CSS Psychological examination is considered the toughest of its kind. This examination comprises multiple tests and activities which expand to two days.
The primary objective of psychological assessment is to estimate the abilities and personality traits of the candidates in order to gauge their aptitude for the Civil Services of Pakistan.
Performance of candidates in this examination not only influences their aggregate score in interview, it also determines the final allocation of candidates in various occupational groups/services. Therefore, thorough preparation is a must for this exam.
The first day of the psychological assessment involves written psychological tests covering a wide range of various aspects of the personality of the candidate. The tests conducted during the first day of psychological assessment, primarily aim at collecting information about the interests, opinions, personal preferences, personality moulds and personal information about the family life of the candidates.
The second day activities are somewhat different from those of the first day. The second day activities include two group discussions, one in Urdu and one in English, on general topics, command tasks and an interview by a panel of psychologists. The primary focus of the second day is the attitude and response of the candidate while functioning and interacting with the group of people.
The group discussions are meant for ascertaining the communication skills of the candidates, their opinions about the society at large and issues relating the domestic and international scenario and their mannerism while behaving in a group and discussing their views and opinions.
Apart from the group discussions, the candidate would be supposed to perform command task functioning in a group. During this activity, each candidate would be required to play the leading role when demonstrating his problem, while subordinate/coordinate role while participating in other candidates’ demonstrations.
The part played by the candidates, in the command tasks, is aimed at checking whether they possess the potential and qualities that are required in the members of the Civil Services of Pakistan.
After completing the group activities, each candidate is supposed to confront a panel of psychologists for a brief interview to provide any additional information that may be required by the panel to form an assessment of the candidate’s personality.
The first day is a long and hectic day for the candidates as it is characterised by different psychological, personality and aptitude tests in rapid succession. It is, therefore, advised that the candidates must be mentally prepared for this. A sound sleep on the night before exam is essential in this regard. Moreover, the candidates should have a good breakfast so that they may cope with the stress of the exam. They should bring with them a couple of chocolates and drinks to keep them energised. This day doesn’t require a formal suiting but too casual clothing should be avoided. Depending on the season, a candidate may put on formal clothes.
The day starts early as the candidates are required to be there at 7:45am. The day commences with the candidates submitting their documents to the FPSC officials for verification. Therefore, candidates would bring their original documents along with them.
After getting seated, they would be handed over their pro forma containing information about their educational and vocational records. The candidates would be required to fill in any missing information and correct any wrong entries in that pro forma. Such wrong or missing data may include the dates of their result declaration as well. So, candidates are advised to write on page all such information as their marks in exams, their university registration numbers, dates of joining and leaving any job, etc.
Then, a series of tests will start. These tests may include sequence questions. In such questions, a few numbers or figures are given in a particular sequence and the last one or two slots are blank. The candidates are required to crack that sequence and predict the missing numbers or figures.
1, 3, 6, 10, 15, ?
The sequence in this question is of addition of numbers in an ascending order. Adding 2 to the first number gives the second number. Similarly, adding 3, 4, and 5 to second, third and fourth numbers give us third, fourth and fifth numbers, respectively. So, to predict/know the missing sixth number, we will add 6 to the fifth number and the answer would be 21.
The next test would comprise reasoning-based analytical questions. In such questions, a complex situation is described followed by one or more questions with multiple answers. For example, Three persons A, B and C had a meal together. Mr. A ate curry, rice and sweet dish. Mr. B only had curry and sweet dish, whereas Mr. C didn’t have sweet dish. A day later, Mr. A and Mr. B developed food poisoning.
Q.1 Infectious material was in curry
Maybe Yes/Maybe No
Q.2 Infectious material was in sweet dish
Maybe Yes/Maybe No
Q.3 Infectious material was not in rice
May be Yes/May be No
Q.4 Neither rice nor sweet dish had poison
Maybe Yes/Maybe No
Q.5 Infectious material was either in curry or in sweet dish
May be Yes/May be No
The candidates have to answer all questions choosing one of the three options. Thirty such questions from 6 problems will have to be answered in 15 minutes.
Q. 6 per cent of what number would be 3?
Q. Subtracting 3 from the aggregate of which consecutive numbers would give 22?
Verbal Reasoning ‘Vocabulary Questions
Another type of questions includes vocabulary similar to that asked in prÃ©cis and composition paper. These words are usually fairly common and everyone, who has qualified CSS written, can answer 70-80% of them.
1. Which figure completes the series?
A B C D
Personality Assessment Tests
Word Association Test (WAT)
This part of the psychological testing attempts to gauge the psychological make-up of the candidate on the basis of the responses of each candidate to words in everyday usage. As soon as a word is given a candidate is expected to formulate a sentence immediately. Only about 15 seconds are allowed to formulate each sentence and there are 60 words to be processed.
Situation Reaction Tests ‘Sentence Completion
Second set of questions includes Situation Reaction Tests. In these tests, candidates are required to respond to everyday life situation. Key to such tests is the short time given for reaction. There is an average 20 seconds time to react to a question and writing a response. Examples include:
1. A friend in need _________
2. Truth never _________
3. Unlike my brother _________.
4. I failed because _________.
Answers to such questions usually reflect a candidate’s past experiences. It is advised for the psychological exam that the candidates should behave as they usually do and just be themselves. But, given the acute crisis state of our country, everyone has developed some aggressive traits in one’s personality. Such traits may reflect in their answers. So, candidates are advised to think in a broader way while answering these questions and try writing some positive and healthy things apart from accidents, blasts and murders which we normally listen or read from our sources of information. Thirty such questions will have to be answered in 8 minutes.
Personality Trait Questions
Third set of questions is personality trait questions. 240 statements to be answered with Strongly Agree (SA), Agree (A), Neutral (N), Disagree (D), Strongly Disagree (SD) in 30 minutes. The candidates would be constantly instructed by the staff to hurry up. However, they would give candidates extra time to make sure that all questions are answered. These questions test various personality traits. For example,
1. Do you like mixing with people?
2. Are you rather lively?
3. Would you call yourself happy-go-lucky?
4. Do you often feel fed-up?
5. Do you find it hard to fall asleep at bed time?
Next would be a half an hour break. Candidates may freshen themselves up in this time.
After break, the candidates would be handed over a paper containing 25-30 questions about their personality. They would answer these questions in 20 minutes. A list of these questions is given below.
Q. What do you do in your free time?
Q. Responsibilities that you are sharing at home these days.
Q. Injustices you have suffered in your life.
Q. Unpleasant decision that you took in your lifer.
Q. Mention any instance when you took a stand over any of your decisions.
Q. Any differences that you currently have or had with your parents.
Q. Any independent decision that you took in your life.
Q. What, in your view, are the satisfactory things of childhood?
Q. Any disadvantages of childhood.
Q. When should parents be strict with their children?
Q. When should parents be liberal with their children?
Q. What are the effects of modern facilities on youth?
Q. Your merits as your friends point out.
Q. Merits of your parents.
Q. Demerits of your parents.
Q. Facilities that you want to avail in next five years.
Q. Suggestions for CSS selection process.
Q. What people do to impress others?
Q. Mention two favourite personalities (living) and reasons for liking them.
Q. Mention two books that you recently read and liked.
Q. Two short-term policies of the present government that you would support.
Q. Two long-term policies of the present government that you would support.
Q. Two significant international events of last year.
Q. Two significant national events of last year.
Q. Two persons who damaged the world the most in last 50 years.
Favourite Personality Questions
Q. What lessons you learn from his/her life?
Q. What inspirations you get from his personality?
Q. His/her greatest achievements.
Q. His/her flaws.
Q. How do you see his/her life?
Favourite Book Questions
Q. What are the themes of the novel? (Literature)
Q. What is the relationship between the title and the plot?
Q. Why this book has appealed you?
Q. What lessons you learn from this book?
Q. Tell something about the author of this book.
Q. Mention other books written by the same author.
Q. What impact this book will have on readers?
Story Writing ‘Thematic Appreciation Test
Writing an Autobiography
A short autobiography like the one required in CSS may contain four aspects. You may write them in separate paragraphs or may combine one or two of these together.
The first paragraph contains your introduction. It usually starts with your name and other basic information like parentage, place and date of birth. It may also include the city or cities where you have been living. Profession of parents and any significant aspect of first few years of life may also be mentioned.
The second paragraph may include any significant event(s) of life that shaped your life. You may mention any specific incidents where you overcame obstacles in your way. It includes incidents where you took a significant decision or stand in your life.
The third paragraph contains your resume. You should mention your educational qualifications and any skills and credentials that make you stand out from other candidates. It may include your personality traits that make you suitable for this job. Moreover, you should describe how these skills and traits helped you so far in your professional life.
In the fourth paragraph, conclude your autobiography with your current information. Your current posting and responsibilities that you share in your organisation should find a place here. You can also mention your place of living and family if any.
You can mention your goals or any motivating philosophy in last one or two lines that show your view of life.