Due to my allocation in the Police Service of Pakistan, many CSS aspirants have followed me in recent days. Many have also reached out to me asking questions about CSS: How to start preparing? Which academy to join? How to write essays, etc. Although, I cannot respond to everyone individually, I figured out I can write an article, addressing some of the questions that the aspirants have. In this article, I will be addressing an oft-repeated question: How to start the CSS preparation?
For those of you who don’t want to read the full article, here’s a summary: You may start the preparation by:
1. Developing a reading habit
2. Fixing your grammar
3. Developing a writing habit
4. Selecting any subject and studying it from start to finish. Don’t keep on planning
For full article, continue below.
First of all, remember that this is a very common question and almost every aspirant has had this confusion. Subject selection, syllabus for each subject, which books to read, which subjects to study first, etc. are some of the confusions an aspirant faces early on. How do we remove these confusions? Below are my recommendations:
Firstly, you should develop a reading habit. For CSS exams, you need to have a pool of knowledge that you can dive into during your papers. This pool of knowledge can only be developed through consistent reading. So, set aside some time of the day for this purpose. Read anything and everything. A good place to start is the newspaper: It comes daily and also makes you updated with current happenings. Similarly, you can read books on general history of the world and on topics that interest you etc. But do it daily, the goal is to develop a habit.
Secondly, fix your grammar as it also a fundamental requirement that a candidate needs to fulfill. There are many books in the market that you can use for this purpose. I used Wren and Martin and Raymond Murphy to brush up my grammar. Again, grammar is something that you can do on daily basis until you stop making grammatical errors in your writing. This is also your practice for the composition paper.
Thirdly, I would recommend that you start writing daily as well. A common mistake candidates make (including me in my first two attempts) is that they read more and write less. Avoid this from the beginning by developing a writing habit. Just like reading, to develop the habit of writing, write about anything and everything. Write about what you read in the day, try to summarize everything you read. Start taking notes, start journaling your day, start articulating your thoughts. It doesn’t matter what you write is grammatically correct or not, as we are already working on grammar separately. The important thing here is to develop the writing habit.
After these basic steps, in my opinion, the rest it totally up to you. You may take up any subject and start studying it based on your interest or convenience. Ascertain what the subject is, its main topics, and get down to work. Do not fall into the trap of excessive planning. Just start the subject and study all its topics from start to finish.
Did I miss anything? Let me know. Hopefully this article will help remove your concerns. If you find this useful, you may share with your friends and fellow aspirants. Also, you may continue to send me questions either in the comments or through inbox and I will from time to time address those.
Thanks and Best of luck!
Tariq Shaikh, PSP, 49th Common