This is a question often asked by most candidates. It was one that was on my mind too whilst prepping for the CSS exam. Candidates should completely embrace the idea that CSS is a written exam. No matter how much you read, if you are unable to translate your thoughts on paper in a given and specified time, then you are definitely not going to score more than an average score. I consider the aspirant, whose reading and writing are equally in proportion, ideal for this exam. Hence, apart from training your mind with the deluge of information, fingers should also be trained and synchronized with your though process. Thought process and information processing should not betray your fingers and that is only possible if you have practiced enough before the final showdown. One main thing which should be kept in mind is that “getting high score is a skill” and skill can be ingrained, nurtured and polished by continuous and rigorous reinforcement. In few coming paragraphs, I will be discussing every fundamental skill that is required to score maximum marks in CSS written examination.
- The first skill, that may sound unconventional, is try to work on the “width of the topic rather than delving in depths.” Studying in depth means unlocking the questions and confusions while remaining in one single perspective, while width implies an endeavour to explore maximum perspectives and dimensions of one topic. Using multiple lenses to study a topic is far more rewarding when it comes to CSS written exam, keeping in view the time limitation you will be having in exam for one question. Hence, exhibiting maximum cards for one question is way better than having one large card that may become difficult to use. Width of a topic includes multifaceted perspectives like legal, economic, political, strategic, environmental, international, feminist, post-modern perspective and the list goes on. Use maximum lenses while keeping the spectacle constant. In this way, there are high chances to handle any sort of question asked in exam.
- From your preparation till final exams, one person should always be on your mind and that is your “examiner.” Examiner, just like everyone, appreciates the object of beauty and for him beauty lies in your paper. By beauty of paper, I mean your handwriting, margins, structured headings, use of markers, pictorial representation, quotations, and equal space for all answers. These things may sound trivial, but these factors do play a major role in making you an average or extraordinary student in exam. I would discuss few of these points in detail: (a) Derive your maximum headings from the statement of question. Use major nouns and words to construct your heading that have been used by examiner in the question. This would make your answer very relevant and to the point. (b) Your first answer should decide the average length that you are going to follow for rest of the three questions. There should not be a huge differential between the length of your answers. On average one should write 3 pages or 6 sides. This much length is enough to justify your answer. Extra sheets don’t never guarantee high score. Only strict relevancy and sticking to your point and justifying it guarantee good score.
- Before starting any subject, the first area that you should study is “theoretical framework of the subject or theories in simple words.” Then use that area to study the rest of the syllabus. I would like to quote one example here to make this point clear. Let’s suppose examiner asks a very simple question in sociology that “Why there is high poverty rate in post-colonial countries?” Now, the job of the aspirant is to answer this question using sociological theories he has studied coupled with examples of post-colonial states. Generalized answer would appear sufficient, but not in sociology paper. Therefore, for this question aspirant needs to answers using the theory of Social Darwinism, dependency theory, Marxist perspective, world systems theory, Davis and Moore Thesis and so on. The point is that make use of theoretical perspectives of the subject to answer every question, no matter how simple it appears.
- While preparing Current and Pakistan affairs, always try to study both sides of the coin. One can only build sound analytical skills, when one knows different opinions on that topic. While preparing Kashmir issue, we all prepare Pakistan’s position on Kashmir, but aspirants should also study the legal position of India on Kashmir. You should be well equipped with equally convincing arguments on “Why new provinces should not be made in Pakistan?” and also on “Why they should be made?” This understanding of divergent opinions would result in better analysis and your arguments would ultimately fetch you more marks.