JWT was immensely helpful for me as it provided me access to relevant topics with up-to-date information on them.
Jahangir’s World Times (JWT): First of all, please tell us about your educational background?
Shayan Ali Jawa (SAJ): Up to the A-levels, I got all my education at Beacon House, Lahore and then joined LUMS and did my BSc Hon. in Political Science and Economics.
JWT: As everyone dreams of a future career since childhood, so did you also aspire to be a CSP officer?
SAJ: As far as I can recall, I always wanted to be a bureaucrat; and by the grace of Allah Almighty, I was lucky enough to achieve my dream.
JWT: How much helpful did you find Jahangir’s World Times (JWT) during your preparation? And, how has been your experience at World Times Academy (WTA)?
SAJ: Jahangir’s World Times (JWT) magazine was immensely helpful for me as it provided me access to relevant topics with up-to-date information on them. And, as you know I prepared for CSS Interview at the World Times Academy (WTA), I must say that the whole session was highly rewarding as it helped me a lot in learning interview skills and was also instrumental in boosting my confidence.
SAJ: Although everyone gathers information from almost similar type of resources, yet what actually matters is that how you present that in the actual exam. So, I believe one can create the difference by drawing up, and then judiciously following, his own strategy.
JWT: Generally, both Current Affairs and Pakistan Affairs are perceived to be among the low-scoring subjects. As you have secured very good marks in them, what was the technique that you followed for these papers?
SAJ: First of all, I take exception to this popular perception; I believe there is nothing such as ‘low-scoring subjects’ in CSS. If prepared optimally, every subject can yield excellent marks. As regards my technique for these papers, it was an all-inclusive approach. My answers to the questions in these two papers manifested a thorough knowledge about various dimensions of the questions. Moreover, I gave relevant references of various analyses conducted by individuals and institutes on the relevant issue.
JWT: How do you see the revision of syllabus for CSS exam 2016 and onwards?
SAJ: Although I believe that it’s a step in the right direction, yet more changes are still required to tailor the CSS syllabus according to the modern-day needs. I think the CSS exam must be the one that tests intelligence rather than rote learning.
JWT: How one can adopt a balanced approach as far as focus on compulsory and optional subjects is concerned?
SAJ: Give an equal amount of time to each subject whether compulsory or optional because both are equally important. It is advisable that one should prepare two subjects together; one from compulsory and one from optional ones.
JWT: What was your strategy for the Essay paper?
SAJ: I think, it’s imperative for the candidates to make easier for the examiner the comprehension of their writing. The essay must be direct as well as coherent and the topic should be logically argued. It would be wise if the purpose and trajectory of the writing is stated from the outset. This can be done by incorporating an abstract before or after the introductory paragraph of the essay.
Moreover, all distinct aspects attached to the essay topic should be commented on through different sections in the essay and all these sections should be skilfully weaved and cohered. Placing a section-opening paragraph before writing on a new section of the essay often proves rewarding in terms of marks. Usually, an essay is divided into five or six sections and each section refers to the main heading in the essay outline.
JWT: You also got impressive marks in interview. How it fared well for you?
SAJ: During the interview for CSS or any other competitive examinations, it is vital for a candidate to be presentable, eloquent, confident, knowledgeable and logically persuasive before the panel. My interview with the panel fared well because I tried to fulfil all of these prerequisites. And to be honest, I was fortunate enough to be asked questions, the answers to which I already knew.
JWT: Who deserves the credit for your success?
SAJ: Allah Almighty and then countless prayers of my mother.