Screening test for CSS exam to be held in February

ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Establishment Mohammad Shehzad Arbab on Thursday announced that the screening test for Central Superior Service (CSS) competitive exam (CE) 2022 would be held in February next year.

He made the announcement at a news conference along with Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) Chairman retired Captain Zahid Saeed.

The MCQs (multiple choice questions)-based Preliminary Test (MPT) prior to the main written examination of CSS was approved by the cabinet in its last meeting.

SAPM Arbab said the screening test was aimed at selecting the serious candidates for the CSS written exam.

It would prove to be a win-win situation not only for the FPSC, but also for the candidates by saving the time of the commission as well as students.

PM’s aide says through screening test serious candidates will be selected for the written exam

He said the initiative would reduce the CSS recruitment process from 20 months to 12 months, enabling the FPSC to effectively select highly motivated candidates for the main CSS exam.

Mr Arbab said the screening test before competitive examinations was being practiced all over the world.

The test does not take into account domain-specific knowledge required to perform in various groups.

The SAPM said the matter was earlier considered in a cabinet meeting held on December 10, 2019, wherein the proposal for introduction of screening test prior to written exam was not approved.

Over the years, he said, the number of applicants for CSS CE had increased. The FPSC has observed that from 1998-2019, on average, the number of applicants increased by 10 per cent annually and for the years 2020 and 2021, a surge of 69pc was seen as compared to previous years that had resulted in a decline in passing percentage and an increase in processing time.

FPSC Chairman Zahid Saeed said the score of MPT would be valid only for the same year’s CSS CE and would not be counted towards overall marks determining the final merit position.

He said all graduates having at least second division in bachelors degree and between 21 and 30 years of age on the cut-off date of December 31, 2021, would be eligible to apply.

A two-year age relaxation would be admissible to the category specified in CSS CE Rules, 2019.

There would be no negative marking in MPT. It would comprise 200 MCQs of one mark each. The time duration would be 200 minutes, he added.

For the purpose of transparency, the FPSC chairman said answer key would be uploaded on the commission’s website same day of MPT.

Mr Saeed said the FPSC had conducted a statistical analysis of past five years and it was evident from the the analysis that most of the candidates, including from Balochistan and Sindh, had scored at least 33pc marks in compulsory subjects in written part of the examination.

The screening test essentially consists of compulsory subjects of CSS examination, including Islamic studies. Non-Muslims may either opt for civics & ethics or Islamic studies (20 marks), Urdu grammar usage and translation (20 marks), English vocabulary, grammar, usage and comprehension (50 marks); general abilities: basic arithmetic, algebra & geometry (SSC level), logical problem solving, analytical abilities and mental abilities (60 marks); and general knowledge: everyday science, current affairs and Pakistan affairs (50 marks).

Published in Dawn, November 5th, 2021

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