CSS Preparation Tips for Beginners
1) CSS is the mother of all exams. Is it?
- Wrong. This is just another exam. The mother of all exams is Life. You can afford to fail in CSS, but not in Life. So, take CSS preparation as a phase in Life, not as your Life.
2) CSS is not for faint-hearted. Is it?
- If you think you are faint-hearted, better start preparing for CSS soon – it makes you stone-hearted.
3) One topper in an interview said that she studied 20 hours every day for 365 days. Is this true?
- May be she suffered from insomnia. Even now she will be working 20 hours a day as an officer. On a serious note, good sleep is very necessary to prepare well for this exam. It keeps you in good health. Don’t study beyond 14 hours unless you suffer from Insomnia.
4) Now you are saying 14 Hours! Are you mad?
- Calm down. If you have left your job, as a punishment you should devote these many hours. Didn’t you work 12 hours for your company? Anyway, every day at least 8 hours of planned study is required. If you can study more than that, it is well and good. But please ensure that you also get 6-8 hours of sound sleep.
5) My English is very poor. They say I am out of the race. Am I?
- No. You are still part of the race. Now you have figured out the problem – that your English is poor. Work on it. All you need is basic English. Moreover, you can write this exam and give the interview in your mother-tongue. Buy a basic Grammar book – read it, listen to English news on TV and radio, try to write something in English, everyday (don’t worry if it is very bad, keep trying) Necessity should push you to learn. Push yourself. Win the race.
6) I am worried. I can’t go to Lahore / Karachi because of some personal reasons. They say it is Mecca for CSS aspirants.
- Can’t go to Lahore/Karachi? Wow. That’s great. These days you can study from home itself. CSS preparation is neither religion nor life to seek enlightenment in a far away concrete desert. Do your duty sincerely, if pleased, almighty FPSC will call you to its shrine, if pleased with your personality, it will give you a pass to Heaven – the CSS. Why go there uninvited?
7) So how can I study from my home?
- These days you can buy books from online. Every topper has studied the same set of books as thousands of aspirants do every year. The difference is that toppers plan their studies and execute those plans well. They practice writing. They take tests. They are confident. And they also have some luck.
8) Oh! So luck is needed for this exam.
- Yes, only if you think you are unlucky. Anyway, let me modify a famous quote for you – Success is one percent luck and ninety-nine percent perspiration. Don’t let that 99% thing slip from your hand. Toil sincerely, and you will be rewarded with that 1 percent luck.
9) It was my last attempt. Now I want to kill myself. Help me.
- To kill you? First, kill your ego, not yourself. You took a journey but couldn’t reach the destination. It doesn’t mean the end of your life or the end of the road – start a new phase in your Life from where you are now. What matters in the end is how well you lived your Life, not how many successes you achieved. If the King has painful piles in his anus, what is the use of diamond studded golden throne?
10) Thousands of aspirants give this exam and only few get into CSS. I am scared.
- Though lakhs of aspirants apply and write this exam, the real competition is between only 2000-3000 serious aspirants. Those who study systematically and consistently, get into service. If you do the same, you will be one among them. Don’t have fears even before you start. You must enter the race and work hard to win it.
- Remember this: “I never did a day’s work in all my Life. It was all fun” (Edison). Make the process fun, enjoy reading, love what you do and do everything to please your heart. Not the society.
11) They say there is corruption in recruiting CSS officers. Is it true?
- This allegation is utterly false. The whole examination is so opaque that you have to trust it blindly (Oxymoron). There may be lacunae in the way examination is held, or there may be loopholes in how an FPSC member is appointed, but there is never corruption involved in the recruitment of civil service officers. The steel produced is pure. You can trust it. (It gets corroded later, that is a different story though)
12) I am getting headache while making notes. There are so many books to refer and I want my notes to be the best. What to do?
- Note this. Leo Tolstoy writes in Anna Karenina “If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content.” Also someone said, “Perfection is the child of time“. When you scout too many sources to make that perfect notes, you end up both loosing invaluable time and discontented. Managing time during the preparation is the most important aspect of this examination. Read one or two books for a topic. Re-read the same book even if some coaching institution or a publication house releases new notes/book in the market that has become famous.
13) At least in Pakistan it is the best job. Right?
- Yes. If you want to make a positive impact on the lives of thousands of poor, CSP is the best job. But you have to swim in the ocean infested by so many sharks. You should know how to swim, be fearless and armed with ammunition. There is a silver lining though. The ammunition is personal integrity and The People – if you do a good work, help the poor man on the streets and in the huts, people will love you. Sharks love votes. And the ocean will be safe for you.
14) I have a disease. I keep buying all the magazines and coaching material. Is there any cure for this?
- If you are rich, donate some money to this site. Jokes apart, yes there is a cure. You know very well that you don’t read all the magazine and materials you buy. When you buy more and don’t use them, it only worsens your situation. The sight of those books frightens you. The cure is simple: first understand why you are buying so many books.
- You buy them to buy yourself momentary satisfaction, that you are doing right thing in your preparation. No, wrong. Always finish reading what you have now. If something is really missing from the book you have, then go for a new one.
- When you become aware that you are not going to read all the books you buy, you will stop buying them.
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