Introduction: The full form of the CSS Exam is Central Superior Service Exam. It is conducted by the Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) Islamabad for the enlistment of candidates to posts (BS – 17) in the following services under the Federal Government.

  1. Customs and Excise Services
  2. Foreign Service of Pakistan
  3. Information Group
  4. Office Management Group
  5. Police Service of Pakistan
  6. Railways Group
  7. Commerce and Trade Services
  8. District Management Group
  9. Income Tax Group
  10. Military Lands and Cantonments Groups
  11. Pakistan Audit and Accounts Service
  12. Postal Service Group

Parts of CSS Exam

The following four parts consist in the CSS Exam:

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

Eligibility Criteria

For appearing in CSS Exam, the applicant must fulfill the following eligibility criteria:

Nationality Criteria: The applicant must be a permanent resident of the state of Jammu and Kashmir or a citizen of Pakistan.

Educational Criteria:

  1. The applicant must have a Bachelor’s Degree with at least 2nd division from a university of Pakistan or equivalent qualification from HEC recognized foreign university.
  2. A candidate having 3rd division in bachelor degree can only apply for the exam if he or she has obtained Higher Division in the Master Degree.

Age Criteria

  1. To apply for CSS Exam, the age limit is 21 to 30 years.
  2. For the candidates who are currently serving as a government employee or belonging to recognized tribes and areas, the age limit is relaxed by two years.

How to apply for CSS

Every year CSS Exam is held in February or March. Each year in September, an advertisement for the CSS exam is published in newspapers.
For applying for CSS Exam, follow the following steps:

  1. Deposit the exam fee in the nearest State Bank of Pakistan/ Govt. Treasury/ National Bank of Pakistan under the account head “CO2102-Organs of State Exam Fee
  2. On the official website of FPSC, fill in the ‘Online Application Form’. Take a print-out of this form.
  3. Send the hard copy of the online form along with copies of your documents and bank receipt to the FPSC to headquarter in Islamabad.
  4. Within ten days of the closing date, your complete application must reach FPSC headquarter.

For CSS Exam, online apply is compulsory. Keep in mind the following points for applying online.

  1. Personal details, bank details, CNIC number, names of optional subjects, experience details, educational details, and post preferences of the applicant are required for the online application.
  2. All this information is provided carefully and correctly by the applicant.
  3. Click on the button ‘Submit’ given at the end after filling the application.
  4. You will receive a confirmation email when you submit your application. The same email has a tracking ID of your application.
  5. By clicking on “Take Printout”, you can take a printout of your submitted application with the help of your CNIC number and tracking ID of your application.

Along with the following documents, the print-out must be sent to the FPSC headquarter, Islamabad.

  1. Copies of the educational documents i.e. degrees and certificates.
  2. Other required documents
  3. Photographs
  4. Bank receipt of deposited exam fee
  5. Other documents are required in the advertisement
  6. Experience certificate if applicable

How to select optional Subjects

6 compulsory papers and 6 optional papers are included in CSS Exam. Your success in CSS Exam is ensured by the selection of correct subjects. Sometimes, the selection of optional subjects may be difficult for students because they either do not know which subjects are good for getting high marks or they do not the rules for the selection of optional papers.

Understanding the Rules for Selection of Optional Subjects

  1. There is a total of 12 papers in the CSS Exam. 6 are compulsory and 6 are optional papers. Total 1200 marks are for this exam. 100 marks are for each paper.
  2. FPSC gives the list to select the optional subjects for 600 marks.
  3. In the list, there are groups of subjects. One subject can be selected from each group. The subject of 100 marks has one paper and the subject of 200 marks has two papers.

Tips for selection of optional subjects for getting high marks

You can select any optional subject because all subjects are good. It depends on your choice of which subjects you select. For selecting optional subjects, the following are some guidelines:

  1. Before selecting a subject, study the syllabus of each subject thoroughly. Whether you can prepare the subject easily or not, the syllabus will give you an idea.
  2. The subjects you have already studied, select them i.e. in Intermediate or Bachelors. You will comparatively more command of those subjects because you have already studied them in your previous classes. To prepare those subjects, it will be easier.
  3. Select those subjects in which you have more interest. The subject in which we have interest indicates our more understanding and familiarity.
  4. It is better to prefer Arts subject over Science subjects if you have studied them in your previous class. It will easier for you to prepare for Arts subjects.
  5. If you believe that you are very good at science subjects and you have studied them in your previous class, select them as an optional subject.
  6. Select your regional language such as Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashto, or Balochi as the optional subjects if you are good at them. Due to our familiarity with them as our mother tongue, these are viewed as scoring subjects.

Detail of written Exam

In the following four parts of the CSS Exam, a candidate has to appear:

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

Written Exam

  1. Twelve papers are included in the written exam. Six are compulsory papers and six are optional. There are 100 marks on each paper.
  2. Total 1200 marks are of written exam. 600 marks are for compulsory papers and 600 marks are for optional papers.
  3. The time permitted for each paper is 3 Hours.
  4. Each paper has two parts; Part-1 and Part-2. Part-1 (Objective part) is attempted on a separate sheet which collected back after 30 minutes.
  5. For compulsory paper, qualifying marks is 40% and for optional paper is 30%.
  6. Optional subjects are selected from the list given by FPSC.


  1. In Urdu or other regional languages (i.e. Punjabi, Pashto, Sindhi, or Balochi), Arabic and Persian, the question papers must be answered in the respective languages.
  2. Except for the paper Essay, there will be 20 MCQs in all compulsory papers. Except for the paper on Applied Mathematics and Pure Mathematics, there will be 20 MCQs in all optional papers.

Medical Test, Psychological Test & Viva-voce
Written Part is the first part of CSS Exam. It is followed by a medical test, a psychological test and viva-voce. After qualifying the written exam, the shortlisted students are called for the aforementioned assessments. Following is the detail of all:

Medical Test
The shortlisted candidates have to go through a medical test. The purpose of a medical test is to check that the candidate is free from any physical abnormality which may obstruct in candidate’s delivery of services. By a medical board constituted by FPSC, a medical examination is conducted. The candidate must have sound mental and physical health.
Candidates are suggested to have a proper medical examination by a Government Medical Officer before applying for the CSS Exam in order to avoid disappointment in the medical test.
Psychological Test
The candidates are called for the Psychological test and Viva-Voce who are shortlisted. Both have combined 300 marks. The psychological test is arranged to check candidate’s mental capabilities, attitudinal aspects, and personality traits with regards to their proficiency for the Civil Services.
The psychological test consists of group activities and written tasks. Group activities are designed to check the behavior of students in a group. To evaluate their group performance and tendencies, candidates are asked to take part in some group activities.
In a written task, candidates have to write their views regarding a question, a topic, a scenario, or a picture given to them. Trained psychologists predict each word and line written by the candidates. Hence, about writing down their views, the candidates should be careful. Your statements should be true, clear, and straightforward.

The candidates must have good skills of communication. Areas of interest and co-curricular activities will be asked about. Candidates must have good knowledge about their interests i.e. hobbies and games. Candidate participation in debates, competitions, or other such activities is included in co-curricular activities. The candidates must have knowledge about Pakistan and Islam as more questions will be asked about it. Total marks for Viva-Voce is 300 marks but the qualifying marks is 100 marks. Candidates will be disqualified for the services in order to get marks less than 100. From non-Muslim candidates, questions regarding Islam will not be asked.

Preparation for CSS Exam
Every talented student has a dream of a CSS Exam. Thousands of candidates apply for the CSS exam according to the FPSC report. Out of which only a few candidates passed the written exam.
If you want to appear in the CSS exam, remember that you will have to fight against thousands of students. If you make preparation in proper lines, it is very easy to qualify CSS Exam. Most of the students do not make preparation in proper line and they do not qualify CSS exam. They do not know how to make preparation and how to study. Hard work is the main factor of success only if it is done in the right direction leading to success.
You should be well informed, sharp-minded, and intelligent student to qualify for the CSS Exam. You should have a full grip on your subjects. The power of your creativity to produce your bookish learning in your papers in a way that assures your success in the CSS Exam. Frankly speaking, it is not only bookish learning.

Essay Writing for CSS
This article is for those candidates who are appearing in CSS Exam. Essay Writing is one of the compulsory papers of the CSS Exam and it focuses on all aspects. This paper is the main decisive factor of your overall score on the CSS Exam. Most of the candidates obtain less score in this paper. The candidates must learn various dimensions of producing an impressive and appealing essay except having literary and scholarly writing skills.
For writing an essay, the paper has ten topics. Out of these ten topics, the candidate has to choose one. The candidate has to make an OUTLINE and write a COMPREHENSIVE ESSAY of 2500 and 3500 words on the topic.

Essentials of Essay Writing

Following are the essentials of essay writing to ensure your high scores:

  1. Structure of an Essay
  2. Expression of ideas – Principles of a standard essay
  3. Making an outline for the essay
  4. Wide-range of Vocabulary and Grammatical Accuracy – English Proficiency

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