CSS Tips from Various Topper's Part Second

For essay, you should spend 15to20 minutes for selecting the topic, it will save you from disaster, once you have selected the right topic, there will be no issue of time at least for managing your essay in 2.5 hours, and this is sufficient time for attempting essay. After selecting the topic, make outline, it should be logical, sequential, well-managed, self-speaking so that examiner don't find any difficulty in understanding it. From your outline, examiner will have an idea that you are able to pass the paper or not so be careful while writing outline, following points should be kept in mind.

1. Relevance of content with the topic
2. Language (sentences with correct grammar, so it is always preferred to write short sentences, as there will be a few chances of mistakes.)
3. Handwriting; should be neat and legible as paper's cosmetic value also has its own importance.
4. Argumentation
5. Additional/ Supplementary content including examples, verses, quotes, facts and figures if needed (particularly in factual essays), make your essay unique with these colours.
6. Introduction should be the best, as the examiner will judge your essay and make an impression in the very beginning, directly hit the topic without going into the irrelevant details.
7. Essay should be well-arranged, all the content should be presented in a sequence, for example background can't come prior to examples or solutions, coherence in the arrangement of facts is necessary.
8. In conclusion, don't introduce any new idea, justify the given content in conclusion by explaining in a few sentences.
Try to create a unique impact among thousands of essays. Learning tricks and tips and then practising will give you more benefit, instead of making directionless efforts.
Amna Rafique,
PAS, 51st CSS-2011

Passing a CSS exam is a big achievement. Preparation must be initiated with utmost motivation and dedication particularly by those candidates who do not possess strong academic background. Performance judgment through self-assessment and accomplishment of little tasks in time always proves positive. Similarly, command over English language, grip on analytical writing and art of presenting the thoughts nicely in oral exam will lead you to the excellence. In fact, three-hour paper time carries more weightage than three years of preparation. Thus, CSS needs passion and perseverance.
Ameer Fazal (PAS)
2nd Position in Sindh, 2011

It is usually observed that students having rural background mostly fail the essay paper because they are not acquainted with the art of creative writing and they mostly rely on crammed material. Scoring good marks in English requires better understanding of grammar. I would sum up it in an adage, “Practice makes a man perfect”. General knowledge is another important paper in PMS. I divided the world map into different regions and portions and then studied all the necessary information related to these regions and countries. For example, geographical locations, neighbouring countries, personalities related to these regions, issues, political parties, news agencies, capitals, weather conditions, agriculture products, history and current issues.
Nazia Mohal, PMS
Ist Position 2012

Books are an essential part of preparation and one must consult them because they not only boost your knowledge but develop your expression as well. While making selection, always prefer the books which cover the syllabus to the maximum extent. One may prepare notes out of them for quick revision.
Muhammad Tayyab Tahir
2nd Position PMS-2012

English Essay and Composition
There is always a technique to solve these papers. Both demand lot of practice. In essay writing, ideas should be clear and written with a flow. Evidences should be added to support your arguments. In English Composition paper, précis and composition should be practised as many times as possible and got checked by some expert.
Dr Anoosh Masood Chaudhry
PSP 34th-2011

In fact, this phenomenon varies from person to person. To me one can make a difference by enhancing one’s writing skills. The prospective candidates should always remember that effective presentation of relevant facts coupled with comprehensive critical views of different authors and experts of the concerned subject and a compact summary of the question at the end is a recipe for making a difference.
Muhammad Tayyab Tahir
2nd Position PMS-2012

First of all, one must always have the perception before him/her that CSS is a test of abilities and skills. This is a sort of exam in which one is in a cut-throat competition with others.
Secondly, one should seek proper guideline from a qualified CSP, especially a fresh CSP officer, who is also well-aware of latest paper pattern and scoring trends.
Last but not least, moral and financial support and prayers of parents coupled with good wishes of your dears and friends count a lot, at least, it did in my case.
Hassan Afzal
2nd Position

Build vocabulary from Barron's GRE. Focus on grammar and sentence structure. Learn special techniques from a qualified talented CSP to score high in Essay, Précis, Comprehension and Expansion. Always remember that practice makes a man perfect, so make it a must for you.
Hassan Afzal
2nd Position

I don't think that one can make difference only by studying difficult or different books. More or less, all the candidates consult same books. I think the real difference lies in the way you actually present your thoughts. Presentation of material needs a lot of acumen coupled with abilities to discourse. Make your paper more and more attractive with flowcharts, graphs, relevant diagrams, tables, headings, etc
Sayyed Muhammad Abbas Shah
—3rd in CSS-2012

One can create difference in written exam by good expression adorned with precision and clarity in thoughts. Live examples, facts and figures, and quotations may prove helpful but they must mix with your personal views in a balanced way. However, their excessive use can irritate the examiner. So, one should be careful that all the quoted material is relevant, and in balanced quantity too.
Similarly, presentation also plays a pivotal role. The attractive outlook of a paper also makes a difference which could be acquired through neat and legible handwriting.
Muhammad Jawad Haider Shah
(PAS) Topper of Written Exam

English is considered the toughest in CSS, but actually, it's just psychological pressure which makes it so. One should keep in mind that all he needs is simple and lucid English with impressive sentence structure. Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors must be avoided. Continuous writing practice under the guidance of a good teacher may help one to improve one's English. Special focus should be on proper use of vocabulary as many aspirants just memorize words without knowing their correct usage.
Muhammad Jawad Haider Shah
(PAS) Topper of Written Exam

First of all, judicious selection of good optional subjects is sine qua non to be among the toppers. One should choose only those subjects which suit one's temperament, and also the syllabus of which can be easily covered. For instance, my optional subjects included Philosophy, usually an unattractive subject for most candidates, yet it appealed my literary taste. Hence, it yielded good score for me.
Secondly, such candidates must sharpen their analytical skills. In the light of my personal experience, I can say that in CSS, analytical skills are highly appreciated and rewarded with brilliant marks. To achieve this ability, the aspirants should read 2 to 3 standard books for each subject and avoid outdated notes or substandard books.
Thirdly, besides compiling their own short notes, they must attempt past papers of every subject. After English Essay and Composition, shift your focus onto EDS, Islamiat, and optional subjects as these will aid you in grabbing position. For EDS, prepare your own MCQs by picking up topics from syllabus.
Finally, while preparing for optional subjects prepare your own points and also don't forget to take up past papers and go through the questions asked on these topics.
M. Waseem Ahmad (PAS) 2nd in KP
and 27th overall, CSS-2012

Despite being a thesis writer, it was really a tough task, even for me, to tune myself to the requirements of English Essay paper. I would suggest that to get a command over essay, the aspirants should prepare comprehensive outlines covering all the aspects of a particular topic. In addition, they should prepare introductory paragraphs which may be altered as per situation. They should strictly follow the format of essay and their writing should have spontaneity and logical flow. Do misused bombastic vocabulary, spelling mistakes as it is like a crime in competitive exams.
As far as English composition is concerned, one should work on the basic grammatical structures, enrichment of vocabulary, and above all, more and more writing practice for précis, comprehension and expansion of idea is inevitable.
Batool Asadi 1st in Balochistan,
21st in Pakistan

Between books and notes, what did you prefer for the preparations?
Proper guidance ensures smooth sailing in the sea of CSS. My husband recommended books and helped me prepare notes. I used nothing specific for English, as that has been my subject, but for other papers, I consulted books along with Dawn newspaper. Besides, internet, Jahangir's World Times and discussions with my husband have been the constant sources of help to me.
Moreover, I studied in accordance with past papers. I followed an ambitious schedule. I did not prepare detailed notes, rather made only the outlines. I focused higher conceptual clarity, rather than cramming. Finally, for the sake of conditioning or prior mock experience, I attempted all the papers at home. I would suggest that all aspirants must start preparation at least 8 months before the exam.
Batool Asadi 1st in Balochistan,
21st in Pakistan

Proper guidance is part and parcel of CSS preparation, especially for the selection of books and optional subjects, its importance cannot be overrated. A good mentor can drive one to success; nevertheless, the aspirants must work hard. Although guidance does play a critical role in CSS preparation yet hard work on ones' own part has no alternative. Truly said by a Persian poet:
Tarash az teesha-e-khud jada-e-khweesh
Be rah-e-deegran raftan azaab ast
(Carve your way through your own chisel; following others' path is curse)
Muhammad Jawad Haider Shah
(PAS) Topper of Written Exam

Read more! Actually, problem is that most students have limited range of knowledge and that too is built on wrong frame of references. They usually stick to market books hence face mammoth problems in getting through the exam. The only panacea is to read quality material and reference books.
Talha Masood

Fishing out luck factor in CSS or in any other field of life is an epic folly. This exam is designed for those who work hard. I would suggest that the aspirants must employ all their weaponry. Besides, they must be open to new ideas. Prudent planning coupled with consistency is the only key to success in CSS exams.
Talha Masood IRS

One or the combination of following reasons cause the failure in English Essay:
Wrong Preparation Strategy
Lack of Practice
No Assessment of Practiced Essays
Weak Language
Irrelevant write up
Lack of understanding of the Topic
Missing the Focus
Faulty expression
Syed Fida Hussain
Css topper 2006

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