How to Start CSS Preparation at Home

CSS Preparation at home is easy and simple.

The aspirants of the competitive examination, CSS, often ask their mentors or the senior aspirants that how they should start CSS preparation at home?

Well, the answer is very simple but, it does depend upon the aspirants' academic background, and the number of attempts they are left with. If you are an aspirant and you don't want to join any academy due to whatever reason, we will try to explain and guide you as to how you can start your CSS journey right from your home.

You don't need to panic, you don't need to join any of the so-called top academies for preparation. What you need is a fully focused mind and a positive 'to do' attitude.

How to Start CSS Preparation at Home?

Follow these simple steps and start your CSS journey at home.

1. Choose optional subjects

2. Study Smart

3. Make a list of important topics

4. Newspapers and magazines

5. Gather quality material

6. Make notes

7. Practise as much as you can

8. Don't forget to relax

9. Focus on presentation skills

10. Revise and update

1. Choose Your Optional Subjects Wisely

Selection of optional subjects for CSS exams

Before you kickstart your study, you must choose your optional subjects. In doing so several factors can play a very important role.
Keep Following Factors in Mind When You Select Your Optional Subjects
First: Your academic background.

Pick two, three subjects or at least one which you have already studied in your graduation or master's degree program.
Second: Subject that interests you

Another important factor is your interest in a particular subject. Opt for only those subjects that seem to be interesting to you.

Choosing boring and dry subjects will exhaust you in the middle of your preparation.
Third: Go for the scoring subjects

Next comes the scoring factor. Some people argue against the scoring trend phenomena but some believe that there are subjects that are comparatively high scoring than the rest.

READ THIS: 8 High Scoring Subjects in CSS

2. Study Smart

They say, and rightly so, in CSS exams it is not important what you need to study, but what you don't need to study. Go through the syllabus, it is highly recommended and advised but remember, you can't and no one can prepare a complete syllabus.

Consult past papers of the last five to ten years and try to figure out what topics are asked repeatedly every other year. I said topics, not questions. Questions may vary but the topics remain the same. Try to underline and shortlist the important topics of the compulsory subjects first and then proceed with the optional subjects.

3. Sort out the Common Topics from Different Subjects

Now that you have consulted the past papers of all subjects, you have rightly realized that some of the topics are overlapping. It means that if you study and prepare one topic from a subject, you can answer the questions related to that particular topic no matter what is the subject.

For example, the Afghan peace process and the contemporary situation in Afghanistan can be asked in Pakistan Affairs, Current Affairs, International Relations, and even in the essay paper. So, the point is you have to shortlist common and the most important topics before actually starting the preparation. This strategy will save you time.


International Relations: 14 Important Topics for CSS Exams

4. Read English Newspapers and Magazines

This is very important I reiterate. You need to read well-known English newspapers and magazines daily. Remember one thing, by reading newspaper does not mean you have to read full and each and every news. You have already selected and shortlisted the important topics, now just go through the newspaper and read the relevant topics. If you have enough time left, try making short notes for important events and dates.

Some Important Newspapers and Magazines

Dawn, The News, Washington Post, Newyork Times, Khaleej Times, Foreign Policy, The Economist, Jahangir World Times, Foreign Affairs, Council on Foreign Relations (Facebook page)

You can also watch videos on YouTube channels of these media houses. One of the many important channels is Caspian Report.

5. Gather Quality Material

The aspirants are always advised to prepare from the quality and standard books. Substandard books and ready-made notes don't serve the purpose. Try to buy or borrow recommended books, recommended not only by FPSC but recommended by senior civil servants and mentors.

Some of the Important Books Suggested by Sir Awaid Irshad Bhatti, the Topper of CSS 2017.

Watch This Video, and Subscribe to the Channel for More Fruitful Updates About CSS Exams

6. Long Notes and One-Pagers

If you have left enough time and you have dedicated your full time to the CSS preparation, then you must prepare your own notes. You can make long notes by consulting different resources, and short notes -one-pagers- for revision during the final exams.

7. Practice, Practice, and Practice

Remember, you are not supposed to tell the examiner verbally what you have learned and what you know about the topic. You have to present your knowledge in writing. For that matter, you need to practice as much as you can to avoid uneasiness during your written exams.

8. Don't Forget to Have Some Fun

It is very important for a serious CSS aspirant to make a room for fun and healthy activities. Ideally, you should do physical exercise before, during, or after long hours of study. But, generally, students prefer to scroll through the Facebook feed or switch to Twitter to see what is happening.

Keeping in view the habits of CSS aspirants, in a lighter note old habits die hard, we have created a Facebook page named CSS Memes and a Handle on Twitter as well.

Even when you are using Facebook for entertainment purposes, you must keep your goal in mind and don't spend too much time on this unproductive activity. We, therefore, try to upload relevant posts but in a sarcastic and funny manner so that you switch back to your objective and resume your study more energetically.

9. Paper Presentation: Maps, Charts, and Diagrams

To win a race you need to devise a different strategy. Practice diagrams, flowcharts, and maps to compete and outperform hundreds of thousands of aspirants. Your final selection and allocation in your preferred group depend upon your marks in the written exams.

Everyone has almost the same data and knowledge about the subjects but what makes a candidate ideal for a top group is his presentation skills. You need to know how to draw a map of Pakistan, rivers and their tributaries going through the map, map of Kashmir, South Asian map, map of the world. Flow charts like the water table, distribution, and consumption of water, etc.

10. Revise the Syllabus

Now that you have learned a lot, you have to revise. Try completing your syllabus by October, in the coming months, you should focus on revising and updating your knowledge of current affairs. In this revision process, try to allocate a portion of your time for the English essay paper. It is highly advisable that you keep practicing your essay till the date of your first paper.


Everyone adopts a different strategy for the exams. It depends on a person's caliber as well. You don't necessarily need to stick to our strategy, whatever plan you make for your preparation, make sure to be consistent but in the end what matters the most is consistency.


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