It was in 2013, I had failed in my first attempt. That failure inspired me to work harder. I locked myself in a room and tried to figure out the reasons. I realized that I needed to have a proper strategy. To chalk out a strategy, I meditated for 3 days. In the end, I got illumination. CSS was not about reading books, it was not about preparing notes, rather it was about three major skills. One was the ability to write, the second was the ability to think and the third was the ability to speak. With these broader goals, I set out to read quality books and magazines that improved my expression. Moreover, I saw movies, painting, listened to music, solved puzzles, undertook GRE to increase analytical skills. I knew that achieving success in competitive exams was to be closer to perfection.
My four pronged strategy worked as in a single year, I managed to secure Fulbright scholarship, got allocated to PSP in CSS, cleared PMS and also managed to secure BS – 17 job as instructor in MPDD, the apex training body of Punjab Government.
My only advise is don’t cram stuff, don’t prepare notes, get the skills and you’ll sail through. This piece of advise is not relevant to CSS but applicable to all aspects of life. Also, try to interact with all hues and shades of people, try to have novel experiences, test the boundaries of your sleep, patience, pain etc. All these things enhance our threshold level and broaden horizon. As mentioned, I had a totally different approach to CSS and it did work!!!
The purpose of my article is to tell you that there is not a single way to crack competitive examinations. People have these misconceptions that in case they prepare notes, they will pass through these papers. These days they are asking general questions. In interview even, they do not seek answers that are structured or straight forward.
Notes work in situations where you have a straightforward question. These days, you gotta have complete grasp over the English language. You need to have a vast repository of words to articulate ideas. Moreover, you should gather facts and create linkage between different facts to arrive at cogent, plausible and coherent inferences.
The purpose of my post is to tell you that without vision you won’t be able to clear CSS or enter into a good group. This was my approach, it worked for me. Generally, those people succeed who are different and willing to take chances. I did not meditate in papers, I meditated to find ‘real answers’, I did not want others to dictate me. I had to find my own solution.
One more thing, try to find causation in phenomenon. Try to seek the reasons why things turn out the way they are. Also, try to be solution oriented in your approach. For instance, let me give you an example, we have a problem with terrorism right. If they ask a question about terrorism, do not just harp about the damages that terrorism does but give a strategy to overcome it. Furthermore, do not quote about incidents of terrorism as they might show off your knowledge but won’t be any good to society. They need problem solvers. So, a good answer would be like this:
Terrorism is gnawing upon the fabric of our society. Thousands of people have perished in this macabre game of blood and gore. However, there is a solution. The root cause of terrorism lies in the anti – state actors that are operating within Pakistan. Years of neglect in the education sector has allowed seminaries to provide these services to the most downtrodden strata. Facts are also abysmal, Pakistan has a literacy rate of 60 percent only, and this means out of every two people, one person is illiterate. Illiterate people lack cognitive abilities and can be easily manipulated by vested interests. Likewise, according to Article 25 – A of the constitution, education is the responsibility of the government. In the absence of state, seminary leaders acquire young minds and indoctrinate them with hate. These ‘assets’ are used against the state to achieve their nefarious agenda. A way forward to end terrorism is to drain the breeding ground of terrorism. This can be achieved by hitting the 100 percent enrollment target. Moreover, state should impose educational emergency to involve all segments of society. In the short term, law enforcement agencies should be empowered and criminal / judicial system be revamped to ensure swift dispensation of justice.
I hope, I have clarified my position. Respect to all.