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Meet Shanza Faiq, the woman who topped 2018 CSS exams

June 4, 2019

Shanza Faiq is the woman who topped the CSS 2018 examinations. More than 11,887 candidates took the exams and only 567 were able to qualify. 

She did her BA LLB from Lahore University of Management Sciences and then completed her LLM from the University of Warwick in 2017.

“My story is very different from the rest of the people,” she said while speaking on SAMAA TV programme Naya Din on Tuesday. “I had only two-and-a-half to three months to prepare for the exams, while other people study for it for a year.”

She decided that at the beginning of November to take the exam. “I didn’t go to any academy as I have never believed in taking tuitions even as a child.” The decision proved to be a difficult one for her as she was under a lot of “mental and physical stress”.  Faiq said that it was difficult but encouraged people to never give up.

“There were so many moments where I felt like I don’t know what I am doing,” she said. “I had no guidance, I had to make my own notes.”

Related: 567 candidates pass the 2018 CSS exam

What, however, helped her was the constant support from her family. “I took them onboard with the decision.” She took two to three weeks to pick her subjects. “I decided at that time that I will not take subjects which everyone was taking. Instead, I decided to take subjects which I was comfortable taking.”

Faiq shared that her father doesn’t permit the use of cellphones on the dinner table, which in turn helped her a lot. The family discusses various topics, ranging from religion to current affairs, and that helped her view issues from different angles.

She said that the internet proved to be the best resource for her. Faiq also reads the newspaper every day.

Compulsory subjects proved to be the most difficult for her. She remarked that she had to memorise and learn a lot of ayats for Islamiyat, and Science was also a challenge as she comes from a social science background.

“The presentation of your answers is very important,” she said. Handwriting, outlines, headings are equally important as what you are writing, she added.

She chose to be inducted in the Foreign Services of Pakistan. When asked about the decision, she said that her father served in the foreign office briefly and that Pakistani diplomat Maleeha Lodhi has also been her role model.

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  1. Avatar
    Hazrat Amin   June 5, 2019 7:28 am/ Reply

    I am From Agriculture Background which subject combination is suitible for me ?

  2. Avatar
    Aziz Nishtar   June 5, 2019 12:32 pm/ Reply

    Hearties congratulations to her and best wises for a bright career ahead. Hers is not a unique story, actually. When I did sit my CSS exam in 1986, I did not study particularly for the exam even for 50 days. Nonetheless, being reasonable well read, decent command on English Language, a master level degree in management and few years experiences with the organizations like PIA, I did it with flying colors and perhaps mine is still record for the English score with 87/100. It is actually command over English, decent broad-based reading and then responding to the questions in the paper to the point as succinctly as possible. Any yes, keep nerves calm throughout the exam.

  3. Avatar
    1.618   June 9, 2019 11:20 pm/ Reply

    seriously? ….. . (..)

  4. Avatar
    Dr Aamir   June 10, 2019 6:20 pm/ Reply

    Best wishes. Go make your country proud.

  5. Avatar
    Anonymous   June 10, 2019 7:02 pm/ Reply

    Most of the comments I read from people show their poor command in English. Lots of spelling mistakes as if they do not know to spell simple words and sentence grammar and structure does not make sense. We should take a hard look at our education in private and public schools and improve standards to meet the challenges in this fast paced world.

  6. Avatar
    sana abdullah   June 11, 2019 3:49 am/ Reply

    i am really impressed .her family background supported her.she is role modle who devoted her time to opinion making with regularity.

  7. Avatar
    Anonymous   June 12, 2019 9:56 am/ Reply

    Impressive, but did not differentiate between “give” and “take” exam.

  8. Avatar
    shahzia   June 12, 2019 4:02 pm/ Reply

    fpsc hegemony on only passing lums and mbbs students shame on fpsc

  9. Avatar
    Anonymous   July 16, 2019 1:16 pm/ Reply

    Congrats! I would consider myself a bit unlucky that when I realized its importance I was bit over-aged; and, when I crossed even two years more, the government gave the age relaxation upto 30yrs. I still wish I could compete. CSS is not tough, it just requires an open mind to critically absorb and apply knowledge with your own thoughts just

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