In Conversation with
58th in Punjab, PMS 2019-20
Jahangir’s World Times (JWT): First of all, please tell us about your educational background?
Salman Qayyum (SQ): I did matriculation and Intermediate from Crescent Model Higher Secondary School, Lahore. After that, I enrolled myself in the English Department of the Punjab University and completed my graduation in English Literature.
JWT: How much helpful did you find Jahangir’s World Times (JWT) in your preparation for PMS exam? And how was your experience at the World Times Institute?
SQ: Ijoined World Times Institute for the preparation of interview. And I found it extremely instrumental in covering all the aspects of preparation. The faculty was highly qualified and well informed. Lectures were delivered in an eloquent, comprehensive manner. Mock interview sessions also proved very helpful in my preparation for this critical phase.
Besides, JWT magazine helped me in keeping myself abreast of national and international issues. It had been an integral part of my journey for quite some time.
JWT: What, in your opinion, is the key to getting through compulsory papers of PMS exam, especially that of General Knowledge?
SQ: I think the key to every success lies in the blend of hard work and smart work. In the compulsory papers of PMS, especially those of Essay, Précis and General Knowledge are considered a tough ride to sail for. Therefore, I would recommend aspirants to enhance their reading and understand the basic structure of English language. Read newspapers and op-eds of quality dailies, and learn how to build an argument in a structured way. For Islamiat and Pakistan Studies, consult the quality books recommended by PPSC along with the Internet sources.
For General Knowledge paper, one should consult good books available in market. However, to cover the portion of evolving knowledge such as national and international issues, one should take help from newspapers, magazines like JWT and Internet sources.
JWT: How answers should be written to get maximum marks in the written part of PMS exam?
SQ: First of all, read the question and underline the key terms of the question statement. Then, write your answer in a structured way by keeping those terms in mind. Start with a very short outline and a comprehensive introduction. Use headings, subheadings, facts and figures, flowcharts, relevant quotes and graphs in your answer. In the end, also write a brief conclusion to give the examiner a gist of the whole answer. Never beat about the bush and try to keep your answer within the framework of the question.
JWT: How did you structure your Essay?
SQ: I wrote essay on CPEC. Firstly, I did brainstorming for 5-10 minutes at the back of the answer sheet. Then, on the basis of all those ideas, I wrote a comprehensive outline. It was followed by an introduction that was relevant, precise and had an all-encompassing thesis statement. After that, I elaborated, one by one, all the points that I had mentioned in the outline and substantiated my stance with logical arguments and relevant data.
JWT: What was your strategy for the General Knowledge paper?
SQ: I had consulted a few GK books before the examination. I had also appeared in some one-paper (MCQs) exams prior to appearing in PMS exam so as to develop some grip over GK. However, GK is not something that can be learned from books only; one has to stay in touch with all the events/issues of the national and international importance. For that, I used to take help from newspapers, JWT magazine and the Internet.
JWT: Should there be some word limit kept in mind while writing answers?
SQ: I used to write 5-6 pages only for an answer. However, I believe there is no set criterion for that. The core components of a good answer are relevancy, brevity, logic, arguments and clarity. If you are able to satisfy the examiner by inculcating all these components in an answer spanning even 4 pages, you are good to go.
JWT: Is it better to attempt optional papers in Urdu or one should go with English only?
SQ: In my opinion, one should go with English only. Nowadays competitive exams demand critical thinking on the part of the aspirants. And for that, one has to go through a lot of data, books and articles, which are mostly available in English language. Hence I would suggest aspirants to develop a strong grip over English language and try to opt optional papers in English only.
JWT: How one should choose Optional Subjects?
SQ: Two standards must be kept in mind while choosing the optional subjects: scoring trend and interest. Always choose subjects that are generally considered scoring and easy to cover in a limited span of time, e.g. Sociology, Social Work and Journalism. However, it is equally important that one must keep one’s own interest in perspective while selecting the optional subjects. Otherwise, lack of interest would result in surface-level preparation and thereby failure or low score in the end.
JWT: Who deserves the credit for your success?
SQ: The credit for my success goes to my family and friends who stood by me through thick and thin. They always motivated me to dream more, do more and achieve more.
JWT: As interviewers usually grill the interview candidates, how did you manage the situation?
SQ: I believe the key to success in interview lies in the confidence one exudes at that moment. The panel asked me some tricky questions of which I was not sure about. So, I humbly apologized for my inability to answer the question and went for the next one. I also maintained the proper eye contact with panellists while my overall body language was positive and calm. I believe, apart from your knowledge, there are many other implicit traits that are being noticed by the panellists. So, always try to be yourself and never try to outsmart the interviewer by answering something you know nothing about.