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Old Thursday, March 28, 2013
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Default My CSS article published in "Renaissance"

THE GATEWAY TO CSS


Zuhaib Ahmed Pirzada
‘Makli’

“When you want something, the entire universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
- Paulo Coelho



INTRODUCTION

Central Superior Services (CSS) is an examination of smartness, art and dedication. It is an examination of strong nerves which requires a lot of patience throughout its lengthy process. Every year around 11 thousand aspirants take CSS exams in Pakistan and only around 280 get selected. This is called the real competition that tests the nerves and mettle of the candidates. It demands endurance, perseverance and insurmountable will to go through. One can easily pass CSS with flying colours if one doesn’t have ifs and buts in mind and possesses strong commitment and is ready for tireless efforts. The higher the level of dedication and commitment, the higher will be the chances of success.

This competitive examination has become a myth for candidates who don’t know even the basics of this exam. That is why students rarely select this as their road to ultimate Career. Those who get selected every year and top the exams, did not land from the skies; they are ordinary human beings as we are. Nothing is impossible if one puts indefatigable efforts and exhibits strong commitment.

Abdullah Memon (Police Service Pakistan PSP) from Thatta district got 1st Position in Sindh CSS-2010. He got his Engineering Degree in 'Electronics' from MUET (Mehran University of Engineering & Technology) Jamshoro. Fahad Mumtaz from Faisalabad got first position in 2011 in Pakistan. This is not all. Syed Fida Hussain from Larkana; not only topped in 2006 but also broke the 20 years highest marks record and got selected in PSP group. He got 995 marks out of 1500 marks. Female candidates are no behind in this examination; Saba Asghar Ali got 3rd position in 2011. The intention behind these examples is to inform readers that anyone can be selected through CSS if person is committed, determined and hard-working.

PREREQUISITES OF CSS
• Impressive written expressions in English
• Fluency and accuracy in English speaking
• Passion, commitment and dedication in a proper and organized way
• Proper guidance from seniors
• Well analytical, critical and application skills
• Strong will-power, smart studies and self-confidence
• Sober and decent personality

HOW TO IMPROVE ENGLISH
English is most essential and prerequisite of CSS. ASP Kamran Adil says, “Excellent command on English language is a pre-requisite. If a person's English is not up to the mark, even ten years of preparation will not help him.” One does not get birth with the mastery over a language. One learns it through consistent hard-work and efforts. Improving language is a continuous process. One should be clear in expressions. As Mathew Arnold says, “Have something to say, and say it as clearly as possible".

The more one writes the better expressions become. Mind is receptive: One should read and listen more to be good at writing and speaking. As Francis Bacon says, “Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man.” Write on daily basis and get writings checked by an English teacher. Read dawn, magazines, novels, and different books to learn and improve English and expressions. Try to write in a précised way in own words what you read. And, indeed, brevity is soul of wit. Bring brevity and beauty in your composition; write in flow along-with coherence and unity. Practice! Practice! And Practice is the only way to achieve impressive expressions and striking English.

Optional subjects
Subject selection is the first and most important step for a new candidate. Candidates choose subjects through three perspectives.

• Scoring Subjects
• Personal Interest
• Academic background


Competence is at its peaks so subjects selection should be judicious. Scoring trend of subjects has been changing so one does not know which subject will be the low and high scoring in the upcoming year. In this regard one should choose the subjects according to one’s interest and aptitude. And, only a scoring mind can score well. As ASP Mufakhar Adeel 2nd Position, CSS-2006 says, “I did masters in English and LLB. But I neither took English nor any subject of law as my optional. I went for entirely new subjects, the subjects in which I had the interest. My combination included Islamic history, Urdu, Sociology and journalism. It was mainly because of these subjects that I managed to score 76% marks in optional subjects and hence secured second position overall.”

Go through past papers of the optional subjects which you are interested in. Select the subjects in which you have personal interest and aptitude. Indeed, it is the only interest and hard work which succeeds you.

Compulsory Subjects

1. Essay 100
2. English 100
3. Islamiat 100

General Knowledge
4. Everyday Science 100
5. Current Affairs 100
6. Pakistan Affairs 100
Total Marks: 600

Essay
Pul-e-Sirat is the first day of exam _ the Essay Paper. It is known that this bridge decides one is going to pass the exam or not. Most of aspirants fail in this paper alone it is because the candidates cram the notes and start writing what they have learnt in the last couple of days and cannot present distinction between the issue and the specific aspect asked in Essay. One cannot learn football by watching it on TV, practice is damn necessary. So is the Essay writing, it cannot be mastered by cramming and reading notes. One needs to practise it daily. As M.A English Literature and lecturer Farrah Zafar says, “You have thoughts, you have vision, you have brain. You just need Practise”.

Simple and easy and correct and clear English is the demand of CSS. There should be flow, unity, brevity and coherence in expressions.

CSS Essay can be divided into four parts:
• Outline
• Introduction
• Main Body
• Conclusion

(1) Outline
Outline is most essential part of CSS exams. Most of the times one’s outline decides that one is going to get marks above 40 or not. One should go to page No.25 - the last page of sheet and start brain storming, writing relevant points and sketching the outlines in a good manner. Most of students cannot make fine outlines. Fayaz Hussain, Deputy Director (State bank Pakistan) beautifully expresses this, “Panacea in this situation is to understand that your life is not limited to last couple of days rather it is spread over a minimum of 21 years and may have crossed, 22, 23, 24, and so on. Those 21+ years are the crucial knowledge treasures which need to be explored and recalled smartly. Such life span is full of observations and effective material. All you need is to brainstorm beyond your narrow-minded strategy of last few days, broaden the horizon of thinking at that time and allocate sufficient time to the outline. Outline is a driver and always keeps the best driver otherwise you won’t reach your destination. The best vehicle driven by the worst driver may end up in any accident, manhole, or wrong location.”

Explore all points; then, write them at first page in a logical way depending solely upon the statement. Give good time in making organized, balanced and comprehensive outline. Don’t forget! Outline is the essence and cover of the essay. The more impressive outline one makes the more chances are to score well.

(2) Introduction
Introduction is the gist, essence and back bone of an Essay. Start introduction with an opening sentence, hit the bull’s eye and give your thesis statement. Stay sticky to the topic and write up to the mark and to the point. Tell the examiner that you have understood the topic well and express it in a précised way with brevity what things are going to be jotted down further. Avoid grammatical mistakes, spelling errors and redundancy of ideas and vocab. Don’t forget! First impression is the last impression.

(3) Main Body
In this portion; you have to discuss your outlines in a better and organized way. Like: definition of the thesis statement, background, history, current scenario, related problems, issues, causes, effects, remedies, recommendations and predictions. Use quotations of celebrated authors. Try to use a highlighter. As Quratulain Malik CSS 2010, PAS says, “Use highlighters/pointers or markers to brighten the important lines, words and quotations and always mention the source of quotations.” Each paragraph in the main body should be connected to the next paragraph to maintain the flow and continuity.

(4) Conclusion
Sum up your entire essay in a profound and good manner. End it optimistically with awe-inspiring sentences and quotation.

Remember:
It is quality that matters not quantity. Writing an essay is like to make a delicious dish. One needs to add necessary ingredients at exact place, right time and in proper amount. Having smelled, an intelligent cook can easily tell how the dish is. So does the Essay checker. Having read outline and introduction, he comes to know how one’s essay is.

English Precise and Composition
Three major questions in this paper are:

Précis 25 Marks
• Comprehension 20 Marks
• Expansion of an idea 20 Marks

Expansion: Try to understand the topic correctly and it should be defined in very first sentence. Relevant examples, observations and quotations will adorn and beauty the expansion.

Précis: Casual reading, intensive reading, skimming, rough draft and final draft are steps of precise writing. One should practise précis more to master it. It totally depends on comprehension skills. Précis needs lucidity, conciseness, continuity and Comprehensiveness. As Prof: Muzaffar Bukhari says, “Précis must be terse, simple and lucid but at the same time, clear, meaningful, comprehensive and complete. “ Don’t forget precise writing should be 1/3 of the original words.

Comprehension: The better one understands the paragraphs the better one can answer the questions. Read the questions twice; then start reading the passage and when you stumble across an answer to the question then write it down. This is a better way and less time consuming.

Other Questions:
• Correction of sentences–5 marks
• Narrations or active-passive– 5 marks
• Idioms– 5 marks
• Pair of words or fill in the blanks– 10 marks
• Antonyms/Synonyms–10 marks

Examiner can change any question as is observed in past papers. In this portion one right answer can acquire full marks. This is the key point to get good marks in this paper. Try to read good English grammar books for these questions. ‘The discovering the world’ of English by JWT and ‘Practical English usage’ by Michael Swan can be very much beneficial and helpful in this regard.

Everyday Science
Don’t try to be over-confident if you are a student of science. Prepare this paper systematically. This paper is different and unique because it gives very high marks to aspirant if one does smart and hard work. This portion is divided into two parts:

• Subjective
• Objective


Objective: There are 50 MCQS; you have to attempt all with exclusion formula and logical guessing as there is no choice. It is better to solve past ten years paper. First preference should be given to objective.

Subjective: In this portion, you have choice so solve those questions which carry one mark.One marks questions can acquire full marks easily. Then second preference should be given to the questions which carry 2 marks. Try to draw diagrams neat and clean with labeling. Avoid answering lengthy questions.

Questions which carry one mark are of scientific units, reasoning and abbreviations. These questions are easy and often repeated. Solve past ten years papers for these questions and study Every day science by Kashmiri (Latest Edition).

Islamiat
This paper is a mixture of Islamic studies and current affairs. You need to have good grip over syllabus and current affairs. So stay sticky to newspapers and magazines which carry religious topics.

This is the only paper where you have choice to attempt in English or Urdu. Attempt it in a language in which you feel easy. It is argumentation and presentation which give you good marks.

Profound and adequate knowledge is very necessary. You should be able to distinguish between philosophies and rituals of Islam and other religions of the world. In this regard, you should listen to the celebrated scholars of Islam; Dr. Zakir Naik and Dr. Israr Ahmed.

Decorate the paper with ayaths, hadiths and quotations related to the topic and use marker to highlight them. Try to prove your statement with facts, figures and references. Give clear cut view, analyzed argumentation and clear presentation.

It is said to give a moderate view, an expression of liberalism. No, it is a misconception. These are highly unwarranted and you should not do this. And, use DEEN instead of religion for Islam.

Look at past papers, find out common topics, see the pattern and prepare it from all aspects.

Current Affairs
Regular and thorough reading of a daily newspaper Daily Dawn is very essential. Its Editorial and Opinion pages are very important. You must have eagle eyes over national and international issues. Monthly magazine of Jahangir’s World Times and Strategic Studies Digest are quite helpful for this paper.
This paper can be divided into:

• Foreign Policy
• International organizations
• Domestic issues
• International issues

Go through past papers to know basic concepts and this is the foremost thing to start with. Well organized and précised answers are required in this paper. Critical and analytical approach is needed with proof and cogent reasons. Drawing maps is required so you should practice the maps and try to give facts and figures to fetch good marks.

Pakistan Affairs
This is a low scoring subject because most of the students follow traditional thinking. To score high, you should understand the history of Pakistan thoroughly. This paper requires critical analysis so deep study of Pakistan affairs is very necessary.

There are two phases in this paper; pre-partition and post-partition. This needs comprehensive and profound knowledge. Make your own notes from different books and sources. Up to date knowledge of Pakistan affairs is very necessary to score high which you can cover through your current affairs paper.

Conclusion
In the end, I would like to appeal the youth of Pakistan, particularly Sindh to come forward and join Civil Services to serve poor people. “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” ― Rumi
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