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CSS examination: Having to know about everything

Karachi, June 13(The News): The Central Superior Services (CSS) examination is the route through which the best talent of the country is selected to serve their country after intensive written examination and tough interviews. The successful candidates are bestowed the highest civil jobs, hence their careful selection is imperative to ensure the induction of the best candidates.

Young men and women who have the ambition to achieve civil positions have to study carefully and labouriously in order to qualify for the civil posts. The written examination is worth 1200 marks that are evenly divided between the 'optional' and 'compulsory' subjects. The compulsory subjects are English, Islamiat and General Knowledge while the optional subjects could be chosen by the candidates from Social, Basic, Biological or Computer Sciences. The passing marks for the examination is 50 per cent of the total and the minimum percentage for passing the compulsory and optional subjects is 40 per cent and 33 per cent, respectively. The candidates have only three attempts in which they can qualify for the exam. The maximum age limit for the examination is 28 years but a two-year allowance is given to the government servants and some other groups.

The News talked to many young aspirants for the CSS examination to find out how they manage their time while preparing for the examination. Abdul Aziz is a young man of 26, holds a Masters degree and is meticulously preparing for the examination. He has chosen a library in Defence area for the preparation due to the availability of books, reference materials and national and international journals as well as its conducive environment for serious reading. "I have chosen the library because other candidates also come here to study. It allows me to have interaction with others and learn more about my subjects and prepare for the analytical questions that appear in the examination," he enthused. According to Abdul Aziz, a candidate is expected to know something from everything: national and international affairs, inter-provincial relationships, sports, arts and science and other information, if he wants to pass the examination. He was studying seven-eight hours daily before he joined a company to help his family squeeze through the hard times. Currently, he studies for five hours daily but he is confident that he will qualify for an interview in his second attempt.

Shazim Akhtar, another candidate said that he was attracted towards the civil service because it was the most prestigious in the country, besides, one could enjoy life in addition to serving his country. "My father is a DIG Police and he encouraged me to compete in the examination. I have already used my two attempts, however, I am sure that, this time around, I would clear the examination". He has a bachelor's degree in Computer Science and studies eight hours daily in the library that has other candidates too. He told us that he failed in English in his previous attempts but this time his language prowess had increased considerably and he was confident that this time would be lucky for him.

Ahmed Nadeem, a bright student who has passed all the examinations from SSC to Masters in the First division, assured that he wanted to become a civil servant to serve his country. "Yes, I would not want to become a 'civil master' instead of a civil servant. I have seen their imperial lifestyle and I detest the idea," he says earnestly. Ahmed has a postgraduate degree in Sociology and his knowledge about the civil society, its ailments and shortcomings was striking. He studies eight hours daily that includes one hour of brainstorming session with other candidates that allows him and others to analyse the previous year's questions in a very systematic way. "This one hour of interaction is very fruitful for us. It enables us to master the question and in all the probability everyone of us would be able to answer such type of questions with relative ease", he says.

Eshfaq Syal, a candidate from interior Sindh said that preparing for the CSS examination was different from other conventional exams, as it required careful planning and strategy. Syal has a Masters degree in Economics and like many others he failed in English in his first attempt. "What can I do? I studied in a village and I had no interaction with English-speaking people. Here in Karachi, a city of more than 16 million people, there is a dearth of good English teachers." He intends to make amends for his weakness in English by studying in a systematic manner. "I have selected the optional subjects that are easy for me and to which marks are accorded liberally."

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"yes i read this and i liked it very much as different people shared their views about css preparation."
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