In Conversation With ASAD IQBAL
14th in Punjab, PMS 2017-18
Jahangir’s World Times (JWT): First of all, please tell us about your educational background?
Asad Iqbal (AI): I did my O and A Levels from Beaconhouse Defence Campus, Lahore. Later, I did BSc (Hons) with Economics from Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS).
JWT: How much helpful did you find Jahangir’s World Times (JWT) in your preparation for PMS exam?
AI: It was helpful for me to the extent that I found relevant articles on Current Affairs that helped increase my understanding of the topic.
JWT: What, in your opinion, is the key to getting through compulsory papers of PMS exam, especially that of General Knowledge?
AI: I believe the most crucial papers in PMS are the first two. For essay paper, one has to write at least one essay a week for practice. Same holds true for the English (Précis, Comprehension) paper, with additional emphasis, however, on the enhancement of the vocabulary. Islamiat and Pakistan Studies require studying proper material and that may be in the form of books (recommended books, not the guides available in the market) or can be accessed over the internet as well. YouTube videos are an important source for these two papers. I believe the GK paper can be easily passed through a mixture of prior knowledge and extensive practice of MCQs.
JWT: How answers should be written to get maximum marks in the written part of PMS exam?
AI: Firstly, one needs to understand what the question actually demands. If you are not addressing that, your answer is good as nothing. Secondly, you have to make your answer unique and different from the rest of the candidates. For this purpose, I used suitable subheadings to display a proper structure of the answer, an illustration or two, and data/examples to support my arguments.
JWT: What is the key to scoring high in English Essay paper?
AI: Outline and introduction are the two keys to your success in the English Essay paper. The outline should depict all your arguments with mention of specific examples and the arguments to support them. In this way, a proper picture is formed in front of the examiner, and your point is easily conveyed. For introduction, you should address the topic, i.e. give your stance from the very first line of the essay. This should be followed by a sketch of the entire essay ending with the restatement of your thesis.
JWT: What was your strategy for the General Knowledge paper?
AI: I went through as many past papers as I could, practiced as many MCQs as I could, and followed the day-to-day national and international events by reading newspapers.
JWT: Should there be some word limit kept in mind while writing answers?
AI: One should not be keeping a limit in one’s mind as this can lead to either missing out of points in case one wants to write more. It may also lead to restatement of same points to fill the space. As long as you are satisfied with the contents of your answer, you are good to go.
JWT: Is it better to attempt optional papers in Urdu or one should go with English only?
AI: I think it is better to attempt optional papers in English because one usually prepares the subjects in English and good reading material is also mostly available in English.
JWT: How one should choose Optional Subjects?
AI: The prime factor should be one’s interest in a subject. I believe if one is actually interested in a subject, one would study it with a different approach and would not take it as a burden. Secondly, as this is a competitive exam, one has to consider which subjects from your interest area have the potential of giving you good marks.
JWT: Who deserves the credit for your success?
AI: The credit for my success goes to my parents who supported me throughout this journey and motivated me during my failures. This would also not be possible without the guidance of my friends and seniors from LUMS who were extremely helpful.
JWT: As interviewers usually grill the interview candidates, how did you manage the situation?
Advice for Fresh Aspirants
I don’t consider myself worthy of advising the prospective aspirants, however, I believe that ‘persistence overcomes resistance’. Hence, keep on working, you will eventually get there.
My Interview Experience
After salutations and the general questions about my family background, the panellists started asking questions about Pakistan’s economy. The questions ranged from current economic scenario to economists, from economic events to economic theory. Thankfully, I was able to handle them well and with confidence.