Why people fail the Civil Superior Service Examination (CSS) will differ based on whom you ask. If you ask a student, he may argue that it all depends on luck. If you ask a teacher, they may say it is because of a lack of proper guidance. If you ask a student’s parent, you may be told it is because the person did not work hard enough.
There is an infinite number of reasons why someone may not pass the CSS examination. Some of the popular beliefs are that without a foreign degree it is impossible, one must be excellent at English and have a wide vocabulary, or that they must study day and night while exiling themselves from any form of social life. However; like everything else in life, even the CSS examination is surrounded by innumerable myths.
It is not necessary to have a foreign degree, excellent English, or abandon society. The real reasons why someone may fail CSS exams are much more intuitive. Many people who fail generally lack guidance from experienced professionals but they also lack the ability to personalize that guidance and implement it in their own strategies. A prospective student may know all the right subjects to take, all the right methods of note-taking, how much time to allocate per subject, how to focus, and even what pen to use. All this information is useless if the student is unable to personalize it and practically apply it to their own struggle.
Meanwhile, there are others who can perfectly apply any tips and tricks to their methods but their information is incorrect. They may choose an extremely low-scoring subject like English Literature while having studied every single topic on the syllabus in detail. They might have even studied five books per subject but chose the wrong ones to focus on.
Selecting the ideal subjects for passing the CSS examinations is crucial. One must study trends of past papers and their results in order to choose the best subjects because it is a reality that some subjects score low and other scores really well. Moreover, a student must have the knowledge of whether a subject can be attempted without any background. It is not recommended to take Zoology, Botany, and English Literature, among others without any background.
As with any other examination, adequate time has to be allocated to the preparation. Adequate does not mean that the student should study day and night, rather they must find the perfect balance that works for them as an individual. It is not healthy or productive to study 10 or 11 hours a day and it is not enough to study for only 1 hour a day. An average of 4-6 hours is the best way to go. Those who fail cannot find the right balance and end up mismanaging their time.
English Essay is considered the most difficult exam in CSS preparation and students fear it because they feel their English is inadequate. On the other hand, according to the latest report published by the Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) on their website, students failed because “Ideas presented were random. The argument was without any logical reasoning or research-based facts”. They also reported that the essays lacked creativity, coherence, structure, and facts. Hence proven, vocabulary and grammar are hardly reasons for the failure of the majority in this paper. Rather, students become too focused on their vocabulary and grammar while ignoring all these other factors that play a major role in their scores.
Most importantly, the student must be fully invested in their venture in order to pass the CSS examination. It is not called the ultimate test of wits for no reason. Anyone attempting CSS exams must be mentally prepared for the amount of work and dedication it takes. They must also realize that sitting in the hall and actually having the paper in front of them is one of the most daunting experiences; however, maintaining one’s wits is the only way to get through this process.
National Officer’s Academy (NOA) is a one-of-a-kind educational institution that offers a 4-month course for the preparation of CSS. It provides everything a student needs to be well prepared for the exam. At NOA Academy, the student will be taught subject content, jargon, approaches, methods, note-taking, and guidance on what subjects to opt for along with continuous mentoring and emotional support. NOA Academy covers all its bases when it comes to preparing its students for the examination, which is why approximately 20-25% of those allocated from the 2019 nationwide examination were NOA Academy students.
National Officers Academy