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What is CSS Exam? Everything You Need to Know

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By Kh. M. Haris Naveed

Are you aspiring to become a well respected and high ranking officer?

Are you about to take the CSS exam for the first time? You’re in luck. Today, we are going to explain what is the CSS test and what are the tests that are required to clear for the selection process.

This will be a greatly detailed article that will help you during the exam.

Let’s begin with the explanation.

1. CSS Introduction

To start off, you must know about the CSS exam. It stands for the Central Superior Service exam which is conducted by the Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC). The exam is held whenever a federal officer seat becomes vacant.

1.1 Criteria

The exam can only be taken by the candidate who is a citizen of Pakistan. The criteria for such an exam is that you should possess a graduate-level degree in 2nd division or equivalent (70% marks). The candidate who doesn’t possess such a degree in the second division can only attempt the exam only if they have acquired a high division during their master’s degree.

1.2. Age Limit

The age limit during the exam is from 21 to 30 which can go up to 32 years. The 2-year relaxation is only for the person who is in government services and already served 2 years.

1.3 Nationality

Candidates must be citizens of Pakistan or permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir.

1.4 Difficulty

To be completely honest, the CSS exam is not a walk in the park. The person who doesn’t possess the level of dedication that is required for this exam can’t pass it.

To emphasize how difficult this exam is, we present you with a fact. In 2018, around 12,000 people attempted the CSS examination out of which only 569 candidates cleared the examination.

This makes about a 3% passing rate. Similarly, The passing ratio for the CSS exam in the recent year of 2019 is only 2.56%. If this fact doesn’t tell you the level of challenge that the CSS present, I don’t think nothing will. The way to succeed in this exam is to have a rigid schedule from which you can’t deviate and a level of focus that can’t be dispersed easily.

2. Jobs for CSS Candidates

The candidates who pass CSS examinations are given job opportunities in the following fields.

  • Career in Department of Police Service of Pakistan
  • Career in Public Administrative Services Group Department
  • Career in Foreign Services of Pakistan department
  • Career in Income Tax Group
  • Career in Custom and Excise Group department
  • Career in Commerce and Trade Group department
  • Career in Pakistan Audit and Account Service department
  • Career in Department of Postal Group
  • Career in Department of Information GroupCareer in the department of Railway Group

3. The Reward for Passing the Exam

The Chief Secretaries of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa KPK, Sindh, Punjab, and Balochistan direct the provincial bureaucracy.

The highest rank for an officer to attain is BSP- 22 grade.

Their pay ranges from 40,000 PKR to more than 1 lac 50 thousand PKR.

4. CSS Exam Centers

FPSC holds CSS examinations in the following cities every year:-

  • Karachi
  • Lahore
  • Islamabad
  • Abbottabad
  • Peshawar
  • Bahawalpur
  • D.I. Khan
  • Dera Ghazi Khan
  • Faisalabad
  • Gilgit
  • Gujranwala
  • Hyderabad
  • Khuzdar
  • Larkana
  • Multan
  • Muzaffarabad
  • Okara
  • Quetta
  • Sargodha
  • Rawalpindi
  • Sialkot
  • Skardu
  • Sukkur

Whereas Interviews are held in the following cities:-

  • Karachi
  • Lahore
  • Islamabad
  • Peshawar
  • Quetta

5. Sections of the CSS Exam

How many sections does the CSS exams entail? There are basically 4 sections on which you have to depend upon to pass the entire exam. These sections are:

  1. Written test.
  2. Medical test.
  3. Psychological test.
  4. Viva Voce.

All these sections carry a great significance, upon which your ability level is determined. The scores for the written test are 1200 which consists of 6 compulsory tests and 6 optional tests. There is also the psychological test and the viva, so the total marks become 1500. We will explain each section individually.

5.1 Written test:

As explained above, there are a total of 12 subjects. These subjects will consist of 6 compulsory and 6 optional subjects. Both the compulsory and optional subject contains a total of 600 marks each.

The total amount of time given for each paper will be 3 hours. Each exam will consist of 2 parts which are objective and subjective. The objective part will be taken on a different paper because of the reason that the objective part will be taken after 30 minutes.

5.2 Compulsory Subjects:

The qualifying marks are 40%. These subjects are:

  • English Essay.
  • English (Precis and Composition).
  • General Science & Ability.
  • Current Affairs.
  • Pakistan Affairs.
  • Islamic Studies or compulsory subjects for major religions.

Each subject will consist of 100 marks each and the total marks will be 600.

5.3 Optional Subjects:

In the optional subjects, there are different groups from which we have to select our optional subjects. The marks for the subjects are different in different groups.

There are a total of 7 groups and you will have to select the subjects according to your level of ability. The exam is very difficult, so to avoid any sort of hurdle just select the best optional subject according to your level of comfort.

Many people tend to choose the subject that can look good in other’s point of view but the best option is to select the subject that you have the most interest in. This is the key factor in being successful in the CSS exam. After the candidate has passed the written test, only then they will be allowed to take the other sections of the exams.

5.4 Medical Test:

As mentioned above, the candidates who have successfully completed the written exam are allowed to go further. The purpose of this section is to check for any medical issues that may arise.

This section is conducted by the medical board from the FPSC. The candidate is required to have good physical and mental health. The disabled candidates can also go through the medical test but they have to show some sort of disability certificate. This will contain physical impairment, hearing, and speaking, etc. Disabled candidates can apply for 4 services which are:

  1. Pakistan Audit and Account.
  2. Commerce and Trade.
  3. Postal Services.
  4. Information Services.

Before any setbacks, it is recommended that you go through a body examination by the Government Medical Officer.

5.5 Psychological Test:

The main purpose of this test is to identify the mental capability of the candidate. The test is designed to determine whether or not the aspirants can think on their feet. They are required to find the sneaky answers for the question. The psychological test consists of two major parts. These are:

  1. Written Tasks.
  2. Group Activities.

You are required to give your views upon certain topics, pictures or scenarios, so this will determine the level of your mentality.

The candidates should write carefully because trained psychologists will analyze each and every part of your point of view.

The group activities are designed in such a way that they can analyze how well you can perform if placed in a group and how well you manage the problem as a group.

5.6 Viva Voce:

Let me make one thing clear. There are a total of 300 marks for the psychological and the Viva Voce section of the exam, so the viva voce section is just as important as the psychological section.

There are a number of factors that are taken into consideration while taking the viva, such as:

  1. Mind.
  2. Intelligence.
  3. Leadership qualities.
  4. Extra-curricular and co-curricular activities.
  5. Knowledge.

They will determine whether or not the person will be suited for the position. There will be a variety of questions that will be asked during the viva section, so be as prepared as you can.

By covering all of the above-mentioned sections the candidate can easily prepare themselves for the CSS exam. These are the CSS test sections. Hopefully, this proved to be helpful.

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