In Conversation with
Muhammad Usman Ashraf (PAS)
20th in Pakistan, CSS 2018-19
Jahangir’s World Times (JWT): First of all, please tell us about your educational background?
Muhammad Usman Ashraf (MUA): By profession, I was an engineer. I graduated from NUST. When I qualified the CSS 2018 examination, I was pursuing an MBA degree from Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi.
JWT: Since you have been allocated to the Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS), what was the feature of this service that attracted you most?
MUA: Scope of work in PAS is vast, diverse and edifying which not only accords you opportunities to develop yourself professionally but also helps you a great deal in bringing positive and meaningful change in the society.
JWT: How was your experience at World Times Institute (WTI) for CSS preparation?
MUA: I Joined WTI for Mock Interview session, and I must say the interview panel was quite helpful in identifying my weak areas in interview. It allowed me overcome them before the actual interview with the FPSC panel.
JWT: What, in your opinion, is the key to making a difference in written part of CSS exam?
MUA: Quality books should be consulted. Answers should be based on objective analysis and approach should be solution-oriented.
JWT: What was the key to your phenomenal success?
MUA: Although it was my third attempt, it turned out to be the best one due to my consistency and hard work.
JWT: How answers should be written to get maximum marks?
MUA: As I said earlier, answers should be grounded in reality and should be solution-oriented.
JWT: Should there be some word limit kept in mind while writing answers?
MUA: Quality weighs 80 percent whereas quantity matters only 20 percent. Any length is fine as long as the answer is covering all aspects asked in the question.
JWT: How did you structure your Essay and what was your strategy for Précis and Composition Paper?
MUA: For essay, topics should be understood well before writing and then you must logically explain your stance through cause-effect relationship.
For Précis paper, practice is the key.
JWT: How did you handle de-motivations?
MUA: Getting surrounded by positive people.
JWT: How a new aspirant should start his preparations and what areas should he focus?
MUA: New aspirants should seek guidance from mentors before embarking upon this journey. They should avoid hit-and-trial method.
JWT: What areas should the new aspirants focus while preparing for the CSS exam?
MUA: Feedback is most important for new aspirants which can be done through mock exams.
My tips on:
Selection of optional subjects
Since scoring trend has become somewhat unpredictable, relevant factors remain: your interest, your background in subject and time it will take to prepare those subjects.
Proper notes making is very essential, especially when it comes to revision.
My Interview Experience
My interview went well, especially due to positive image I had already developed during my command task. Moreover, they gave me proper opportunity to express my views. Questions were asked about economic conditions of Pakistan and export stagnation while basic knowledge of my optional subjects was also tested.