CSS Times: Please tell us about your-self your education and achievements?
Aitesam Ul Haq Mughal: I am from Lahore. I did my bachelors in Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering from University of Engineering and Technology Lahore. Luckily, I got through, in my first attempt and got allocated to Office Management Group.
CSS Times: Why did you opt for “Office Management Group” and to which extent it is unique?
Aitesam Ul Haq Mughal: Every group has its own pros and cons. While giving up the preferences, one should not merely follow the general prevailing trends. In my opinion, as the nature of job varies from one group to another, so, the perfect order of preference would be the one that is formulated by keeping in view the personal comfortability along with opportunities for growth in that particular cadre. Afterall, we all are here for public service and each group provides you the platform to serve in a unique way. As far as OMG is concerned, it is the only group after PAS that offers horizontal and vertical mobility and civil servants have a definite role to play in policy making while staying in the highest echelons of power.
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CSS Times: What are the steps for preparation for competitive exams?
Aitesam Ul Haq Mughal: There are two steps, the first one being the honest evaluation of oneself -where you stand-and the next and the final step is working hard with persistence and determination in a proper direction.
CSS Times: What is the importance of an academy for the students appearing in CSS?
Aitesam Ul Haq Mughal: Academies are important as they cut down your work by providing you the right guidance, from subject selection to identification of precise and accurate sources of study. Thus, precious time of an aspirant is saved. Furthermore, evaluation of your work is extremely important, unless and until you don’t evaluate yourself, you won’t get to know about the weaknesses. Hence, academies provide you with the feedback about your work, which is very important.
CSS Times: What is the method for CSS preparation regarding books, notes, etc?
Aitesam Ul Haq Mughal: Well as far as sources are concerned, try to go for original sources and make short notes instead of relying on others for notes. The most important of the sources these days is the internet, since, one can’t buy and read each and every recommended book.
CSS Times: Did you join any academy for CSS preparation? What did you prefer between books and notes?
Aitesam Ul Haq Mughal: Although I wanted to join one, yet couldn’t do so, due to some personal reasons.
CSS Times: Most candidates fail English Essay and Précis and Composition papers. What steps would you suggest to get through these?
Aitesam Ul Haq Mughal: To crack the CSS exam, the only thing you need to worry about is your English (writing skills in particular). For both precis and essay paper, there is no simpler solution or shortcuts. Aspirants have to read good authors and practice writing as much as they can. Most importantly, get your work checked.
CSS Times: Students feel confused while choosing optional subjects but it is the most vital step too. For fresh aspirants, suggest the best method to choose optional subjects?
Aitesam Ul Haq Mughal: Optional subjects are a real concern for a fresh aspirant. I believe, aspirants should go with the subjects that they have a background in, or find them interesting, after going through its syllabus. Fine tune your selection by seeking advice from the senior mentors.
CSS Times: Do you have enough time to do justice with the subject? Is the syllabus so alien or lengthy that it will take time away from other subjects?
Aitesam Ul Haq Mughal: I don’t think that those who secure top positions were confident about their syllabus completion. In my opinion, every subject has some technical terms and theoretical concepts involved. Aspirants just need to know about the scope of the subject and grab major concepts, the rest is how well you articulate your responses during the exam.
CSS Times: Can cramming be helpful in passing the CSS exam?
Aitesam Ul Haq Mughal: Well, only for the facts and figures that you need to write in support of your arguments. Overall, CSS is not the exam for crammers.
CSS Times: Sometimes extraordinary students cannot qualify CSS while an average student gets allocation. Comment?
Aitesam Ul Haq Mughal: CSS is not about knowledge and intellect only, it is about nerves. Staying psychologically strong throughout the preparation phase and particularly in the examination hall is the key to ace CSS. How you perform on the exam day is what that matters, and those who can manage fear of failure by staying mentally strong, qualify, more often than not. No one can deny the element of luck though.
CSS Times: Any message you would like to convey
Aitesam Ul Haq Mughal: “If you fail to plan you are planning to fail” Benjamin Franklin
Plan your work, have confidence in your abilities, stay focused, keep things nice and simple, don’t overcomplicate things and get perplexed. Most importantly, work smartly.
CSS Times: You are faculty member of ICEP Network, your views about ICEP.
Aitesam Ul Haq Mughal: ICEP is an institute that really cares for the aspirants. A purpose-built campus, cooperating administration and a nice balance of subject specialist and CSPs, ICEP is an ideal place for a CSS aspirant. I highly recommend to CSS Aspirants make a visit to ICEP and meet senior Academic counselor Mr. Majid Ameer Attari for selection of subjects and guideline. He has more than 15 years’ experience in competitive exams and my success towards bureaucracy credit goes to ICEP.
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