In Conversation With
Dr Altaf Ali Mangi
69th in Sindh, PCS 2018
Jahangir’s World Times (JWT): First of all, please tell us about your educational background?
Dr Altaf Ali Mangi (DAAM): I have a diverse educational background. I went to a government school and college until intermediate. Then, I did Pharm. D from Sindh University, Jamshoro and later an MPhil degree in Pharmaceutics. Currently, I am doing PhD in medicine from Gomal University, Dera Ismail Khan.
JWT: How much helpful did you find Jahangir’s World Times (JWT) in your preparation for PCS exam?
DAAM: JWT was quite a relevant and updated source of information for me during my preparations for PCS examination. It helped me in consolidating my command over various current topics, especially those related to General Knowledge paper. Well-researched articles by veteran writers and updated general knowledge MCQs published by JWT were a readymade source of information for me. In all, JWT is highly productive and fruitful for a sound preparation of all competitive examinations.
JWT: What, in your opinion, is the key to getting through compulsory papers of PCS exam, especially that of General Knowledge?
DAAM: I think the key to getting through compulsory subjects is to be specific, instead of general, in preparing the topic as well as writing the answers. A candidate must develop his/her own analysis on the topics and for that (s)he must go through different sources like books and other reading material available.
JWT: How answers should be written to get maximum marks in the written part of PCS exam?
DAAM: One should write the answer in such a manner that the examiner finds it easy to go through one’s paper and also feel a difference in content. It can be done by giving figures, headings and subheadings, as well as by drawing diagrams to support one’s answer. Moreover, a candidate must first fully comprehend the question and then structure the answer accordingly. This will help you avoid digression.
JWT: How did you structure your Essay?
DAAM: After comprehending the topic and analysing its dimensions, I spent almost 35 minutes on making the outline and writing introduction to the essay as well as the thesis statement. I gave my arguments in lucid English but in a clear and proper way. The key is to understand the topic and give sound arguments thereupon in grammatically-correct English.
DAAM: To prepare well for the Objective part, I consulted past papers and JWT books on General Knowledge, and online sources.
JWT: Should there be some word limit kept in mind while writing answers?
DAAM: I think an answer should span minimum four and maximum six pages. But, please remember that the only key is quality, not quantity, of the answer that matters most in attempting a question in papers of a competitive examination. So, no one can fix the word limit for an answer. Only with relevant material and research-based discussion, one can get the maximum score.
DAAM: Three things should be kept in mind while choosing optional subjects: Academic background, personal interest in the subject and past papers. Despite this fact that I was a student of Medical Science, I opted for Islamic History and Sindhi Literature as optional subjects on the basis of my interest. Alhamdulillah, in these subjects, I got excellent marks and stood among toppers. And, if you have a background in that subject, it is always a plus point.
JWT: Who deserves the credit for your success?
DAAM: The credit for my success goes to my family. During difficult times, my parents stood by me. I still remember that in CSS-2015 exam, I got 545 marks in written but could not secure aggregate marks, required to appear in the interview. I was disappointed but my parents motivated me a lot. Similarly, in CCE 2013 (Revised), I was not allocated despite passing both written and interview parts of the exam. Moreover, I am thankful to the Almighty Allah who bestowed on me this success. The credit goes also to my teachers, especially Sir Mohammad Ali Ghoto, Sir Haroon Khan, Sir Imtiaz Mangi and my friends Awais Ahmed Juno and Rashid Ali Roongho. I am highly indebted to for their continuous support in this journey. Moreover, I will pay my gratitude to my mother who always prayed for me and kept motivating me to achieve this milestone.
JWT: As interviewers usually grill the interview candidates, how did you manage the situation, especially given the fact that you secured second highest marks in that portion?
DAAM: Not all the time the interviewers grill the candidates. In my first attempt, that is, Revised CCE-2013, I was grilled to some extent but in second attempt, all went very smooth. I tried to remain calm and answer the questions to the point. The overall response of the panellists was very encouraging.
Advice for Fresh Aspirants
Work smartly, make scheduled study, set the goals and also the time frame to achieve them. Develop your own notes. Don’t get de-motivated even if you fail this prestigious exam. Believe in yourself, work hard and be consistent in your efforts.
My Interview Experience
The interview started with questions related to my family, district profile and academic background. After that, the panellists asked different questions on national and international issues. One panellist also asked me to recite some verses of Sindhi poets. Overall, the interview went very well.