Queries and Answers
There are many questions pertaining to CSS Essay which keep haunting the aspirants right from day one of their preparation for CSS exam and in most of the cases, some of them remain unanswered even till the exam is over. This write-up is aimed at answering all such questions so that you, being the readers of Jahangir’s World Times (JWT), sit for exam with much more clarity of mind as compared to other candidates. Keeping in view the availability of space in the magazine, it may take 3-4 write-ups to completely answer all such questions in a reasonable detail. So keep connected, and here we go:
Q. How many practice essay should an aspirant write prior to sitting in the examination?
Ans: At least thirty, in my opinion. Practice essays play an enormously important role in preparing a candidate for the examination. But, one thing should always be kept in mind: practice essays can prove helpful only if they are attempted in an examination environment. By this thing, I mean the aspirants should sit at some isolated place, take maximum three hours, use paper sheets that are used in actual examination, and use the markers, pens, etc. of the type which they intend to use in the final examination. If all these things are not done, practice essay will give no practice for the examination. To my experience, most of the aspirants remain deprived of the benefits of practice session just because they are unable to create simulation of examination during these sessions. Similarly, all practice essays should be got evaluated by some CSS Essay expert. Practice without evaluation is of no use; it won’t help you identify and remove your flaws and deficiencies. The evaluation process should be started right from the first practice essay and every next essay should be attempted keeping in view the evaluation report of the previous one. As CSS Essay is a serious business, only such person should be chosen for evaluation purpose that is really well aware of the demands of CSS Essay. (I have felt myself forced to say this thing because, just like the way it happens in other professions, many people who barely know anything about the art of CSS Essay writing have started to introduce themselves as CSS mentors). And, the last thing to be added to the answer; never sit for CSS exam unless you have scored passing marks in at-least ten practice essays evaluated immediately before the final exam. Never ever presume that you can do miracle in the exam, and can pass it even though you failed the practice essays. Final exam adversely impacts the capabilities because of the psychological pressure attached to it. So, it is better to go for the next year’s attempt instead of wasting this year’s, provided you have the option keeping in view the age limit.
Q. Is it possible to pass without fulfilling minimum word count requirement?
Ans: In fact, this is the most strange question that I am often asked. The minimum required length for the essay is 2500 words; I am surprised how an aspirant can even think of writing less than this. Not meeting the quantity standard simply means that you have given the examiner a substantial and reasonable justification for failing you. It is now up to him whether he ignores this shortcoming or not. To avoid confusion, my answer to this question would be a big No. The wrong perception that minimum word count requirement does not have any significance is actually caused by the boasting statements of some of aspirants who somehow manage to pass the Essay paper and then merely in order to impress the audience with their inborn talent and skill, start making such sort of irresponsible, baseless and misleading statements. To you people, my strict advice would be not to think of any shortcut and start working to enable yourself to meet the minimum word count requirement.
Q. Is it good to write on literary topics?
Ans: Not advisable in most of the cases. A literary topic is usually baffling and many aspirants are unable to fully comprehend its meanings. Then, at times, such topics have more than one dimension and it becomes difficult for the candidates to decide which one to follow. Similarly, availability of material on such topics is also a problem. So, in my opinion, you should choose a topic related to current/social/political issues for essay writing. Just like literary topics, excessively technical topics should also be avoided. In past, for instance, some topics purely related to medical and economic fields were also part of the question papers and some aspirants chose them merely to fail the exam. Such topics should be opted for only if you have technical background of the very subject.
Q. What is the importance of the quality of material in the essay?
Ans: It is as important as flour in the baking of bread. Essay is nothing else but relevant material presented in a logical order and grammatically-correct language. The quality of material is the first thing to be evaluated by the examiner. After going through the essay, the examiner should be convinced that it has been written by a CSS aspirant, not an O-level student. Quality of material can be improved by quoting relevant, authentic facts and figures; citing relevant quotes; using references from reports, books and journals; and incorporating even graphs and charts, if needed. In this context, aspirants are advised to start collecting material right from the day they start to prepare for CSS examination. A register or notebook should be specified for the purpose and 10-12 pages should be reserved for every topic regarding which the material is to be collected. Whenever something quotable is found regarding a particular topic, it should be immediately noted down on the relevant pages.