“The WTI provided me and my fellow students with a marvellous platform.”
Jahangir’s World Times (JWT): First of all, please tell us about your educational background?
Nawab Sameer Hussain Laghari (NSHL): I’ve done B.E in Electronics from Mehran UET, Jamshoro.
JWT: Since everyone starts dreaming of a future career right from the childhood, what were your dreams? Did you always aspire to be a CSP officer?
NSHL: My aspirations kept changing over the years. I always wanted to do something through which I could contribute to the betterment of society. I came to know about CSS when I was in second year of my engineering degree. It attracted me owing to the immense opportunities it provides for the public service.
JWT: What feature of Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS) attracted you most?
NSHL: Public administration is a challenging job, thus PAS provides matchless opportunities to learn, grow and contribute to bringing the much-needed change in the living standards of the people. As a PAS officer, you work in field as well as in office. It allows you to deal with people from various areas, giving you a better idea of different cultures and overall adding experience to your life learning to educate you till the end. I think personality growth, career opportunities, continuous learning and value additions on each and every step of your life are a few things that fascinated me toward PAS.
JWT: How was your experience at the World Times Institute?
NSHL: I became a part of the World Times Institute (WTI) for the preparation of interview. The WTI provided me and my fellow students with a marvellous platform for the said purpose. We were not only trained for various activities which were a part of the interview phase, but were also allowed to interact with one of the finest Civil Servants this country has ever produced. Mock interviews and psychological assessment by those officers helped me a lot in my final interview.
JWT: What, in your opinion, is the key to making a difference in written part of CSS exam?
NSHL: Working on your strengths! Everyone has his or her own strengths, and proper utilization of those helps you perform extraordinarily. I was good at writing and making analogies between different topics of different subjects. So, I worked on it and utilized the limited knowledge I had gained in the best possible manner.
NSHL: Presentation and technique are always important to sail easily through a competitive examination, especially CSS. I tried to highlight all the important concepts and keywords in the paper. This allowed me to better convey my thoughts which ultimately allowed me to score higher in these subjects.
JWT: What were the toughest and the easiest parts in the whole process of CSS exam?
NSHL: The easiest part was to make a study plan while the toughest part was to follow that.
JWT: Anything important about your CSS journey you want to share with the aspirants?
NSHL: I took CSS as a journey of personality grooming. It allowed me to know myself and helped me fight my weaknesses and fears. I would like to advise the aspirants to consider themselves as seekers of knowledge and take the criticism positively, as it is rightly said, “Criticism is the best teacher.”
JWT: How answers should be written to get maximum marks?
NSHL: Maximum score can be achieved only through relevancy and impressive presentation. Try to bring out maximum relevant material from the books you have studied, to answer a question. This allows you to present diversity of knowledge and approach in your answer. Plus, make as much headings as you can. Headings along with brief yet comprehensive paragraphs always fetch you good score.
JWT: Should there be some word limit kept in mind while writing answers?
NSHL: Collection of good words allows you to express yourself in an effective manner. However, I would strongly recommend the aspirants to follow their natural style and vocabulary while answering a question. Try to use simple – but appropriate – words to express your thoughts. Over-thinking in paper on merely strong vocabulary is of no use.
JWT: How did you structure your Essay?
NSHL: The essay which I attempted was argumentative in nature. So, I tried my best to follow the structure of such essays. I introduced the topic by giving a brief overview of the points I would be discussing; presented some examples from history, contemporary world and Pakistan; highlighted some counter arguments against the mentioned examples and re-countered them to justify my point, and concluded the topic with summing up all the arguments and justifications I had given in the body of the essay.
JWT: Some tips on:
Selection of optional subjects
Have a look at the past papers and select the subjects that come into the ambit of your aptitude. Your interest toward a subject is important but do not underestimate the effort and time preparation for that subject would demand. Moreover, select the subjects that are interconnected or complement the compulsory subjects.
I prepared most of my notes in the classes of the academies I attended. These notes minimized the huge burden and allowed me to have a holistic view of the subject. Additionally, I also prepared soft notes by copying important material from different websites and forums.
I used to revise whatever I had studied on a monthly basis. Besides, I revised the subjects by making outlines of the essays. It helped me to connect different subjects with one another and also allowed me to prepare for numerous topics for essays.
My advice for fresh aspirants
CSS is not just an ordinary exam; it needs proper preparation. Any attempt without sound preparation is just wastage of time. Prepare for the first attempt as it is your last. Put your utmost effort and then pray to Allah Almighty. However, never allow this exam to get on your nerves. CSS should not be the end but a means to reach the ultimate goal.
My Interview Experience
My interview was more like an interactive session. The discussion went around 35 minutes and ranged from my personality to the domestic and international affairs of Pakistan. There were only a few token questions asked. Most of the questions were analysis-based. I tried to give simple and brief answers so as to avoid mistakes. I also tried to present my strong personality traits and past experiences to make my answers fascinating for the interviewers.
There were only a few connecting questions asked by the FPSC panel. It was like they were trying to find a weak spot where they could hit hard to shatter my confidence. A little debate began on Pakistan’s Afghan policy where I criticized the former’s strategies and policies, especially during the last decade. An interviewer shared his point of view and advised me to defend Pakistan’s foreign policy as I was going to be a part of Civil Services of Pakistan. I humbly accepted his advice and thanked him for enlightening me on the issue.