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In Conversation with Dr Mujtaba Arfat Khan, 4th in Pakistan, CSS-2015

Dr Mujtaba Arfat Khan CSS Topper

With a smart preparation, one can easily get good scores in Compulsory Papers.

Jahangir’s World Times (JWT): First of all, please tell us about your educational background?

Dr Mujtaba Arfat Khan (MAK): I got my early education from my native city from Chenab College Jhang. I’ve been a high-achiever throughout my academic career; my academic achievements include:

Matric-2005: 4th position BISE Faisalabad (786/850);

Inter-2007: 2nd Pre-Medical (Boys) BISE Faisalabad (976/1100); and

MCAT-2007: 2nd in Punjab (Boys) (1022/1100).

After securing second position in MCAT, I got admission to the prestigious King Edward Medical University (KEMU) Lahore from where I graduated in March 2013, passing all professional exams in 1st attempt with high 1st division. After completing House Job in May 2014, I started preparing for CSS-2015 and got through it securing 4th position in Pakistan and that too in first attempt. I am happy that I have got allocated to my fave group i.e. PAS.

JWT: As everyone starts dreaming of a future career in childhood, so what were your dreams? Did you always aspire to be a CSP officer?

MAK: It, actually, was my father’s dream which I took on myself and then by the grace of the Almighty successfully materialized it too. After F.Sc., I had made up my mind that after graduation, I would go for CSS. It’s really an honour that I am the first CSP in my family and all the members of my family are really proud of me.

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JWT: What made you abandon medical profession and go for CSS? And, what feature of PAS attracted you most?

Dr Mujtaba Arfat Khan CSS Topper 2MAK: As I mentioned earlier, I fulfilled my father’s dream. However, since there are a lot of uncertainties attached with the CSS exam, I had to have a plan B; in case I couldn’t make it to the civil services. Since, I always desired to serve my nation and my country and to help alleviate people’s sufferings , I thought the best alternative for this was the medical profession. So, I did MBBS as a backup, actually. As regards the matter of abandoning this noble profession for the sake of CSS, I must say it was really a hard choice. Nevertheless, I’m absolutely confident that I’ll be contributing more effectively to the benefit of the people as a PAS officer because of its broad scope and extensive outreach. Being a doctor would be another additional advantage to me as it will help me look into the issues of the health system and manage them more efficiently at a broader level.

JWT: How much helpful did you find Jahangir’s World Times (JWT) during your CSS preparations? And, how was your experience at the world Times Institute?

MAK: JWT is an extremely useful and comprehensive CSS-related magazine and the recent change of syllabus for CSS has made it even more important for the aspirants because it contains a lot of informative stuff and up-to-date info on all contemporary issues.

I joined World Times Institute (WTI) for the preparation of psychological assessment and interview. I must say that I found it very beneficial. The WTI panel for mock interviews consisted of senior bureaucrats and they helped me a lot in overcoming my flaws and polishing my communication skills. The faculty members and administration were also very friendly and cooperative. Overall, it turned out to be a rewarding experience.

JWT: As you have secured excellent marks in written part, so what, in your opinion, is the key to making a difference in this part of CSS exam?

MAK: I think the decisive factor in written part of CSS exam is one’s written expression and the quality of content. One should not rely on shortcuts and ready-made notes to get through this part; securing good marks requires extensive study of each subject from quality books. One should consult at least 2-3 books for each subject and reproduce the knowledge gained in an impressive manner. This is the only key to making a difference.

JWT: Aspirants generally believe that compulsory subjects are low-scoring; what was your strategy to get through these very papers?

MAK: To say that ‘compulsory subjects are low-scoring’ is absolutely a myth. I believe, compulsory subjects need extensive study and broader understanding of the concepts. The thing which most aspirants fail to comprehend is that these are usually inter-related; some way or the other. With a smart preparation, one can easily get good scores in these very papers.

I just studied as much as I could on Current Affairs, Pakistan Affairs and Islamiat from various sources and it ultimately paid off — except for Pakistan Affairs.

JWT: What were the toughest and the easiest parts in the whole process of CSS exam?

MAK: The toughest part were, of course, English Essay because of its uncertainty, and the interview as it was my first-ever professional interview experience.

The easiest part was preparing for other compulsory as well as optional subjects as I enjoyed learning new things and reading on contemporary issues.

JWT: Anything important about your CSS journey you want to share with the aspirants?

MAK: CSS is a very tricky game. It requires a lot of commitment, will power and determination. During my preparation, there were times when I felt depressed and dejected whenever I thought that many of my colleagues are now well settled in various fields of life but I am still dependent on my family. But I held my nerves and kept working hard to achieve my passion and it was all the worth it in the end, Alhamdolillah!

JWT:  Who deserves the credit for your success?

MAK: After Allah Almighty, I dedicate this success to my parents, my teachers and my family as they all have been an invaluable source of support and encouragement for me.

JWT: What distinguishes you from other successful candidates?

MAK: As far as I know, I’m the top qualifier among fresh candidates i.e. people with first attempt. I consider it quite an achievement for myself.

My Interview Experience

Dr Mujtaba Arfat Khan CSS Topper 1Since it was my first professional interview, I was naturally a bit nervous before entering the room. But the panellists were very amicable and friendly and they provided me with a cordial and comfortable atmosphere. My interview mostly revolved around the local and domestic issues of Pakistan especially our health system because of my background in medicine and my preference for PAS. It was a very wonderful experience and it went better than my expectations and the panel seemed satisfied with my answers. In the end, the Chairman appreciated my confidence, intellect and knowledge and wished me luck!

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