In Conversation with
YASIR NAZIR (PAS)
2nd in Pakistan CSS 2020-21
Jahangir’s World Times (JWT): First of all, please tell us about your educational background.
YASIR NAZIR (YN): My schooling has been from my hometown – Okara. District Public School & College, Okara, is the place where I received my education till intermediate.
JWT: Since you have been allocated to Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS), what was the feature of this service that attracted you most?
YN: Better chances of personal and professional development, horizontal and vertical mobility and ability to be in an impactful position attracted me the most.
JWT: How was your experience of preparing for CSS at World Times Institute?
YN: World Times Institute proved really helpful for me during the preparation for the psychological exam and the final interview.
JWT: What, in your opinion, is the key to making a difference in written part of CSS exam?
YN: I believe that liking of the subjects, quality, quantity and presentation of answers in the written exam, and getting the right understanding of the questions are really important for a good score.
JWT: What was the key to your phenomenal success?
YN: In my opinion, being able to like the whole process of the preparation really helped me in securing this prestigious position.
JWT: Generally, compulsory subjects are considered low-scoring, what was your strategy to get through these very papers?
YN: In compulsory subjects, one can score good in GSA, Current Affairs and Précis papers. In GSA, Ability portion is of 40 marks, and one should score, at least, 30 in that. With some practice, even those who do not have a good grip on mathematics can also score well in that. And that can result in overall better marks. Moreover, drawing maps and quoting facts and figures to strengthen one’s argument can help in securing excellent marks in Current Affairs. Lastly, for English Précis paper, other than practicing précis and getting it checked by some good teacher, paying attention to the comprehension, translation, punctuation and narration can also help in uplifting one’s score.
JWT: How the answers should be written to get maximum marks?
YN: For a 20-mark question, one’s answer should span nearly 6 pages. However, this is not a hard and fast rule. The quality, quantity and presentation of one’s answer should be good. Answers should be in a good structure so that the examiner may understand the flow of the answer. Lastly, including maps, facts and figures and references is important in securing excellent marks.
JWT: Should there be some word limit kept in mind while writing answers?
YN: I didn’t keep a word limit in my mind while writing the answers.
JWT: How did you structure your Essay and what was your strategy for Précis and Composition Paper?
YN: I followed the following structure for Essay:
1. Thesis Statement
4. Body paragraphs
For Précis and Composition, I solved the Précis first, and then I solved the comprehension, and other questions.
JWT: How a new aspirant should start his/her preparations?
YN: In my opinion, it depends on the time that one has for the overall preparation. In case of less time, one should focus just on the syllabus. However, if one has good amount of time, then reading relevant books and magazines to develop background knowledge is suggested.
JWT: What areas should the new aspirants focus while preparing for the CSS exam?
YN: Aspirants should focus, first of all, on English Essay. Other than that, passing all 12 subjects is important, so every subject deserves good attention. Lastly, for getting good allocation, one should focus on scoring good marks in GSA and English papers as well as those carrying 200 marks.
JWT: What should be an ideal time table for a new aspirant to make sound preparation for CSS exam?
YN: In my opinion, the duration can vary from person to person, depending on his/her strengths and weaknesses. However, I believe, one should give at least 6 months for a good preparation for the written part of the exam.
My Tips on
Selection of optional subjects
Languages are scoring subjects, so one should opt for a language paper. Furthermore, going for the subjects related to one’s own academic background can be a good option as well. Lastly, one should go for the subjects one has interest in. Otherwise, one won’t be able to do a good preparation of that subject.
I believe making notes during the time when one is going through the syllabus for the first time is not beneficial. It is because, at that time, one is not completely sure about which things should be noted down and which shouldn’t. Other than that, making notes for the subjects a person mainly prepares for from a single book can be counterproductive. Underlining and highlighting the important points in those books can be done and these underlined points can be read near the exam. That will become a kind of short notes. Making long notes for subjects one has prepared for from several sources is important because getting the relevant material compiled in a single place is important for revision.
Revisions are important. By doing the revisions, the concepts, facts and figures become easier to remember, and thus become really helpful in the exams.