In Conversation With
Muhammad Kazim Raza Bhatti
42nd in Punjab, PMS 2017-18
Jahangir’s World Times (JWT): First of all, please tell us about your educational background?
Muhammad Kazim Raza Bhatti (MKRB): I hail from Khanqah Dogran, District Sheikhpura. I did my O-Level from Lawrence College Ghora Gali, Murree, and later went to HITEC College for Boys, Taxila, from where I passed my intermediate examination. In year 2015, I graduated from Forman Christian College, Lahore, in Economics and Political Science.
JWT: How much helpful did you find Jahangir’s World Times (JWT) in your preparation for PMS exam?
MKRB: I prepared for PMS examination while I was serving as a Land Record Officer. World Times magazine immensely helped me to keep myself abreast of national and international issues. The books published by World Times Publications also played an instrumental role in my preparations for this prestigious exam.
JWT: What, in your opinion, is the key to getting through compulsory papers of PMS exam, especially that of General Knowledge?
MKRB: There are no hard and fast rules to prepare for compulsory papers of PMS examination. First, an aspirant should start from the basics. Then (s)he should practise both English and Urdu, because in these two subjects not only the knowledge of a candidate is tested but also the way (s)he presents them. In the case of Pakistan Affairs and Islamiat, the aspirant should study quality material as prescribed by PPSC. Similarly, magazines like Foreign Affairs, World Times, Herald and Times can help in improving General Knowledge, and one should try to utilize internet sources as well.
JWT: How answers should be written to get maximum marks in the written part of PMS exam?
MKRB: Majority of the candidates is of the view that the length of an answer determines the score in a particular subject, which in my opinion is a categorically incorrect perception. A candidate should try to be relevant while answering a question and must provide essential facts and opinions that question demands.
JWT: How did you structure your Essay?
MKRB: I attempted the essay in a systematic manner and tried to stay relevant all along. Remember, relevancy and brevity are the crucial features of an essay. The topic which I chose was Globalization and Nationalism cannot co-exist in the long run, and I went against the statement by giving proper justifications.
JWT: What was your strategy for the General Knowledge paper?
MKRB: I went through several past papers of FPSC and PPSC, and identified a few areas to prepare. I also used internet sources and practiced some past papers.
JWT: Should there be some word limit kept in mind while writing answers?
MKRB: I will only say that relevance should be kept in mind. You may write 4-5 pages for an answer and it would suffice if it is relevant and includes facts. In the case of opinion-based questions, one should try to give one’s own opinion on the basis of the understanding of the topic.
JWT: Is it better to attempt optional papers in Urdu or one should go with English only?
MKRB: It depends on the candidate as to how (s)he can express his/her thoughts, but from my point of view, paper should be attempted in English.
JWT: How one should choose Optional Subjects?
MKRB: There are several factors that may be considered. First is the educational background of a candidate. Second, on the basis of area of interest as I took ‘History’ despite the fact that I had graduated in Economics and Political Science. Third, recent scoring trends also matter, albeit to a certain extent.
JWT: Who deserves the credit for your success?
MKRB: The credit for my success goes to Allah, my family, especially my mother who always remains a source of inspiration for me and always prays for me and my father who believed in me that I can ace this exam. Sir Asghar Malik and Sir Aslam Sandhu, who were my first teachers when I was in Lawrence College, Sir Ishtiaq Zaidi, Sir Tanveer Rana, Sir Zain ul Abideen and Sir Hamood Ranjha also deserve the credit.
JWT: As interviewers usually grill the interview candidates, how did you manage the situation?
MKRB: My interview experience was good despite the fact that the panel grilled me a lot. In the beginning, they asked some questions regarding my degree and optional subjects, and then they started asking about the current issues. I dropped 3-4 questions but in my whole interview what I didn’t lose was my confidence, and that helped me to fetch good marks.
Always have a strong faith in Allah and in your own capabilities. Also, have a strong conviction that you can ace this exam on the basis of your perseverance, consistency and hard work. During the time of preparations, you may come across many vicissitudes but you need to remain committed to your goal. Never vacillate!
Start from the basics and then try to accumulate maximum knowledge that would help you in the exam. As an old maxim says, fortune favours the brave, with courage and determination and having faith in Allah you can sail through this phase.
It was a good experience. The panel asked me about my previous job and then started asking questions regarding my degree. Questions on current issues like Brexit and Saudi Arabia-Iran crisis were also asked. Some questions were from history and sociology.