Jahangir’s World Times (JWT): First of all, please tell us about your educational background?
Dr Shahnawaz Mirani (DSM): I did matriculation from Erum Bright School, Dadu. Afterwards, I passed intermediate from Ustad Bukhari Govt Degree College, Dadu. Then, I got admission to Chandka Medical College, Larkana from where I earned an MBBS degree. So, by profession I am a doctor. Currently, I am doing post-graduation in Psychiatry from Liaquat University of Medical & Health Sciences (LUMHS), Jamshoro.
JWT: How much helpful did you find Jahangir’s World Times (JWT) in your preparation for PCS exam?
DSM: I prepared for PCS examination while I was serving as a District Procurement Officer in Health Department. World Times magazine helped me keep myself abreast of national and international issues. It publishes references, facts and figures, theories and articles for different subjects that help you to get higher score in written part of the exam. It has been a great source for my interview preparation as well. Conclusively, it has provided me complete guidance to clear PCS 2018 exam.
DSM: For PCS exam, compulsory papers demand special attention. First, it is necessary for aspirants to practice both English and Sindhi. This is because both subjects demand expressive way of presentation, correct grammar and vast knowledge. Similarly, quality books should be consulted. Answers should contain objective analysis and approach should be solution-oriented. As far as General Knowledge paper is concerned it should be prepared from different sources like newspapers, any one recommended book and Jahangir’s World Times magazine.
JWT: How answers should be written to get maximum marks in the written part of PCS exam?
DSM: First, it is necessary that you comprehend fully the nature of the question so as to get a clear idea and understanding of what has been asked. Answers should be logical and to the point and they must also be supplemented with excellent introduction, references, facts and figures, as well as a befitting conclusion. Similarly, headings should be given in answers to facilitate the examiner. Critical analysis should be followed by an optimistic conclusion. Most important, skill of time management must be learnt to attempt all questions properly.
JWT: How did you structure your Essay?
DSM: I prefer to write argumentative essays as it is easy for me to write on such topics with solid arguments. I would like to mention here that I have been ranked among toppers in Essay papers of PCS 2013 revised (marks 30/50), CSS 2016 (marks 48/100) and PCS 2018 (marks 22/50). In PCS 2018 exam, I attempted argumentative essay “Demilitarization is a constructive tool for global cooperation and peace: To what extent do you agree or disagree with the statement?”
Firstly, I took stand in favour of peace by mentioning that practice of demilitarisation results in restoration of peace across world. I wrote down all the ideas after requisite brainstorming. After that I wrote the outline with thesis statement. Then, I wrote the introduction covering all main areas of essay in brief. I proved my arguments in essay paragraphs with solid references, quotations and suitable examples. Finally, I gave critical analysis in conclusion with optimistic solution.
JWT: Should there be some word limit kept in mind while writing answers?
DSM: I do not approve of any such strategy. I think one should prove one’s stance with logical and coherent ideas. Flow of ideas should be lucid and organised. However, 4-5 pages are sufficient for an answer if written relevant and to the point.
DSM: It is worth mentioning that secret of success in competitive exams also lies in making correct decision about the selection of optional papers. For this, candidates should choose optional subjects keeping in view their educational background, field of interest and scoring trend of the subjects. Despite the fact that I have done MBBS, I opted for International Relations as an optional subject on the basis of my interest. Alhamdulillah, in this subject, I got 123 marks out of 200 and stood among toppers who got highest score in CSS 2016 IR paper. In PCS as well, I have got first position in this very subject.
JWT: Who deserves the credit for your success?
DSM: The credit for my success goes to my family, siblings, friends and teachers. During difficult times, my parents stood by me. I still remember that in CSS 2016 exam, I got 680 marks in written but failed the Précis and Composition paper. I was dejected but my parents motivated me a lot. Similarly, in CCE 2013 revised, I was not allocated despite passing both written and interview parts of exam. I felt hopeless but my parents told that me every cloud has a silver lining. So, now I have successfully achieved my goal by following my parents’ advice. Moreover, I cannot forget my mentor Professor Manzoor Mirza from Lahore who helped me a lot in improving my expression in English language.
JWT: As interviewers usually grill the interview candidates, how did you manage the situation?
DSM: I never lost my confidence, calm and composure in the face of this grilling. This is because I had gone through a number of interviews for various commissioned posts and had come out successful in all. To me confidence, positive attitude, presence of mind and one’s knowledge in one’s degree and optional subjects matter a lot.