Assistant Section Officer
Service and General Administration Department (S&GAD)
Jahangir’s World Times (JWT): Please tell us about your educational background
Qamar Ali (QA): I did my BSc in Mechanical Engineering from University of Engineering and Technology (UET), Lahore. Currently, I am doing my MPhil in Thermal Power Engineering.
JWT: How long did it take you to prepare for the Assistant Section Officer (S&GAD) exam?
QA: My first attempt was in 2019 when I appeared in the exam conducted for recruitment as Sub-Inspector. However, I couldn’t enter the final merit list by just a minor difference. Then, after making preparations for two months, I appeared in the “Ziladar” exam and qualified for the interview but, unfortunately, PPSC stopped the recruitment process due to some uncertain reasons. After that, I decided to prepare for other exams conducted, every now and then, by PPSC and started from scratch. In the next phase, I made preparations for around six months and appeared in all major exams conducted by PPSC with full zeal. However, my principal focus was on ‘Tehsildar’, ‘Assistant S&GAD”, ‘Naib Tehsildar’ and Sub-Inspector. I also took examinations for recruitment as Assistant Director and Sub-Inspector, Ministry of Defence. Alhamdolillah, I cleared all these exams. So, roughly my preparation time was around ‘one year’.
JWT: What were your principal resources?
QA: My principal resources during the preparation phase were “Encyclopedia General Knowledge by JWT Publications and my hand-written notes that played a vital role in revision during the last days.
JWT: How was your experience at World Times Institute during your preparations?
QA: After qualifying the written exam for Assistant Section Officer (S&GAD), I joined World Times Institute for interview preparation which is as important as qualifying the written exam. To be honest, WTI was my trusted partner and I appeared in a number of mock interviews conducted there. The feedback I got gave me a clear view of my standings and enhanced my skills. The whole faculty of WTI was very supportive all through my preparation for the interview, especially Sir Adnan Bashir AC (UT), who used to give me his time for checking my answers for predicted questions. So, overall my journey was great.
JWT: How new aspirants should start preparations for the various one-paper exams?
QA: First of all, a new aspirant should come out of the fear of failure. S(he) should believe in incremental change. S(he) should set realistic targets and remain consistent and dedicated to achieve those. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Without any kind of fear in mind, one should take that single step.
JWT: What areas should (s)he focus?
QA: The areas one should focus are: command on basic concepts, comprehensive analysis of past papers and to-the-point study according to syllabus.
JWT: What is, in your opinion, an ideal time table for a sound preparation?
QA: Passing the FPSC and PPSC exams is a game of chance that starts after hard work. I, therefore, believe that six hours a day for a year, at least, should be dedicated for satisfactory preparation.
JWT: What strategy should the in-job aspirants adopt as they have scant time at their disposal?
QA: In-job aspirants can easily prepare with proper time management as they can easily manage themselves after their duty hours. I strongly believe in a proverb “No pain, No gain”.
JWT: How did you handle the interview pressure while before the panel?
QA: I overcame the interview pressure by giving rigorous mock interviews at WTI. In a nutshell, I would say, “Practice makes a man perfect”.
JWT: Please share some questions the panellists asked during the interview?
QA: My interview was mainly focused on every single word of my introduction that included my degree, my hobbies and my strong areas of interest. I believe that before appearing in the final interview, every aspirant should prepare and predict his or her interview by writing maximum predicted questions.
JWT: On the basis of your experience, what tips would you give to the prospective aspirants?
QA: On the basis of my experience, I would say that every aspirant should have the ability to skim data while making notes. Mere reading is insufficient, comprehension is important. Furthermore, revision is equal to expert ability. Do revise your subjects on a periodic basis and make your own notes, instead of relying on those of others.