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Azka Zafar Rana: No Trend Helps You Perform Well; Your Natural Interest In A Subject Does

  • KIPS CSS Admin
  • Jan, 2019
  • 2109
  • Interview

SMILE, YOU’RE ON CANDID CAMERA

THE PAKISTAN CUSTOMS SERVICE OFFICER ON HOW SHE SPOTTED A FLAW IN A FORMULA BEING USED TO MEASURE WOOD LOGS AND HOW LUCK AND HARD WORK COULD PAY OFF

Azka Zafar Rana, a CSS candidate at the KIPS Campus, passed her exam in 2015. She did her electronics engineering from the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in Islamabad. Before joining the civil service, she worked in a software house as quality assurance engineer. And she loves sociology.

YOU GOT 707 IN YOUR WRITTEN EXAM AND 169 IN INTERVIEW. BUT BEFORE WE TALK ABOUT THAT, LET’S HEAR MORE ABOUT YOUR EDUCATION BACKGROUND, SHALL WE?

Yes, sure. I’ve got a post-graduate degree in electronics engineering from the NUST SEECS in Lahore.

I KNOW A LOT ABOUT THE CAPITAL’S INSTITUTIONS, BUT I’M AFRAID NOT MUCH ABOUT THIS NUST SEECS OF YOURS. WHAT EXACTLY IS IT?

(Miss Rana smiles) … Oh, well it used to be called the NUST Institute of Information Technology. And now it’s the NUST-SEECS which was launched on self-finance basis in April 1999 as a constituent college of the National University of Sciences and Technology.

I SEE. COULD YOU SHARE SOME MORE ABOUT THE DEPARTMENT STRUCTURE OVER THERE?

Well, the school is split into two departments that offer programmes in both graduate and undergraduate levels. We’ve got the departments of electrical engineering and, of course, of computing.

INTERESTING. AND DOES IT HAVE ANY PARTNERSHIP WITH ANY OUTSIDE COMPANY?

Yes, it does. I hear they’ve been securing partnerships with a number of international companies, including Microsoft, which has awarded NUST the status of Authorised Academic Training Programme Institute, Intel and other educational organisation such as the Associate of Computing Machinery, and all that jazz.

RIGHT. A SLIGHT CHANGE OF SUBJECT: SO, WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO GO FOR THE CSS? WAS IT AN ACCIDENT OR JUST YOUR SHEER INTEREST?

I worked in a software house as quality assurance engineer before joining the Civil Service. Since the nature of my job was quite challenging and interesting, so I thought to myself why shouldn’t do more? So, I just wanted to count for my country for my family and for myself. One has to make his mark some way, some day, anyway. I’m cock sure, you’d agree with that?

YES, I DO. THANK YOU FOR REMINDING ME … YOU MUST HAVE HAD YOUR OPTIONAL SUBJECTS YOU HAD PICKED. SO, WHAT PIECE OF ADVICE DO YOU GIVE FOR CSS CANDIDATES FOR PICKING THEM?

(A faint smile from Miss Rana) … What I looked for in selecting optional subjects and what I advise everyone to look for is your personal interest in that subject. I always say no trend helps you perform well; your natural interest in a subject does.

SPEAKING OF THE EXAM ITSELF, HOW DID YOU GO ABOUT IT THEN?

I was good at group study. I remembered what I heard and discussed. So, I made it a point not to miss my class in the academy or a session with friends. I would even take the same lecture many a times even if it were offered, and I too had time to do it.

AND HOW MUCH TIME YOU SPENT ON READYING YOURSELF FOR THE EXAM’S BIG DAY?

I guess six months will do.

I’M AFRAID I’M NOT QUITE FAMILIAR WITH THE TECHNIQUES OF TRYING PAPERS, PREPARING FOR THE EXAM AND RECOMMENDING BOOKS. COULD YOU SHARE?

Yes, sure. I recommend reading a lot: good readers are good writers, aren’t they? And I’m not talking about text books. One ought to read what he or she likes reading − be it sci-fi or any other genre. It will improve your expression in writing and expanding your imagination, so to speak. It too helps one come up with arguments that are ingenuous, interesting and out of the box. As far as attempting paper is concerned, length doesn’t matter, the water in your argument matters. You’ve got to understand a question well, understand what is being asked and then give a focused reply that answers the question right.

YOU SOUND QUITE PHILOSOPHICAL ABOUT IT, AREN’T YOU? IS THAT WHY YOU DIDN’T FLUNK, MISS RANA?

(Miss Rana bursts into laughter) … True. Thanks for the compliment!

OH, DON’T MENTION IT AT ALL. ALL RIGHT, AWAY FROM THE CSS NOW, AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING CURRENTLY?

I’m working at the Pakistan Customs Service.

AND, WHAT SUBJECT DID YOU SCORED MOST AND HOW DID YOU PREPARE?

It was sociology. I really do love the subject, and my teacher was amazing. As for preparation, I was referred to John J. Michioni’s book, Sociology.

NEVER HEARD OF THE GENTLEMAN! IS THIS THE ONLY BOOK HE’S WRITTEN?

Well, he was bor...

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