“Jahangir World Times has been a constant source of knowledge for me. It brings CSS in a nutshell to our doorsteps.”
Jahangir’s World Times (JWT): Kindly tell us about your educational background and achievements in detail?
Batool Asadi (BA): I hail from Quetta. After acquiring elementary education, I started B-Pharmacy. But, I soon realized that it was not my cup of tea. I feel I am naturally inclined to literature. Therefore, I earned my Master’s degree in English Literature by securing 2nd position. In 2008, I started my career as a lecturer in English Department of Balochistan University of Information Technology, Engineering and Management Sciences. I continued my endeavours in pursuit of higher education, and in 2010, I was the only student from Balochistan to secure admission in MS (English Literature) at International Islamic University, Islamabad. My husband, a Civil Servant himself, convinced me to go for CSS. I attempted CSS in 2012 and stood first in Balochistan and 21st overall.
(JWT): What is so special in PAS and how it is better than other groups?
(BA): PAS holds a pivotal position and is like a nucleus in the very structure of the executive pillar of the state. Its tremendous scope along with diversity in postings and assignments make it a prime group.
[AdSense-B] – [AdSense-A]
(JWT): Between books and notes, what did you prefer for the preparations?
(BA): Proper guidance ensures smooth sailing in the sea of CSS. My husband recommended books and helped me prepare notes. I used nothing specific for English, as that has been my subject, but for other papers, I consulted books along with Dawn newspaper. Besides, internet, Jahangir’s World Times and discussions with my husband have been the constant sources of help to me.
Moreover, I studied in accordance with past papers. I followed an ambitious schedule. I did not prepare detailed notes, rather made only the outlines. I focused higher conceptual clarity, rather than cramming. Finally, for the sake of conditioning or prior mock experience, I attempted all the papers at home. I would suggest that all aspirants must start preparation at least 8 months before the exam.
(JWT): What strategy, in your opinion, one should adopt to make a difference?
(BA): The dream of making a difference demands a walk of some extra—and intelligent—miles. This includes, proper guidance, study aiming at conceptual clarity, drafting introductory paragraphs beforehand, applying analytical and logical instruments rather than simple and plain narrations.
(JWT): As you know, most candidates fail English Essay, and English Précis & Composition papers. What steps would you suggest for these two crucial papers?
(BA): Very true! Despite being a thesis writer, it was really a tough task, even for me, to tune myself to the requirements of English Essay paper. I would suggest that to get a command over essay, the aspirants should prepare comprehensive outlines covering all the aspects of a particular topic. In addition, they should prepare introductory paragraphs which may be altered as per situation. They should strictly follow the format of essay and their writing should have spontaneity and logical flow. Do misused bombastic vocabulary, spelling mistakes as it is like a crime in competitive exams.
As far as English composition is concerned, one should work on the basic grammatical structures, enrichment of vocabulary, and above all, more and more writing practice for précis, comprehension and expansion of idea is inevitable.
(JWT): Who can opt for psychology? Is it true that only the candidates having a science background can perform well? Also suggest some good books and tips to get high score in this very subject.
(BA): Any aspirant having an aptitude can go for psychology. For instance, I have studied literature and have a passion for it, but in psychology, I secured 157 marks. I would suggest the books of Feldman and other writers of such stature. Securing high marks in psychology requires memorization of some terms, but more emphasis must be on conceptual clarity and application of concepts in everyday life.
(JWT): What sort of guidance is required for the fresh aspirants and how do you see the Jahangir’s World Times (JWT) as far as guidance for CSS is concerned?
(BA): As per my experience, guidance from the right people may be an Aladdin’s lamp in the quest for CSS. Jahangir World Times has been a constant source of knowledge for me, even after exam. It brings CSS in a nutshell to our doorsteps. It has been enriching and enabling CSS aspirants to cope with examination needs in a smarter manner. I am grateful to Jahangir World Times for energizing me, when I was going through a period of fluctuating motivation.
(JWT): Do you believe in luck factor in CSS? We always notice numerous average students getting allocated while talented and scholarly students get out of the foray?
|Group||Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS)|
|Fave Personality & Book||Prophet Muhammad (SAW); Orientalism by Edward W. Said|
|Fave Quote||“The only lasting beauty is the beauty of heart.” (Rumi)|
|The Toughest Part||Toughest part was to keep myself motivated|
|The Easiest Part||Psychological Test|
(BA): I do believe in luck factor, but it’s not that simple to be addressed in ‘Yes-No mode’. It will be an extreme fatalist view if only luck is considered the absolute factor. It is a blend of wise planning, smart execution, vigilant monitoring and evaluation. Having completed all the prerequisites, luck favours the bold.
(JWT): You message to CSS aspirants?
(BA): I believe that hard work hasn’t killed anyone so far. Therefore, my message for upcoming CSS aspirants will be to adopt the following lines of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow as theme song of their life:
“Let us be up and doing
With heart for any fate
Still achieving still pursuing
Learn to labor and to wait”
The written part of Competitive examination is considered the toughest one in all competitive exams in the country. With the start of the New Year, the aspirants would be gearing up for revisions and giving final shapes to their notes.
In this piece of writing, I shall try to discuss some tips for the aspirants to attempt compulsory papers. It has been observed that most people get fewer marks in compulsory papers. However, with an effective approach, a candidate can get reasonably high marks in these papers.
Compulsory subjects carry key significance in Competitive Examination. In many a cases, a brilliant candidate flunks in one compulsory paper despite getting very high score in all other papers. Contrarily, a higher score in these papers brings a candidate in top candidates. Therefore, the candidates are advised to focus more on compulsory papers.
Thorough preparation – targeted, not selective, study Consult good books for each subject
Prepare your own notes that must contain up-to-date and relevant information from authentic sources.
Practice your answers by solving past papers preferably in mock settings simulating examination in order to test yourself before the commencement of the real test.
Improve your presentation skills. In order to be successful in a competitive exam, a candidate has to put some extra effort to make his/her paper better than others. So, where studying good books enables a candidate to be better prepared, giving the answers with an excellent presentation is equally important for scoring higher marks.
During the Examination
Once in examination, you must keep plan for your paper
Read all questions carefully and select those questions which you have prepared the best. It is always handy to select one extra question
Explore your mind and gather all relevant points related to each topic
Prepare outlines for each answer based on Coherence, Relevancy, and Logical flow
You must have Supportive arguments for each point.
Make sure that you provide authentic and up-to-date information on the topic
Filter & refine your arguments and organize your answer in required order
In your argumentation, always follow a balanced approach. Especially in Current Affairs and Islamiyat papers, present positive ideas rather than pessimistic & belligerent ideology
Finally, review your outline before embarking upon an attempt
Attempt that question first for which you have best answer with most relevant and up-to-date information
Essay paper is considered as the toughest nut to crack. It is believed that this very first paper decides whether one is going to pass the exam or not. Most of the candidates fail in this paper. It is because majority of the candidates produce crammed knowledge obtained from available stereo-type sources. They have invalid and expired pieces of information/knowledge without any sense to update it. They don't express any knowledge of basic English grammar, punctuation and sentence formation. But a few good candidates were able to score excellent marks because they showed commendable originality of approach, precision of comprehension and clarity of expression. Their attempt was well-structured & articulate with an innovative style.
Practice is the key in this segment. Try to solve all 40 past papers questions of précis and comprehension passages. Time management is very important in this paper as the précis passage mostly consumes around one hour.
Another important aspect is the length of essay. In my view it is quality and not the quantity that matters. Examiner usually sets a limit of 2500-3500 words limit to trap the candidates. But it would not bother him much if you put up a good effort which falls short of the words limit.
Tips for Essay
1. Carefully read all essay tips and select those issues which you have prepared the best.
2. Now select that essay which you can best at tempt considering thoughtfully the aspect which is asked.
3. Thoroughly explore your mind and bring out all relevant points of that issue on paper.
4. Now pick those points which are most suitable for your outline.
5. Make a logical outline depending solely upon the statement or topic of essay set by the examiner.
6. Reconsider each point for its relevancy and order in the outline.
7. Review your points and see if the used words can be replaced with more catchy or striking words. Remember, outline is like a cover of your essay which clearly depicts what is wrapped inside. So give it due consideration and time before starting your essay.
8. On rough pages, write an introduction for the essay. Articulate it with best words possible.
9. Now reconsider your outline and introduction and assess whether it fulfils the demands of the given essay. Only if you are satisfied with that rough draft proceed with the essay, otherwise reject it and attempt your second best essay on similar pattern. This is important because you would not get a second chance before one year if you fail in this paper.
This exercise would certainly take time but do not be panic even if it takes 40-45 minutes because you have done all the hard work. All you have to do is to write that outline and introduction neatly on your answer sheet and then proceed with the essay following the outline that you have already prepared.
English Précis and Composition
You may prepare for this paper in two parts:
Part – I: 65 marks (Précis, comprehension, expansion)
Part – II: 35 marks (Change of narration, correction of sentences, idioms, pair of words, antonyms/synonyms)
(The examiner may, however, ask other segments like change of voice as well)
Part – II is mathematical as your correct answer would accrue full marks. Mostly, questions in this part are repeated which makes it easier to prepare. Here it becomes key to success if you manage to score 30 in this segment your chances of clearing this paper become high. For this purpose practise this segment from the past papers and please do not cram sentences written in common guide books available in market.
Part – It is significant as it's a test of your command over language. You have to demonstrate your skills of comprehending a piece of writing and communicating in writing in a precise and effective manner. Practice is the key in this segment. Try to solve all 40 past papers questions of précis and comprehension passages. Time management is very important in this paper as the précis passage mostly consumes around one hour. Practice can help you save time in other parts.
Everyday Science paper is a unique of all the papers in the sense that it awards marks to the candidates in a wide range of 5-95. You would find DMCs of allocated candidates who obtained 30-40 marks in this paper. An extra effort in this paper may prove a key factor in determining your final standing in merit list.
Attempting this paper is skill of which selection of questions is very important. In objective portion, there is no choice so you have to attempt all. From subjective portion, prefer those questions which carry one mark because chances of getting full 10 marks in that question are more. Similarly, second preference should be two marks questions and lengthy questions should be avoided.
In science paper, diagrams carry nearly half marks of each question. So, practise drawing them as much as possible and try to draw neat diagrams with proper labelling in paper.
Another misconception about this paper is about attempting it in Urdu or English. This is no issue as the main purpose is checking your knowledge. English or Urdu does not carry any marks of their own, but your argumentation and presentation does.
Do consult past 10 years papers of EDS as the books on Everyday Science for the CSS exams are too voluminous. One mark questions are usually of scientific units and abbreviations and reasoning. These questions are fairly simple and very often repeated. If you go through past papers, you will find many such examples.
Scoring high marks in this paper demands that the candidate must be well prepared having up-to-date knowledge of all current topics. The candidates are judged on the basis of their level of understanding, depth of knowledge and analysis of issues.
To ensure better preparation, candidates may divide this paper into following segments:
1. Foreign Policy: Foreign Policy and Pakistan's relations with China, India, Iran, Afghanistan, US, Russia and Muslim countries.
2. International organisations: UN, OIC, NAM, SAARC, ECO, SCO, EU, ASEAN, D-8, G-20, Commonwealth
3. International issues (Climate Change, Global War on Terror, Syrian Crisis, Palestinian Crisis, Nuclear Proliferation, etc.)
4. Important States of the World (US, China, Russia, UK, Japan, India, etc.) – their role and influence on the global level
5. Domestic issues
In this paper, candidates should try to write to-the-point answers in a precise manner. Drawing a map is a required for most of the questions in this paper. Maps printed at the back of diaries can be used for practice.
Domestic issues important for CE-2013 include problems of Pakistan economy, foreign aid and debt.
Corruption & Bad governance
Problems and suggestions for industry,
agriculture, exports and tourism
Role of media, courts, and bureaucracy
Democracy in Pakistan
Natural and human resource potential of
Problems of education and health sector
Status and rights of women, children, and
This paper generally gives low marks but some candidates do score 65 plus marks every year. So it is a challenge for every candidate to score higher in this paper.
This paper demands a creative approach in every attempted question. Your scripts must contain critical and thought-provoking analysis of the issues asked. Moreover, suitable quotations from good sources may be given to support your argument. For this purpose, select two or three good books and read them thoroughly. The candidates may even pick analytical arguments from these books and use them in the paper.
This paper comprises two segments: pre-partition, and post-partition. A reason for low scores in this paper is the tendency of the candidates to prefer pre-partition questions for the obvious reason of availability of books and handy notes in market for these questions. They must understand that thousands of them rely on same material which is mostly outdated. The examiner expects creativity and originality from the candidates. A better strategy is to target questions related to current scenario and contemporary issues as there is a better margin to exhibit your analytical skills.
There are many false notions and myths about this paper that the candidates must give moderate views in paper, otherwise get ready to be failed. These notions are false and absurd. There is no room for confusion in Islam so give your clear cut view but do not forget to prove it with effective argumentation and examples. Moreover, try to understand contemporary problems from Islamic point of view.
Another misconception about this paper is about attempting it in Urdu or English. This is no issue as the main purpose is checking your knowledge. English or Urdu does not carry any marks of their own, but your argumentation and presentation does. So choose the language in which you can best attempt the paper.
Islamiyat paper may also be divided into segments:
Islamic concept and practices
Contemporary problems faced by Muslims
The candidates should focus on both segments. Some topics for guideline may be:
Islamic concept of Universe and Humanity
Problems of life and Islamic solution
Beliefs on Risalat and Akhirat – Blasphemy question
Social and moral codes in Islam vs Western Ethics
Islamic political system in comparison with modern democracy
Women rights in Islam and legislations against veil in the West
Political and economic instability in Muslim World
Sectarian violence and terrorism in Pakistan
Sources of Shariah; Ijtehad
In the end, I would like to remind the candidates that this is just an exam for a job. Success or failure in it would not mean an end of life. Just keep faith in your abilities and try to give it your best. May Allah bless you all.