In Conversation with
Muhammad Usman (PSP)
38th in Pakistan, CSS 2018-19
|Your inspiration||Haq Nawaz Khan (My Father)|
|Alma mater(s)||University of Central Punjab, Lahore|
|Your study schedule||8-10 hours a day|
|Your sources||Crash courses on YouTube, recommended books and research papers.|
|Institute you joined||World Times Institute|
|Group preferences||1. PAS2. PSP3. FSP|
|Why PSP?||In current circumstances, PSP is perhaps the only service that is capable of providing immediate relief to the people|
|Hobbies||Travelling, socializing and watching movies|
|Fave book||Meditationes de prima philosophia (Meditations on First Philosophy) by René Descartes|
|Fave quote||“Cogito, ergo sum.” (I think, therefore I am) – René Descartes|
|Secret of your success||Perseverance|
|Role model||My Father|
Detailed Marks Sheet
|Précis & Composition||58|
Jahangir’s World Times (JWT): First of all, please tell us about your educational background?
Muhammad Usman (MU): I have done MBA from University of Central Punjab, Lahore, and LLB from University of the Punjab, in the same city.
JWT: Since you have been allocated to the Police Service of Pakistan (PSP), what was the feature of this service that attracted you most?
MU: In a developing country like Pakistan, almost every department is ultimately dependent upon police to enforce its orders. Therefore, the role of police is of paramount importance in maintaining writ of the state.
JWT: How was your experience at World Times Institute (WTI) for CSS preparation?
MU: I joined WTI for mock exams and interview preparation. And, their magazine JWT proved very instrumental both for written and interview preparation.
JWT: What, in your opinion, is the key to making a difference in written part of CSS exam?
MU: I think the key to making a difference is in the following points:
- a) Writing high quality yet to the point answer supported by references
- b) Focusing on the presentation of paper (handwriting, flow charts, self explanatory headings)
- c) Giving equal time and space to every question
- d) Special focus on the preparation of objective part
- e) Taking at least two full-fledge mock exams
JWT: What was the key to your phenomenal success?
MU: Succinctly, these were:
- a) Blessings of Almighty Allah
- b) Prayers of my family and friends
- c) Passion to join Police Service of Pakistan
- d) Deep analyses of CSS Syllabus and Past Papers in order to narrow down the area of study
- e) Perseverance and hard work
JWT: How answers should be written to get maximum marks?
MU: As far as the strategy of writing answers is concerned, aspirants must keep in mind these things:
- a) Introduction should be treated as a summary answer of the question asked
- b) Headings should be self-explanatory
- c) Support every heading either with facts or examples, references, quotations, etc.
- d) Draw a map or flowchart in almost every question
- e) Critical analysis should be followed by optimistic conclusion
JWT: Should there be some word limit kept in mind while writing answers?
MU: I wrote no more than 5 pages per question. However, I think the ideal length should be around 6 pages per question.
JWT: How did you structure your Essay and what was your strategy for Précis and Composition Paper?
MU: I tried to focus on structure of the Essay and wrote it in simple English. I was able to compose an Essay of around 1700 words by writing 12 paragraphs based on the outline.
As clichéd as it sounds, I think writing practice is the key to passing both the English papers. I paid special attention to the vocabulary part of Précis and composition paper in order to curtail the risk of failure. For this paper, practice is the key.
JWT: How did you handle de-motivations?
MU: I think de-motivation is part and parcel of this journey. Prayer, music and a long walk on empty roads came to my salvation whenever I felt de-motivated.
JWT: How a new aspirant should start his preparations and what areas should he focus?
MU: A new aspirant must:
- a) Pray!
- b) Start reading English newspapers
- c) Hold solution-oriented discussions on national and international issues
- d) Work on English writing skills
- e) Study the syllabus and past papers of compulsory and optional subjects
- f) Pick one subject out of the 12 subjects at a time, breakdown that in different parts and then start preparing one question at a time.
JWT: What areas should the new aspirants focus while preparing for the CSS exam?
MU: I think the prospective aspirants should target strictly the syllabus and past papers of CSS.
My tips on:
Selection of optional subjects
While selecting the optional subjects, keep in mind your interest, background and scoring trend.
- a) Anticipate the question which can be asked in the final exam, consult multiple resources and then write the answer as if you are writing in the real exam.
- b) Each question should be supported by quotations/facts/diagrams/flowcharts etc.
I think, last 1-2 months should be devoted solely to revision of 10 subjects and practice of English Essay and Précis & Composition papers.
Advice for Prospective Aspirants
Work hard but pray harder. Learn from your failures and comeback stronger. Remember, it’s the journey that matters the most, not the destination. Enjoy the ride!
My Interview Experience
I think my Interview experience was a bit unconventional and personal. However, the panel tested me on scenario-based questions that revolved around Afghanistan issue, drug trafficking, policing and housing. The panel also tested my nerves and level of confidence.