A compilation of Noor-ul-Ain Fatima's (2008 Topper) tips
Although following summary is in first person, but it has been compiled by Crown Prince, who used Dr Noor's posts and interview to prepare this summary. In any case, it should not be confused with Dr Noor's own posts.
Dr. Noor-ul-Ain Fatima
My optional subjects were Indo-Pak history, Urdu, Constitutional Law and Journalism. I was a regular member of Quaid-e-Azam public library .They have a nice collection of many books especially on Mughul History and on Urdu (especially Iqbaliat).Almost every year there is question on Iqbal and you can prepare your notes from there. For current affairs, try to read columns on New York Times, Washington Post, Guardian online. They give you a wide perspective to attempt your paper. For English try to get a good quotation book and remember some quotes or verses of good poets like Tennyson, Shakespeare or Longfellow .They'll help u in paragraph writing.
I'm a voracious reader and it is not difficult for me to read a lot of material in short span of time. Secondly during my MBBS years I developed the habit of skimming from book only important points because in our final year we had to prepare almost 10 subjects.It would be a great pleasure of mine if I could post my notes but I haven’t made any. I jotted down points on my books because I didn’t have time to make an notes
English Essay: (Marks: 64/100)
For Essay paper I first wrote the outline then introduction then body and in the end conclusion. In outline I presented summary of the whole essay in point form. I gave quotations and cited paragraphs in my essay. Please give no headings or subheadings in essay give them in outline of essay. Outline is necessary for a good essay. I wrote my outline at the beginning of essay because I thought it would help to organize my essay.
For essay I'd recommend you to choose an essay topic on the current affairs. I think that choosing few topics for essay is a risky practice. Every year there are at least 2 or 3 topics relating to current affairs in essay paper. Try to print out articles from different newspapers websites (Nation, Dawn, News and Daily times), file them and arrange them by topics. Then make a note on which topics articles are being written frequently, those would be important.
Make an outline before writing your essay. Divide it into paragraphs and cite quotations. For quotations you can try this website: www.brainyquote.com . Just make sure that you write at least one essay in a week. That practice will enhance your writing skills and get your essay checked by a good teacher. Remember practice makes you perfect.
I attempted My religion is a religion of peace in CSS.
1. Meaning of word Islam: Derive from Salam meaning peace
2. Relevant Quranic Verses
3. Relevant Ahadith
4. Examples from Islamic History: Tolerance with non-Muslims, Subjects during Spanish Era, Presence of Coptic Christian in Egypt and other Islamic countries.
In the eyes of western scholars
1. Karen Armstrong
2. Dr. Robert Pappe
3. Leopold Weiss (Allama Muhammad Asad)
Misunderstanding of Islam
1. Huntington’s theory of Clash of Civilization
2. Dr. Edward Said’s reply to Huntington
3. Fukuyama theory of End of History
4. False medial objections
How to remove these misconceptions
1. Mass awareness
2. Restructuring of OIC
3. Khatemis’s Dialogue of Civilization
English Composition: (65/100)
I prepared vocabulary from GRE books and idioms from Collins Idioms Dictionary +net +Exploring English. I practiced few essays, paragraphs and précis mainly from past papers because I didn’t have enough time. For précis I just consulted exploring English
In English composition paper, I attempted synonyms antonyms and active passive first then I moved on to comprehension. My last question was précis as it was quite time demanding.
A good website for idioms is http://www.usingenglish.com/reference/idioms/ . For synonyms, antonyms and vocabulary this site is helpful (it has GRE vocabulary list):http://www.postech.ac.kr/~gla/gre/
Everyday Science: (80/100)
EDS from net (howstuffworks.com)+ Imtiaz Shahid Book + Akram Kashmiri + Encarta + Wikipedia.
In my opinion, consult howstuffworks.com it’s a good website for EDS in addition to consulting your books also buy O level biology, chemistry and physics books.
Current Affairs: (64/100)
For current affairs I read Dawn + Nation + News + Current Affairs Digest + Newsweek + Times + Economist + World times (Jehangir book depot) + Contemporary Affairs by Imtiaz Shahid (read atleast 3 latest editions) + Khaleej Times + Washington Post + New York times.
For current affairs read some good columnists for example in Dawn read Tariq Fatemi, Sultan Khan in Nation Shamshad Ali Khan in News Shirin Mazari ,Ayaz Amir,Farrukh Saleem in daily Times read Hasan Askari Rizvi and Ejaz Haider(u can find these papers online)
I mostly read columns and editorials in a newspaper. I've found a great website for those people who wants to read different columnists all in one place it is: http://www.pkcolumnist.com/
Pakistan Affairs: (57/100)
In Pak affairs I started with a quote then introductory paragraph + few more quotes then flow chart or table(if any) then conclusion and critical analysis plus quote at the end. For objective you can buy any good objective book.
For Pak Affairs: I.H Qureshi book is good. You can memorize some paragraphs from there and book of Pak Affairs by Star book depot is also helpful. I also quoted from some other books in Quaid-e-Azam library Pak history section. Ikram Rabbani is another book I'd recommend
I opted Islamiat in Urdu because it is more scoring and I quoted in Arabic. They lengthy of my answer is about 4-7 pages.
For Islamiat there are many good books available in market. Try to read Islamic edition of various newspapers like Dawn and Nation.
For journalism I consulted past papers and made a list of important topics. Another book which I have found useful is journalism by Abid Tahami. Its very concise and Emporium's Journalism book is also good. Journalism is quite an easy subject to prepare. First make a list of all those questions that have been asked in previous CSS exams.In journalism all topics of Imtiaz Shahid book + Abid Tahami book + Mehdi Hassan book + past papers. I gave headings and sub headings and flow charts and diagramsThen prepare your own notes, my suggestions for books are:
1.Mass communication by Imtiaz Shahid
2.Emporium Journalism book as well as objective
3.Journalism by Abid Tahami
4.I've forgotten the title of this book but Its written by Dr Mehdi Hassan
In paper, give headings and make flowcharts and diagrams.
History of Pakistan & India: (144/200)
1. I've read lot of books in Indo Pak history mainly from Quaid-e-Azam Public library but for general guidance 3 books are good:
2:Tariq Awan(by Feroze sons)
But plz don’t rely on them and make your own good notes. For making notes on Babar, I had to read Tuzk-e-Babri too
2: Use quotations of important Historian(you can find quotes even In K Ali)like Elphinstone in your question. The number of quotations depends upon memory and availability. I gave an average of 5-6
3: In almost every question which I attempted I drew maps of subcontinent and indicated the relevant king's battles on that map.
4. Don’t forget to write critical analysis at the end. Critical analysis in Indo-Pak should be about half to one page long (a lot depends on the size of writing the criterion I've mentioned is for medium sized).
5. For Indo-Pak history maps, I used book of Tariq Awan. Even K. Ali has given maps of subcontinent during each king's era
6: I answered my questions with a pointer. U can find maps in K ALI just draw them roughly you don’t need to be very accurate.
7: My marks in first paper of history are 75.Critical analysis fetch you good marks and it also shows that you possess a good analytical mind. You can also quote from good books in critical analysis
8. Well my approach was not different in Indo-Pak History and Pak Affairs.
9: As far as maps are concerned just draw them with pen or marker. I actually copied maps from K Ali and then indicated on maps where different battles were fought on map using pen
Constitutional Law: (61/100)
For Constitutional Law: I consulted books of Mazar ul Haq + Bhatti's How states are Goverened + VD Mahajan. Write in simple but effective language.
First prepare a list of previous questions. Try to up to date your constitution by visiting wikipedia. Make headings ,quote some famous Jurists like Blackwell or Dicey and give references of some important cases like Marbury vs Madison
A good website for Pakistan’s Constitution is:
I think wikipedia is best for updates regarding constitutions for example there are some amendments in French constitution which are not found in other books. For Pakistan’s constitution consult Hamid khan's book, it’ll help you in understanding its history also
1.First of all choose Urdu only if you are really good in it otherwise its not scoring
2.Read Adabi sections of different newspapers
3.Before attempting such questions in Urdu A( like comments on style of Mushtaq Yousafi) give a brief introduction of author and his/her works.
4. I also used quotations for example in the question (comments on style of Mushtaq Yousafi?) I gave quotation of Zameer Jafari, Mushtaq Yousafi Urdu ka Mangla dam hain.
5. Buy MA Urdu master guide kits very relevant. Anwar Sadeed Urdu Adab ki Thareekh is another good book
6.For Iqbal and Ghalib MA Urdu has separate books like Ghalib aur Iqbal get them too
7.Try to memorize lot of Ashaars
8. For Tashreeh you can buy Bang-e-Dara ki tashreeh, Bal-e-Jibraeel ki tashreeh, Diwan-e-Ghalib ki tashreeh from Urdu Bazaar. Write relevant ashaars of good poets in tashreeh.
9. The no of ashar depends on your memory. I wrote explanation of about 3-5 pages and quoted 10 to 15 ashar. I have got a great interest in Urdu literature so I've already read all novels of CSS syllabus. I'll recommend you to go through all novels. Explanation should be (depending on your writing) 2-4 pages long. You should give brief introduction of writer before hiting main material. I put 7-8 quotations of different historian in every question.
9: For Urdu: Shakir Ali +Anwar Sadeed book + Saleem Akhtars book
Amjad Ali Shakir is better for Urdu.
Some great websites for psychological tests are:
They are really helpful!
Total score in written: 794
Grand total: 985
Merit order. 1
Reply to some queries.
Doctors and CSS:
There is no special criterion for doctors. However as a doctor I felt that we must not take any technical subject rather we should go for general subjects like Indo Pak history, British History ,Political science and Journalism. We have an edge in everyday science because most of the subjective is based on Biology. However MCQs in my paper were mostly on physics, space physics, geology and chemistry. I've always had a great interest in history and Urdu literature. So when I started preparing for CSS it was easy for me.
Break between two papers, suggested food.
To avoid mid day energy slump which is due to low glucose level. Take some sugary thing for example dates, biscuits, banana milkshake or sweetened oats porridge. It will keep you active and fresh.
Flow charts and graphs:
Flow charts are like chart of Maslow's theory of needs in Journalism. Graphs could include GDP growth charts,literacy rate chart,contribution of different industries in economic growth(in Pakistan Affairs and Current Affairs)
English skills are certainly necessary for CSS but you could improve them by extensive reading. Read different articles from well reputed newspapers like Natioin, Dawn, and Times (find them on internet) and try to write atleast one paragraph daily. Get your tests checked by a good teacher. It’ll help u a lot. For English tutoring you can contact any well reputed teacher. I myself get most of my tests checked by Mr Bokhari.
As far as academy is concerned I think that u must join a good one. Though you have to make effort yourself and no academy could spoon-feed you. The only benefit is that you can streamline your knowledge and you can interact with lot of people to gain from their knowledge and experience. Do consult a good library for your CSS preparation. Your success doesn’t depend only on your academy so it doesn’t matter which academy u have joined. Just concentrate on your work.
How to start Preparation:
Just start preparing Compulsory subjects. First make a list of questions from previous papers, prepare these questions first and then come to other question.
Study hours, duration etc.
I've prepared my CSS in only 4 months(my son was just 5 months old when I gave written papers) so I studied all subject at once but If you have time you can divide in such a way that you prepare your compulsory subjects first and then come to your optional. It all depends on your personal style.
The studying hours vary from person to person. I had no fixed schedule but average was about 6 to 7 hours. For précis ,I'd first speed read it to get the outline, then during my second reading I'd underline important sentences and after my 3rd reading I'd write a rough précis. I'd then make some amendments and make a fair copy of it.
As for time division, I studied half of my subjects in first two months and half in remaining two months. However, I prepared idioms, vocabulary and current affairs on the daily basis. In my view 10-12 months is an ideal time period for preparation.
In my opinion the answer should be comprehensive and it must cover all relevant points. Actually when you cover all points and you have a lot of relevant matter it becomes lengthy.
Doctors and Civil Service:
According to Mahatir Mohammed being a doctor makes it easy to become a manager He says that a doctor is trained to first take a history of problem then study the current scenario and then projecting it into future. After undergoing all these steps he makes an action plan. These are basic rules of management so a doctor is fit for a management job.
Secret of my success:
First of all, in my opinion CSS preparation depends a lot on your previous knowledge and a solid foundation. My secret of success is my strong faith in Allah, my devotion to my aim and a very solid academic foundation (provided by my mom, during my primary and secondary years of school she put a lot of emphasis on my writing style ,my English grammar and my basic concepts of world history and science, though my mom is a doctor yet she is a very good teacher).
Secondly during my MBBS years I had to retain a lot more than CSS. Book reading is my hobby that has helped me to become a speed reader. As far as inner motivation is concerned, my parents, my granny, my sis and even my little son (because I thought I must become a role model for him) were a source. I got anxiety and apprehension like anyone else but if you keep your faith in Allah and pray 5 times a day it helps u to calm down. My parents told me this: offer your prayers daily and recite Surah Yasin.Darood Sharif and Surah Nasr.
Put your faith in Allah and you'll succeed InshAllah. May Allah bless you with success. Ameen !
Interview of Dr. Noor-ul-Ain Fatima
Original text can be found. 1 2 3 4 5 6
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Dear, Fatima many Congratulation to You on this biggest Achievement and i really got inspired.I would like to know by you that how to Extract information from topic or any sort of book because some topic comprise of two to six pages and this is the big hindrance since ever i faced.what the right strategy should i adopt regarding picking valid information from books or topic Except skimming and scanning,very Humble for you answer ......
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