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INTERVIEW WITH ABRAR AHMED CSS 2017 MERIT NO. 21 (PAS)

  • Saleem Shahab
  • Sep, 2018
  • 405
  • CSS

WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE YOUR EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND?

I graduated from UET Lahore with BSc. Mechatronics & Control Engineering (class of 2016). I was also part of the U.S. State Department's Global UGrad Exchange Program, Fall 2014 and studied at Old Dominion University, Virginia, USA.

WHAT WERE YOUR OPTIONAL SUBJECT AND THE REASONS TO CHOOSE THEM?

Political Science

Constitutional Law

U.S. History

Gender Studies

Sociology

My calculus was based on a tradeoff between three variables- interest, pre-existing knowledge and scoring trend. I had read numerous books on certain topics, many of which were related to these courses, even before I decided to prepare for CSS exams. So, I picked subjects I was most comfortable with and that showed a promising scoring trend as well.

HOW WOULD YOU LET OUR READERS KNOW ABOUT YOUR SUCCESS PHILOSOPHY?

“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.”

(Marcus Aurelius)

Three considerations govern my philosophy of success:

First, self-growth and learning is the sine qua non for having a meaningful life. And, nothing has contributed more to my growth than the challenges I've had to face to achieve the goals. To me, the thrill of the chase is all that matters.

Second, I believe success should repeatedly come in small packages, hence, I advocate passionate dedication for the pursuit of short-term goals. I'm micro-ambitious in that respect. I believe that if you look too far ahead, you might miss the shiny thing right at the corner of your eye.

Third, I measure personal success in terms of the cumulative human impact it generates. Not coincidentally, it happens to be the primary reason why I love teaching because it has the potential to have a transformative effect on other individuals.

WHAT LEARNING METHOD ONE SHOULD ADOPT WHILE GETTING PREPARED FOR CSS?

Smart and targeted study is absolutely necessary to get through this exam. One has to maintain a precarious balance between under-studying and over-studying any given topic. For this, students need to take direction from past papers to know how much they need to cover on any given topic.

In the first round of study, only cover important topics- those for which you can find questions in past papers and prepare those topics in the context of those questions.

Only in the later rounds of study, if you find enough time, you should cover other topics. This is applicable to all courses, except English and the three General Knowledge courses; for these subjects, newer issues take precedence over the older ones.

Everyone has a unique learning style, so start with identifying yours. If you're a visual learner, make good use of documentaries and YouTube videos. If you're auditory learner, take classes from good teachers. Reading, however, is necessary for all kinds of learners.

So, shave off your rougher edges, and play to your strengths!

Don't forget to make notes.

WHEN DID YOU CONDUCT CSS EXAMINATION AND WHAT WAS YOUR POSITION?

CE-2017.

Position: 21st in Pakistan & 12th in Punjab.

WHICH GROUP HAVE YOU JOINED?

Group: Pakistan Administrative Services (PAS).

WHAT WERE YOUR INSPIRATIONAL SOURCES DURING YOUR STUDY AND SUCCESS?

I have always staunchly admired people who have had a profound impact in contributing towards the evolution of society. M. A. Jinnah, FDR, Lee Kuan Yew, Feynman, Russell, Musk are but a few among the list. Such people have demonstrated that one should channelize one's unique potential in advancing the society at large. I routinely watched and read about these change-makers which acted as a never-ending source of inspiration for me to develop my career in public service.

WHAT’S THE THING THAT BRIDGES STUDY AND SUCCESS/RESULTS?

Discipline! Creating and updating deadlines and timelines; following a rigorous routine by allocating requisite time to all the subjects; focusing on overcoming the weaknesses and augmenting strengths; hence studying in the right direction while being consistent is formative in achieving success.

The aspect of luck cannot be factored out either. I believe luck plays a significant part in what a person eventually ends up achieving. So, a combination of luck, talent and hard work results in success.

NORMALLY SUCCESS IN WRITTEN PART OF EXAMINATION IS THE FIRST STEP...

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