In Conversation with
10th in Punjab, PMS 2020-21
Jahangir’s World Times (JWT): First of all, please tell us about your educational background?
Habiba Asif (HA): I did FSc (Premedical) from Kinnaird College for Women, Lahore. Then, I graduated in 2019 with a degree in Business Administration from IBA, University of the Punjab. Recently, I completed my MPhil in Business Administration from the same institute.
JWT: How much helpful did you find Jahangir’s World Times (JWT) in your preparation for PMS exam?
HA: JWT is a productive source to get well-researched content, articles on important current issues and general knowledge-related content. It provides in-depth knowledge on important national and international events and happenings which can further be explored and studied according to subject requirements.
JWT: What, in your opinion, is the key to getting through compulsory papers of PMS exam, especially that of General Knowledge?
HA: Each subject requires due diligence.
For Pakistan Affairs and Islamic Studies, one should make short notes after consulting recommended, reliable and quality sources. For General Knowledge, it is better to consult different sources such as websites, magazines, news and past papers. It is impossible to know everything under the sun so it is advisable to divide GK in different categories, i.e. Everyday science, computer science, world geography, Pakistan geography, Pakistan affairs, current affairs, etc. for comprehensive preparation of the subject.
JWT: How answers should be written to get maximum marks in the written part of PMS exam?
HA: It is extremely important to be relevant in the written exam. Well-structured, relevant and coherent answers with proper headings, sub-headings, flowcharts and diagrams garner good score. These elements help examiner to know that the candidate has thorough understanding of what has been asked.
JWT: How did you structure your Essay?
HA: Practice is the key to learning the art of properly structuring the essay. Selection of right topic is crucial. In my case, I first drafted a rough outline with the thesis statement. Then, I structured and restructured it till I was satisfied with relevancy and coherence in essay. This process took almost 45 minutes but then I had a blueprint for properly elaborating the topic, which I did in the remaining time.
JWT: Since you have scored excellent marks in Geography, what was your strategy for this very paper?
HA: For Geography, it is extremely important to have concept clarity. Since I had no educational background in this subject, it was difficult, initially, to prepare for this. I used to consult YouTube sources for concept clarity; then, I used to make notes by consulting the recommended books and online sources. Targeted short notes of Geography for revision on the last day before exam proved extremely fruitful. Flowcharts, maps, tables and diagrams are important elements to score good in this subject.
JWT: Should there be some word limit kept in mind while writing answers?
HA: There is no specific word limit for an answer; it depends on how much is asked in the question. Each question has a different requirement and the answer to that should justify the marks it carries. Quality with justified quantity matters the most. Time management is important in this context as equal time should be given to all answers.
JWT: Is it better to attempt optional papers in Urdu or one should go with English only?
HA: It differs from person to person; however, in my opinion, it is better to attempt papers in English because extensive reading material, books by foreign authors and quality content are mostly available in the English language.
JWT: How one should choose Optional Subjects?
HA: Educational background, interest areas, and scoring trends play a crucial role in the selection of optional objects. I opted for Business Administration despite that it is considered a low-scoring subject, but I went for it based on my educational background. Resultantly, I scored the highest in this subject. I chose Political Science and Geography because of scoring trend and interest in these domains.
JWT: Who deserves the credit for your success?
HA: First and foremost, thanks to Allah Almighty for granting me this success. The credit goes to my parents and my sister. They had a strong faith in me during this whole journey, and they kept on motivating me till I attained my final goal. My mentors also had an important role in providing me with the right direction and proper guidance for acing the exam in first attempt.
JWT: As interviewers usually grill the interview candidates, how did you manage the situation?
HA: Giving mock interviews prior to the final one is important to learn how to handle the pressure and maintain your composure in interview. I practiced a lot because the more prepared you are, the less likely that you will mess up. So, for that, give as much mock interviews as you can. Try to remain logical, articulate, confident and composed because interview is more of the test of personality than of knowledge.
My Tips on:
Selection of optional subjects
i: Educational background
iii: Scoring trend
Notes making is an integral part of preparation. My principal focus was to make the long as well as short notes for each subject after gathering knowledge from diverse sources. Short notes help to revise the subject before exam day.