I have often come across this question from aspirants, and of course starting strong is good, finishing strong is epic.
There could be no hard and fast rule neither anyone can bound anyone to take a particular path. But there are things which can ensure, you stay on the right track throughout your journey. If we just give a look to the syllabus given by the FPSC and a long list of recommended books, one might get a feeling that this could not be covered properly in a span of 6 to 8 months. These 6-8 months or sometimes even less are sufficient to crack it. But at the same time, you might come across people who had read lot of stuff but in the end failed to handle it and end up in failure. I still believe that those who sometimes didn’t make it are no less brilliant than those who get themselves over the line. The only difference is how well you handle exam pressure and how you played your innings at the end of the day where it really matters.
Many want to finish compulsory subjects first which could be tricky some time. Compulsory subjects (except General Science and Ability) are more like a current affairs stuff which must be fed on daily basis till the very end. While optional subjects give you a choice of covering them in one go. In my opinion, start with one optional at a time and have a few hours for compulsory subjects. Practice precis every week, essay and current affairs topics and seek improvement in every piece of writing from the previous one.
Don’t make fix outline of every topic otherwise your mind get stuck to those few dimensions. Try to understand topic so that you can make headings as per the question demand.
To start an optional subject with no background: YouTube could be very helpful. You can listen few basic lectures of a subject and then start off with reading good books related to that particular subject. Good books are the main source of developing your thinking pattern and understanding about a subject.
When it comes to smartness, no one can read all the books but still you can make examiner believe that you have at least tried to read every possible material available in the market.
I am just giving you an example, I just read Globalization of world politics by john Baylis ,a wonderful book to understand international relation as a subject. As we are not that smart, we need to find lot of references to support our stance or make our analysis worthy to stand examiner’s wrath.
What I did is, I have picked other international writer author books and read their summaries ad reviews. Picked out few quotations available of them and used them in my analysis.
You can use the same trick for every subject.
Don’t get demotivated on this journey. Don’t get frightened if you come across an aspirant who seem to be more prepared than you. You don’t have to defeat anyone, the only person you have to defeat is your own self. Be humble in your approach, share your knowledge and even ideas, believe me no one can steal your success.
Work on your weaknesses and keep working. Develop a kind of love relationship with the books. You should be a very different product at the end of the day. At least you must be able to discover yourself.
CSS is not an ultimate thing in the world neither it is everything. You just have to give your best shot. Just make sure you achieve self-contentment then failure will not demotivate you, rather it will raise you further.
Mufakkir-e-Pakistan Fakhir-e-Millat Hakim-e-Ummah Ustad Allama Iqbal words are here to ponder upon:
علم از سامان , حفظ زندگی است
علم از اسباب ا تقوم خودی است
“Knowledge is an instrument for the preservation of life. Knowledge is a means of invigorating the self.”