Inspector Tourism Department
Government of the Punjab
Jahangir’s World Times (JWT): Please tell us about your educational background
Ahsan Bakhtiar (AB): I acquired my early education from Divisional Public High School (DPS), Burewala. Recently, I completed my MA in Political Science from University of the Punjab, Lahore. During Covid-19 in 2020, I did a short course on Global Politics from Yale University. Currently, I am pursuing my MPhil in Political Science from the same university.
JWT: How long did it take you to prepare for Inspector Tourism Department exam?
AB: My one-year preparation for CSS/PMS exams helped me ace this exam. During my preparation for these competitive exams, I used to give one-paper tests too because I feel job security is very important. It relieves you of extra pressure and you feel more confident and motivated while preparing for the big exams.
JWT: What were your principal resources?
AB: My principal resources included monthly JWT magazine, Big Book by World Times Publications for GK and some history books. I made newspaper a part of my life and read it religiously every day. Apart from that, I focused on English grammar as well. I used to solve online exercises of English grammar. My preparation for CSS exams also compensated me in this exam.
JWT: How was your experience at World Times Institute during your preparations?
AB: My experience at World Times Institute was phenomenal. It was a great learning experience with highly qualified and cooperative faculty at this institute. Pictures of qualifiers placed in the corridor inspired me a lot to work towards my goal. Overall, the WTI proved to be very helpful. I joined general 4-month session here. Later, I also gained advantage by enrolling myself in Super Class of WTI. Mr. Adnan Bashir, Ma’am Fakhra, Dr. Mehmood Alam, Sir Ali Naqvi, to name a few, guided me throughout my journey. They all were very cooperative. Moreover, the test session at WTI helped me improve a lot. It was due to WTI that I secured allocation as a Tourism Inspector and recently as a Sub Inspector in Punjab Police. Undoubtedly, my efforts came to fruition owing to the guidance I got at WTI.
JWT: How much helpful was Jahangir’s World Times during your preparation?
AB: JWT magazine is a compendium of well-researched and well-drafted relevant articles, interviews and analyses that make it a perfect guidebook for exams.
JWT: How new aspirants should start their preparations for the various one-paper exams?
AB: Aspirants should start by improving their English grammar and honing their vocabulary. Reading newspapers daily not only enhances your vocabulary but also helps you keep abreast of the current developments and hot issues, both national and international. So, reading newspapers, as well as the MCQs published in the monthly JWT magazine, is a must if the aspirants want to qualify GK portion of any exam.
JWT: What areas should they focus on?
AB: English grammar is the first and foremost area to be focused on, followed by General Knowledge. These two areas should be covered throughout the preparation phase, along with other subjects including Current Affairs, Islamiat, General Ability and Pakistan Affairs. Make a schedule accordingly and stick to that. Aspirants need to be focused and determined during the preparation phase.
JWT: What, in your opinion, is an ideal timetable for sound preparation?
AB: It varies from person to person but, in my opinion, 5-6 months are more than enough for good preparation. Aspirants can schedule the initial 3-4 months for making notes and memorizing them. The remaining months should be utilized in taking tests as many as one can.
JWT: What strategy should the in-job aspirants adopt as they have scant time at their disposal?
AB: In-job aspirants can do a good preparation in 7-8 months if they regularly spare 2-3 hours a day for reading newspapers and focusing on other areas like Pakistan Affairs, English, etc. It is not about how hard you work but how smart you work. In-job aspirants should dedicate daily 2-3 hours to studying. They can spend weekends studying for long hours and doing written practice.
JWT: How did you handle the interview pressure while before the panel?
AB: I did knowledge-based preparation which gave me a sense of confidence during the interview. I also gave mock interviews at WTI before the final interview, and that practice, too, helped me in relieving the pressure. Before going for the final interview, I studied the panel. This also reduces pressure when you see the same panel before you.
JWT: Please share some questions the panellists asked during the interview.
AB: My interview experience was great. The panel made me feel at home. Most questions were related to the tourism industry. Secretary Tourism Sir Ehsan Bhutta asked me about tourism potential in Pakistan. Another respectable panellist asked questions on Social Contract theory. After asking some general questions about tourism, they asked me some scenario-based questions. For example, I remember them asking me the strategy through which I would have handled the Murree tragedy. They asked some facts-based questions too, e.g. the share of tourism in world GDP. Some token questions were also asked. I answered most of the questions. For those appearing in interviews, I would suggest that they should remain calm and composed, well-dressed and well-spoken to score high.
JWT: On the basis of your experience, what tips you would give to the prospective aspirants?
AB: Competition has become intense in recent years and that requires aspirants to stay focused and dedicated. Every year, thousands of candidates appear in competitive exams and only a handful of them succeed owing to their determination, patience and hard work. So, aspirants should begin with self-analysis of their strong and weak points and make their schedule accordingly. Interview is a game-changer in deciding final allocation. Therefore, aspirants should work on improving their communication skills and command over the English language. The journey of competitive exams can be painstaking; hence, it demands persistence, perseverance and consistency. Work hard, prepare honestly and, most importantly, believe in yourself.