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Short Essay Topics For Competitive Exams In Pakistan

One of the toughest tasks in CSS written part is to get through the Essay paper. CSS aspirants put around 60% of their efforts in preparing English Essay, and English Grammar & Composition papers. However, they account for only 17% of the overall weightage. Some clichés, false practices and our mindset make it a herculean task. Without delay, let us ponder on the issue and hope things will get easier after that.


Psychological barriers

It is commonly believed that if you pass the Essay paper, you will be a CSP. This extra conscious approach makes it harder to get through as English always has its “fear factor”.

Language barrier and ill practices

Feeling weak in English, we make relentless efforts to learn it. Here, I disapprove those tutors who take 3 months or so to teach how to write correct English. It means out of 240 days (8 months) to prepare for CSS written part, only 90 days (3 months) are reserved for preparing ‘Essay’, and ‘Composition’ papers with no surety to get through. Therefore, individual tuition should be discouraged in order to utilize energies evenly in right direction.

Misunderstanding the topic

Most candidates, in haste, often don’t comprehend the topic, hence, ultimately end up as a failure. Understanding topic is crucial to achieving success in Essay paper.

Time (Mis)management
Essay is the first paper. It is also true that we always take time to kick off. By the time we start writing essay, it is almost 10:00am. So, do manage your time .


Sans practicing right things, you cannot ensure successful culmination. Follow the following path to get through:

  1. Stick to the basics;  parts of speech, tenses, punctuation, sentence structure, vocabulary, paragraph writing, and all other basic components of English should be learnt. This can be done by reading a simple grammar book.
  2. There are few common rules of writing essay that should be learnt rigorously.
  3. Practicing short essays will give you command over essay writing and putting firm foundation for full length essay.
  4. Going through past papers, and by following current trends, shortlist some topics and collect relevant material. How much will be sufficient can be gauged by developing detailed outline of each topic.
    Material can be gathered from two sources: One; books, magazines, newspapers, journals, etc. Two; from official documents like Quarterly reports of SBP, Economic Survey of Pakistan; reports of international agencies like WB, IMF, ADB, UN, USAID etc; treaties, agreements, etc. They are significant in order to strengthen your discourse skills.
  5. Practice essay after CSS pattern and get it evaluated. This should be done regularly especially in Dec and Jan. In this way, you will feel less pressure in actual examination.


1. Selection of Topic

This is crucial. Read question paper extensively. List the topics you can write on and brainstorm. Make rough outlines of those and then finalize one topic.

2. Uncommon Topics

There are some unusual topics in paper, which need advanced knowledge of a particular field or sometimes general understanding of many concepts. Let’s elaborate few topics from past papers to understand this:“Literature is the best criticism of life” (2010)

  1. Preamble:
  2. What is Literature; definitions:
  3. Origin of Literature as a reflection of life:
  4. Development of Literature and shades of society in it:
  5. Excerpts from Medieval English poetry and Elizabethan drama to authenticate its relationship with life:
  6. Arabic literature; pre-Islamic & Islamic periods:
  7. Pakistan Movement and Urdu Literature:
  8. Literature and Pakistani Society:
  9. Global trends in modern literature & relevance to life:
  10. Critical Analysis:

End Note:

“Beggars cannot be choosers” (2012)

1.  Introduction:
2. Meaning and relevance of the Quote:
3. Economic dependency of Pakistan:
4. Economic aid and its impacts on Foreign Policy:
5. Can Pakistan achieve economic independence ever:
6. Relevance of the quote with Indo-Pak ties:
7. Suggestions to make Pakistan truly independent:
8. Conclusion:“Freedom of speech should have limitations” (2013)
1. Introduction
2. Media in Pakistan; perfect match for the quote
3. Freedom of speech, if unbridled can be dangerous; elabo
rations and illustrations from Pakistan
4. Government policies and freedom of media in Pakistan
5. Challenges to freedom of speech in Pakistan
6. Ways and means to ensure freedom of speech with re
7. Conclusion

3. Outline

Outline is the skeleton of essay. It should be very comprehensive and elaborated.
A sample outline of topic “Failure of Governance in Pakistan”
1. Introduction
2. Prerequisites of good governance:
2.1  Rule of law
2.2  Accountability
2.3  Equal distribution of resources and opportuni
2.4  Service delivery
3. Evidences of failure of governance in Pakistan
3.1  Absence of rule of law
3.2  state organs and national institutions are con
tradicting and overriding each other
3.3  Rampant extremism, terrorism and security is
3.4  Insurmountable domestic and international
political  Challenges
3.5  Nepotism, favoritism and corruption have be
come inherent features of institutions
3.6  Consistently deploring economic condition
and rising unemployment, poverty and
3.7  Rupturing social infrastructure, degrading
social institutions and widespread social
4. In-depth analysis on current state of governance:
5. Solutions to ensure good governance in Pakistan:
5.1 Strong and independent parliament
5.2 Rule of law and no institutional activism
5.3 Drastic measures to curb Terrorism
5.3 De-politicization of administration
5.4 Strict enforcement of Law and accountability
5.5 Ensuring service delivery through public private
Partnership, higher GDP allocations and by attracting
5.6 Building human resource and enhancing job base to
utilize human resource
5.7 Optimum utilization of indigenous resources to re
duce fiscal and trade deficits and economic uplift
5.8 Planned urbanization, controlled population growth
and infusing high moral
6. Conclusion

4. Language

Write short sentences. Use simple vocabulary. Avoid informal writing and contractions.
Give statistics with reference. Quote properly. Analyze with reason.

5. Introduction

General structure of introduction should be:
Topic Sentence (addressing the topic directly)
Supporting Sentences (6 – 8 sentences comprising explanations, examples, statistics, quotations etc., in support of topic sentence i.e. statement of essay)
Thesis Statement (gist of essay in 1 or 2 sentences)
A sample introduction for the same topic is as under:
Good governance in Pakistan has become an unrealized dream. (Topic Sentence)
History is evident of the fact that nations did not vanish due to poverty or hunger, but because of mal-administration and bad governance. Pakistan has been home to many serious troubles including terrorism, corruption, energy crisis, water crisis, rising poverty and uncontrolled urbanization. But if causes are traced there is only one answer and that is absence of good governance. If recent events are traced back, it will be unveiled that Pakistan must have not fallen prey to such serious problems had there been better governance system. But quite unfortunately, governance kept deteriorating and so did the system. There must be realization among the giants of administration and governance that why there is always need of judiciary to correct their ills? Why at the end of every disaster foreign aid becomes the sole resort? Why after every security failure foreign hand is blamed? The answer is same that when system of governance is absent; the vacuum is filled by those who have no role to play in it. (Supporting Sentences)
The following paragraphs should highlight main ingredients of good governance followed by the evidences on absence of good governance in Pakistan. Leading to the end. there will be analysis of current situation along with solutions to ensure good governance . (Thesis Statement)


Follow the sequence of the outline
Write paragraph for each major point in outline


Thesis statement
Supporting sentences
Topic sentence


Write relevant and practice to get perfection. More prepared you are, lesser are the chances of failure. Remember that aforementioned views and techniques are not absolute. Essay is all about presenting arguments in convincing way. But as CSS candidates have limited understanding of language, restricted time and different things to deal with, it is not advisable to experiment with language. Write less but write quality. Fluency, coherence, brevity and reason will make you win.


By: Sikander Zishan

The writer is a PAS officer from 37th CTP

CSS Examfeatured2015-01-06

Other Writer

  • Progressive alleviation of poverty in Pakistan – an overview.(2000)
  • Strategies for the alleviation of poverty. (2005)
  • Moral depravity is the root cause of poverty. (2008)
  • The Future of Democracy in Pakistan. .(2009)
  • Democracy is a culture rather than a process .(2012)


  • Advancement in science and technology is the gateway to the economic prosperity of a country.(2000)
  • The Suffering Soul in the Scientific Age (2012) 
  • Pluralistic vision of Islam.(2004)
  • Islam versus the West (2005)
  • The image of Islam in the western world and responsibilities of the Muslim Ummah (2007)
  • Peace the essential message of our religion (2008)



  • Higher Economic problems in Pakistan and how to meet them. .(2002)
  • Economic prosperity of a nation is directly proportional to the level of literacy in it. (2001)
  • Education makes a people easy to lead, but difficult to drive, easy to govern, but impossible to enslave. (2000)
  • Education ahs for its object the formation of character (2002)
  • Need for serious planning in technical education in Pakistan. (2002)
  • Reforms in Examination systems (2005)
  • The present system of Education must assume some of responsibilities of our failure (2007)
  • Co-education , Merits and Demerits (2009)
  • A Critical Analysis of Education Systems in Pakistan (2012)
  • Meaning and purpose of education(2013)
  • There should be colleges and schools just for men/boys and some just for women/girls (2013)


  • Higher Science Education in the developing countries. (2002)
  • Higher Education as an agent of change (2007)
  • Privatizing higher education-generating knowledge or making more money for the opulent. (2014)


  • Justice delayed is justice denied.(2001)
  • Without independent truth-finding commission, accountability is unachievable.(2010)


  • National integration.(2001)


  • The end of cheap oil.(2004)


  • We never know the worth of water till the well is dry.(2000)


  • Dilemma of the water and energy crisis in Pakistan.(2003)
  • Energy Crisis in Pakistan: Causes and Consequences.(2012)


  • The purification of politics is an iridescent dream(2000)
  • Politics is perhaps the only profession for which no preparation is thought necessary. (2002)
  • Personalization Of Pakistani Politics (2006)
  • Politics is the art of possible (2007)
  • The world politics stands more derisive than it was ever before due to the specific imperialist designs (2010)
  • Not economy but politics is a key to success. (2013)


  • Moral standards in international relations. (2000)
  • The barbarity of ethnic cleansing(2000)
  • Humanism (2004)
  • Estrangement from our own culture is driving us on the verge of collapse, not just our identity but also morality. (2005)
  • All humans are born equal in dignity and rights but they are in shackles everywhere.(2011)
  • Great nations win without fighting. (2014)
  • Post-modern ethos – a challenge to the west. (2014)


  • Without good communication skills, life becomes impossible in the modern world.(2011)
  • Modern Day Communication Via Social Networks Puts an End of True and Sincere Relationships. (2013)



  • The search for truth.(2005)
  • Truth In Short Supply .(2006)
  • Truth is a rare commodity despite the freedom by the print and electronic media.(2011)


  • Good governance and the role of the public servant. (2000)
  • Public office is a public trust. (2001)


  • Devolution of power in Pakistan. (2001)
  • World scenario in 21st century and Pakistan’s Role in it. (2002)
  • Austerity as a solution of all our economic problems. (2002)
  • Socio-Economic Challenges faced by Pakistan.(2005)
  • Foreign Direct Investment in Pakistan. (2005)
  • The food crisis: problems, challenges and opportunities for Pakistan.(2009)
  • English as the Medium of Education in Pakistan.(2009)
  • Pakistan is rich in natural resources but very poor in their management. (2010)
  • Why is there no status of the third gender in Pakistan? (2010)
  • What Are the Hurdles in Our Way to Becoming a Truly Independent State? (2011)
  • In this country reason does not apply to anything. (2011)
  • Disaster management and government preparedness. (2011)
  • Globalization and electronic media (2007)
  • International Crisis in Terrorism. (2002)
  • Terrorism as a new threat to the contemporary world (2007)
  • Pakistan’s War on terror and its impact on our psyche and politic-socio-economic fronts. (2009)
  • Dialogue is the best course to combat terrorism. (2010)


  • Global Warming (2006)
  • The future of mankind in a global warming perspective. (2007)
  • Global Warming, fact or fiction? (2008)


  • Of all the needs a book has, the chief need is that it be readable (2003)
  • The pleasures of reading (2011)


  • Self-conceit may lead to self destruction. (2001)
  • Existentialism. (2003)
  • Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change. (2003)
  • We Grown Too Old Soon And Too Late Smart (2006)
  • Materialism Is the Death of Spirituality (2008)
  • Fair play and life, as it is lived, in the land of the pure. (2011)
  • Let me take care of today, tomorrow shall take care of itself. (2013)
  • If gold rust what shall the iron do. (2013)
  • Can meaning be fixed? (2014)


  • Persecuted poor woman.(2005)
  • The state of women rights in Pakistan (2007)
  • Status of Women in Islam (2009)
  • Can women be equal to men in Pakistan? (2010)
  • Does Pakistan society regard woman as the angel in the house or source of all evils? (2011)
  • Social and Economic Securities for Women in Islam(2012)
  • Women sportspersons are new ambassadors of the soft image of Pakistan. (2014)
  • Nuclear Waepons Are ‘not Only A Great Peril, But A Great Hope’(2006)
  • Lots Of Folks Confuse Bad Management With Destiny.(2006)
  • Time management is the key note of success.(2008)



  • Lack of discipline – a national disaster.(2008)


  • · Country life is better than city life.(2013)


  • Health is not a condition of matter, but of mind.(2009)
  • Obesity is the root cause of all disease .(2012)


  • Power of Media in the Modern World.(2009)
  • The Emerging Power of Public Opinion. (2012)
  • Free speech should have limitations. (2013)


  • Sweet are the uses of adversity
  • Humor in Urdu Literature (2006)
  • Literature is the best criticism of life. (2010)
  • Literature as a great cultural artifact. (2014)


  • Art and Morality (2001)
  • Art Critics and reviewers (2001)
  • Every art is an imitation of nature. (2014)


  • Poetry is the highest form of expression – the greatest proof is the Holy Quran.(2008)
  • All Recorded History Is Contemporaneous (2004)


  • The future of UNO, Hopes and Hurdles .(2009)
  • The U.N.O has failed to measure up to the demands of its charter.(2010)
  • The United Nations in the 21st Century: Obligations and Limitations .(2012)



  • Personal liberty is the paramount essential to human dignity and human happiness.(2000)
  • Attitude of indifference.(2003)
  • Young habits die-hard. (2003)
  • A long Dispute means that both parties are wrong.(2004)
  • Longing for Love. (2004)
  • There Comes A Time To Put Aside Principles And Do What’s Right. (2006)
  • There is no great genius without a mixture of madness. (2009)
  • Insanity in individuals is something rare but in groups, parties and nations it is the rule. (2011)
  • Beggars cannot be choosers (2012)
  • Brain, Like Hearts, Go Where They Are Appreciated (2012)
  • The traditional male role changed in the last 20 years. (2013)
  • Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent. (2014)
  • The character of a nation can be judged by its symbolic narratives. (2014)


  • Gender equality is myth (2013)


  • If you wish the sympathy of broad manes, then you must tell them the crudest and most stupid things. (2000)
  • Hero-worship is the strongest where there is least regard for human freedom. (2002)
  • Modern Banking, finance and employment are part of one single paradigm. (2004)
  • Peer Pressure. (2004)
  • Every Solution Breeds New Problems (2006)
  • A country is backward because it’s people are backward. (2007)
    Dreams for future rely on the work of today. (2008)
  • Can be prevent the Third World War? (2008)
  • Religion has done more harm than help to human relations in the world. (2010)
  • The time we live in is the winter of the world (2011)
  • Language is a fit data for research in humanities and social science. .(2014)
  • Look to the east for a holistic progress. .(2014)

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