In Conversation with
Jawad Hussain Malik
22nd in Punjab, PMS 2020-21
Jahangir’s World Times (JWT): First of all, please tell us about your educational background?
Jawad Hussain Malik (JHM): I have done BS (Hons) in Computer Science and MSc in International Relations from University of Sargodha, Advanced Diploma in English from NUML Islamabad, and LLB from Islamia University, Bahawalpur. Moreover, I got certifications in website development.
JWT: How much helpful did you find Jahangir’s World Times (JWT) in your preparation for PMS exam?
JHM: JWT has been instrumental in my struggle for acing PMS exam. It improved my analytical skills and opinion-making ability. The interviews of allocated candidates in PMS and CSS provided me sane advice to move forward. Moreover, articles and MCQs in JWT proved to be a source of updating my knowledge base. I used to extract valuable information and remedies for various problems from JWT magazine for making my notes.
JWT: What, in your opinion, is the key to getting through compulsory papers of PMS exam, especially that of General Knowledge?
JHM: I had developed separate notes for each compulsory subject. Before examination, I turned those into precise points. I kept on revising them regularly. As book-reading is my hobby, so I used references of various books for validating my arguments in compulsory papers.
Likewise, I invested a lot of effort in General Knowledge. For this paper, I studied FPSC and PPSC past papers, read newspapers regularly and used online sources for preparation. Moreover, I used to explore world map on a regular basis. I developed my own data bank for this purpose as well. This strategy paid off.
JWT: How answers should be written to get maximum marks in the written part of PMS exam?
JHM: Writing a good answer is a skill. I had devised a 5-point strategy for this purpose. This included quotations, references of books, maps, facts/statistics and case studies. This strategy, in my opinion, was a must for all my written exam papers. Moreover, I focused a lot on presentation skills as an answer must be written in a way that it immediately grabs the attention of the examiner. I believe that a candidate’s paper is his/her product and (s)he must make it unique for securing good marks.
JWT: Your marks in Essay are outstanding, how did you structure that?
JHM: I structured my essay into 4 components, i.e. 1) issue, 2) extent of the issue, 3) causes and 4) remedies. As time allowed for Essay paper is two hours, one must be careful about the time management. I used the first 30 minutes for making a rough sketch and then writing a neat outline at the start. Hence, I was left with 90 minutes. Then, I gave 30 minutes to each portion. I incorporated my critical thoughts, statistics, authentic reports/case studies, along with quotations, in my arguments. Moreover, I wrote concise and compact sentences and avoided flowery language.
The simple formula for essay writing is write, write and write.
JWT: Since you have scored excellent marks in English Essay and Islamiat, what was your strategy for both these papers?
JHM: Alhamdulillah, I scored the highest marks in these two papers. For English Essay, continuous practice was my primary strategy. I had made outlines on the topics of past English Essay papers and written essays on them. Then, I got those evaluated from teachers and worked on my weak areas identified by them. One must keep in mind that essay writing is a technique as well as a skill. Paragraph writing is precondition for learning this skill. I used to write paragraphs on a variety of socio-economic topics regularly as well as two essay outlines daily.
Similarly, Islamiat deserves smart studies. I attempted Islamiat in Urdu as my focus was to include Quranic verses, Ahadith, poetry, comparative analysis of religions in each question. I also used rational views of international writers to substantiate my arguments. These prerequisites facilitate in fetching high score in Islamiat.
JWT: Is it better to attempt optional papers in Urdu or one should go with English only?
JHM: I personally believe that the language doesn’t matter in optional subjects. What matters most is the quality of your content, in-depth studies, rational opinion, out-of-the-box solutions and, more importantly, convincing ideas.
JWT: How one should choose Optional Subjects?
JHM: Optional subjects should be chosen keeping in view one’s own aptitude and academic background, as well as the scoring trends. One gets a fair idea of all three ingredients by coming across the past papers. It is through wise selection of subjects that one’s allocation in PMS is secured.
JWT: What strategy would you advise the prospective aspirants to prepare for the PMS exam?
JHM: Find a mentor who guides you in a sincere manner. Always start from scratch and develop your competitive exposure with the passage of time. Spend each day productively. Do extraordinary effort for turning your dreams into reality. Do as much writing as you can. Appear in mock exams to make your writing skills matchless.
JWT: Who deserves the credit for your success?
JHM: My parents played a vital role in my allocation. My father, M. Hussain Malik, always encouraged and supported me through thick and thin. Moral boost is sine qua non as acing competitive exam is sometimes a Herculean task. My family, and especially my wife, boosted my morale whenever I found myself caught in gloom and doom. I was fortunate enough to have mentors like Sir Faran Baig, Abdul Wahab Jadoon and Sir Rizi Abidi who contributed significantly in my success.
JWT: As interviewers usually grill the interview candidates, how did you manage the situation?
JHM: My interview was conducted in a very cordial atmosphere. I had an edge to be in the government service already so I was well aware of the administrative structure of Punjab. The worthy Chairman asked questions from Current Affairs and International Relations which were the areas of my strength. The members of the panel focused on compulsory and optional subjects, as well as on opinion-based questions. I remained confident and answered all questions in a pragmatic way.