Making Right Decisions for CSS 2019 (Editorial October 2018)

Making Right Decisions for CSS 2019 (Editorial October 2018)

The result for the written part of CSS 2018 exam is out and, as per the official notification, a total of 24,010 candidates had submitted their admission forms but 11,887 chose to actually appear in the written exam. And out of this lot, only 569 candidates – 4.79 percent of those appeared – have qualified. Given the very low pass percentages of the past five years, this year’s result seems propitious as it gives the Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) a better chance to select the best of the best for the country’s bureaucracy.

But, one thing that warrants serious scanning is the root causes of the failure of a big chunk of 11,318 candidates. Doing this becomes even more important now as thousands of aspirants from all across Pakistan are going to submit, this month, their admission forms for CSS 2019 exam. This is high time they fully comprehended the reasons behind this huge failure ratio and formulated the right strategy to prepare for this most important exam of their life.

First of all, this magazine conducted interviews with veteran teachers, senior examiners and candidates (both passed and failed) to ascertain the causes of poor results of the CSS exam. One thing on which almost everyone had a similar opinion was the non-serious attitude of the candidates. Astonishingly, many of them believe they can get through the exam after studying in an academy for 4-5 months. Furthermore, these aspirants rely on guidebooks and notes provided by different teachers in complete disregard to what FPSC requires of them in order to be well prepared for the exam. That is why the Commission has suggested 20-25 books, on average, for each subject. Those who study these books will, surely, be in a better position to convey their thoughts successfully to the examiner. And, remember the examiner judges you not from thoughts in your mind but from what you have written on the answer sheet.

Let’s see it from another angle. CSS results over the years have shown that very few aspirants get 60 percent or more marks in compulsory papers like Pakistan Affairs and Current Affairs. The only thing that differentiates them from the rest of the lot is that they not only fully comprehend the aspect asked in the topic statement but also write something that is just different from others. It is true that the history part of Pakistan Affairs will remain the same forever and every aspirant studies almost the same material on topics like Ideology of Pakistan, Two Nation Theory, Sir Syed and Aligarh Movement, etc. But, why only a few get excellent marks? Simple, only because while writing the answers, they knew what the examiner exactly wanted them to write on! Same is the case with other papers also.


Just keep in mind that CSS has now become a postgraduate-level exam and preparations for it must also be thorough and research-based to befit that stature. So, expand your knowledge base, fully comprehend different aspects of the topics you study and write what the question statement asks you to. Beating about the bush will always let you down as someone has rightly said, “Dancing around the fire is not the solution to any problem. One should try to see beneath surface in order to grasp an idea about the basic issue.”

Moreover, one thing that goes largely unnoticed is the fact that most aspirants qualify the CSS exam in their second or third attempt. Why? Because they are non-serious, and even reckless, in their previous attempt(s)! They waste one or two chances, or more rightly years, in getting to know what went wrong for them and what could be the right strategy to get through this exam. After getting stumbled, they follow the right path. But, why waste this precious time? Why not adopt an effective strategy for the first attempt?

Another decision, probably the most crucial for the whole CSS journey, is the selection of optional subjects. And, this is the very stage where you need to be absolutely prudent and cautious so as to ensure your success.

First things first, the most ubiquitous practice – though absolutely uncalled for – we have observed over the years is that most aspirants blindly run after the scoring trend. But, do bear in mind that this is a myth believing which is extremely detrimental to your chances of success. And, what could be a more decisive piece of evidence to prove this claim than the scores of History of USA paper in CSS 2018 written part. A vast majority of candidates who had opted for this subject couldn’t score even the minimum passing marks. Similarly, in CSS 2017, same was the case with International Relations and History of India and Pakistan papers. In these so-called ‘scoring subjects’, out of 9,391 candidates that actually appeared in the written exam, 6,508 had opted for the former and 2,968 for the latter. Would you believe that the number of candidates who could score more than 60 percent marks was only 1 apiece? This fact should bury the myth of ‘scoring trend’!

This is the time to adopt only the right strategy in order to ensure that you take the CSS 2019 exam with tremendous confidence, come out with flying colours and achieve your dream of being a part of the prestigious Civil Services of Pakistan.

Future awaits you but the key to making it brighter, promising and prosperous is in your hands.

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