Jahangir’s World Times (JWT): First of all, please tell us about your educational background?
Almas Sabeeh Saqib: I did BA (Hons) with majors in Political Science from Government College University (GCU), Lahore. Later, I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Law.
JWT: How much helpful did you find Jahangir’s World Times (JWT) in your preparation for PMS exam?
Almas: Both World Times magazines (English and Urdu) were very helpful for me as the Urdu magazine facilitated me to attempt Urdu and Islamiat papers whereas the English one was highly useful when I was preparing for crucial papers like General Knowledge and English essay.
JWT: What, in your opinion, is the key to getting through compulsory papers of PMS exam, especially that of General Knowledge?
Almas: The first and the foremost thing which ensures that you get through and secure very good marks in compulsory papers is consulting standardized material that is up to the mark as well. What I mean here is that one should prepare for each subject only from good, authentic books. Most of the times, aspirants try to find a shortcut relying, thereby, on notes or substandard books. Considering the current competition and dynamics of the PMS examination, such books and market guides are no more helpful. Only the quality material would help you imbibe important themes and concepts of a subject and the jargon of that area. The more understanding you have of the jargon of a specific subject, the better you perform in that subject.
JWT: How answers should be written to secure maximum marks in the written part of PMS exam?
Almas: I have personally observed many aspirants cramming some particular or the so-called frequently asked questions from past papers; they do not bother to prepare an issue or a topic holistically. It results in two things: one, such aspirants fail to get a fair understanding of the topic or issue; two, it deprives them of getting engaged with the given question spontaneously. These two things lead to irrelevant answers. That is why we see that many aspirants, instead of directly answering the questions, start writing what the question doesn’t even demand. So, the answer must be to the point and should logically target the aspect asked in the question. One should not just write what one had crammed because responding to the question logically is the real key to success. Moreover, I would advise every aspirant to provide catchy headings and ideally reflect what (s)he is going to explain in the paragraph that follows it. Lastly, be also very careful and logical while writing the introduction and the conclusion.
Almas: After spending some time on understanding the topic, I extracted the key variables of that. It helped me understand what the topic actually required of me and which one is the area that I need to focus on. So, the brainstorming in this manner helped me in jotting down the points from where I filtered the main points and arranged them in order the topic required me to. I focused more on quality than quantity and tried to remain absolutely relevant and to the point till the conclusion of my essay.
JWT: What was your strategy for the General Knowledge paper?
Almas: I went through as many past papers as I could and stayed updated on day-to-day national and international events through newspapers and JWT.
JWT: Should there be some word limit kept in mind while writing answers?
Almas: I don’t think so, because every question has a different subject matter and the length may, thus, vary depending on the requirements of a question. However, one should try that the answer should be spread on at least 6 pages.
JWT: Is it better to attempt optional papers in Urdu or one should go with English only?
Almas: I think it is better to attempt those in English language.
JWT: How one should choose Optional Subjects?
Almas: One should bear two things in mind while choosing the optional subjects for PMS: first, how much margin does a subject have to offer the maximum marks; second, and highly important, how much capacity and aptitude does one have to comprehend the subject one desires to select.
JWT: Who deserves the credit for your success?
Almas: The credit for my success first goes to my father who is my first teacher; and secondly to my mentor and my senior Tanveer Shakoor Rana sahib.
JWT: As interviewers usually grill the interview candidates, how did you manage the situation?
Almas: Basically, my debating background helped me a lot in that particular situation. I had a good experience of handling the bombardment of questions, and tackling even very difficult questions. It also helped me to stay composed and confident even if I didn’t know the answers.
My advice for fresh aspirants
Prepare with passion and dedication and always have faith in yourself and prepare with the confidence that you can and you will do it. Conviction and faith in oneself do wonders.
My Interview Experience
After salutations and the general questions about my family background, the panellists asked a lot of questions about my interests. They asked the reason why I opted for Punjabi and asked some of the questions from Urdu literature as well. Then, they gave me a situation and asked how I would handle that. Their main focus was on Political Science and Law. In the end, the chairman asked me a few questions about general knowledge and geography.