In Conversation with
Dr. Ahmad Sher Zaman Dogar (PAS)
13th in Pakistan CSS 2021-22
Jahangir’s World Times (JWT): First of all, please tell us about your educational background.
Dr. Ahmad Sher Zaman Dogar (DASZD): My schooling has been from Divisional Public School, Burewala. I graduated from Allama Iqbal Medical College, Lahore, in 2019. During my MBBS from AIMC, I completed a BSc from Punjab University.
I attended Asian Science Camp at Indian Institute of Sciences Bengaluru in 2016. I also attended SUSI Student Leadership Program at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA, where I studied public policy in 2017.
JWT: Since you have been allocated to Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS), what was the feature of this service that attracted you most?
DASZD: I believe that PAS provides multiple and diverse opportunities to serve the people.
JWT: How was your experience at the World Times Institute?
DASZD: During my preparation for written exam, I attended online session of WTI due to Covid-19 wave. It proved instrumental in my preparation for this part of the exam.
Later, I joined interview session at WTI where Ma’am Tehmina and Sir Jawad played a key role in preparing me for the final interview. Mock interview further strengthened my reflexes.
JWT: What, in your opinion, is the key to making a difference in written part of CSS exam?
DASZD: I believe that your analysis should be very wide. After 2016, CSS exam has shifted to opinionated questions where one’s own analysis and opinion on any topic matters the most. Second, a perfect expression of the opinion helps you to excel in this cutthroat competition.
JWT: Generally, compulsory subjects are considered low-scoring, what was your strategy to get through these very papers?
DASZD: Low scores in compulsory subjects can be compensated by scoring high in optional ones and the interview.
However, my focus was on Essay and Islamiat papers. I picked up only a few themes for both and then prepared them thoroughly.
JWT: What was the key to your phenomenal success?
DASZD: Firstly, hard work is the key to success. There is no shortcut. You will have to burn the midnight oil.
Secondly, a very clear vision of your goal motivates you to make endeavours for it. Lastly, Allah is All-Doing. Anything done with noble intentions to serve the masses is rewarded in this world and the hereafter.
JWT: How a new aspirant should start his/her preparations?
DASZD: I believe that optional subjects should be prepared first; one optional at a time. Meanwhile Current Affairs stuff can be studied daily from newspapers and online resources.
I prepared Essay, Current Affairs and Pakistan Affairs at the end by short-listing important topics, and prepared different dimensions of them.
JWT: What should be an ideal time table for a new aspirant to make sound preparation for CSS exam, and what areas should (s)he focus?
DASZD: It is a very subjective question but I believe that 5-6 months are sufficient for a good preparation. In this period, you should study at least 5-6 hours daily. You should have a healthy diet and lifestyle along with it to bear the stress.
For the second part of the question:
1. Find those parts of the syllabus of optional subjects that are of extreme importance. As much as 80% of exam is through it.
2. Build your own analysis on every topic. Examiner would be more interested in versatile opinion. Don’t try to cram opinions of others.
3. Use multiple lenses while making your analysis.
4. Your thoughts on any topic should be very simple and logical as well.
JWT: How answers should be written to get maximum marks?
DASZD: You should hit the bull’s eye. There is no need for introductions or conclusions. Just write what the examiner has asked in the question. Each and every paragraph of your answer sheet should express what the examiner is interested in.
JWT: Should there be some word limit kept in mind while writing answers?
DASZD: No, there isn’t any word limit. But each of my answers spanned, on average, 4-5 pages. In my opinion, your entire focus should be on answering the dimension(s) of the topic that has/have been asked in the question.
JWT: How did you structure your Essay and what was your strategy for Précis and Composition Paper?
DASZD: I didn’t follow the typical rule of introduction and conclusion for the Essay paper.
My essay was on ‘Pros and Cons of Globalization’ and I designed the outline with 6-7 pros and 6-7 cons. Similarly, I wrote half of my essay on pros and other half on cons. I believe that simplicity and clarity in thoughts makes writing an essay very easy.