What CSS Requires?

1. Devoted study
2. Good writing style
3. To-the-point approach
4. Basic command over English and Aptitude
5. Good grasp over current affairs
6. Quality material and guidance
7. Patience and self-confidence

Choosing Optional Subjects

Keep following things in mind while making this critical decision:
1. Interest and understanding in the subject
2. Analysis of the syllabus and previous years’ question papers of the shortlisted subjects
3. Writing style and presentation techniques suitable for that particular optional
4. Availability of study material 5. Availability of guidance
6. Your educational background 7. Scoring trend

How to Start Preparation?

1. Analyse previous question papers to find out the trend of questions asked therein.
2. Understand the syllabus and find which areas need more hard work.
3. Read basic study material first to get the basic ideas and clear the concepts.
4. Try to think out of the box by consulting relevant material and other sources.
5. Make your own notes from the material you read.
6. Start writing what you have read.
7. Practice, practice and practice is the key to success.

Exclusive Tips from Adeel Niaz

Project Head World Times Institute
Editor Jahangir’s World Times

CSS exam is actually a test of your knowledge and analytical skills; it’s all about GENERAL KNOWLEDGE, not ENGLISH only. Although good command over English is important, laying too much emphasis on learning difficult vocabulary to impress the examiner is unwise, to say the least. While making preparations for the exam, your principal focus should be on gathering and then assimilating maximum information on various aspects of a topic. Providing only the relevant and updated information supported with authentic facts and figures extracted from sources like UN publications, reports by international think tanks, and government documents is the most important. If you can write in correct, flawless language, it’s an added benefit.

Getting through CSS Examination is the most cherished and coveted dream of numerous young men and women across Pakistan. The success in this life-changing exam opens the doors of the Civil Service of Pakistan which offers exposure in diverse roles such as Divisional Commissioner, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Chief Secretary, and head of public sector organizations, among many others. Unparallel power and prestige associated with the job along with the opportunity to bring about positive changes in the lives of millions of their compatriots draw aspirants’ attention. It is, therefore, no surprise that thousands of brilliant young minds go for CSS exam each year. However, only a small segment manages to crack it. These few are truly the crème de la crème of the country. Here we will tell you about the qualities that set those few apart from the rest?

Let’s have a look at the basic ingredients of success in CSS examination:

Strong resolve

Many of the aspirants start scoping the chances of getting through the CSS examination even before starting studies for that. It proves a deterring factor for most of them Hence, it’s important to stamp out this mental block. It would also be futile to engage yourself in preparation due to peer pressure or your parents’ insistence. So, you must have a strong resolve to achieve your dream of becoming an Officer.


A strong sense of self-discipline is essentially required and key to success in achieving any goal. Preparation for CSS involves months of intensive study and this cannot be achieved without having a set routine. Good management and optimal utilization of available time are the essential components of self-discipline.

Focus on Current Affairs

You should have a burning desire to know what’s happening in the world around you. Since CSS is mostly related to current affairs; therefore, you must stay abreast of the happenings through newspapers, magazines like Jahangir’s World Times and TV shows, particularly those related to current affairs. Needless to say, a keen interest in reading is also a great quality you should have.

Analytical Approach

CSS exam requires you to critically analyze the various aspects of a given topic. So, you should develop the habit of analyzing critically. Merely stating the happenings like a newspaper won’t work. You should be able to articulate your thoughts clearly and conclusively besides having a high emotional intelligence.

Tips for In-job aspirants

1. Don’t mix your professional life and personal life. Work when you are working, and study when you are studying.
2. Try to make a practical plan on how to cover the syllabus and do the preparations, accordingly. Only an effective plan can help you in maintaining a balance in your work and studies.
3. It is most important to develop a habit of studying on a daily basis. Do not let your preparations to have lags and breaks. If you study daily, you would be able to keep up with the exam schedules.

4. Never feel that your inability to attend an academy or institute for coaching would affect your performance. Instead, you can always take the support and assistance from the online sources.
5. Develop healthy reading habits. You can learn even from your job environment. Your practical knowledge also pays off in the exam. Thus, do not feel de-motivated only because you have a tight schedule and a full-time job.
6. It is always advisable that you study early in the morning i.e. before going to your job, and at the weekends.

Keys to Success

1. Keeping yourself motivated all the time and never losing heart
2. Planning a realistic schedule; only ambitious plan won’t work
3. Prioritizing the areas where you feel you are weak
4. Doing only the exam-oriented study — Smart – not hard – work
5. Short-listing the most relevant and current issues keeping in view the syllabus and past papers

Prepare your materials and notes in the light of the syllabus and try to cover the maximum portion so that on the day of the exam, you can actually choose what to answer, instead of being limited to the portion of the syllabus you studied.
(Qurat ul Ain Zafar (PAS); 2nd in Pakistan, CSS-2016)

The only key to securing excellent marks in written part, and in overall CSS exam, is the quality to be all-inclusive while making preparations. The aspirants should cover all possible aspects of the topics under study and then present their arguments based on the knowledge that they had gathered in a cogent, coherent and impressive style while in actual exam.
(Akhlaqullah Tarar (PSP) 3rd in Pakistan, CSS-2015)

Always have the conviction if you are working hard, reward is waiting for you. It might come late, but it would, if not in one then in another form. Smartly Identify areas on which you have to work hard. Read a lot and write a lot. Be relevant in writing.
(Maleeha Iesar (PAS); 1st in Pakistan, CSS-2016)

I would advise the aspirants not to take too much pressure before, during or after the exam. Pressure from your family and friends may lead you to stress. So, if you can, do focus on your goal; and forget everything else.
(Usman Ali Ghumman (PAS); 1st in Pakistan, CSS-2015)

CSS is indeed the most challenging exam in Pakistan. The competition is fierce with only a few marks making great difference. In such a scenario, the written part of the exam plays a decisive role in one’s final success.
(Mutahar Amin Hayat Wattoo, 8th in Pakistan, CSS-2015)

CSS is a very tricky game. It requires a lot of commitment, will power and determination. Securing good marks [in CSS] requires extensive study of each subject from quality books.
(Mujtaba Arfat Khan, 4th in Pakistan, CSS-2015)

Reproduction of quality material with immaculate expression, attractive presentation and clarity of thoughts can make a real difference.
(Karim Dad Chughtai (PAS); 2nd in Pakistan, CSS-2014)

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