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CSS is an Exam of Commitment and Dedication.

Haseeb Gohar 55th position, CSS-2010

Jahangir’ World Times: Throw light on your education and achievements.

Haseeb Gohar: I did matriculation from Pakistan International Public School, Gujranwala, by securing 763/850 marks. Later I joined Punjab College for Boys, Gujran-wala, in pre-engineering and stood 10th in the Gujranwala Board. I got admission in one of the most prestigious university of Pakistan, University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore, and did BSc Electrical Engineering. Currently, I am doing masters in power engineering from the same university. Besides, I am also enrolled in the LLB (Part-II) in University of the Punjab, Lahore. I appeared in the Competitive Examination CSS-2010 and stood 55th in Pakistan in my first attempt by the blessings of Allah.

JWT: It is said that one should get at least 700 marks in the written, then he is on the safe side. What do you say?

HG: CSS is an exam of commitment and dedication with consistent and persistent hard work. It demands an absolute devotion on the part of the candidate. Second most important thing is time management and selection of optional subjects which must be based on candidate’s aptitude. Markets are now flooded with a number of books available on almost all subjects that create confusion in the minds of the students of what to study, how to study and how much to study but one must only read standard and authentic books of the renowned authors to present a balanced, logical and rational approach before the examiner. It is not how much one studies but how smartly one studies.

JWT: Why type of initial problems does a CSS candidate face in the beginning?

HG: Time management, selection of optional subjects and handling English essay and composition are the main problems that the candidates face in the beginning which is quite justified in the sense that the CSS is an exam that is completely different in its nature, style and assessment criteria to which most of the students are not accustomed to. There are 12 subjects that a candidate has to dwell in and all demanding equal attention. As soon as one learns that art of managing time and giving priority to the subjects that are to be completed first, things start getting easier.

Moreover, there are certain pre-conceived notions in the minds of the candidates like the CSS is too tough to qualify and one needs extra wits and brains to get through it, all these are baseless and de-motivating as there is nothing in this world that can withstand a man’s will and hard work and same is true with the CSS examination.

JWT: A number of students fail in the English essay paper. Despite this fact, the students are reluctant to prepare it properly. What do you suggest in this context?

HG: English essay is regarded as one of the most challenging papers in the CSS in which most of the students generally fail on account of multiple reasons, including their weakness in basic English grammar, expression, inability of proper sentence structure formation and lack of adequate knowledge on the topic of the essay.

Moreover, the formation of a comprehensive outline encompassing all aspects of the topic is also very crucial for getting through the essay paper. I was lucky enough to have the guidance of Prof. Agha Mohsin Suhail for English essay and composition in particular and entire CSS preparation in general.

JWT: Would you share with us the techniques how to attempt English essay and composition?

HG: For the preparation of English essay and composition, regular coaching by any professor of English is a must. One must also practise writing essay outlines, precis, comprehension and expansion from the past papers. I advise the candidates to write one paragraph in English on any topic of current affairs or social problems and get it checked by a qualified and competent teacher.

In addition to this, one editorial or article of Daily Dawn must be practised for precis twice or thrice in a week. Precis is a question which is quite technical in nature, therefore it must be practised time and again.

JWT: What should be the strategy to prepare the compulsory and optional subjects and also recommend books of these subjects? Please discuss in detail how to prepare each subject like its notes or books.

HG: The secret of success lies in proper time management. It is always better to work on the compulsory subjects first as they are the most crucial and then switch over to the optional subjects that are the most scoring. Prepare notes for each subject which is a healthy procedure in the CSS exam. It is better to study from books and then jolt down one’s own findings in the form of bullets, short outlines and short notes. This will help comprehend and memorise the things easily and also help in quick revision in the days of final examination.

A candidate must learn by heart the relevant aayaat and ahadith that can be quoted in the Islamiat paper. Regular reading of Daily Dawn and other journals of current affairs is a must to get through the paper of current affairs.

JWT: Interview is the most important component of the CSS. How should a candidate prepare for it?

HG: Interview is a test of multi-dimensional aspects of a candidate’s personality, knowledge, articulation, confidence and off course expression. The interview panel generally comprises three to four members and the areas of questions are divided amongst them. The questions may pertain to one’s academic background and its relations with civil service, optional subjects, candidates personal liking and disliking, hobbies and a few of the questions are also based on the psychological assessment of the candidate that is quite exhaustively done by a panel of psychologists and whose report is put forth before the interviewing panel.

JWT: When a new comer starts preparation of the CSS, he/she is often confused that what should be the time span for its preparation. What would you say about the time period of the CSS?

HG: I used to study 12 to 14 hours a day consistently and persistently during my seven months of preparation. But it is definitely not the quantity of time rather the quality matters in the preparation of examination. Regular revision is very important to keep things intact in mind.

JWT: Any message

HG: In my personal capacity, I am indebted to my mentor Sir Agha Mohsin Sohail and Madam Talat Sohail. Without their guidance and affection, I could not have been able to achieve this goal. In the same way, my parents and friends were real source of inspiration to me. I name this success to all these persons.

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