CSS Compulsory Subjects Preparation -- Highly Recommended Books and Resources
ENGLISH PRECIS AND COMPOSITION
For English Precis and Composition paper, use:
Practical English Grammar by Thomas and Martinet mainly for preparing direct and indirect sentences, change of voice (Active voice, Passive Voice) and use of Phrasal Verbs (which often appear in the Idioms part).
Paragraphs and Essays by Prof. Ifitkhar (Bhatti publishers) for preparing the 250-300 words composition part. It will also help you to a limited extent for attempting the 100 marks English Essay paper.
Polymer English grammar or any other B.A. level grammar for pair of words and idioms plus PAST PAPERS. Enlist the complete list of pair of words and idioms for at least past 10 to 15 years. If you are not satisfied with the quality of sentences in the Polymer or any other English Grammar which you are using you can also use oxford dictionary for the Pair of Words part in order to get better usage of paired words in sentences and a book by the name of Chambers Idioms (or Penguin Dictionary of Idioms or Oxford Dictionary of Idioms) for the Idioms part. This track will definitely take some time but the quality you will get will be perfect for the highest score.
WORD SMART I & II By Princeton Review for Vocabulary part. If you don’t have the time to go through whole of these two books, never mind! Check out their SAT and GRE Hit Parade sections given at the end. I scored 10 out of 10 in the vocabulary section because of these two books.
For the Correction of sentences part, use any GMAT book. It contains the best available material, exercises and tips for the preparation of the correction of sentences part (Note: Correction of Sentences is also a part of the GMAT exam but the GMAT exam, in general, has no relevance to the CSS exam).
For Pakistan Affairs, use:
Trek to Pakistan by Ahmad Saeed (for pre-1947 period),
Constitutional and political history of Pakistan by Hamid Khan...for post-1947 period (Oxford press),
Issues in Pakistan’s Economy by Akbar S. Zaidi (Oxford Press) for questions like agriculture, industry, economy etc.
Don’t forget to check past papers and FPSC Syllabus for Pakistan Affairs. You will get to know the exact questions/topics which you need to prepare from these books.
For Islamiat in Urdu, use:
Islami nazariya-e-hayat by Prof. Khurshid Ahmad and
Islam ka nizam-e-hayat by Dr. Liaqat Niazi
For getting top marks in the translation of Suuraahs part, go to your local/college/university library or a mosque near you and locate Tafseer of the Holy Quran by Maulana Moududi and get the pages containing the translation and explanation of the last 10 Suuraahs of the Tafseer photocopied and cram them.
For Current Affairs, use:
Contemporary affairs by Imtiaz Shahid,
Strategic studies (quarterly) by the institute of strategic studies, Islamabad...edited by Shireen Mazari…check out its website as well http://www.issi.org.pk ,
Current Affairs Digest by Dr. Safdar Mahmood,
Read Dawn editorials on daily basis. Also read Dawn articles which you feel are relevant to a certain current affairs topic. Make folder for each topic and keep cuttings relevant to the topic in that folder.
There is a quarterly international magazine by the name of Foreign Affairs and it is usually available in every resourceful library. This magazine will give you quality content on various topics of Current International Affairs. You can also check their website http://www.foreignaffairs.com/ but it provides limited content if you don’t have the subscription to the site. I recommend searching your local library for the magazine.
For Everyday science, use:
Everyday science by Dr. Riaz-ul-haq (Dogar's Unique publishers) Latest Edition. Don’t forget to see the attempted past papers section.
Everyday Science by Imtiaz Shahid. Don’t forget to see the attempted past papers section.
Don’t forget to see maximum number of past papers and the FPSC Syllabus in this case. I recommend that you enlist the maximum number of objective type questions from the maximum number of past papers and then look for their answers in the above-recommended books. This method will be extremely helpful in passing this particular exam for candidates who don’t have a strong background in science i.e. Arts students.
If you have plenty of time, you can also prepare most of the topics from science books of Matric/F.Sc. or O-levels which most of you would already have read.
I have deliberately kept this paper at the end of my post. Needless to mention, this is the top-most flunked compulsory paper in the CSS written exam. It certainly demands separate attention. But for this post, I have mentioned sufficient resources/books/newspaper etc. in the current affairs and English précis and composition sections which will load you with the essential material, vocabulary and grammar preparation required to write an essay of 1000 to 1500 words comfortably.
But on the elements of a good essay i.e. the essay that becomes an easy candidate for passing this particular paper, I’ll soon write a detailed post. In case I am unable to write that post in the near future and your exam is approaching fast, keep these few tips in mind. They will help you in getting through this paper.
Choose the topic with which you are most comfortable and the one about which you are most knowledgeable.
Make a detailed outline of your essay preferably at the start of your answer sheet. Spend at least half an hour out of the given 3 hours on it. The outline will help you in writing your material in a logical and coherent manner. Keep adding further points to the outline as and when they strike your mind during the course of writing your essay.
Avoid spellings and grammar mistakes.
Avoid giving headings in the essay. Instead give headings in your outline upon which you’ll deliberate in the body of your essay later but not in the essay.
Write a strong and meaningful introduction relevant to the topic. Preferably it must contain an executive summary of your essay.
Give a strong, meaningful and positive ending. Avoid negativity/pessimism at the ending.
That’s it for the time being. Good luck to all of you!