“I used to read JWT regularly and it proved to be beneficial since it covers a wide range of topics related to competitive examinations”
Jahangir’s World Times (JWT): First of all, please tell us about your educational background?
Ahsan Mumtaz Gondal (AMG): I did matriculation from Rangers Public School, Mandi Bahauddin, and intermediate from Forman Christian College, Lahore. Later on, I did graduation in Business Administration from University of Management and Technology, Lahore.
JWT: How much helpful did you find Jahangir’s World Times (JWT) during your preparation? And, how was your experience at World Times Institute?
AMG: I used to read Jahangir’s World Times magazine regularly. It proved to be quite beneficial since it covers a wide range of topics related to competitive examinations.
As far as World Times Institute is concerned, I joined it for interview preparation. I recommend the written qualifiers to join WTI at least for mock interviews.
JWT: What, in your opinion, is the key to getting through compulsory papers especially that of General Knowledge?
AMG: The key to ace any competitive exam is aspirant’s command over compulsory subjects. Therefore, one should prepare the compulsory subjects thoroughly. One must consult the syllabi as well as past papers and devise strategy for preparation according to one’s aptitude and interest. Past papers conducted by Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) and Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) must be consulted for General Knowledge paper.
JWT: How answers should be written to get excellent marks in written part of PMS exam?
AMG: The answer must be well-structured. It does not matter how many books you have studied for preparation, you must be able to convince the examiner through your answer sheet. Try to include maps, diagrams and quotations in your answers. Moreover, answers must also be coherent and relevant. Almost every question contains more than one part. Therefore, it is advisable to address all parts completely.
JWT: Should there be some word limit kept in mind while writing answers?
AMG: Frankly, it is very difficult to concentrate on word limit while writing an answer. I believe one should focus more on quality than quantity. At times, in the quest for quantity, we compromise on quality of the answer. However, I think five to six pages for one answer are sufficient.
JWT: How did you structure your Essay?
AMG: Essay is the nemesis of many a man in competitive examinations, especially CSS, PMS and PCS. For essay, first of all, I took almost fifteen minutes in selecting the topic. Secondly, I dissected the topic I chose to write on in different parts. After brainstorming, I organized the material in the form of a comprehensive outline.
In my opinion, a scoring essay has the following qualities:
1. Simple, but correct, English
2. Relevant facts and figures
3. Coherence among paragraphs
AMG: To facilitate the aspirants, PPSC has provided a thoroughly-outlined syllabus for General Knowledge paper. First of all, it must be prepared. Secondly, the current affairs portion of JWT magazine is also handy in this regard.
JWT: What were the questions you found challenging during the interview?
AMG: Questions related to my graduation degree were a bit challenging. One of the panellists asked some difficult questions ranging from the core concepts to their implementation.
JWT: As interviewers usually grill the interview candidates, how did you manage the situation?
AMG: I think the panel tries to test a candidate’s nerves. My seniors advised me to say ‘No’ if I did not know the answer. Actually, problem arises when a candidate tries to answer every question and starts beating about the bush. According to my experience, confidence and communication skills play an important role in securing good marks in interview.
JWT: Who deserves the credit for your success?
AMG: First of all, I thank Almighty Allah for the success He has bestowed on me. The incessant prayers of my parents and support of my siblings are a major factor behind my success. Moreover, I owe a lot to my friends especially Mr Usman Ghumman and Mr Aurangzeb Sidhu.
JWT: How did you prepare your notes?
AMG: I prepared short, but detailed, notes and they proved quite handy too during the exam. It is not necessary to always prepare notes; the choice varies from person to person. In my case, I heavily relied on my own notes.
JWT: How one should choose Optional Subjects?
AMG: Know thyself! The ideal combination should be of interest and scoring trend. One must select two subjects by keeping in view one’s interest or relevant degree and the remaining one should be selected on the basis of the scoring trend.
JWT: Is it better to attempt optional papers in Urdu or one should go with English only?
AMG: I think, one must attempt optional papers in English. The principal reason for this assertion is that I have not seen any good book for these subjects in Urdu.
My Advice for fresh aspirants
Always remember, PMS is all about smart study. Consult syllabi and past papers before starting study for a subject. Keep faith in your abilities. Work hard, not hardly, and know “There is no elevator to success, you have to take the stairs.”
My interview experience
When I entered the room and took may seat, Mr Chairman asked me to introduce myself. After introduction, the second member inquired about my hobbies. After knowing that I had great interest in Urdu humour, he started discussion on the various dimensions of the topic. He asked me six questions and I answered all very comfortably. The third panellist asked some questions related to my graduation degree. He was a tough guy. Mr Chairman shifted the discussion and asked me to elaborate on the rise of East and what was the ‘String of Pearls’ strategy. Later, the discussion was diverted to Pakistan-India relations. After that, he asked me to speak on a topic ‘First deserve then desire’ for three minutes. The fourth member put some token questions which were quite easy.