For compulsory subjects, especially Current Affairs, I consulted JWT only, and for all my optional subjects, I relied solely on ’20 Questions’ series of Jahangir Books.
Jahangir’s World Times (JWT): All aspirants would be keen to know about you? Tell us about your academic career.
Waqar Ali Khan (WAK): I got my early education from Saint Mary’s Academy, Lalazar, Rawalpindi. Then, I got admission to Cadet College Hasan Abdal from where I did my F.Sc. Later, I successfully made my way into the prestigious Allama Iqbal Medical College, Lahore from where I got an MBBS degree.
JWT: What had been your aspirations for your professional life? Did you always prefer the civil services over the medical profession?
WAK: I always aspired to be a doctor, a task that I accomplished comfortably. It was only later in my career that I decided to opt for the civil services. I made this decision because there was no solid job structure in the medical profession. Moreover, I was conscious of the intense struggle that doctors had to make to get a salary handsome enough to feed them.
JWT: You would, surely, be an inspiration to many future candidates. What would you advise them? And, how do you see Jahangir’s World Times (JWT) as a source of guidance for the aspirants of competitive exams?
WAK: I would advise them to go for CSS with full fervour and devotion. But, they should never make it a matter of life and death in any case. If you don’t succeed, forget it and move forward. Don’t make your personality negative and distressed one. Regarding the JWT, I would like to say that it is the most useful tool because it provides you with the knowledge of multiple fields in one volume. Moreover, its colourful layout and succinct yet elaborate content will never let you feel bored.
JWT: : Is it indispensible to join an academy or consult individual mentors? And, what one should do to make a difference in CSS?
WAK: I think individual mentors, especially the fresh inductees, prove more useful. The CSS exam follows a certain scoring trend that needs to be carefully delved into for getting the desired result. Making a difference warrants something unique. Paper presentation, too, matters a lot; headings, captions and a coherent writing would definitely help you make the difference. In order to do this, you have to make the examiner read your paper.
JWT: You said English Essay was the toughest paper to you. What strategy did you adopt for this crucial paper? And how did you get good marks in Current Affairs?
WAK: Yes, English Essay does matter a lot! Grammar mistakes in it aren’t tolerable at all. The most effective technique to attempt an essay should be that rather than tracing a historical perspective, the topic at hand must be hit right from the beginning. It should have a logical sequencing of arguments as well. Moreover, it should be brief and in simple English and unnecessary jargon should be avoided. Try to cover the topic from a national as well as global aspect.
For Current Affairs, I would say that reading newspapers regularly and jotting down the important information in black and white may serve the purpose. I would add here that for preparation of this paper I largely relied of JWT.
JWT: English Precis and Composition is another important paper as it requires a lot of preparation. How to crack it?
WAK: Actually, English Precis and Composition paper is more concerned with your expression rather than the arguments. It’s a test of your literary skills and command over English language and grammar.
JWT: What is the best way to choose optional subjects? Also expound the strategy for Int’l Law and Geography?
WAK: I would advise new aspirants to go according to the scoring trend rather than tracing their interests. Making short notes, to be revised at the end, was my plan ‘and it would be the best method ‘to score high in Geography and International law. For all my optional subjects, I solely relied on JBD’ ’20 Questions’ series.
JWT: How one can adopt a balanced approach as far as focus on compulsory and optional subjects is concerned?
WAK: One should be extremely cautious and considerate while choosing the optional subjects because they are relatively easy to handle and their syllabus is well defined. Once you are done with an optional subject, it gives you a sense of accomplishment and motivates you to make further efforts for your compulsory ones.
JWT: Whom would you give credit of your success?
WAK: First of all, the grace of Almighty Allah; then, the prayers of my parents and hard work by my teachers. In short, it was a combination of hard work, prayers and luck.
JWT: Most aspirants remain at sea about the actual proceedings during the interview, how would you narrate your interaction with the panel?
WAK: Since it was my second encounter with the panel, I was a bit more confident. As I was already a part of the prestigious Police Service of Pakistan (PSP), so I had nothing to lose. I stepped in as a person facing a win-win situation. The questions put forward to me by the panel were quite easy as I expected almost all of those. So, I handled them well and with great ease. Like every human, I have some weak and some strong areas. I feel economics is my weaker link. I was incessantly praying that this may not be brought up during discussion, but lady luck wasn’t on my side that day. The panel asked a question regarding this. But, I successfully manoeuvred it and brought the panel towards the subject of Afghanistan Exit Policy; a topic I was well versed in. Then came the turn of national issues and I handled it too well enough. The female panellist posed a question regarding Taliban and tried to elicit from me that the modus operandi adopted by the Taliban was an attempt in the right direction. Nevertheless, I stuck with my stance and didn’t agree to her. And, on some questions regarding economic data, I had to say ‘sorry’ a couple of times. The chairman wished me luck and his words came true in form of my phenomenal result.