10 Questions with Dr M. Faisal Saleem

13th Position, CSS 2013

Dr M Faisal Saleem

I recommend all those vying for a slot in Civil Service to consult JWT while preparing not only for written exam but also for interview

Jahangir’s World Times (JWT): First of all, for the interest of JWT readers and all CSS, PMS aspirants, please share with us your academic journey.
Muhammad Faisal Saleem (MFS): After my elementary schooling at an Urdu-medium School of my village, I did matriculation from Chenab College, Jhang. Then, for F.Sc., I went to Government College University (GCU) Lahore. Later, I got admission to Allama Iqbal Medial College (AIMC) Lahore. I would share an interesting fact that every year, at least, five AIMC graduates become a part of the Civil Service of Pakistan. I appeared in CSS 2013 exam, and by the grace of Almighty Allah, I have also achieved this feat.

JWT: What have been your career ambitions during your student life? Did you always dream of becoming a CSP officer?
MFS: Actually, being a civil servant has never been by dream; in fact, till my intermediate studies I did not even know the dimensions and scope of civil services. I have always been ambitious of getting the highest marks and being among the toppers in any exam I appear in. But, when I entered into the AIMC, I started thinking about other vistas I may explore in my life. I thought that confining myself to the medical field only will limit scope of my services and I can never become a part of policymaking and implementation machinery of the country. Although medicine, indubitably, is a noble profession, yet I aimed bigger as I wanted to serve at a macro level. That’s the whole story behind my entry into the Civil Service!

JWT: If someone reading this interview decides to go for CSS, then what would be your advice to him or her? How do you see the services Jahangir’s World Times (JWT) is rendering in this regard?
MFS: Aspirants should always keep in mind that the success in CSS exam requires hard but smart work. From selection of optional subjects to interview, one always needs to be brainy as well as judicious. Each subject has its own nature, and it must be attempted accordingly. I am highly convinced that JWT guides the aspirants on all such fronts. So, I recommend all those vying for a slot in Civil Service to consult JWT while preparing not only for written exam but also for interview.

JWT: What’s the secret behind your getting impressive marks in psychology?
MFS: You know, psychology and medicine have a number of commonalities between them. So, I benefitted from this and got excellent scores. I think, for impressive marks in psychology, one should have clear concepts and some understanding of applied psychology. Relevant diagrams and sketches to elaborate a topic also pay off.

JWT:  To whom or what do you credit your success with?
MFS: I credit my success to my beloved father Muhammad Saleem Anjum (late). It was he who along with my mother enlightened me in every sphere of life.

JWT: What was your overall strategy that earned a shining position for you?
CSS Interview 1MFS: Everyone has his or her own weaknesses and strengths, and I am also no exception. So when I started preparing for CSS, first of all, I ascertained my weak as well as strong points. Finding myself weak on the front of compulsory subjects, I focused more on those. In fact, I started to know something about everything I mean to say, keeping in mind that four out of seven questions will have to be attempted. I selected important areas of each subject and made strenuous efforts to cover it from all aspects. I attempted the questions by highlighting the relevance in current scenario of Pakistan almost in all papers.

JWT: What is the best way to select optional subjects?
MFS: Two things should be kept in mind while selecting optional subjects: First, one’s own aptitude towards the subject, and second, the scoring trend of that particular subjects.

JWT: How did you manage to get a whopping 83 marks in Punjabi?
MFS: Simple! I elaborated the answers with adequate relevant poetry and correlated it with the prevailing societal issues and trends.

JWT: As you scored well in English Essay and Current Affairs too, please tell how one should crack these two crucial papers?  
MFS: For English essay, I basically focused on three items: grammar, spellings and relevance to the topic. I think grammatical and spelling errors are like a crime; unforgivable by the examiner. The relevance of the content to the given topic is also a decisive factor. The examiner expects to see skills of creative writing. I wrote simple sentences using simple vocabulary but wrote everything in an interesting way and, of course, in a coherent manner.
For Current Affairs, first, I introduced the topic, then explained all the dimensions of the issue and in the end provided a logical and impressive conclusion. Again I focused on the relevance of the content and drew sketches and maps, where needed.

CSS Interview

JWT: How was your experience of interview with the FPSC panel?
MFS: The interview began with a formal introduction to the chairman. Although, it was pleasant, yet a bit later, I got nervous as I dropped a few questions. Actually, I had not rehearsed the interview properly so when I went before the panel, I had a feeling of anxiety.

Coming to the interview, I would say that the questions the panellists asked were generally opinion-based. However, I mostly remained candid during the whole process. I said sorry at some questions but in a dignified yet humble manner. The interview panel was accommodating overall. I think the panel is to judge your way of handling the psychological pressure. Though it matters what you are speaking yet it matters more how you speak at that time. One must attend mock interview sessions. World Times Academy arranges such mock sessions and this is, really, a great help to the candidates.

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