Acing CSS Compulsory Subjects – Strategy & Relevant MaterialS

Dear All (PMS KP 2021 Aspirants),
I am going to share my experience of Competitive Exams through this post. I am going to share the names of the books/notes that I had used alongside how did I cover (Study Plan) the compulsory subjects:

English Essay

Book(s): There is no book for English essay
Strategy: Generally, you should practice writing but before starting it, you should be a good reader. Read, as much as possible but quality material only. You can read the opinion pages from DAWN newspaper. Besides, develop outlines for at least 10 important topics and work on the Introduction, Conclusion and Outlines. Get it checked by someone experienced and learn from your mistakes. That’s the key. As far as PMS KP exam is concerned, people score well in the Essay paper but it’s a game-changer in CSS. I offer coaching in this regard as well. One should work on the following areas all the time to equip oneself for this paper:

o Democracy
o Education
o Climate Change
o Gender Sensitivity
o Foreign Policy
o New World Order
o Economy
o Human Rights
o Science and Technology

Work out on the definitions, relevant terminologies, quotations, references, and collection of statistics, data etc. I used to have dedicated 3-4 white pages and then wherever I would get relevant stuff concerning these topics, I would jolt them down. It also helps in Current and Pakistan Affairs.

2. English Precise and Composition

Books(s): There is no single book that you can use. Some of the books that you may use are Books written by Michael Swan, Raymond Murphy, Wren and Martin, Exploring the World of English and Direct and Indirect Made Easy by Afzal Anwar Mufti.
Strategy: I dealt with each part of this paper differently. As for Precise, I used to read material online and learn tips and tricks from some of the seniors and language experts. For vocabulary, you may use High Frequency GRE words or 501 synonyms & Antonyms or any other source. Do solve previous papers and don’t just allocate a whole one month or two to it. English Essay and Precise must be a routine job till the start of the exam. Weekly you may solve an exercise and get it checked by some of the experienced officers or language experts. This paper may be targeted for a high score as well.

3. Pakistan Affairs

Book(s): Trek to Pakistan (Pre-partition portion) and another book published by JWT written by Shamshad Ahmad (it’s good for CSS and PMS both)
Strategy: I used to highlight the main points and make summary pages from these. Browsed the internet a lot. Google had been my best buddy throughout. I used to make a one-page summary for each chapter that would help me revise the subject in a short span of time. A sample is attached to this post for guidance. Most importantly don’t miss the MCQs portion; it has 20 marks and if you even score 15 in that, it’s a big achievement. Alongside, develop a list of the topics that you need to cover for this subject and dedicate time to cover all of them. Crossing 50 in this paper is a big achievement. It’s advisable to cover this subject before screening as it would help in screening as well.

4. Current Affairs

Book(s): If you are a good newspaper reader, you don’t need any other source for this paper. If someone is not good at that, some of the recommended books may be JWT monthlies, Advance Contemporary Affairs by Imtiaz Shahid, Press Review, Global Age by KIPS etc. As far as the selection of the newspaper is concerned, I prefer DAWN though a bit difficult for beginners having comparatively weaker vocabulary.
Strategy: Develop a list of contemporary issues, and work on them one by one. Read articles that appear in the newspapers daily and note important points. Just as with PA, dedicate separate pages to each major issue and keep on adding to it. Collect opinions from well-known experts in a specific area. For example, regarding the Afghan issues, you may quote Rahim Ullah Yusufzai, Rustam Shah Mohmand, Saleem Safi etc. By reading newspapers daily, you will be able to work on the MCQs portion as well. You need to be good at skip and skim as you are not supposed to read the whole newspaper but just the front, last, opinion and international pages. Most importantly, develop your opinions about all the major issues around and supplement those with examples and quotations from area experts. Again, google must be your best fellow. It’s difficult to score in this paper as well. So 50 plus is a handsome score.
If one finds it difficult to read the newspaper daily, then for those aspirants, JWT Monthlies or quarterly release and Advance Contemporary affairs by Imtiaz Shahid are the best to save time and be directed in their approach.

5. Islamiat

Book(s): For my Urdu attempts, I used Laqa Ul Mohsin Zahid’s book (by Dogar Sons) and Islami Naziriya e Hayat by Prof. Khusheed Ahmad. For my English attempt, I used books like Islam: Meaning and Message, Islam at a glance, and another book written by some professor from Peshawar, I guess his name is Naseem or something. Moreover, the book written by Sir Kareem Dad Chughtai is also instrumental in this regard.
Strategy: I followed the syllabus word by word and chapter wise. Developed a one-page summary for each chapter. Tried to cram some most important Ahadi’th and Aya’ts from the Holy Quran and quoted different scholars. This is the paper where you can even score 70, so target it for good grades.

6. Everyday Science

Book(s): Kashmiri and a book by Mian Shafiq.
Strategy: Honestly speaking this is the paper where Youtube and google should be at the forefront in your battle against it. I made handouts from online reading and worked on clarifying concepts from video lectures and diagrams. Develop a good skill in sketching diagrams. Work on previous papers. This is the paper that can give you 80 plus if properly planned and worked out.
In some future post, I will share my experience of screening test and optional subjects Insha Allah. Please don’t ask for my own handouts. A couple of pages are attached for your understanding here.

Regards and Best Wishes,

Shaukat Ali (AC Bannu, KP)