In Conversation with
Dr Arsalan Sikandar Gondal
4th in Punjab, PMS 2020-21
Jahangir’s World Times (JWT): First of all, please tell us about your educational background?
Dr Arsalan Sikandar Gondal (DASG): My initial schooling is from Crescent Model Higher Secondary School, Lahore. Afterwards, I did my FSc from Government College University, and finally, graduated from King Edward Medical University, both prestigious institutions of the provincial metropolis of Punjab.
JWT: How much helpful did you find Jahangir’s World Times (JWT) in your preparation for PMS exam?
DASG: I added JWT to the sources for current affairs during my interview preparation and found that JWT provides a concise yet comprehensive overview of hot issues.
JWT: What, in your opinion, is the key to getting through compulsory papers of PMS exam, especially that of General Knowledge?
DASG: I believe both compulsory and optional subjects should be targeted topic-wise. For every subject, a list of important topics should be compiled through the lens of past papers. Then, these topics should be prepared in detail and from different dimensions. The same strategy works for General Knowledge paper as well.
JWT: How answers should be written to get maximum marks in the written part of PMS exam?
DASG: The answers should be relevant and to the point. Every question contains sub-questions, which must be individually addressed under separate headings. Moreover, the answers should be embellished with diagrams, maps and flow charts.
JWT: How did you structure your Essay?
DASG: I started off by writing a comprehensive outline. Then, within the essay, I followed the usual sequence of introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion. Every paragraph of the essay contained a topic sentence, few supporting sentences and a concluding sentence. Where necessary, transition sentences were also used. The essay was further adorned with cogent argumentation and relevant referencing.
JWT: Since you have scored excellent marks in English Essay, what was your strategy for this paper?
DASG: Two months before the expected exam date, I started writing a complete essay on a daily basis and continued this practice till the actual exam. I believe this drill reflected in my essay marks.
JWT: Should there be some word limit kept in mind while writing answers?
DASG: Ideally, an answer should only end when it has catered to every aspect of a given question. Following a specific word limit is not the way to go about it. However, time can be a limiting factor, which should be kept in mind.
JWT: Is it better to attempt optional papers in Urdu or one should go with English only?
DASG: I think strength of one’s writing skills should determine the medium of attempting the papers.
JWT: How one should choose Optional Subjects?
DASG: Optional subjects should be chosen primarily on the basis of one’s interests. However, scoring trend should also be considered.
JWT: Who deserves the credit for your success?
DASG: My parents, who prayed for me and supported me throughout the journey!
JWT: As interviewers usually grill the interview candidates, how did you manage the situation?
DASG: I remained calm, and simply apologized when I couldn’t answer a question. I compensated for the dropped questions by answering the questions I knew in a better way.