CSS Screening test for 2022 exam is talk of the town. The federal Public Service Commission has come up with the idea of filtering out candidates; the spirit is very good but the strategy could have been improved. The very first allegation FPSC is about to face after the screening test result is out is that it was not fair.
They will be of the opinion that the Civil Service Exam screening test was deliberately designed to 'kick' candidates out of the system. If it is too tough, candidates would voice opinions that FPSC discriminated against them, especially if the candidates from humble backgrounds fail this in droves.
On the other hand, if it is too easy, most of the candidates would pass and so the purpose of separating competent ones from the incompetent or 'yet incompetent' would not be served.
First for FPSC, instead of a screening test based on MCQs, a screening test could have been arranged with one paper of regular CSS exam. For instance, most of the candidates fail the Essay paper. The FPSC could have considered the Essay paper to be the screening test. It could have taken the Essay paper of all the candidates and then could have filtered out the competent ones from incompetent. It could have served two purposes. First, the screening could have been done through a regular paper and not an MCQs based paper. Secondly, those who had passed this essay paper could have been tested in the rest of the 11 papers. The crux of the matter is that the candidates would not allege that the MCQs based paper was designed or tailored or it was not the right criteria to judge them. They could have tested themselves for a regular Essay paper which they have to take otherwise as well.
Now coming to the aspirant's side. What they should do is simple and it is not to panic. If you are an average candidate and preparing for the exam for a few months, the screening test should not scare you. For this test, one does not need any academy. The aspirants must have an idea of the subjects they are reading. To clear the screening test, one can consult the syllabus. Now one must score 66 on the test. To do this, one should analyze that 60 marks are for the General Abilities section. If one can get 35 in this section then one needs 31 out of 140 marks which is too easy. For instance, the General Knowledge section comprises 50 marks and a serious aspirant can easily grab 20 marks. The question of 15 marks is left. If we delve further into this, we can see that 50 marks have been reserved for the English part.
If I may ask, an aspirant can not even get 15 marks out of 15 in the English portion. I may answer myself that it is very easy for a candidate doing proper preparation. So what aspirants need is not to panic at this time and continue preparing for their regular exam. The 50 marks portion of English serves as a key to clearing the screening test and whether you get 66 or 166 would not make any difference. A candidate has to pass the exam merely irrespective of marks beyond 66.
I totally appreciate the screening test for CSS but it could have been much better had any regular paper been made the benchmark like Essay or even Essay and Composition paper combined. Those 200 marks could also serve as a better screening test for the regular Civil Service Exam. The FPSC needs radical changes for shortening the duration of the CSS exam process for which the screening test is a good idea. The results would set the tone whether MCQs can judge one's competence for a civil service exam or FPSC needs to pay heed to my suggestion of setting Essay paper as the benchmark. Till then, aspirants should not panic and serious aspirants should continue regular preparation as they can easily crack the exam by judging them against the content of the screening test and improving upon the loopholes.