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Interview With Talha Zubair CSS 2015 Position 36 Pakistan Administrative Service

  • Zahra Maqsood Butt
  • Mar, 2018
  • 10818
  • CSS

My three best tracts which ensured my success is

Smart Work

Focused Study


My success philosophy is” Victory loves preparation.

G.A. Our readers would like to know about your educational background.

I belong to an army family so there is no single place I have lived in for a long time. I’ve studied mostly in Army Public schools. In terms of my professional education, I have a Bachelor’s in Environmental Engineering from NUST, a Master’s in Energy Change from the Australian National University Canberra Australia which is currently ranked 11th in the world in Natural Sciences and 6th in public policy. Additionally, I have certifications in project management, operations management, environmental health from USAID, Stanford University and the university of Pennsylvania.

G.A What was your source of inspiration to appear in CSS?

 I used to work for Apple Inc. in Australia before I appeared for the CSS exam. The one thing that inspired me the most about the profession is that no matter what you do, you cannot buy prestige. A number of jobs will give you money, perks and recognition but only public service gives you an opportunity to serve the masses and leave a legacy doing that. You cannot put a price tag on that.

G.A Please let us know about your optional subjects and what one should look for while selecting the optional subjects?

I chose British history, geography, sociology and international law (this was before the new pattern was introduced). Reasons why I chose them were because I had interest in these subjects, I felt I could maximize output by working intelligently and these subjects had clear course outlines and predictable paper questions. I believe strongly that those subjects should be taken which are finite in their dimension. For instance, if you take forestry or urban planning, in my opinion, unless you are an expert you wont be able to score well in them. 

G.A What was the strategy you followed for full fledge preparation of competitive exam?

I think CSS exam is a marathon not a sprint. There is a lot of content to cover and it sometimes seems impossible to memorize all of it. The best strategy is to start from past papers and preparing complete answers if you have more time. Consult reputable good books and never study from randomly available notes.  They are repetitive and mediocre resulting in poor outcomes. I would say that select your subjects, download past papers and prepare answers. Use online sources and make your own notes. Keep at least one month for revision at the end.

G.A How much time is required for CSS preparation in your point of view?

I had little time to prepare for CSS because of work commitments. I prepared for a little within four months for the entire exam. I was able to finish the course in 3 months and kept the last month for revision. I think I if you have a good English language background and a logical mindset, 6 months are more than enough to clear the exam.

G.A. What would you like to recommend the CSS candidates in the light of your experience regarding paper attempting techniques, preparation, and books that must be consulted besides other sources?

 In my experience the CSS exam is a lot like Matric and FSc. Attempting the paper comprises of good structure, a good body with illustrations if possible and most importantly this is followed by coherent data, relevant arguments and critical analysis. Remember, CSS is an exam of analysis, all the study you do is for gathering knowledge and expanding your knowledge base with which you can make an argument. Always consult books that are well reputed. Keep yourself limited to one or maximum two books and use credible online sources when possible.

G.A. How do you see KIPS as an ultimate source of guidance for the CSS aspirants, and how did this platform benefit you?

The best thing about KIPS is the experience it gives you. The faculty here is aware of all the facts I mentioned and help in giving you direction. At this stage in life, no one can make you memorize stuff. They can test you and give you feedback and direction. I had the chance to benefit from this feedback by interacting with the faculty here.

G.A How much did you score in CSS examination?

My total marks were 904.

G.A. Your thoughts may become a source of inspiration to many and they may opt to go for CSS. What would be your advice to such aspirants?

Life is a game of failure and successes. It is not the outcomes...

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