What is CSS Examination in Pakistan?

CSS Examination (Central Superior Services examination) is conducted by the Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) to select officers for Pakistan’s Civil Bureaucracy which is also known as the Civil Services of Pakistan. CSS exam is held every year for the selection of CSPs (BPS-17) into the following service groups of the federal government of Pakistan:

  1. Pakistan Customs Services
  2. Pakistan Administrative Service
  3. Police Service of Pakistan
  4. Foreign Service of Pakistan
  5. Inland Revenue Service of Pakistan
  6. Commerce & Trade Group
  7. Information Services of Pakistan
  8. Military Lands & Cantonment Group
  9. Office Management and Secretariat Group
  10. Pakistan Audit and Accounts Service
  11. Postal Group
  12. Railways (Commercial & Transport) Group

Steps of CSS Exam

A CSS candidate has to get through the following steps to become a CSP

  1. Written Examination
  2. Medical Test
  3. Psychological Test
  4. Viva Voce

Eligibility Criteria for CSS

Every Pakistani citizens (including residents of Azad Jammu & Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan) of the age between 21-30 years, having a minimum of 14 years of education (Bachelor’s degree) in any academic discipline are eligible to apply for the CSS examination.

Steps to apply for CSS Examination

To appear in the CSS examination, a candidate must follow the following steps for application:

  1. CSS examination is advertised in September every year having all the details
  2. Fill out the Challan form (download from the FPSC website) and pay the amount according to the advertisement in any branch of the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP)
  3. Apply online on the FPSC official website and click Apply Online
  4. Fill out the online form carefully
  5. Get the print of the online application form, sign it, and attach photographs and required documents (attested)
  6. Send the form with attached documents to FPSC head office in Islamabad at the following address

Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) Agha Khan Road, Sector F 5/1, Islamabad

Test Centers of CSS Examination

CSS examination is always conducted at these test centers given below:

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

Interview Centers for CSS Examination

Interview of CSS candidates is conducted at the following centers only:

  • Islamabad
  • Karachi
  • Lahore
  • Peshawar
  • Quetta

Important Points a Candidate Must Know before appearing in CSS Examination

  • A candidate cannot appear in the CSS examination more than three times
  • A candidate must fulfill the eligibility criteria as given by FPSC
  • A candidate must obtain a minimum of 600 marks in the written examination and must pass all the subjects
  • The written examination has six compulsory subjects 100 marks each, and 600 marks must be opted from given optional subjects groups
  • The passing criteria for compulsory subjects is 40% each and 33% each for optional subjects
  • Candidates passing the written examination will be called subsequently for medical examination, psychological test, and viva voce
  • Age relaxation is available under certain rules set by FPSC in specific schedules.

Selection of Optional Subjects for CSS Examination

In CSS exam, the choice of optional subjects is very important. Therefore, a candidate must choose optional subjects very carefully, keeping in mind the scoring trend. There are no good or bad optional subjects. What matters is in-depth knowledge of the subject and the proper technique to attempt the paper.

Here are a few guidelines on how to choose optional subjects

  1. Go through the list of groups and subjects in each group.
  2. Shortlist the subjects that attract the candidate depending upon the interest in the subject and aptitude.
  3. Academic background is a major factor behind the choice of an optional subject. However, it is not the only factor.
  4. Read and try to understand the complete syllabus of an optional.
  5. Read and try to understand past papers on the optional subject.
  6. Choose an optional subject that seems easier to understand, or a candidate has some understanding before jumping to a conclusion.
  7. If you are planning to appear in provincial competitive exams (PMS, CCE) as well, then it is recommended to opt for such subjects that might help in provincial competitive exams as well.

How many subjects can one choose from an optional group?

Maximum of 200 marks from Group 1 or 200 Marks from Group 2 can be chosen. You can opt for only one subject of 100 marks from any other group to make a total of 600 marks.

The best way to prepare for the CSS examination

Here I want to quote a quote that success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan. Successful candidates have adopted different strategies. Here is the one you may follow.

  1. The best way to prepare for CSS exam is to plan its preparation thoroughly.
  2. Start one optional or compulsory subject at a time along with English or Essay, and do not study multiple subjects simultaneously. As studying multiple subjects every day divides your mental faculties into different directions, candidates might lose focus.
  3. Divide syllabus into portions and then allocate days per portion.
  4. Past papers are very important. Therefore, an aspirant should divide the past papers into topic-wise questions and must consult while studying about a topic.
  5. An aspirant must attempt questions from past papers so that familiarity is developed with the difficulty level of actual exams.
  6. Mock tests are a must for CSS aspirants to undergo actual exam-like settings before taking the final exams.

Don’t Forget To See

Want to know more about CSS? Watch this video