In Conversation with
Haseeb ur Rehman
20th in Punjab, PMS 2020-21
Jahangir’s World Times (JWT): First of all, please tell us about your educational background?
Haseeb ur Rehman (HuR): I got my early education from Kasur Public School (now DPS, Kasur). After that, we moved to Lahore and I joined Divisional Public School there from where I did my matriculation and got a gold medal from my school for securing over 90% marks. Afterwards, I did my Intermediate from GCU, Lahore, in Commerce (I.Com) and topped my class in the year 2012. I graduated from the same institution with a gold medal and a Roll of Honour, in 2016.
JWT: How much helpful did you find Jahangir’s World Times (JWT) in your preparation for PMS exam? And, how was your experience at World Times Institute (WTI)?
HuR: JWT was an immense help to me during my entire journey of preparation. It provided me with up-to-date analyses of major events that were fine-tuned to the demands of the exams. Moreover, it was also my go-to source for almost every subject I opted for in PMS.
Moreover, the support and guidance provided during my interview preparation at WTI was really helpful in getting through the final interview.
JWT: What, in your opinion, is the key to getting through compulsory papers of PMS exam, especially that of General Knowledge?
HuR: Preparation for compulsory subjects, especially GK, can be tricky. First of all, my focus was on covering the topics given in the course outline by preparing detailed notes and then fine-tuning them in the light of past papers. This helped me in focusing on the essentials and preparing myself mentally for the exams.
For GK, I consulted some reference books and monthly JWT. Moreover, I tried to understand GK in a form of narrative; it was especially helpful in history section. I also focused on preparing notes for different parts of GK.
JWT: How answers should be written to get maximum marks in the written part of PMS exam?
HuR: I think the entire focus of one’s preparation should be on developing, refining and sharpening one’s question-attempting skills. At the end of the day, it can be the ultimate game-changer. The question should be attempted in a way that covers all the aspects given in the question statement. A good answer should be well structured, well referenced and based upon sound analysis. Moreover, judicious use of aids like graphs, tables, charts, maps, etc. should also be made.
JWT: Your marks in Essay are pretty good, how did you structure that?
HuR: Essay, being the most crucial and essential part of the competitive exams, requires special attention on the part of aspirants as far as preparation is concerned as without practicing essay writing, one cannot think of getting through this important paper. Insofar as my strategy for writing the essay is concerned, I took care to address all the aspects touched upon in the topic and developed an outline which showed the way my argument would unfold. Moreover, I tried to write well structured paragraphs with logical arguments and close symbiotic relation between different parts of the essay.
JWT: Since you have scored excellent marks in History and Punjabi, what was your strategy for both these papers?
HuR: For History paper, I consulted multiple sources, especially books by authors having good academic credentials, so that my ultimate answers would stand out from others attempting the same question. I also tried to incorporate as much sound analyses of historical events as was possible.
For Punjabi, I tried to imbibe and learn as much references of Punjabi poetry as I could and also focused on developing my Punjabi-writing skills.
JWT: Should there be some word limit kept in mind while writing answers?
HuR: I think a good answer should focus on developing a coherent and well-structured reproduction of the knowledge which covers all the aspects mentioned in the question statement. Having said that, I think a good answer can vary between 8 and 10 pages.
JWT: Is it better to attempt optional papers in Urdu or one should go with English only?
HuR: Again, I think it’s a matter of personal choice and preference. The decision has to be made while keeping in mind one’s background, one’s writing speed, the legibility of one’s script and writing, etc.
JWT: How one should choose Optional Subjects?
HuR: The decision on choosing the optional subjects should be made carefully as this will ultimately affect the final outcome. One should keep one’s own interests, academic background, the length of the course outline, overall nature of the subject(s) at top and see how one particular subject overlaps or complements other subjects. Moreover, one should also keep in mind the availability of good mentors for the subject one wants to opt for.
JWT: Who deserves the credit for your success?
HuR: First of all, my success owes itself to the bounties, blessings and favours of Allah Almighty without whose providence I wouldn’t have been here.
Secondly, care, diligence, hard work and perseverance with which my parents trained me to face the challenges of life is behind my place and position today. They provided me with everything I could wish for and even think of – a debt I doubt I will be able to pay back ever.
Last but not least, I would like to pay my gratitude and thanks to the efforts and guidance of Sir Dr Sajjad Ali, Sir Dr Waheed Osmani, and Sir Amanullah Gondal for getting me through this journey.
JWT: As interviewers usually grill the interview candidates, how did you manage the situation?
HuR: I would agree with the part that interview can be a gruesome task for most aspirants. But, I think – and this is what I tried to do – keeping oneself cool and composed during the process is of great importance. Moreover, keeping one’s answer focused and precise can also help smooth the entire process.