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Old Monday, November 07, 2005
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Thumbs up CSS: TOP 10 FAQ's

By Candidate & Mohiuddin

Please note the following points one by one.

1. The requirements to be full filled before you can appear in the CSS exam are given at CSS RULES
2. The syllabus is provided at CSS SYLLABUS

Now you know the rules and syllabus. You will now face the following problems.

A) What optional subjects are suitable for me?
B) Do I have the capability to take CSS exam?
C) How long would it take to prepare?
D) How much time should be given to study daily?

Let us now examine all these questions one by one.

What optional subjects are suitable for me?

All the optional subjects are, generally divided into two categories.

A- High scoring subjects

B- So called low scoring subjects

A- High scoring subjects

Some of the subjects are considered high scoring ones. This list normally includes the following subjects.

1. Pure mathematics
2. Applied mathematics
3. Physics
4. Computer science
5. Accounting and auditing
6. Statistics
7. Mercantile Law

It is not easy for everyone to select these subjects only because these are known as high scoring subjects. Please note that following points must be considered before selection of these subjects

A) Basic knowledge of the subject
B) Your interest in the subjects
C) Your ability to learn the subject at an advanced level

Who can take up high scoring subjects?
If your answer to the questions above (a to c) is yes then you can do it. You cannot opt for these subjects, only because you have a masters or bachelors degree in any of these subjects. Generally we take admission in the bachelors or masters program without considering our own interest in the subject. CSS is not like a degree program. Here you need marks. For that a full in-depth knowledge is required. If that is not available these subjects can be very low scoring. This is because you cannot solve these papers merely on the basis of your general knowledge. For a better judgment please check PAST 10 YEAR PAPERS. This will give you an idea that how much effort is needed to get excellent marks in a subject. Aptitude is very important for success in these subjects. If you have the aptitude then you only need to manage yourself well and plan your efforts.

B- So called low scoring subjects

Please note that no subject is low scoring subject in itself. Your depth of knowledge earns you the marks. Another point is that if a science subject can get you high marks, it is equally likely that if just one question is incorrectly anwered, all the marks of that question will be lost. For scoring high marks in general subjects you need the following:

1 Ability to answer correcly and to the point,

2 Depth in knowledge, facts and figures

3 Ability to understand what is being asked

4 Aptitude.

An example will make this point clear. Constitutional Law is seen as an easy subject. It is on the record that an aspirant scored only 2 marks in it. And on another occassions the score was more than 80%.

Most of the general subjects relate to social science or general science. The key to success is your interest in these. If you have no interest in a subject you concentrate on it. So the result will be discouraging.

Another point is that you should check the syllabus in detail. Some of the subjects have very short syllabus. If you have short time then go for them. Some of the subjects have a very long syllabus - for example Urdu or Computer science. Even if you have a keen interest in these, you need a long time to prepare them.


YOU may be worried that:

1 your educational career was just average

2 your english is not that high.

3 No confidence (you dont think you can do it)

so can you do it ?

You can surely do it. Css should be taken as a 'project'. You have to work on aspects and the work should be well planned and organized. You should set some goals for yourself and then work hard to achieve them. These goals can be..

1 TO develop your english language (2 to3 months might be enough)

2 To Build up knowledge (3 to 5 months)

3 Fine tune your knowledge (1 month)

4 Pre-exam Tests (Till the end)

Developing English

Always remember that english is an easy language to understand. The material and guidence is available everywhere. You only need to work systamatically. Please note the following points in this regard.

1 All the four skills of language (speaking, writing, reading and listening) must be built simultaneously. You cannot hope to develop only one or two skills alone.

2 Speak english most of the times, and dont be shy.

3 Arrange a group discussion regularly

4 Listen english language CDs or BBC or CNN news.

5 Make it a habit to read DAWN

6 Consult good books on grammar (High School English grammar, Exploring the world of English etc)

7 Use dictionery most of the times. Dont ignore the words which are new for you. Check the meanings again and again and try to learn them.

8 Write a paragraph daily and get it checked. Try to use newly learned words in it.

During this period all of your concentration should be towards english as a language. The following tasks should also be continued during this time because these are inter-related.

1 Current affairs

2 Analytical ability

current affairs is very popular with the examinors. For example, the questions of Current affairs are being included in the follwoing papers.

Current affairs, itself

Pak Affairs


Everyday Science (Eg, water loging and salinity problem of pakistan, 2005)

Journalism (optional)

It is very important to note down important events with dates and facts and figures. This will also help you in attempting Objective type questions.

For this purpose read authentic material. As mentioned earlier, read Dawn daily. 'Current Affairs' by Dr. Safdar is helpful too. Listening to BBC or CNN can be another source.

the analytical ability should be developed. Learning by rot is not going to help. You should be able to analyse the statement and describe it in your own words. Only the availability of knowledge is useless. You should be able to arrange the knowledge in the required format. Keenly observe the method used by the writers in newspaper articles. They provide logic for every statement they make. You should have clear points against and in favour of different issues. The discussion with the friends can be helpful too. This will make you aware of their points of view. Every point should have logic behind it.

The knowledge building

in this phase you should take up the subjects which you have selected. The syllabus should be followed. Don't read a book from beginning till the end. Only the related topics should be studied. Try and prepare your own notes about every subject. This period must continue to enhance your english abilities too.

The fine tuning

After you have completed the sylabus, review it and continue to include more points in your notes. During this period the past papers must be solved. Try to prepare your own questions and then try to answer them. A group study can be very helpful specially during this period. Try to write atleast 3 essays per week during this time.

Pre exam tests

Once the date sheet is on your table, start conducting tests of your knowledge. The test should be analogous to the real exams. Division of time and presentation technique should be given special considration.

The time span required

Normally it is believed that 1 year is required for CSS. But it totally depends on the following:

1 Your basic knowledge

2 The Stamina

3 Mental capabilities.

Everyone can judge oneself better than anyone else. The optional subjects which you have selected and your knowledge of them shall also decide the length of the time required. The science students shall have to give lesser time to Everyday science as compared to general science students.

The work hours

How much should one study daily? This, again depends on you. If you can sit down and study continuously for 3 hours without losing the level of concentration you should study for 3 such periods daily. If you can be attentive for an hour or so, then you will have to arrange for atleast 10 such periods. Normally a "study time" of 8 hours in enough.



Written by: Candidate
Reformed by: Mohiuddin
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Old Thursday, February 02, 2006
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Arrow CSS: TOP 10 FAQ's

Question No. 1:

I want to appear for CSS exams but I donít know where to get information about it?

For those living in Pakistan, all good bookstores have CSS exam previous question papers and syllabus. FPSC announces every year holding the exams through national newspapers. Fresh syllabus is available from FPSC after that. It is advisable to start preparing well before FPSC advertisement. Visiting FPSC website may also be useful. For those living abroad, ask your friends to get CSS previous papers and syllabus from the market for you.

Question No. 2:
How many papers do I have to appear?

Usually the written exam comprises of Compulsory and optional subjects. Compulsory subjects include current affairs, Pakistan affairs, everyday science, English prťcis and composition, Islamiat and English Essay. There are a veriety of optional subjects available and you have to choose subjects to a certain marks, for example 600 marks. You may select six 100 marks subjects or any other combination that might be good for you. Written exams are followed by Viva voca for the successful candidates. This includes psychological tests, interview and group discussions. However for updated rules FPSC must be contacted.

Question No. 3:

I have completed my education and want to start preparing for the exam seriously. How do I get started?

You may like to begin by having a look at the syllabus for selecting your optional subjects. You may wish to start preparing optional or compulsory subjects as your study plan suggests. However beginners, at least most of them, need to improve their reading skills as well as vocabulary. So get in the habit of reading news papers and improve your vocabulary. Start writing on topics of your interest as well so that you start developing a good written expression. When the exams gets near, you will not get time for it so better improve your reading and writing skills earlier. If you feel that you are not confident about your English language, it is advisable to take corrections on your drafts from a teacher.

Question No 4:

I am studying at University and plan to take the CSS exams in few years time. Is there anything that I need to do?

Strong educational base always helps. Build good academic habits, read good books on literature, international politics and stay in touch with current affairs magazines so that you start developing a world view of things.

Question No. 5:

I cannot decide my optional subjects. Need help?

Selecting the right optional subjects for yourself always takes time. Try to select subjects of your strong area, previous educational background, interest as well as such subjects in which you have good guidance from CSS point of view. Meanwhile do not waste time and take on the compulsory subjects.

Question No. 6:

Which are the most scoring subjects?

Experience has shown that there is no formula or typical combination that gives more score. Examiner preferences may result in strict or lenient marking in some subject but there is no consistent pattern. So avoid falling in the trap of being told that a certain subject is scoring. High scores in a certain subject may only be one or two time phenomenon.

Question No. 7:

I just canít do it. This is too much. I cannot handle so much pressure. There is so much left to study and there is so little time now. I think I should quit. Should I?

Absolutely NOT. Remember everyone is passing through the same stress. Feel strong! Even those who top the exams go through the same pressure. Feeling like having studied in the wrong way and having followed wrong study plan is just usual. As long as you were studying something, it will pay.

Question No. 8:

Does this mean that I donít worry about my study plan?

No thatís not the point. Study plan is very important. You need to have a long term as well as a short term study plan, at least in your head. Gradually as you will discover your own strengths and pass through unpredictable areas in preparation, you may need to adjust your plan accordingly. But there is no success without discipline in your studies.

Question No 9:

Tell me one thing that is very very important?

There is more than one thing that is so important. First, keep looking at the previous question papers. They are the best guide for you. Second, donít forget to improve your writing skills. Keep doing the writing practice. Finally, donít loose heart. If you can aim for it then you can do it.

Question No 10:

Why do people fail after so much hard work?

Hard work in only the foundation. You need to build on that. Remember you are in a competitive exam where scoring marks is very important. So knowledge is required yet your tact and method of attempting the exam is as important. Love knowledge however keep the exam in mind and prioritize your studies according to it. Donít waste time on areas that may not be important for exam point of view. Read the question vary carefully and answer only what has been asked.
It is better to be hated for what you are then to be loved for what your not.
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Old Friday, February 03, 2006
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Default Most Important of all!

One of the most important thing regarding preperation of CSS exams is the believe in God and Fate as well as the hard work. Reading eveything that seems important and keeping focus on your short term plans is very necessary.
I hope you will get the point,

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