One of the many questions to answer when selecting your optional papers for the CSS exam, is of course, which are the high-scoring subjects in previous CSS exams. While scoring trends are worth taking a look at, and so we will, they may not be the end-all when you are making your decision.

Before we move on to the analysis of scoring trends and the list of high-scoring subjects in the CSS Exam, you might find it useful to consult strategies on optional subject selection, so that you know how much weightage to give to scoring trends, when making your final decision.


How to Select Optional Subjects for the CSS Exam?

Now that you have a good idea of the subjects available to you and the restrictions for making choices, it can be useful to draw up a list of pros and cons for each choice. We recommend that you base your decision on the following factors:


Skills

One of the most important aspects to consider is your existing skill level in a particular discipline. Choosing subjects that you already have an aptitude for or have studied during your degree, certainly makes the preparation process significantly easier.

Additionally, for some subjects (such as the sciences), having prior knowledge is almost a prerequisite. Without it, the chances of performing well are quite low.


Personal Interest

Although this may coincide with your skills, having an interest in a subject, even if you haven’t studied it for your college degree, is very useful. If you are familiar with the language of a particular discipline and find it easy to understand the content, you could have a significant edge. Preparation becomes a lot easier if the subject already appeals to you.


Overlap of Curricula

Many of the CSS subjects have syllabi that overlap with one another on multiple topics. Given the extensive course content to cover, time management is perhaps the most essential part of passing the CSS exam .

This includes not just how fast you can attempt the exam, but also how much you can optimize time management in your preparation. Acquiring a lot of new knowledge in a small amount of time can be quite challenging, so you should definitely consider saving yourself some trouble by picking courses that intersect with one another.


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Nature of the Subject

Another significant consideration is the nature of the subject and its exam papers. By this, we mean the length of the syllabus to cover, and the types of questions that are generally asked in exams.

Different subjects have varying lengths of syllabi, with some significantly longer than others. Depending upon how much time you have available to prepare for the CSS exam , you should ensure that the material to cover is realistically doable.

As for the questions asked, they are usually either “open-ended” or “closed-ended” in nature. The former includes questions that do not lay out their structure or talking points for you but expect you to come up with an analysis that is applicable. In short, there could be a wide variety of answers.

Example: A single catastrophic event, “Nine Eleven”, has turned the world topsy turvy. Discuss.

These may be harder to score in since the examiner sometimes expects a different set of examples or arguments than what the candidate presents.

Closed-ended questions lay out the exact structure of the argument to be presented, along with clearly defined concepts that you would be required to use.

Example: What are the essential differences between the liberal internationalist and realist theories? In your opinion, why is realism the most dominant theory in the discipline of international relations?

These are easier to score higher in if you have the requisite knowledge. They require little interpretation on the part of the candidate.


Scoring Trends

Although candidates often stress out about which subjects were the highest scoring in the CSS exam, this is not a good barometer for selecting your optional papers.

Scoring trends do not reflect the examiner’s grading patterns, but rather depend on which exam paper was made slightly harder or easier in that year. This usually involves changing the mix of open and closed-ended questions, or including niche knowledge.

So an analysis of scoring trends is ultimately arbitrary and not valuable, except in that it gives you a rough idea of which subjects you might find more open-ended questions in.


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High Scoring CSS Optional Subjects and Analysis


Needless to say, not all of the aforementioned considerations will be satisfied for every subject you select. However, striking a balance between each of the factors can help you make the best choices for your CSS optional subjects.

While you can consult the CSS syllabus and CSS past papers to assist you in analyzing along these lines, we have made your task much easier by developing this list of the best scoring CSS subjects, along with an analysis of the other factors:


Key for Tables Below

Scoring Trend (marks): <50 = Low; 50-60 = Medium; 60-65 = Good; 65+ = High

CA = Current Affairs;

PA = Pakistan Affairs;

IR = International Relations.


Group 1 High Scoring Subjects

Subject Prerequisite Nature of Subject Scoring Trend Overlaps
Physics Yes Long Syllabus & Closed-ended High None
Chemistry Yes Long Syllabus & Closed-ended High None
Applied Math Yes Long Syllabus & Closed-ended Low None
Pure Math Yes Long Syllabus & Closed-ended Low to Medium None
Statistics Yes Long Syllabus & Closed-ended Medium None
Geology Yes Long Syllabus & Closed-ended Good Geography


Group 2 High Scoring Subjects

Subject Prerequisite Nature of Subject Scoring Trend Overlaps
Accounting and Auditing Yes Long Syllabus & Closed-ended High None
Economics Yes Long Syllabus & Closed-ended High Essay, PA, CA
Computer Science Yes Long Syllabus & Closed-ended High None
International Relations No Long Syllabus & Open-ended (Mostly) Low to Good (Mixed) Essay, PA, CA, US History, International Law
Political Science No Long Syllabus & Closed-ended (Mostly) (Mostly) High Essay, PA, CA, Sociology, Gender, Public Admin, Governance, US History, Constitutional Law.


Group 3 High Scoring Subjects

Subject Prerequisite Nature of Subject Scoring Trend Overlaps
Business Administration Yes Long Syllabus Closed-ended High None
Public Administration No Long Syllabus Closed-ended Medium Essay, PA, CA, Political Science
Governance and Public Policy No Long Syllabus Open-ended Good Essay, PA, CA, Political Science
Town Planning No Long Syllabus Closed-ended (Partially) Medium (Mixed) Geography


Group 4 High Scoring Subjects

Subject Prerequisite Nature of Subject Scoring Trend Overlaps
Indo-Pak History No Long Syllabus Closed-ended (Partially) Medium (Mixed) Essay, PA, CA, Political Science
Islamic History No Long Syllabus Closed-ended (Partially) Medium Islamic Studies
British History No Long Syllabus Closed-ended (Partially) Medium Essay, Political Science, IR
EU History No Long Syllabus Closed-ended (Partially) Good Essay, IR, Political Science
US History No Medium Syllabus Closed-ended (Partially) Medium to High (Mixed) Essay, CA, Political Science, IR


Group 5 High Scoring Subjects

Subject Prerequisite Nature of Subject Scoring Trend Overlaps
Gender Studies No Medium Syllabus Closed-ended (Partially) Good (Mixed) Essay, PA, CA, Political Science, Sociology, Anthropology
Environmental Science Partially Yes Long Syllabus Closed-ended Medium Essay, CA, Geography
Agriculture and Forestry Partially Yes Medium Syllabus Closed-ended Mixed None
Botany Yes Medium Syllabus Closed-ended Good None
Zoology Yes Long Syllabus Closed-ended Good None
English Literature Yes Long Syllabus Open-ended Medium Essay
Urdu Literature Yes Long Syllabus Closed-ended (Partially) Medium None


Group 6 High Scoring Subjects

Subject Prerequisite Nature of Subject Scoring Trend Overlaps
Law Yes Long Syllabus Closed-ended (Partially) Good None
Constitutional Law No Medium Syllabus Closed-ended (Partially) Good Essay, PA, CA, Political Science, US History, Indo-Pak History
International Law No Medium Syllabus Closed-ended Medium (Mixed) Essay, CA, IR
Muslim Law and Jurisprudence Partially Yes Medium Syllabus Closed-ended Good Islamic Studies
Mercantile Law Yes Long Syllabus Closed-ended Good No
Criminology No Medium Syllabus Closed-ended (Partially) Good Essay, Sociology
Philosophy Partially Yes Short Syllabus Closed-ended (Partially) Good Political Science


Group 7 High Scoring Subjects

Subject Prerequisite Nature of Subject Scoring Trend Overlaps
Journalism and Mass Comm. No Long Syllabus Closed-ended (Partially) Good Essay
Psychology Partially Yes Long Syllabus Closed-ended Good No
Geography Partially Yes Long Syllabus Closed-ended Medium (Mixed) Economics, Environmental Science
Sociology No Medium Syllabus Closed-ended (Partially) High Essay, PA, Political Science, Gender, Criminology
Anthropology No Long Syllabus Closed-ended (Partially) Good (Mixed) Essay, Political Science, Gender, Economics, Town Planning
All Languages Yes Medium Syllabus Closed-ended Medium to High (Mixed) No


Final Thoughts

After this detailed discussion of the criteria you should use, we can leave you with this final list of the 15 highest-scoring subjects in the CSS exam.


List of Highest Scoring Subjects in the CSS Exams

1. Political Science

2. Sociology

3. Economics

4. Computer Science

5. Accountancy and Auditing

6. Business Administration

7. US History

8. Governance and Public Policy

9. Psychology

10. Philosophy

11. Criminology

12. Zoology

13. Journalism and Mass Communication

14. Constitutional Law

15. Regional Languages (Punjabi, Pashto, Sindhi, Balochi)

We hope the research we have done proves useful for your endeavors in the future. While talk of high-scoring subjects in CSS is always raging on at every forum, we highly recommend considering all the other aspects as well. Most of them are more important than scoring trends.

However, if you have any confusion or need guidance, don’t hesitate to call one of our expert counsellors , and utilize their services for free!