In Conversation with
28th in Punjab, PMS 2019-20
Jahangir’s World Times (JWT): First of all, please tell us about your educational background?
Muhammad Furqan (MF): I studied till matriculation at Central Public School in Khanpur and did my FSc from Alpine College of the same city. Then, I moved to Lahore for pursuing higher education, and graduated from LSE with BBA in Finance and Marketing.
JWT: How much helpful did you find Jahangir’s World Times (JWT) in your preparation for PMS exam?
MF: World Times magazine was very helpful in understanding current world issues with its articles on a variety of topics covering almost all subjects. It contains all the relevant facts and figures searching for which you have to spend hours. So, in a nutshell, it saves your time and effort.
JWT: What, in your opinion, is the key to getting through compulsory papers of PMS exam, especially that of General Knowledge?
MF: I believe that an aspirant should follow the following three things:
1. First understand what is syllabus and what is required of you;
2. go through past papers and understand the structure of the paper; and
3. read and gather relevant information in the form of notes.
And, for General Knowledge paper:
Since it is a very versatile paper and demands a lot of effort, therefore, dissect the paper into sections and prepare for those but be always relevant. Past papers are a great help in understanding the paper pattern and practicing it. So, try to go through relevant past papers during your preparation.
My interview experience was excellent as the panel was quite satisfied with my performance. They started grilling me right off the bat with Durrani sahib taking the lead and asking me a variety of questions from my academic degree and background. Sir Seerat was more interested in my optional subjects, especially History, as he asked a lot of questions from there. Mr Chairman was more interested in current affairs. During the interview, I remained calm and composed with no shortness of breath. I kept smiling while answering the questions and even while dropping them. From entering till leaving the interview room, I remained confident, and humble as well.
JWT: How answers should be written to get maximum marks in the written part of PMS exam?
MF: You should understand that every paper is different from the other, and requires a different strategy. So, understand your subject nature and gather important questions related to it. Then, prepare accordingly by including headings, diagrams, flowcharts and facts and figures in your notes. On the answer sheet, always start your answer with a hint of what is coming. Use headings for a well-structured answer and conclude it with a critical analysis.
JWT: How essay should be structured in English Essay paper?
MF: Topic selection is the most important part of attempting the Essay paper as it seals your fate at that very moment. If you are confused between topics, make their rough outline; right topic will clearly hit you. But it is not sufficient as an essay must have a catchy introduction that should indulge the examiner into further reading. The content of the essay must be relevant and short as brevity is the soul of wit. Also, conclude your essay with a proper ending.
JWT: What was your strategy for the General Knowledge paper?
MF: I divided the syllabus into different sections and then skimmed through past papers for relevant material. Internet was a great help in searching for the material. But the most important thing in GK paper is to attempt only those questions you know the answers of. Remember, random guessing can fail you.
JWT: Should there be some word limit kept in mind while writing answers?
MF: More important than the word limit is the time limit as you have a limited amount of time in which you have to write an answer. So, keeping this in mind, devise a strategy and write your answer accordingly.
JWT: Is it better to attempt optional papers in Urdu or one should go with English only?
MF: It is better to attempt in a language with which you are most comfortable.
JWT: How one should choose Optional Subjects?
MF: This is the most crucial part of PMS examination as wrong selection of optional subjects can lead you to disaster. There is no straight line formula for subject selection as everyone has different aptitude for different subjects. So, go with the ones that you are most comfortable with, keeping in mind the scoring trend also.
JWT: Who deserves the credit for your success?
MF: Firstly, the credit of my success goes to Allah Almighty Who blessed me with an environment that I took this exam properly. Secondly, it goes to my parents and relatives whose never-ending love, support and prayers made my success possible. In the end, to all those remained with me, prayed for me and supported me during this journey.
JWT: As interviewers usually grill the interview candidates, how did you manage the situation?
MF: My interview experience was an interesting one as the panellists tried to grill me from the start till the end. They asked me a variety of questions. I had to drop some of them but in spite of that I remained calm and kept smiling. I never lost my breath or stature even for a single moment. I calmly answered the questions of which I knew the correct answer and dropped those about which I wasn’t much sure. I believe, confidence is the key to success in an interview.