In Conversation With
Waseem Elahi Laghari
108th in Sindh, PCS 2018-19
Catchline: I used to cut the pieces of advice from JWT and paste them on my books and notes so as to remember what to do and how to do.
Jahangir’s World Times (JWT): First of all, please tell us about your educational background?
Waseem Elahi Laghari (WEL): I did matriculation from and intermediate from Khairpur. After that, I qualified medical entry test and got admission to MBBS at FMDC Islamabad where I am currently enrolled in final year. I applied for PCS exam in 2018 on the basis of a B.A degree which I completed in 2017 from Shah Abdul Latif University, Khairpur, as an external student.
JWT: How much helpful did you find Jahangir’s World Times (JWT) in your preparation for PCS exam? And, how was your experience at World Times Institute?
WEL: It is necessary for the candidates of competitive exams to keep themselves abreast of the day-to-day affairs of the country and the world. JWT was the single most reliable source which catered for this need of mine. As an avid reader of JWT, I used to collect facts, figures, graphs and other data from it and quoted these in different papers of PCS exam. Moreover, JWT also provides valuable information about different dimensions of this exam such as subject-specific preparation tips and answer writing techniques. I remember, I used to cut the pieces of advice from JWT and paste them on my books and notes so as to remember what to do and how to do. Conclusively, JWT proved very beneficial for me in my journey.
JWT: What, in your opinion, is the key to getting through compulsory papers of PCS exam?
WEL: Each paper presents with different challenges and demands a separate approach. For example, the paper of English Essay needs to be tackled differently from the paper of GK. Thus, subject-specific preparation strategies, preparation from quality materials and recommended books, and meticulous preparation of answer-writing is the key to get through the compulsory papers of PCS exam.
Similarly, for getting through the paper of GK, I would highly recommend analysis of past papers of the subject. This helps to understand spectrum of the questions and to select sources for a sound preparation.
JWT: How answers should be written to get maximum marks in the written part of PCS exam?
WEL: For writing a good-scoring answer, first understand the crux and dimensions of the question. Moreover, have a clear plan in mind as to what and how to write. All parts of a question must be elucidated clearly with facts, figures, diagrams, flowcharts and graphs, and different parts of an answer must be connected to each other logically. Furthermore, answers should start with general introductions and end with specific conclusions.
JWT: What was your strategy for the General Knowledge paper?
WEL: My primary sources to prepare for GK paper were the past papers of SPSC. I tried to solve as many of those as I could. Besides, I regularly read the newspapers and certain magazines like The Economist and JWT. Also, I consulted the books: Who is Who and What is What and JWT Current Affairs series.
WEL: Yes, making an allowance for word limit while answering questions is necessary for effective time management. Since, generally, all questions carry equal marks; therefore, they must be given equal time and the length of the answers should be equal.
JWT: Is it better to attempt optional papers in Urdu or one should go with English only?
WEL: It depends on the level of proficiency an aspirant has on both the languages. If an aspirant thinks that (s)he can attempt those very well in Urdu, (s)he/she should not hesitate in going for that. A well articulated answer, whether written in Urdu or English, will surely fetch good marks.
JWT: How one should choose Optional Subjects?
WEL: For this, I would recommend a four-point strategy. First, educational background should be given topmost priority. As a student of medicine, I opted for Human Physiology despite the rumours that it is a low-scoring subject. Second, I selected International Relations due to my personal interest in that subject. Third, choosing overlapping subjects is very beneficial for preparation. For example, I chose Sindhi Literature because it overlapped with two compulsory papers: Sindhi Essay and Sindhi Composition. Last seat should be given to scoring trend as it does exist.
JWT: Who deserves the credit for your success?
WEL: This success would not have been possible without the prayers and support of my mother. Moreover, my teachers—especially those from IBA Community College Khairpur—played a pivotal role in turning me into something valuable. A part from this, some of my near and dear friends, particularly Dr. Zia Jakhrani, Faheem Elahi and Noshad Jiskani, also supported me in my journey. So, all these persons deserve credit for my success.
JWT: As interviewers usually grill the interview candidates, how did you manage the situation?
WEL: In my opinion, interviews of competitive exams are more like opinion-oriented discussions. The interviewers usually grill the candidates to check their confidence. In my interview, when I skipped a question of a panellist, he asked five more questions from similar subject to put me in hot water. Although, I couldn’t answer any of his six questions, yet I remained confident. Moreover, some interviewers themselves put forward their opinions about some question(s) and, then, candidates hesitate to put any contradictory opinions. This is a wrong approach. I politely contradicted opinions of the panellists by giving arguments, facts and figures. Through these techniques, I managed the situation and obtained 141 marks out of 150.
Advice for Fresh Aspirants
Preparation for PCS is a journey which should be pursued with passion and determination. Rather than searching for shortcuts, handle the ups and downs of this journey with steadfastness. Do give your best and leave the rest to Almighty Allah.
My Interview Experience
My interview experience was memorable as it was my first ever interview and I was the first candidate on the first day of interviews. I answered all questions with utmost honesty. Throughout the forty-minute interview, I remained at the mediocre level of confidence in my answers as well as in my body language. My interview was largely opinion-oriented and the questions were asked from my personal life, history of my district, international relations, world history and Pakistan Affairs. Almost 40 questions were asked; out of which, I answered around 28-32 questions.