It goes without saying that taking the CSS Exam is an extremely arduous task. Given all the difficulties the candidates face, they might wonder why they are further grilled through psychological assessment. But, conducting psychological assessment of the would-be officers seems imperative because the civil servants should possess the talent, skills and aptitude befitting to their job, as they have to work for the betterment of the society.
Psychological assessment is the name given to a process of evaluating and assessing an individual. The psychologists integrate information collected from multiple sources such as tests of personality, ability, intelligence, interests and attitude. The findings revealed from these tests are further supported and confirmed by relating them to background information, behavioural observation and one-to-one interview with the psychologists.
Psychological tests for recruitment can be divided into two main categories: Ability Tests and Personality Tests.
1. Ability Tests
The ability tests measure intellectual and reasoning abilities of the candidates. These consist of multiple choice questions (MCQs) or short Q&A format. These limited time tests can be passed only if you are speedy as well as accurate in your answers. The different types of ability tests can be categorized as follows:
a. Abstract Ability: These tests attempt to assess the ability of the candidate in identifying the underlying logic of a pattern and then determine the solution.
b. Verbal Ability: This test purports to measure understanding and comprehension skills of the candidate. It is a measure of how well you understand analogies.
RACE : FATIGUE
a). Track : Athlete b). Ant : Bug
c). Fast : Hunger d) Hook : Fish
c. Numerical Ability: This test is used to assess your knowledge of basic arithmetic, number series, and simple mathematics.
2. Personality Tests
It is usually said that personality tests do not have any right or wrong answers. This is but only half true. No doubt you will not be given scores on the test but what you say reflects a lot about the personality you possess â€” your confidence, decision-making skills, leadership abilities, etc., will be assessed through personality tests. These can also be classified into two types:
a. Non-projective Personality Tests: In these tests, the candidates are required to respond in true and false to a series of statements relating to their feelings, thoughts, emotions and behaviour in a variety of situations.
Are you slow at making friendships with people?
Do you think there are more nice people than fools in the world?
Do you ever make a promise you know you won’t be able to keep?
b. Projective Personality Tests: The projective tests included in CSS exam usually include story writing and completion of sentences.
I. Story Writing: The candidates may either be given pictures to write a story on or may be asked to complete a story. While taking this test, candidates should keep certain things in mind. Firstly, the stories should have a proper beginning as well as ending. The stories should be given a title and the candidates should cover such issues as what is happening in the picture, what led to the scene in the picture, what are the thoughts and feelings of the characters and what will be the outcome.
ii. Completion of Sentences: The candidates may be asked to complete sentences by writing the very first thing that comes into their mind. They may also be given words to make sentences with. This test is timed so that the candidates do not try to fake good in the test.
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The candidates may be asked to write an autobiography in which they are expected to write as to who they are and what they aspire to be. The candidate should provide details regarding his/her name, date of birth, place of birth, childhood experiences, educational background, occupational history, social history (relations with family, friends and colleagues), why they decided to go for CSS, what is their first preference and what qualities do they possess that would help them in doing justice to their Service.
Questions Relating to the Candidate
In this part, the candidates may be asked several questions relating to their personality, experiences, relations with others, interests and attitudes. The purpose of administering this test is to get a better understanding of the candidate. These questions are asked to know how well you can assess yourself. Do not hesitate in writing your weaknesses, if asked. A person who knows his strengths and weaknesses is in a better position to utilize his strengths when need be and overcome his short comings.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
What are your achievements?
Write memories of your childhood?
Any decision that you took that went against your expectation?
How to Prepare?
Making yourself familiar with the different types of tests, their format and the way questions are asked is the first step to prepare for psychological assessment.
1. Practice online tests. This will not only give you a fair idea of what to expect on the day of psychological assessment but will improve your speed and accuracy.
2. Candidates who are not in touch with mathematics are recommended to get back to the basics of arithmetic.
3. Try to solve questions related to percentage and ratio and practice number sequences.
4. Try to increase your vocabulary so that tests assessing your analogical reasoning do not pose problems for you.
On the Test Day
1. Sleep and rest properly before the important day.
2. Do not skip your breakfast. This is the worst thing you can do to yourself.
3. Avoid taking any medicine that may make you feel drowsy.
4. Take with you everything that you might need â€” pencil, sharpener and eraser particularly.
5. Reach the examination centre well before time to avoid any inconvenience.
6. Wear a watch. Do not depend on mobile phones to keep a track of time.
7. Don’t mind if the psychologist appears to be cold and unfriendly. They are supposed to be like that.
8. Listen to the instructions carefully. Do not proceed with a test unless you have fully understood the instructions.
9. Do not try to cheat as it would be of no use because candidates sitting near to you may not be having the same booklet as you.
10. Do not let anxiety overpower you. Keep calm. In case of anxiety, do deep breathing.
The main purpose of group discussion for selection is to assess the abilities of the candidates to work as a team. It’s very important for the candidates to understand that group discussion unlike debate is a cooperative group process. Through group discussions, psychologists evaluate your knowledge, communication skills, leadership abilities and interpersonal style.
How to Prepare
Make it clear in the very beginning what is required of you in a group discussion.
Prepare yourself to speak on various topics. The best possible way to equip yourself with knowledge is to go through your current affairs notes and read daily newspapers.
To stand out in group discussion, express your thoughts candidly and convincingly. This can be achieved by practicing alone and with your friends. While practicing alone, speak on some topic and record your voice. This will help you identify your flaws.
Increase your English and Urdu vocabulary. For this, it is important that you read the newspapers â€” both English and Urdu.
Needless to say, practice daily before the big day.
Dos of Group Discussion
Do initiate the discussion if you have solid knowledge about the topic.
Do maintain an eye contact with the speaker.
Do try to be an active listener.
Do be assertive but not aggressive.
Do avoid grammatical errors.
Do prove your point with reason.
Don’ts of Group Discussion
Don’t talk too much; allow others to speak.
Don’t interrupt anybody.
Don’t drift away from the topic.
Don’t use English words in Urdu discussion and vice versa.
Don’t lose your temper in an attempt to equal scores.
America is justified in attacking Iran in order to control nuclear proliferation.
Joint family system is a matter of the past.
Should India be given MFN status?
Is there a need to make more provinces?
In command task, the candidates are given a task which they have to perform in conditions that are as near to the work environment as possible. Command tasks are conducted to assess the teamwork and leadership abilities of the candidates.
How to Prepare?
Candidates must know the hierarchy and job description of each Service.
Read newspapers. The situations given in command tasks are usually based on real events. News reports can provide you with knowledge as to how such problems are to be dealt with.
Try to work out various command tasks and draw up strategies.
To nail command task, practice it alone and with your friends.
Read the command task carefully.
Make your own strategy. Don’t depend on the suggestions of group members.
Try to finish the command task in the prescribed time limit.
Encourage others to participate but do not pinpoint somebody to give a suggestion.
Begin your command task by greeting the group.
Clearly explain the situation and seek suggestions from them.
In the end, tell the strategy plan that you have chalked out. It would be better if the strategies are mentioned in a systematic and organized way.
Gas is not being provided to the textile mills and the government is increasing the export of cotton. The millers are against this. Draw up a strategy.
To increase the literacy rate and to decrease the dropout ratio the government has asked not to take final exams of children from class 1 to 4. The teachers’ union is against this move. You, being the Secretary for Education, chalk out a plan.
Interview with the Psychologists
In the end, the candidates are required to appear before the psychologists for a brief interview. It is more of a discussion with the psychologists. The purpose of the interview is to know more about you and to clear ambiguity, if any, relating to the information that you provided in the psychological tests. The psychologists may ask questions related to you and your family, and also your educational and occupational history. They may also ask your opinion on various national and international affairs and some questions on your optional subjects. Once all the phases are complete, the psychologists will make a complete report of their opinion about you.