What Is CSS Exam? How To Prepare CSS? Optional & Compulsory Subjects & How To Apply

What is CSS? Information All That You Need To Know

The Public Service Commission was set up for the first time in British India in 1926. After independence, the Commission was established in Pakistan in 1947 under the provision of Government of India Act, 1935. At present, the commission is functioning under article 242of the constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan. It has been provided autonomy under the Rules of Business, 1973 and FPSC Regulations, 1978 in its working. The Commission has also been given administrative as well as, to some extent, financial autonomy to perform its functions independently.

Background of this Civil Service:

The Sub-Continent remained under British Rule for 90 years (1857 to 1947) and the British Government introduced the civil service on the analogy of civil service of United Kingdom. The Indian Civil Service (initially known as Imperial Civil Service) was taken over the administrative control of Sub-Continent in 1858 for implementation of the policies of the Imperial Rule and service of general public. Initially, locals were not allowed to compete against the officer level posts; with the passage of time they were also allowed to compete for the Civil Service Examination.

Pakistan came into being on 14th August, 1947 and its own civil service was established from the available officers who opted for Pakistan, resulting in formation of Civil Service of Pakistan (CSP). It was re-framed and re-established in 1971 under “Chapter I: Part-XII, Article 240” of the Constitution of Pakistan which gave it foundation and constitutional status. The civil bureaucracy closely collaborated with the military establishments of Pakistani Armed Forces in issues concerning the national security.

Who is eligible to appear for the exam?

To apply for CSS Examination, a candidate should be;

  • A citizen of Pakistan.
  • Must hold at least a Bachelors Degree with the second division in any Faculty/Discipline from one of the Pakistani Universities or an equivalent degree or comparable educational qualifications of a foreign University.
  • No candidate who has obtained a Third Division (or ‘D’ grade where result is declared under Semester System) in his Bachelor’s Degree will be eligible for the Examination except in cases where he/she has obtained a higher Division in Master’s Degree.
  • The age limit for admission in CSS Examination is 21-28 years, which is relaxableupto 2 years for those who are already in Government Service and have completed 2 years service. The relaxation is also available to candidates belonging to certain remote areas as defined by Government.
·         Whether females are eligible for the posts announced by the Commission?

For CSS – they are eligible.

·         How many subjects do I need to choose?

Subjects carrying 600 marks are compulsory while you have to choose subjects carrying 600 marks among optional subjects.

  • How many attempts can I make?

You can make not more than three (03) attempts for the CSS exam.

  • Would my subject combination affect my choice of any occupational group?

No, your subject combination does not affect your choice for any specific occupational group. You can chose any subjects and be considered for any group according to your marks and merit.

  • How should I select the subject?

For subject selection, keep in mind the following points:

  • Try to have the subjects that you have studied before.
  • Don’t ever go for “that easy subject”, try to find out its scoring value.
  • Previous statistics show that subjects with 100 marks give more score than subjects with 200 marks.
  • Science subjects are more scoring than their arts counterparts.
  • People even have scored 2 marks in some subjects like Constitutional Law because they thought it was too easy.
  • Languages are usually high scoring subjects.
  • Indo-Pak History does not usually result in a high score–avoiding it as generally helpful.
  • However, other history subjects have better scoring averages.

Eligibility Criteria

  1. 14 years of Formal education recognized by the HEC is required.
  2. Bachelors Degree (B.A, B.Com, BBA, B.Sc, LLB, MBBS etc.) from one of the Pakistani Universities/ equivalent degree or comparable educational qualifications of a foreign University recognized by Higher Education Commission
  3. Bachelors degree with  2nd Division i.e. C-Grad
  4. Age limit for CSS Examination is 21 to 30 years


Approx. Rs.2200/- to be deposited in the form of Bank Challan at the time of Registration

 Qualifying Marks Required For CSS Exam

600/ 1200 marks in the written examination and 101/300 marks in viva voce out.

Compulsory Subjects

Subject Marks
English Essay 100
English (Precis and Composition) 100
General Science and Ability 100
Current Affairs 100
Pakistan Affairs 100
Islamic Studies OR Comparative Study of Major Religions (For Non-Muslims) 100
Total 600

Optional Subjects

Group-I: (To select one subject of 200 marks only)

Group-II: (To select subject(s) of 200 marks only)

Group-III: (To select one subject of 100 marks only)

Group-IV: (To select one subject of 100 marks only)

Group-V: (To select one subject of 100 marks only)

Group-VI: (To select one subject of 100 marks only)

Group-VII: (To select one subject of 100 marks only)


  • Essay 100
  • English (Precis and Composition) 100
  • General Knowledge :
  • Paper – I General Science & Ability 100
  • General Science: (MCQs = 20 marks, subjective = 40 marks)
    • Ability: subjective = 40 marks)
    • Paper – II Current Affairs 100
    • Paper – III Pakistan Affairs 100
  • Islamic Studies or Comparative Study of Major  Religions (For Non-Muslims) 100

Total: 600 *MCQs are to be attempted on computerized OMR Answer sheet, whereas subjective questions are to be attempted on Answer Book.

Following occupational groups are included in CSS Examination.

  • Commerce and Trade Group
  • Former Name: District Management Group(DMG) / Now: Pakistan Administrative Services (PAS)
  • Foreign Service of Pakistan (FSP)
  • Information Group (IG)
  • Inland Revenue Service (IRS)
  • Military Land & Cantonments Group (MLCG)
  • Office Management Group (OMG)
  • Pakistan Audit and Accounts Service
  • Pakistan Customs Service (PCS)
  • Police Service of Pakistan (PSP)
  • Postal Group
  • Railways (Commercial & Transportation) Group

Detail of regional quota is as under:



Sindh=19%  (Sindh(U)-7.6%, Sindh(R)-11.4%)

Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa=11.5%,





  • 10% quota is reserved for women from the share of Provinces/Regions except Merit quota . Un-filled vacancies will be carried forward.
  • 5% quota is reserved for Minorities (Non-Muslims) from the share of Provinces/Regions except Merit Quota. Unfilled vacancies will be carried forward.

Who Conducts this CSS Exam?

Central Superior Service commonly known as CSS is highest level civil service in Pakistan and Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC), Islamabad is authorized institution by the state of Pakistan under the provision of Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, to conduct CSS examination in Pakistan for induction of candidates in Civil Service of Pakistan. The examination is conducted for induction of candidates in Grade-17.

Exam Method / Procedure:

The CSS exam consists of the following two parts with 1500 marks in toto:

  1. Written Examination – 1200 marks
  2. Viva Voce (Psychological Assessment and Interview) – 300 marks

CSS Examination Centres:

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 and Sukkur.

Interview Centres:

Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta.

It’s import to understand its syllabus before attempting an exam.  The syllabus of Central Superior Service (CSS) Exam differs from other exams being conducted by Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC). It consists of two main parts i.e. written-examination and viva-voce. The written part comprises of two parts further i.e. compulsory papers and selective (optional) papers 600 marks each. The minimum level of papers is Graduation and no specific syllabus is prescribed, however, broad guidelines are available on website of FPSC.

Marks Breakup

Firstly, the written-examination is conducted.  Secondly, after result, the successful candidates are called for Psychological Assessment & Interview known as Viva-Voce, by panel of FPSC. The CSS exam consists of 1500 marks; the breakup of the written and Viva-Voce is as under:

Written Part = 1200 Marks.
Viva Voce = 300 Marks.
Total = 1500 Marks.

Written Part (Written Exam)

Examination (written part) consists of 12 papers (1200 marks); 06 Compulsory Subjects and 06 Elective (Optional) Subjects from the prescribed Groups of Optional Papers being explained in coming paras.

Syllabus of Compulsory Papers

Following 06 compulsory papers have been prescribed by FPSC consisting of 600 Marks. Marks of papers at Sr. No. 4, 5 & 6 are counted collectively meaning thereby that 120 out of 300 in these papers make a candidate pass whereas Papers at Sr. No. 1, 2 & 3 are required to be passed by minimum 40 marks in each:

Code No. Subjects Marks
1. English Essay 100
2. English (Precis and Composition) 100
3. General Science & Ability 100
4. Current Affairs 100
5. Pakistan Affairs 100
6. Islamic Studies OR Comparative Study of 100
  Major Religions (For Non Muslims)  
Total Marks 600

Syllabus of Optional Papers

Optional papers (600 Marks) may be selected from the groups given by FPSC and not more than 200 marks are allowed for selection from one group. The selection of elective papers is based upon interest of candidate and the degree he has achieved during studies. Selection of elective papers is very important and is a base towards the marks. The revision of groups by FPSC in the recent years has made it little difficult for candidates having background in Arts & Humanities subjects as compared with Sciences.

Groups of Optional Papers

Total seven groups are available for selection of selective papers. The groups have been revised by FPSC in 2016. The groups for selection of papers are as under:-

Group-I: Select one subject of 200 marks only

Code No. Subject Marks
11 Accountancy & Auditing 200
12 Economics 200
13 Computer Science 200
14 Political Science 200
15 International Relations (IR) 200

Group-II: Select subject(s) of 200 marks only

Code No. Subjects Marks
16. Physics 200
17. Chemistry 200
18. Applied Mathematics 100
19. Pure Mathematics 100
20. Statistics 100
21. Geology 100

Group-III:  Select one subject of 100 marks only

Code No. Subjects Marks
22. Business Administration 100
23. Public Administration 100
24. Governance & Public Policies 100
25. Town Planning & Urban Management 100

Group-IV:  Select one subject of 100 marks only

Code No. Subjects Marks
26. History of Pakistan & India 100
27. Islamic History & Culture 100
28. British History 100
29. European History 100
30. History of USA 100

Group-V: Select one subject of 100 marks only

Code No. Subjects Marks
31. Gender Studies 100
32. Environmental Sciences 100
33. Agriculture & Forestry 100
34. Botany 100
35. Zoology 100
36. English Literature 100
37. Urdu Literature 100

Group-VI: Select one subject of 100 marks only

Code No. Subjects Marks
38. Law 100
39. Constitutional Law 100
40. International Law 100
41. Muslim Law & Jurisprudence 100
42. Mercantile Law 100
43. Criminology 100
44. Philosophy 100

Group-VII: Select one subject of 100 marks only

Code No. Subjects Marks
45. Journalism & Mass Communication 100
46. Psychology 100
47. Geography 100
48. Sociology 100
49. Anthropology 100
50. Punjabi 100
51. Sindhi 100
52. Pashto 100
53. Balochi 100
54. Persian 100
55. Arabic 100

Passing Marks of CSS Exam

Minimum passing marks in each paper is 40 and overall 600 marks are threshold for declaring the candidate as qualified for next phase i.e. Viva-Voce.

Preparation Sources

  • Broad guidelines are available on FPSC website:
  • Books and Notes are available in the market covering most of the syllabus.
  • There are academies and coaching centers in big cities giving lectures on syllabus of CSS.

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