In Conversation with
54th in Punjab, PMS 2019-20
Jahangir’s World Times (JWT): First of all, please tell us about your educational background?
Safdar Shabbir (SS): I belong to District Okara but I started my education in Lahore. I did my matriculation from City Cadet School, Lahore. After that, I got admission to Forman Christian College, in the same city and did FSc Pre-engineering. Later, I did my graduation in Electronics Engineering from Pakistan Navy Engineering College (NUST), Karachi. I have been an average student throughout my educational career.
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?
SS: I have been a permanent subscriber to JWT magazine. It helped me a lot in preparing for Current Affairs and Pakistan Affairs, as well as interview.
Moreover, I prepared for my interview at World Time Institute, which played a vital role in my success.
JWT: What, in your opinion, is the key to getting through compulsory papers of PMS exam, especially that of General Knowledge?
SS: Each compulsory paper requires a different strategy. There must be one recommended book and one reference book that one must consult to get good marks. Consider going through syllabus outlines and past papers of each subject. After preparation, solve one or two past papers or take mock exams.
For General Knowledge, aspirants need to constantly update their databases through newspapers, journals, webinars, seminars, YouTube, and current affairs magazines such as JWT.
JWT: How answers should be written to get maximum marks in the written part of PMS exam?
SS: In order to get excellent marks, some specific steps need to be followed.
First of all, make a well-connected outline that shows how one is going to write the answer. Secondly, use blue or black markers to give prominent, relevant headlines. Third, give references from newspapers, books and international reports. One can also provide relevant quotations and verses. Fourth, use flowcharts, graphs or maps, where necessary. Last but not least, the relevance of content and clarity of concepts will fetch more marks. If aspirants follow the above steps, they will surely get maximum marks.
JWT: How did you structure your Essay?
SS: I composed my essay briefly narrating three mandatory elements of an essay’s structure: proper introduction, critical main body and exclusive conclusion. Simple, correct and concise expression is the key to ace the Essay paper in PMS. I wrote essay on the “Significance of the Geostrategic Location of Pakistan” and enumerated therein the opportunities available for Pakistan in the region and external threats for strategic depth. Relevancy and simplicity in language are inseparable elements of an effective and scoring essay.
JWT: What was your strategy for the General Knowledge paper?
SS: For General Knowledge, my first source was newspapers. I noted down essential and valuable points from those. My second source was Jahangir’s World Times magazine as it has an abundance of information regarding the General Knowledge paper. I also studied different magazines such as Economist and Readers. Aspirants must know that the preparation for General Knowledge paper is a continuous process and they need to improve their information base every day.
JWT: Should there be some word limit kept in mind while writing answers?
SS: The most important things in your answer are relevance with the question asked and coherence. But some aspirants think that filling answer sheets as much as they can get them good marks but that can be counterproductive. One must be brief, concise and to the point while answering the questions. Quality is better than quantity. Clarity of concepts and ideas in your answer will be rewarded.
JWT: Is it better to attempt optional papers in Urdu or one should go with English only?
SS: It is up to a candidate which language to choose. But one must be well equipped with the relevant vocabulary either in English or Urdu while writing one’s answers.
JWT: How one should choose Optional Subjects?
SS: The most critical aspect in choosing optional subjects is the personal interest of the aspirant. The second factor is having a background in a subject while the third one is the scoring trend. The role of mentors and quality books or study material of the selected optional subjects cannot be neglected.
JWT: Who deserves the credit for your success?
SS: Many people are responsible for my success. I draw my motivation from members of my family as they are the key players in my success, especially my mother and my father. It is very unfair if I do not mention all of my teachers, mentors and friends who helped me in shaping my personality.
JWT: As interviewers usually grill the interview candidates, how did you manage the situation?
SS: My interview experience was perfect as all the members, including Mr Chairman and late Nasir Khan Durrani sahib, gave me adequate space to play. I did well while answering the questions. Though I dropped a few of them, I didn’t lose my composure, and remained confident in my response. I was asked opinion-based questions that I handled well.