I joined the test session at the WTI and it was quite helpful in evaluating my preparation and the amount of work that I still needed to do.
Jahangir’s World Times (JWT): First of all, please tell us about your educational background?
Muhammad Uzman Chaudary (MUC): My academic record never remained distinctive; however, I would still enlist myself among students who always secured good percentages. I did matriculation from DPS Bahawal Nagar. For Intermediate, I opted for Pre-Engineering and scored enough marks to get accepted in Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences (PIEAS), Islamabad, the top engineering college of Pakistan. I completed BS Electrical Engineering from there in 2014.
JWT: How was your experience at the World Times Institute?
MUC: I joined the test session at the WTI and it was quite helpful in evaluating my preparation and the amount of work that I still needed to do. You know, feedback is always very important.
JWT: What, in your opinion, is the key to getting through compulsory papers of PMS exam, especially that of General Knowledge?
MUC: For that, we must divide compulsory papers into:
1. English: These papers require a strong grip and command over English language. One should have reading, ideas and expression at one’s disposal to get through these papers and then grammar part is something that links up all other factors.
2. Pakistan Affairs, Islamiat: One can never fully cover these two subjects as they have countless dimensions; thus, focus should be on covering all the required contents from multiple books and sources and on enhancing your ability to reproduce those in paper.
3. Urdu: Knowledge of Urdu literature and good Urdu writing helps a lot.
JWT: How answers should be written to get maximum marks in the written part of PMS exam?
MUC: It actually depends on the nature of the question asked. Answering a question related to current affairs requires an entirely different approach from that for a question on history.
One must understand the statement of the question and then investigate all the dimensions that examiner wants one to probe.
JWT: How did you structure your Essay?
MUC: I attempted the topic: It is not the number of years in life that matters but the life in those years is what matters. The nature of this essay was idiomatic. The liberty with such a topic is that one doesn’t need to confine oneself to a specific dimension. One can interpret it from as many perspectives as one can.
I examined the veracity of this statement and then justified it from the examples of people who have made their mark in the field of poetry, law, sports, warfare and literature. Then, I presented a psychological analysis of the fact that why the quality of life should matter instead of quantity. Towards the end, I probed the counter-argument as well and concluded with a definite opinion.
JWT: What was your strategy for the General Knowledge paper?
MUC: General Knowledge is a tough subject to cover owing to its depth. Past papers surely help a lot in this regard. I consulted PPSC model papers and categorized the questions therein. Then I googled questions in all those categories and made a few notes. Learning geography and maps also helped me in retention of the general knowledge.
JWT: Should there be a word limit kept in mind while writing answers?
MUC: One should be able to divide one’s time and all questions should get same attention. If your writing speed is very good, you can always add half a page to your answers (Yes relevance does matter!)
JWT: Is it better to attempt optional papers in Urdu or one should go with English only?
MUC: I would advise that one must not attempt optional papers in Urdu, for three basic reasons:
1. Writing Urdu demands a lot of practice which most of us don’t have.
2. Translating the jargons and terminology of a particular subject in Urdu is also very tough.
3. Writing Urdu script consumes more time as compared to English script.
MUC: Most of the subjects are new to any aspirant; thus, one must choose the subjects that have good scoring trend. However, if someone has formal education in some subject, (s)he should definitely choose that one. I opted for Mass Communication because its course contents were quite general in nature; social work because of it was not very lengthy hence not very time-consuming and finally, geography because of its scoring trend.
JWT: Who deserves the credit for your success?
MUC: Success is always a product of many factors; missing out on few of those could debilitate it. Believing in oneself is the key to success. I owe my success to the people and friends with the right mindset who encouraged me and guided me throughout.
JWT: As interviewers usually grill the candidates, how did you manage the situation?
MUC: Interview is all about keeping your nerves and playing your strengths. The very first question: introduce yourself, sets the tone of the whole interview. In my opinion, there is no such thing as grilling. One should be very confident about one’s answers and opinions.
Similarly, if one is doubtful or doesn’t have a strong opinion about something, it is advisable to avoid such question. One should be very confident in saying sorry in response to the questions that you don’t know. Remember that Interview is not a test of knowledge only; it is about one’s confidence of facing the panelists, tackling the unforeseen circumstances( put forth in the form of questions), keeping cool under pressure and presentation and delivery of one’s knowledge.
Advice for Fresh Aspirants
Always surround yourself with the right set of people. Evaluate yourself constantly and always keep your goal in sight. As Chris Gardner would tell his son: “You got a dream… You gotta protect it. People can’t do somethin’ themselves, they wanna tell you you can’t do it. If you want somethin’, go get it”
My Interview Experience
My interview started with the introduction and a discussion about my name. I mentioned my hobbies and experiences, expecting questions. Then, Mr Chairman wanted me to investigate a statement “Destiny of nations is shaped in classrooms”. Therefrom, he wanted me to explain three problems of our education system. Somewhere in between I mentioned the term Modern Learning Techniques. So, he wanted me to outline those techniques and their relevance and adaptability in our social milieu. After that he asked a few questions from my hobbies. Interestingly, he wanted me to explain that why do I prefer Messi over any other footballer.
Another panellist asked a few token questions and then headed toward discussing “Animal Farm”. He wanted me to explain the theme of George Orwell’s masterpiece in Pakistan’s social context.
Another member of committee asked four questions about Pakistan’s history and I dropped every single one of those, to his dismay. He reluctantly asked another question that was about Muslim Rule in Spain.
Last member asked questions about Engineering and Energy crisis. Then he switched to ask about the contemporary poets of Urdu and asked me recite a few verses. He talked, interactively about the poetry of Faiz, seeking my opinions.
On the whole, I remained quite confident, and panel also was very friendly.
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