In Conversation With MASROOR AHMED BIJARANI 2nd in Sindh, PCS 2013 (PCS 2013 result announced in Oct 2018)
JWT was my chief source of preparation for current affairs, not only in written part but also in interview. I collected almost all topics or information on national and international issues from JWT.
The Sindh Public Service Commission conducted written examination of Rescheduled Combined Competitive Examination, 2013, in December 2017, on the orders of Honourable Supreme Court of Pakistan, passed in a Suo Motu case No. 18/2016. Final result of PCS 2013 was announced on 25 October 2018.
Jahangir’s World Times (JWT): First of all, please tell us about your educational background?
MASROOR AHMED BIJARANI (MAB): I got my primary education from my village school Ali Bux K. Bijarani. Later, I did matriculation and Intermediate from Sadiq Public School (SPS), Bahawalpur. Later I went to Lahore for graduation from PU. Finally I earned an MBA Finance degree from MAJU Karachi.
JWT: How has been your journey to becoming an Assistant Commissioner?
MAB: My journey might be very motivational for prospective aspirants. First of all, I appeared in CSS examination twice (2011 and 2012). I qualified both attempts – actually I qualified CSS 2011 with a preparation for only two and a half months – but unfortunately could not get allocated despite securing 660 marks in written and 177 in Viva Voce. Then, I was selected as an Assistant Director in Intelligence Bureau – I got 2nd position in Sindh and 11th in Pakistan. However, only a day before I was to join the IB, the result for PCS 2013 was announced wherein I was allocated as an Assistant Commissioner. So, I did not join IB as I had received orders for my job. What came to me as a terrible shock was the suo moto, regarding eligibility of Chairman and Members of Sindh Public Service Commission, taken by the honourable Supreme Court of Pakistan whereby it “set aside and cancelled” the CCE 2013 exam. It was for the very first time in the history of Pakistan that the result of a competitive exam was cancelled. Ruefully, I lost all jobs and from an officer I was a student once again. Nonetheless, the SC ordered to conduct PCS 2013 exam again, and I must say it was really very painful to retake an exam I had successfully qualified. During this period, I was selected as Senior Auditor in Pakistan Millitary Accounts, but I decided not to join and re-appear in PCS exam. By the grace of Almighty Allah, I have secured 2nd position in the whole province in this exam, and have once again been allocated as an Assistant Commissioner. This is a rare case in the history of Pakistan.
JWT: How much helpful did you find Jahangir’s World Times (JWT) in your preparation for PCS exam?
MAB: To be very honest, JWT was my chief source of preparation for current affairs, not only in written part but also in interview. It also helped in preparation for Essay paper. I collected almost all topics or information on national and international issues from JWT.
JWT: What, in your opinion, is the key to getting through compulsory papers of PCS exam?
MAB: There are different strategies for different compulsory subjects. Essay needs consistent practice of difficult but relevant topics. Sindhi composition needs conceptual clarity and comprehensive study of any single but relevant book. English composition also needs practice, especially précis. Moreover, better understanding of grammar, helps a lot. In General Knowledge, smart study by adopting smart tricks in the form of acronyms, sentences for currencies, capitals & memorising other material helps a lot. For Current Affairs making notes in answer form from JWT is enough.
JWT: How answers should be written to get maximum marks in the written part of PCS exam?
MAB: Facilitate the examiner, he will, surely, reward you. I gave maximum headings, added relevant quotes, drew maps, provided authentic facts and figures (especially in history paper), wrote maximum poetry in Sindhi papers and also used specific terminology as I believe it adds to the beauty of your paper and earns you good marks. Neat and clean presentation does also help a lot.
JWT: How did you structure your Essay?
MAB: I drafted rough outlines quickly; within 15-20 minutes. Understanding the sense of essay is very essential. It’s the theme that decides your direction. In main body, I wrote maximum on the theme, then supported it by facts and data and also gave recommendations. At the end, I concluded the essay on a positive note. I used simple language and supported my arguments with practical examples from our daily life.
JWT: Should there be some word limit kept in mind while writing answers?
MAB: Although it does not apply to every answer, in most of the questions length does matter. For a 30-mark question, your answer should span 6-7 pages; each of 400-500 words. For a 20-mark question, I think 4-5 pages are enough.
JWT: How one should choose Optional Subjects?
MAB: I categorise 3 ways of choosing optional subjects:
- Subjects you have sound knowledge in;
- Subjects in which you may not have the prior knowledge but they can be prepared for easily; and
- Scoring Trend.
The third point should be given more weight than the previous two.
JWT: Who deserves the credit for your success?
MAB: The credit of my success goes to my elder brother Faiz M. Khan Bijarani. In addition, prayers of my parents, family, friends, relatives and poor people of my vicinity helped me a lot.
JWT: As interviewers usually grill the interview candidates, how did you manage the situation?
MAB: One must be mentally prepared for grilling during the interview. One should keep one’s nerves under control. Mock interviews are highly beneficial in this regard. Sound knowledge improves your confidence. Try to answer politely when they start grilling and simply say sorry if you don’t know the answer. Just keep in mind that the panellists have no interest in your circumstances, they reward you for the performance you give before them.
Advice for Fresh Aspirants
Try to find a mentor who can guide you best. Cover maximum areas of the syllabus by SMART ways and applying tricks. Maximum writing practice will be extremely helpful. Believe in yourself and keep praying as well because your luck plays a big role in life. Do not get disappointed even if you don’t qualify; there are lots of other avenues in life.
My Interview Experience
It was a pleasant experience. Since I had already qualified a couple of interviews of CSS and PCS, I faced the panel with great confidence. They asked me opinion-based questions on national and international issues. They tried to grill me, but I controlled my nerves and either answered politely or simply said sorry if I didn’t knew an answer. At the end, they asked some intelligence-based riddles. Luckily I gave correct answers.