All you need to crack CSS is these 8 tips from the experience of a failure

Cracking Competitive exams (CE) requires consistency & this the best time to be consistent. This is the best time to study effectively & efficiently. How can CSS aspirants prepare during quarantine? Here are 8 pointers to focus during self-isolated CSS preparation.

CSS exams tips

Cracking Central Superior Service (CSS) exams requires hard work. A candidate will work hard and remain consistent only when he has the dedication to the services. Whenever you as a candidate feel demotivated; think of the respect, status and sense of achievement you will get when your name appears in Competitive Exam (CE) qualifiers’ list.

This year almost 40,000 people went for the CE-2020 but only one-third of them would have prepared well. How to be prepared well? Let us answer the question.

I failed in the first attempt of CE-2019. But since I have prepared, learned and relearned through many books, teachers, interviews, videos, articles and from my observation and experience, I can honestly guide you what works and what not.

In this article, I will briefly guide how you can utilize the time during COVID-19 lockdown.

If you’re a CSS aspirant you must have heard that a candidate should self isolate and study 10 to 14 hours. To what extent is this true? And in the self-isolation days due to corona, can this be the best time to prepare for CSS?

Yes, CSS preparation needs 10 to 12 hours daily study if you have 10 months – assuming that you are a fast and flexible learner, your English is flawless and you read news daily. Yes, these are the prerequisites. If you lack any of these skills. You need to study more. Moreover, if you read books regularly then you have an edge on other candidates.

Now here is the catch. You can easily study 10 to 12 hours as you have nothing to worry about. You are not bound to go outside for anything during pandemic lockdown.

But self-isolation doesn’t mean that you only carry on study all day. Your daily routine must consist of various activities.

So here are 8 things you can focus during self-isolation to beef up your CSS preparation:

1. Improve your English

Everyone who knows about the CSS exam, suggests us to improve English. And that is true! Even if your English is good, you will need to polish it. The written skills are most important. After all, CE is a written exam. I polished my skills from Ma’am Fatima Batool based in Lahore. She taught us how to play with sentences and words. She introduced us to a dozen of uses of comma. So my point is English grammar and language is a vast field, learn it as much as you can.

2. Make digital notes

Use Evernote or OneNote app available on multiple devices. Update notes on the apps on phone/laptop/iPad as soon as you read something useful.

Never keep a physical current affairs journal as asked by teachers. You will never complete it or afterward revise it. I have tried both methods of physical note-making and digital note-making, and second is more useful easy than you think.

3. Write for 6 hours daily

Believe me, if you don’t write enough you will never get through. This is my number one lesson after failing my first attempt. I have regretted not following our teacher Sir Shehryar’s advice of writing 6 hours daily.

4. Read books

Start by reading books of your interest so that you can develop a habit. Once you become a habitual reader you will never find it difficult to read course books. Do read research papers but avoid reading mediocre ones. Most Pakistani research papers are full of flaws.

5. Watch quality educational videos

Watch TED talks, educational videos, international universities’ lectures and documentaries on YouTube. Visual learning will help you remember more.

6. Extracurricular activities

Play physical games or do exercise. Studies have proved that people who are involved in physical activities have performed better in mental activities than others. And when you are studying, you must take breaks for 5 mins every 25 mins or 40 mins to refresh your mind.

7. Make a plan

Make weekly, monthly and quarterly study plans. Schedule your studies daily and meet targets. If you’re planning to start something new & difficult. Just make a minute target. For example, you want to be a book reader, set the target to read one word daily for 7 days. Then set a target for a line daily. Then one paragraph and then one page and then one chapter daily. I know you will read more than a word for the first target but it will bring confidence when you are achieving your target daily. I read this idea in a self-help book.

8. Don’t set goals, set systems

This is one of the most powerful ideas that I read in the book ‘Atomic Habits’.

It says “Goals are about the results you want to achieve. Systems are about the processes that lead to those results… Goals are good for setting a direction, but systems are best for making progress.”

So your goal is simple and clear: complete CSS study within 10 months but you will have to build a system to do that consistently. The system means you have to consistently follow a routine on a regular basis. Build a habit by doing CSS things daily.

Read more: Is the CSS Exam Getting Difficult? Who is to Blame?


When you read good, watch good and listen well, your output is good. Never forget CE is the exam to check the quality of output. In the written exam, your writing skills and knowledge will be measured and in the interview, your communication skills and knowledge will be checked.

Fahad Aziz Taherani is Assistant Editor at Global Village Space (GVS) News Portal and Magazine. He has done Bachelor of Business Administration in Human Resource Management, and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. He has remained divisional Senior Vice President of PTI’s Insaf Students Federation (ISF). He has successfully founded multiple YouTube channels. He has a keen interest in Civil Superior Services of Pakistan.