CSS in not the end of the world. Students think of CSS as the last and only resort. This makes the whole process too difficult for normal students and the burden of thoughts decrease their performance manifolds. My experience is that only normal and average students clear it. Philosophers or Nerds seldom qualify. Its more of a test of nerves then the test of actual intelligence. I have seen that the students who are over confident in class never qualify whereas the students, who remain quiet and appear to be afraid, clear CSS. I am not making a theory out of it but I am saying just to clear the myths in the mind of most students. My advise will be one should neither be afraid nor be over confident. What could be the best method to follow for getting maximum marks? To guide the students I have framed a process which if followed by a student will increase his chance in getting more marks in the exam.
First Step How to Get Through CSS Exams
- First and foremost step is that you go through the syllabus word by word. Syllabus should be imprinted on your minds. All your CSS papers are made through the syllabus. The examiner tries to cover all the topics of the syllabus. Its very rare that the complete paper is out of syllabus. If you have covered all your syllabus you will always be able to complete 100 percent of the paper. Once you go through the syllabus then whatever you read in books or newspaper, or whatever you watch on TV or whatever you browse on internet your mind will automatically flag that a certain topic is from your syllabus. This way your studies will stick to the relevant parts.
- After you have gone through the syllabus you must peruse last 10 years papers. It will take a maximum of 2 hours but once you have gone through the past papers you will be in a better position to identify the most important topics in a certain subject. Some subjects have a long list of topics such as Pakistan Affairs; which may generally have 40 to 45 topics. But then there are other topics such as Islamic Law or Sociology with only 15 to 20 topics. Whatever the number of topics are a candidate has to organize himself. You have to jot down topics which are most important and then proceed on with their preparation
- Once your topics are identified. Get them verified from a teacher or anyone who has cleared CSS exams. Now the actual work starts. Get the best material on a certain topic. Usually all topics are not covered in one book only. For every topic you may have to consult various sources. Your teacher can guide you the best in it. You can know on your own about the best material on any topic. Students either only buy one useless book or just search on internet. Both of these sources wont do you much good. You should choose a book from the recommended books mentioned in the syllabus
- Students always get in a fix in how to prepare. My advice and method has always been to forbid notes making. Its time consuming and often a redundant activity. Better way is to make outline of a certain topic. What I mean by outline is that you should note down 20 points which you previously didn’t know on a topic. These points can be made from the best books or any other best material available on any topic. Once you have made the outlines. Revise them.
- Last and the most important step is to attempt questions from past papers. You should attempt one question in 35 minutes only. Ideally length of an answer should be 700 to 1000 words spread over 7-8 pages. Your answer should be written in a good handwriting. I made special effort to improve my handwriting. I even bought nursery handwriting books and I kept on practicing my alphabets on them. Your answer should also be properly formatted into various paragraphs. Every paragraph should have 6-7 sentences and it should contain one idea. After you finish an idea in a paragraph start a new paragraph but use connecting sentences so that your attempt stays coherent. Once you attempt one past paper. Get it checked from a good teacher and then note down the corrections your teacher makes. Note down your errors and try to improve upon them in your next attempt.
How to Get Through CSS Exams
Keep praying to Allah for help and guidance. Allah is the best of planners and only Allah can make things easy for you. Whenever you start studying, please start with Bismillah and also recite darood shareef… Start preparing step by step. Little by little. Try to cover 5-6 topics daily and you will see that eventually you will be at a much better position. Taking tension is of no use. Whenever you feel tense just think that Allah has already decided what is best for you so all you have to do is keep you intentions right and consistently work hard. That’s it.
All my prayers and wishes for all of you.
By: M. Hamza Shafqaat (PAS)
Officer of Pakistan Administrative Service (Erstwhile DMG).
Did engineering then MPhil Public Policy.Got training in GB&FATA.
Served in Sindh now Islamabad