Civil Superior Service (CSS) Examinations are the most competitive examinations in Pakistan. In 2020 alone, there were approximately 40,000 applicants from across the nation, which was the highest number ever recorded. According to reports by the Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) of Pakistan, the number of applicants is increasing every year.
There are 2 main categories that answer the question of who can attempt the CSS examinations. The first category is based on legal requirements, that is, the official rules posed by the FPSC. They cover all their requirements and prerequisites for any candidate seeking to appear in the examinations. The second category is based on the personal aptitude of the person. It highlights what sort of a mindset and drive the person must have before preparing for the examinations.
The legal requirements are to be fulfilled by the 31st December of the year preceding the examinations. Hence, if a student turns 31 before 31st December 2020, they will not be able to appear in the 2021 CSS examinations. The following rules apply for anyone planning to attempt the CSS examinations:
• Age requirement: the candidate must be below the age of 30 and above the 21 before the cutoff date (31st December of the preceding year).
Age relaxation of 2 years in the upper age limit applies to candidates:
o belonging to the scheduled cast and Buddhist community
o belonging to Balochistan, the tribal areas of D.I Khan and Peshawar, Dera Ghazi Khan and Rajanpur districts, former tribal areas of Mardan and Hazara divisions
o permanent residents of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan
o with special needs, namely, physical, hearing or speech impairment
o government employees who possess a minimum of 2 years continuous service
• Educational qualifications: the candidate must hold a bachelor’s degree or an equivalent of 14 years of formal education before the cutoff date, recognized by the Higher Education Committee (HEC) of Pakistan, while maintaining a position in or above the second division or a GPA of 2.5/5 or 2/4.
• Gender: only Male and Female genders are accepted
• Nationality: the candidate must be a citizen of Pakistan. Dual citizens can appear in the exam but will have to surrender their foreign citizenship in case they clear the examinations and are appointed.
• Domicile: seats with respect to the groups and services will be allocated based on the domicile, which is why a Pakistani domicile is absolutely necessary.
If someone fulfills these requirements, they can legally appear in the examinations. However, there are some personal aspects that apply to a person who is a CSS aspirant. The candidate must have a strong drive and passion for CSS. Someone who is half-heartedly attempting the exam will not be able to make it all the way.
The CSS examinations are extremely stressful because of which only those people who can handle high stress situations can survive. Perhaps one can argue that the exams are designed in such a way that they may purposely weed out the weak: those with weak nerves and those with weak resolve. Either way, if one cannot manage the immense amount of stress and pressure that must be carried till the last day of the exams, they will not make it.
Another personal requirement for passing the CSS examinations is having the right type and amount of guidance. Without this, the CSS aspirant can make some grave mistakes that can lead to failure, for example, they can end up choosing an optional subject that is extremely low-scoring and it can ruin their overall score or even fail them. Guidance can help them with understanding how to attempt the papers and what the examiner is expecting.
The final requirement is faith. One must remain positive and maintain faith throughout the process. It is very easy to give up without faith. It defines how far a person is willing to go to achieve their goals. If one lacks faith in their abilities, they are shrouded under a cloud of uncertainty and start second-guessing their abilities. They feel they are unable to reach their goals and give up. Many students will argue that their English is too weak or they cannot dedicate enough time to the CSS examinations but if they had faith, they would believe in their ability to overcome anything and achieve their goals.
National Officer’s Academy (NOA academy) is a unique educational institute because it not only helps students with course content, but it also helps them fulfill their legal and personal requirements. At NOA, students will receive personal guidance from highly experienced professionals and one-on-one counseling regarding their concerns, even on a personal level, to ensure they remain focused and do not face any difficulties that may stray them from their path.
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