In Conversation with Iffat-un-Nisa Saambhal and Farrah Deeba Saambhal, PMS 2014

Hailing from Faisalabad two sisters, Iffat-un-Nisa Saambhal and Farrah Deeba Saambhal, achieved phenomenal success in PMS 2012. They qualified the exam with distinction and both are currently serving in Government of the Punjab. As PMS 2014 has been announced and all aspirants will be searching for the effective techniques and the most prudent strategy aimed at preparing for the PMS exam. To provide guidance to our readers, JWT recently had a chat with these two brilliant PMS officers.

Jahangir’s World Times (JWT): Our readers would be curious to know about your background, so would you please share this part of your life with them?

Iffat-un-Nisa Saambhal (INS): We both sisters actually hail from Faisalabad. I have done Masters in Sociology as well as specialization in Rehabilitation and Physical exercises. I appeared in CSS exam 2012 but, unfortunately, flunk English composition paper. Later, I appeared in PMS and by the grace of Allah, I qualified this exam.

Farrah Deeba Saambhal (FDS): I did Masters in English Literature and LLB from University of the Punjab. Like my sis, I qualified CSS exam 2012 but couldn’t get allocated. Then, I too decided to go for PMS. Luckily, I qualified it as all knowledge I gained while preparing for CSS paid off for me.

JWT: Getting through PMS and that too in very first attempt is a great achievement. How did you achieve this feat?

INS: To many, it’s an uphill task to get through PMS. But, if you go through the process of CSS then it won’t seem as much challenging. To be certain, my preparation for CSS and support of my husband coupled with appropriate guidance by my brother-in-law, a CSP himself, made it possible for me.

FDS: I think, for PMS persistent efforts along with right strategy for preparation are more than inevitable. One must develop an impressive expression in English because if one sharpens this skill, then CSS or PMS doesn’t remain a big deal.

JWT: What are the basic differences between PMS and CSS exams?

INS: Though both are equally tough and require same kind of study, yet I would say that PMS is more challenging than CSS. I think CSS is a pressure game but PMS calls for more hard work.

FDS: Females, especially, find PMS quite difficult because no quota is there for them. The scope of PMS is limited, nevertheless, the aspirants compete on the provincial level instead of national level and it imparts better chances to succeed.

JWT: What should one prefer between books and notes to increase the likelihood of one’s success?

INS: Both books and notes are equally important. However, the best way is that one should prepare one’s own notes after consulting books, internet and data collected from various sources. Notes should be something personal so, one must rely on one’s own notes instead of running after those of others.

FDS: I always preferred reading from authentic books. That’s why I didn’t run after notes. Selection of book plays the most vital role in one’s success. I selected a single book for each subject except General Knowledge as it requires a day-to-day knowledge.

JWT: What strategy should one adopt to make a difference?

INS: Actually, the desire to make a difference makes the aspirant prepare on different lines. One must seek some unique sources and secondly the way of presentation one’s arguments should be impressive.

FDS: Making a difference is impossible sans unique style of expressing your views. One should manipulate the available material as the topic calls for. The most up-to-date information should be incorporated in such a way that it exhibits your impressive writing skills.

JWT: English Essay and General Knowledge are considered the most difficult papers. What should be the strategy to prepare for these?

INS: Read as much as you can, it’s the only way to pass these papers. One should use varied sources like newspapers, magazines and internet. Besides this, consistent writing practice and taking tests frequently are also most important factors.

FDS: For Essay, one should sublimate one’s concepts on various topics rather than cramming the collected material. Regularly practice writing as it proves highly fruitful. Actually, most candidates fail Essay paper only because they lack command over grammar and impressive writing skills, and mostly jot down the crammed material.

And for General Knowledge command over world geography, history and current affairs is essential.

JWT: What sort of guidance the prospective PMS candidates should seek for? How Jahangir’s World Times (JWT) can be a helpful source to all the aspirants?

INS: At first, a high aspiration to join this prestigious cadre is indispensable. Then, prudent selection of optional subjects coupled with hard and smart work would pay off. JWT is rendering a tremendous service to aspirants. I always consulted it for current affairs, vocabulary building and General Knowledge.

FDS: Selection of optional subjects is the most crucial step for fresh candidates. These should be selected keeping in mind one’s interests as well as scoring trends. Seeking guidance from seniors and professors is also of critical importance.

JWT is my favourite magazine as it presents information on a variety of issues in a unique way. Moreover, the experience of successful candidates is also of great benefit to the new aspirants. I feel really honoured as I am blessed with the opportunity to share my experience with JWT, the mag where in I used to read others’ interviews.

JWT: How the aspirants should choose optional subjects? And, Do you believe in luck factor in PMS?

INS: I think Farrah would agree that one must see the scoring trend. Geography, Psychology, Sociology, Social Work, Punjabi and Indo-Pak history are good scoring subjects. We both got good scores in our optional subjects. I scored 148 in Geography, 150 in Punjabi and 125 in Sociology while Farrah’s score was 149, 153, and 132 respectively in these subjects.

As regards the matter of luck, I think it is always there, and no one can deny its role, yet I must say, fortune favours a prepared mind.

FDS: Yes, luck plays its part as everyone aspires to top the exam but luck may have something different for them. I would add here that for Punjabi, we consulted two books published by Jahangir Book Depot; and they proved extremely helpful.

JWT: What are your views on academies and how would you rate the World Times Academy?

INS: It’s good to join an academy for the preparation of PMS. I visited World Times Academy recently and found it the best because the way they teach and guide the students is entirely unique. The management does deserve a lot of applause for their tremendous efforts. I would suggest that for appropriate and fast preparation, do join this academy.

JWT: Would you like to give some message to our readers?

INS: One must have an optimistic approach as it makes your future bright.

When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realize his dream. (The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho)

FDS: Strong faith in Almighty Allah, belief in your abilities, prayers of your parents and all-out efforts make the success your destination.

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