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In Conversation with Amna Rafique, PAS, 51st CSS-2011

‘The Harder you Work, the Luckier you are’

One needs to be careful to select right topic for essay and then understanding the requirements of examiner along with providing solid arguments.

Jahangir’s World Times: Kindly tell us about your educational background and achievements in detail?

Amna Rafique: I have done Msc Mass Communication from National University of Modern Languages (NUML) Islamabad with distinction.  I am a gold medalist. In fact, it was a shift from my previous course of studies, because I did F.sc (Pre-Medical) and B.sc with the subjects of Zoology, Botany and Chemistry. I started my professional career with United Nations Information Centre as a Communication Coordinator. I left the job after my success in CSS-2011 exam.

JWT: Was it your first attempt? If yes, then how did you secure this prestigious position, if it’s otherwise, please share the experience of previous attempts?

AR: It was my second attempt. In 2008 after completing B.sc, I tried my luck in CSS exams. I didn’t take those exams seriously. I scored 664 marks in written but failed in English Precis and Composition paper by three marks only, but I was satisfied with my overall performance. That result made me realise that I could do well if I had concentrated a little more on some weak areas of my studies. There was another factor. My studies were incomplete at that time so I decided to take admission in M.sc. During those two years, I fully concentrated on my studies. Then again I appeared in CSS exam after a gap of two years. With the blessings of Allah Almighty and prayers of my loved-ones, I stood succeeded that time.

JWT: What is so special in PAS and how it is better than other groups?

AR: PAS was always my dream. PAS is one of the most prestigious cadres of civil services, A PAS officer is known as general officer who can serve anywhere, owing to the fact that PAS has maximum horizontal and vertical mobility. It has maximum public interaction and you have the opportunity to work and control at federal, provincial and district level, due to these facts DMG attracts me the most.

JWT: How did you prepare for the CSS exams?

AR: I made a certain strategy for the preparation. For English: Exploring the world of English and Wren & Martin’s book of High School English Grammar. Pak Affairs: Trek to PAKISTAN, Ikram Rabbani’s book also easy to understand For Current affairs: I never consulted a single book or source. I extracted the knowledge from newspapers, internet, magazines, discussions, talk shows.
www.zemtv.com is a useful website because it contains archives of all talk shows.

JWT: What strategy one should adopt to get a prominent position among others?

AR: While attempting any paper, try to include jargons of that particular subject to give the examiner an impression that you have the sufficient knowledge of that subject. These tricks can give additional marks. You can always create difference through hard work, dedication, proper selection of subjects, using own mind instead of following others blindly, self-analysis, writing practice and assessing the things from the examination point of view.

JWT: Majority of candidates flunk in English Essay and English Composition paper. What precautions or steps will you suggest for these two crucial papers?

AR: For essay, you should spend 15to20 minutes for selecting the topic, it will save you from disaster, once you have selected the right topic, there will be no issue of time at least for managing your essay in 2.5 hours, and this is sufficient time for attempting essay. After selecting the topic, make outline, it should be logical, sequential, well-managed, self-speaking so that examiner don’t find any difficulty in understanding it. From your outline, examiner will have an idea that you are able to pass the paper or not so be careful while writing outline, following points should be kept in mind.

1. Relevance of content with the topic
2. Language (sentences with correct grammar, so it is always preferred to write short sentences, as there will be a few chances of mistakes.)
3. Handwriting; should be neat and legible as paper’s cosmetic value also has its own importance.
4. Argumentation
5. Additional/ Supplementary content including examples, verses, quotes, facts and figures if needed (particularly in factual essays), make your essay unique with these colours.
6. Introduction should be the best, as the examiner will judge your essay and make an impression in the very beginning, directly hit the topic without going into the irrelevant details.
7. Essay should be well-arranged, all the content should be presented in a sequence, for example background can’t come prior to examples or solutions, coherence in the arrangement of facts is necessary.
8. In conclusion, don’t introduce any new idea, justify the given content in conclusion by explaining in a few sentences.
Try to create a unique impact among thousands of essays. Learning tricks and tips and then practising will give you more benefit, instead of making directionless efforts.

JWT: Seeking guidance prior to exam was an essential prerequisite of CSS, what sort of guidance is required for the fresh aspirants and how do you see the Jahangir’s World Times (JWT) as far as guidance for CSS-exam is concerned?

AR: Guidance plays crucial role for CSS preparation, aspirants should remain in touch with the successful candidates as well as experienced CSPs so that they can have a productive discussion on various topics and aspects of this exam, CSS forum is another important source for getting useful information, I have a wonderful experience of using forum as it provides a platform to share your ideas which really help during exams and in interview as well, apart from that reading effective material for exams is essential, I would like to appreciate JWT in this regard because it is very useful for the aspirants from current affairs perspective and it is equally helpful in increasing the motivation level of aspirants by publishing inspirational success stories of those who have cleared this prestigious exam.

JWT: Anything interesting or surprising regarding the exams you would like to share with our readers.

AR: I want to share something very pleasant. I owe my success in CSS exam to my father. It was his desire and he used to stay with me in the examination centre from 9:00am to 5:00pm during all my exams. Every time I would come out of the hall, he was there with his optimistic face. I believe that parents’ prayers can do miracles.

Any Message

Success in CSS is a combination of various factors including hard work, dedication, consistency, luck and above all prayers of your parents. So keep all these ingredients with you. Some people have God-gifted talent and others achieve success in life through their own efforts so be among the satisfied souls by putting your best efforts for positive aims in life, best of luck!

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