Everyone has a different method of preparation for CSS examinations. Usually, CSS aspirants find some sort of guidelines to follow but they end up adopting the method that suits them best and this happens organically. A lot of subjects from the CSS examinations are easy to prepare on one’s own but English Essay is one of those few subjects that no matter who you are, you cannot do it alone. This is because English Essay needs practice and those practice essays must, by all means, be checked by someone else. The outsider who checks the essays gives insight that one cannot achieve alone.
Hence, a crucial step in preparing English Essay for the CSS examinations is to find a trustworthy and qualified person to rely on who can check the essays and provide useful feedback. This will allow the student to grow, which is the ultimate goal. If someone checks their own essays, there will hardly be any improvement because they will check their work based on their own knowledge and expertise, and only an outsider can add to that.
To begin preparation for English Essay it is necessary to evaluate oneself, which can also be done with the help of an outsider. One must know where they stand with their command over the language before beginning preparation because if they do not even know the difference between “then” and “than” then there is no point jumping into the essay itself. The person must improve their grammar and vocabulary at the very basic level.
It is not necessary to be grandiose with the use of English. The point of the English Essay examination is not to impress the examiner with one’s vocabulary, rather they need to impress the examiner with their intellectual knowledge, ability of critical thinking, style of persuasion and logical reasoning. English is merely the tool used to convey all these aspects of one’s mental aptitude.
According to the latest report published by the FPSC in 2017, 81% of those who appeared in the English Essay paper failed because they presented random ideas, arguments without logic or fact, and they lacked creativity and structure. This proves that for English Essay, one does not need some unheard level of expertise in English; rather, they need to know how to convey their ideas and pose logical arguments.
Rote memorization does not work for essays but unfortunately many students of the Pakistani system of education rely on it. A student of CSS must learn how to develop their arguments based on facts and logical reasoning while maintaining creativity in their work and adhering to guidelines of a proper structure. And for this, one needs to practice!
First and foremost, one must learn how to interpret the topics given in the exam. They need to understand what exactly it is that the examiner is asking for so that when they write their essay, the content and arguments are actually relevant to the topic. For this, it is not only important to interpret the entire topic as a whole, but also to identify keywords. One must also be able to distinguish the difference between “and” and “or”. They both mean something entirely different and affect how the essay is structured.
Secondly, the student must learn how to create an outline. They must choose one method and stick to it. Learning too many types of outlines can become confusing and lead to an incoherent and illogical structure. Some teachers go as far as saying that the outline is worth 20% of the total score in the English Essay paper. Even if one does not believe this is true, they must observe a policy of cautiousness, especially since learning how to create an outline does not require much effort anyway.
The next step is to learn the basic structure of an essay, that is, the introduction, body and conclusion. Each of these is written differently, so much so, that if one jumbles up the paragraphs in an essay, the introduction and conclusion are clearly distinguishable. In some ways, they are the most important parts of an essay.
The most important part of an introduction is the Thesis Statement, without it, not only is the introduction incomplete, the entire essay is considered incomplete. It is the basis on which the essay stands strong. A thesis statement is the last sentence of the introduction and it clarifies the stance of the author and highlights some of the main arguments of the essay. Hence, it is like a miniature summary of the essay and gives the examiner an idea of what to expect.
Similarly, there is a specific structure for paragraphs within the body that must be learned and a method for writing the Conclusion. One must learn all these rules and guidelines if they want to write a well-defined and structured essay in order to pass. It obvious that these have nothing to do with the English language, instead they are technical aspects of essay writing that people tend to ignore.
Finally, it goes without saying that one must have a mental bank of facts to support their arguments. They can be anything from facts and figures to daily observations. An argument is considered baseless if it has no facts or logical conclusions. The arguments developed for the essay are meant to convince the examiner of one’s point of view and without facts provided for support, the entire argument is pointless.
National Officer’s Academy (NOA academy) offers multiple courses for English. The first is a 30-day English Foundation course meant for those who need to strengthen their foundation and basics. The next is Advanced English Grammar and Writing, which is also a 30-day course meant to further develop students’ skills and teach them how to write at more advanced levels. The 3rd course is English Essay and Composition, which is a 45-day course that is specifically designed for the English Examinations in competitive examinations.
National Officers Academy