I read Jahangir’s World Times and found it extremely helpful. JWT summarizes the key topics of the day in a manner required to clear CSS.
Jahangir’s World Times (JWT): First of all, please tell us about your educational background?
Muhammad Shojain Rahmatulah Vistro (MSRV): I’ve done my Bachelors (Hons.) in International Business with French from European Business School (EBS), Regent’s University London, United Kingdom. During this programme, I spent a study year abroad in Paris and Geneva as an exchange student. I also got a chance to do a short course in Macroeconomic Policy from Harvard University, USA.
JWT: Since everyone starts dreaming of a future career right from the childhood, what were your dreams? Did you always aspire to be a CSP officer?
MSRV: After experiencing the culture abroad, I returned to Pakistan and wanted to do something meaningful for the people of my country. Being a CSP officer is perhaps among the best options to bring proper change in society.
JWT: What feature of Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS) attracted you most?
MSRV: You start by looking at sub-divisional affairs and end up making policies for your country. Hence the array of duties that you undertake and the level of contribution you make were the features that attracted me most.
JWT: How much helpful did you find Jahangir’s World Times (JWT) during your preparation?
MSRV: I read Jahangir’s World Times and found it extremely helpful. JWT summarizes the key topics of the day in a manner required to clear CSS. Secondly, my key source for General Science and Ability was the book published by JWT Publications.
JWT: What, in your opinion, is the key to making a difference in written part of CSS exam?
MSRV: Every single subject has its own requirement. By looking at the paper from the examiner’s point of view, you will be able to understand the demand of the subject. For example, essay requires simple but grammatically-correct English. Current Affairs requires use of critical analysis, facts and figures, quotes, diagrams, maps, etc.
MSRV: Same as I mentioned earlier. I understood what the examiner required and worked on that on a daily basis. Secondly, my strategy was to just get through the compulsory subjects. I banked on the optional subjects. That’s where I took big risks, and they really paid off.
JWT: What were the toughest and the easiest parts in the whole process of CSS exam?
MSRV: The easiest part was the interview and the toughest part was the consistent writing practice that I had to undergo to clear the written part of CSS exam.
JWT: Anything important about your CSS journey you want to share with the aspirants?
MSRV: I undertook the CSS journey with a determination to clear it, and get my desired occupational group as well, in the first attempt. As a result, this was my top priority and nothing else mattered for a few months. I decided to put my social life and hobbies on hold. Goal was clear and belief was high. Therefore, here I am!
JWT: How answers should be written to get maximum marks in written part of CSS exam?
MSRV: Only four things:
1. Be relevant to the question
2. Present critical analyses
3. Corroborate arguments with examples
4. Use diagrams and maps
JWT: Should there be some word limit kept in mind while writing answers?
MSRV: It is not much about the number of words or pages that you write; it’s more about the relevance and quality of the material that you incorporate. So, I did not regard word limit to be of significance.
JWT: How did you structure your Essay?
MSRV: I short-listed two topics and decided to write on “World as a Global Village: Learning to live together.” The reason for choosing this topic was that I had a large number of points from both sides of the spectrum. Secondly, I spent around an hour and a half on the outline and introduction, with particular emphasis on the thesis statement and the remaining time on the body and conclusion.
Imagine this: your thesis statement is your first sentence of the first paper for CSS, thus making your first impression. Hence, giving it proper time and attention is the key.
My tips on:
Selection of optional subjects
Make sure it is a combination of your interest and the ‘scoring’ trend. Plus, it goes without saying that social sciences are more attractive than any technical subject.
I took out questions from past papers of the last ten years, researched on each question (from books, magazines and the Internet), jotted down key points in the shape of notes, and wrote answers under exam conditions. If there were still any remaining topics of the syllabus, which could not be covered in the past papers, then I researched on those separately.
I used to read the answers that I had written for each subject. If there were any improvements to be made, I would keep those in my mind. Moreover, I started topic-wise revision a couple of weeks before the exam.
My advice for fresh aspirants
CSS is not just an exam; it’s a test of your patience, nerves and commitment. Firstly, make a proper timetable and stick to it like a pro. Secondly, ensure that you carry out consistent writing practice and get what you write checked from reputable instructors. Most importantly, know that you’re the best!
My Interview Experience
I had a great time during the interview. The reason was that I was actually looking forward to meeting the esteemed panel and getting a chance to express my opinion on the prevailing issues. Further, my confidence did not shake because I was enjoying the experience. To the questions that I could not answer, I simply and politely excused. With this frame of mind, I was able to reflect positivity and genuineness.