10 Questions with
Syed Abdul Rahman (PSP)
28th in Pakistan CSS 2020-21
Jahangir’s World Times (JWT): First of all, please tell us about your educational background.
Syed Abdul Rahman (SAR): My schooling has been from Ibne Sina College, Lahore. I did CAT (Certified Accounting Technician) foundation course for entry into ACCA and qualified ACCA. I received BSc (Hons) in Applied Accounting from Oxford Brookes University – UK. After that, I pursued Chartered Accountancy (CA) and qualified as an Associate Chartered Accountant. During this course, I worked full time both within Pakistan and abroad and complemented my skillset and qualifications with ACMA from ICMA Pakistan, CPA Ireland, and CISA (Certified Information Systems Auditor).
JWT: Since you have been allocated to Police Service of Pakistan (PSP), what was the feature of this service that attracted you most?
SAR: Undoubtedly, all the services are very prestigious; however, because of certain unique features, I opted for the Police Service of Pakistan (PSP) to achieve a position from which I can propose and implement the necessary reforms to minimize people’s exploitation owing to the fact that they are generally unaware of their rights and duties. Moreover, my inspiration from former IGP, Mr Nasir Durrani (late), fuelled my passion for being part of such a prestigious service.
JWT: How was your experience of preparing for CSS at World Times Institute? And, how much helpful did you find Jahangir’s World Times (JWT) during your preparation?
SAR: I came to WTI in a hybrid interview session for job-holders where we used to practice psychological assessment and thematic mock interviews over weekends. Being out of touch with studies for a while and having scant time, the session at WTI proved to be very helpful in my final interview preparation. Likewise, following the success stories of so many CSPs at JWT was another motivating factor to compensate for the discouragements.
I consulted “All in One” yearly issues of JWT magazine to prepare for Current Affairs, Pakistan Affairs and Islamic Studies papers. It helped me gain a thorough understanding of pertinent issues within a relatively shorter period.
JWT: What, in your opinion, is the key to making a difference in written part of CSS exam?
SAR: CSS is an examination that allows a candidate to express his/her personal views on the issue(s) at hand. So, the key is not to stifle the personal opinions and ideas from flowing naturally. There is no right or wrong opinion; you can take any stance provided you justify that with relevant and well-researched arguments.
JWT: Generally, compulsory subjects are considered low-scoring. What was your strategy to get through these very papers?
SAR: In my opinion, originality of answers and impressive presentation are the two keys to scoring high in compulsory subjects. A good candidate educates the examiner and focuses on paper presentation, i.e. neat handwriting, proper headings and margins, coupled with flowcharts and diagrams to score maximum marks.
Insofar as my approach is concerned, it was to be relevant and concise. I started my answers with a two-line personal viewpoint followed by an introductory paragraph. I jumped straight to the issue at hand in the main body. After that, I wrote an analytical section; before giving my final opinion, followed by a conclusion.
JWT: How answers should be written to get maximum marks?
SAR: Content is the king! The answers need to be relevant, well-articulated, thorough and well-researched. Make easier for the examiner to navigate through the paper by underlining the significant facts and figures. Try to use a combination of blue and black ink. There should be separate preparation for the MCQs portion to maximize the score in written part.
JWT: Should there be some word limit kept in mind while writing answers?
SAR: There is no specific word limit; however, the structure of answers should cover all the dimensions like social, political, technological, environmental, legal and economic. Maintain symmetry in the length of all four answers. Time management is a prerequisite; devote equal time to all the answers, as all questions carry equal marks. On a safe side, a well-balanced response comprises 6-8 pages.
JWT: How did you structure your Essay and what was your strategy for Précis and Composition Paper?
SAR: Being one of the toppers for English Essay this year, my only tip is to create the Essay within the examination hall. Always choose a topic you have profound knowledge on. My ideas were genuine and unique. I focused on writing a relevant and catchy introduction. I left some space at the beginning of the script and wrote the essay outline at the end. I had practiced writing multiple full-length essays within exam conditions.
For Précis and Composition, the focus should be on building up the vocabulary bank and practicing writing as many précis paragraphs as possible. Learn idioms and pairs of words from any good book.
JWT: How a new aspirant should start his/her preparations?
SAR: The new aspirants should begin with self-introspection. Once goals in life are clear, self-identification of strengths and weaknesses is imperative. The next stage is choosing optional subjects. The stepping stone is reading any local or international newspaper regularly, developing competency in the English language, and keeping abreast of the latest events in the world. Then, cover the entire syllabus for all the subjects through diverse reading sources. Reading more is the key to developing proficiency for impeccable writing. Consistency is the key; do not delay your attempt; brush aside all the discouragements. Give your best and leave the results to Almighty Allah.
JWT: What should be an ideal time table for a new aspirant to make sound preparation for CSS exam?
SAR: No ‘one size fits all’ strategy works in preparation for CSS exam. The time would vary from person to person; however, in my opinion, for first attempters, a dedicated preparation of 3-6 months, with 3-4 hours daily study routine, apart from newspaper reading, is sufficient.
My Tips on
Selection of optional subjects
Always choose optional subjects that conform to your academic background. There are no high-scoring or low-scoring subjects. Always choose subjects of your interest as you will be comfortable and able to perform well.