability in the subject.

Who should opt these subjects?

Anybody who says ‘yes' to all above questions should go for these subjects.

It is reality that there is no surety that one earns a bachelor's or master degree in any of the these disciplines with enthusiasm or keen interest. Most of us earned our degrees without reckoning our aptitude. Or we go for a discipline, which is in “fashion”. Or sometimes we are left with no choice-a Hobson's choice. In CSS mater is quite different here we do not have to earn a degree rather we have to grab excellent marks. If these subjects are marks yielding; it is realty too that these are one of those subjects, which can't be solved with general knowledge. General knowledge is a tool or open seism for success in subjects fall in category of humanities. One of the best ways to analyze one's capabilities in natural sciences subjects is to review past 10 years papers in this way one can easily understand the prospective problems and rate of success. By reviewing past 10 years papers one can easily calculate how much diligent efforts are required to get excellent marks in the subject. Please neither underestimates nor overestimates your competence. In case of overestimation none would endure loss but only you. Underestimation is somewhat good because it would work as impetus for hardworking. Most important thing in opting these subjects is your aptitude. Higher the aptitude higher would be the rate of success.

Remember in old days only physical strength was a tool to get success; physical strength was replaced by intelligence; intelligence was replaced by hardworking; hardworking was replaced by power of self-administration.

So only criterion of success is to administer yourself; administer your aptitude, administer your intelligence and ultimately administer your power to endure tough times.

Perspective B:

This perspective does not hold water because of the fallowing facts:

  • No subject is low scoring if one is well prepared.
  • Only requirement to get high score is to know how to deal that subject.
  • Your aptitude is your strength; higher the aptitude higher would be success rate.

For instance, it is said that constitutional law is too easy subject but as low score as 2 has been recorded in this subject. Intriguingly in the same subject numbers of aspirant have scored more than 80%.

As said before your aptitude is your strength and next step to get excellent marks is to administer your aptitude. Only advice that could be given is to evaluate your aptitude precisely. Point is to put effort. Remember any subject either belongs to natural science or social science would be of no use if you have no aptitude or interest. Lower the aptitude higher would be boredom; higher would be boredom higher the difficulty in dealing the subject and ultimately higher stamina would be required to borne that subject. So please do not waste your vitality just in digesting perceived monotony a subject.

Last but not least point in opting optional subjects is to evaluate scope of subjects. Go for that subject where you have adequate interest coupled with relatively shorter syllabus instead of that subject where you feel too aptitude coupled with too much syllabus. Here the most important constraint is of time constraint if you have a year for preparation you could choose latter option but if you do not have enough time formal option would be better.

Now time to deal second question.

Am I competent enough to take CSS exams?

There are indeed some apprehensions such as:

  • I have never enjoyed creditable academic record.
  • My English is not that high.
  • I am not confident.

Can I offer what this endeavor demands?

You can cope any kind of apprehension if you have high will compound with logic. If there is a will there is a way! What you have to do is to draw a strategy or a plan with different milestones you job is to cross milestones within time. For instance your milestones (which could be interpreted in term of prerequisite of success) could be these:

  • Milestone 1: I have to get English proficiency (say first 3 moths).
  • Millstone 2: I have to develop analytical characteristics (say within 2 months).

First you have to draw your strategy; strategy is how you define you ‘problem statement' that is you define what you have to do in order to achieve you objective the second part which is most important is to execution of strategy that is your work on “how” part of your problem. Remember do not render strategy making “a brown study” or building castle in air. You strategy should be feasible and must be realistic or workable. Again please do not overestimate yourself.

You can do any thing what any other single human being can do. If you feel that you take more time as compare to any other person or just simple that you can't grab things fast do not bother yourself remember the essence that ‘YOU CAN DO WHAT OTHER CAN DO!' instead of taking time span a predicament. But time span should be realistic such as if one can do a piece of work in 1 day you must be able to do that work in 3 days anyhow that different must keeps dwindle as time passes and you should be able to do that work in 1 and half day.

Beside aforementioned stuff following are other imperatives that are of equally importance:

  • English language proficiency
  • Grasp on current affair
  • Analytical capabilities

What role English language proficiency plays is as obvious as one's existence.

About grasp on current affairs I would like to quote Yahya's statement that if one has no grasp over current affair one no need to bother oneself to take exams. Yahya scored 37 th position in 2003 CSS exams. Yahya statement holds water in very circumstances and one can easily validate his statement if one has gone through paper pattern of 2005 CSS exams; even Islamyat paper was not devoid of current affairs.

Analytical mind plays decisive role in one's success FPSC has too changed her course from encouraging rot learning to appreciate analytical mind. If you do not have analytic skill it would be very difficult to attempt paper with reason and logic. If your paper has no show of mind you cant expect any bright success. Anyhow to develop analytical skill is not too difficult you just need to read what one says and put argument accordingly. First you would face difficulty to pen argument but you can learn from editorials or opinions of newspaper where writer always support her option only on bases of logic. You can easily judge that different writers support their points on different ground and they often vary from each other if endorse one policy other endorse any other policy you can judge that on what points one endorse a specific policy and on what points one oppose that policy. Another way is to develop these skill is to discuss contemporary affairs with your friends, go to chat room try to get opinions of different people who belong to different regions argue with them on specific points through this way you can easily gather different viewpoints such as American view, Iraqi, Indian view on specific issues. Remember learn how to acknowledge true reason; do not dare stick to your point if one provides enough logic to support her point instead of your insistence on your viewpoint, which is averse of logic.

Now to deal question: What is sufficient time span for preparation?

No one can predict accurate time span it could be from 6 month to 3 years. All is what academic background you have what kind of skills you have what is your rate to grasp concept.

  • If one has to start from scratch but possessing good metal capabilities rough estimation is of 1 year.
  • If one has to start from scratch with not too good metal capabilities rough estimation is of 1½ to 1 year.
  • If one need not to start from scratch and possessing good metal capabilities rough estimation is of 6 months.

Thing is this is you who has to gauge your skills precisely on one can better predicate time span for preparation but only you. Another thing is this time span is estimated with viewing of getting good positions. There could be no time span if one claims oneself a fatalist and insist to enjoy the aftermaths of one's adventure based on “high stars” rather than on deliberation.

How much should I study?

Answer of this question strictly depends on your choice of time span coupled with your metal capabilities. Whatsoever time span you chose as suggested above (in second last question) you need to study from 6 to 8 hours on daily basis.


(Compiled By: Candy)



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