In Conversation with
Hassan Ejaz (FSP)
45th in Pakistan CSS 2021-22
Jahangir’s World Times (JWT): First of all, please tell us about your educational background.
Hassan Ejaz (HE): I did my matriculation and intermediate from Fauji Foundation School and College. Then, I earned a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology from University of Gujrat.
JWT: Since you have been allocated to Foreign Service of Pakistan (FSP), what was the feature of this service that attracted you most?
HE: My attraction to FSP was due to the reason that, being a diplomat, you serve as a face of your nation and state. Additionally, I love to travel and interact with others. So, it also resonates with my personality.
JWT: How was your experience at the World Times Institute?
HE: I joined WTI to take its mock exams and prepare for interview here. It was really a great and fruitful experience, especially in terms of interactive sessions and syndicate activities with other written qualifiers. Moreover, the sincere efforts of counsellors, especially Ambassador (R) Irfan Raja’s guidance, helped me to improve myself and boost my confidence.
JWT: What, in your opinion, is the key to making a difference in written part of CSS exam?
HE: Maximum written practice and impressive presentation of paper do really matter.
JWT: Generally, compulsory subjects are considered low-scoring, what was your strategy to get through these very papers?
HE: Since I was a bibliophile and used to reading a lot, specifically the literature of right and left I had developed my opinions on national, regional and international issues even before starting my preparation for CSS exam. I used to participate also in study circles in my university life. Apart from that, making my own short notes, written practice and good paper presentation helped me a lot in getting through the compulsory papers.
JWT: What was the key to your success?
HE: My consistency and belief in my efforts, the prayers of my loved ones and sincere guidance of my teachers led me to success.
JWT: What should be an ideal time table for a new aspirant to make sound preparation for CSS exam?
HE: It can vary from person to person but one must be devoted and sincere in one’s efforts.
JWT: How answers should be written to get maximum marks?
HE: First of all, a question should be cracked properly by the help of three yardsticks: keywords, time limit and geographical boundaries. In addition to that, one’s answer should be well-crafted with self-explanatory headings fulfilling the demands of question. It should also be supported with sound evidence, critical analysis, diagrams, flowcharts, etc.
JWT: Should there be some word limit kept in mind while writing answers?
HE: One’s primary concern has to be to address the question asked. However, one must also try to ensure that all answers are of similar length so as to maintain the standard of paper. Nonetheless, just remember that quality outweighs quantity.
JWT: How did you structure your Essay and what was your strategy for Précis and Composition Paper?
HE: I chose a philosophical/opinion-based essay, i.e. Universal human equality is Utopic.
Firstly, I made a thesis statement – that is, one’s instant thought – and went against the topic statement.
Secondly, I dissected the topic and wrote my outline after brainstorming with some yardsticks in mind – primarily, relying on the postmodernist explanations of the topic.
Lastly, I explained the points in my outline, one by one, with concrete evidence.
JWT: How a new aspirant should start his/her preparations and what areas should (s)he focus?
HE: A newbie should start with careful selection of optional subjects and then devise a plan for preparation. Following that plan, one’s preparation must include: covering up the syllabus, especially, topics selected from past papers, one revision at least, and one full-book, mock exam. Most importantly, one should practice as much as one can because practice is the key.
As for the second part of the question, I would mention four things:
1. Try to develop and polish your own opinions regarding national and international affairs.
2. English papers should be focused and one must get proper guidance for them.
3. Do make your own short notes; which are really helpful for quick revisions.
4. If you have time, do read some good books, especially those recommended by FPSC. For Instance, to understand political Islam, Allama Iqbal’s Reconstruction of Religious Thoughts in Islam and Maulana Maududi’s books like Khilafat-o-Malookiat and Islamic State are really helpful.
My Tips on
Selection of optional subjects
There are four points to remember:
1. Listen to your heart
2. Have a look at the past papers — to see where does one stand.
3. Go through the syllabus
4. Consider scoring trends
Notes should be ‘to the point’ so that one may revise them easily on the exam day.
At least, one revision is must; but it is recommended to revise and practice simultaneously.