Jahangir’s World Times (JWT): First of all, please tell us about your educational background?
Ushna Tahir (UT): I did my matriculation from APS Peshawar, intermediate and bachelors from QMC and then LLB from PULC in 2015.
JWT: How much helpful did you find Jahangir’s World Times (JWT) during your preparation? And, how was your experience at the World Times Institute?
UT: My experience at WTI was wonderful as the teachers and the administration both were highly helpful and I also got some high-quality material in the form of lectures and notes. And, JWT magazine too helped me extensively with current affairs, in particular.
JWT: What, in your opinion, is the key to getting through compulsory papers especially that of General Knowledge?
UT: Compulsory subjects should be given special attention for at least 2 months. For GK paper, one must consult a minimum of 2 good GK books along with some quality magazines like JWT. Reading editorials of newspapers is also important.
JWT: How answers should be written to get maximum marks in written part?
UT: For written part, you should study a good book or some good notes from where you may extract your own short points. In addition, quotes, flowcharts, maps or other relevant material should be extracted from magazines like JWT or some books, to save your time and energy.
JWT: Should there be some word limit kept in mind while writing answers?
UT: It actually varies from person to person as it depends largely on one’s style and speed of writing. But, given the time constraint of around 35 minutes for each answer, I think, 5-7 pages are good enough.
JWT: How did you structure your Essay?
UT: I gave one heading in the outline and then wrote a paragraph against it in the essay. Then, I added relevant quotes and the current happenings related to the topic and tried to relate every point to the main topic, instead of beating about the bush.
JWT: What was your strategy for the General Knowledge paper?
UT: For GK, I consulted a GK book and JWT magazine and also consulted the past papers of different exams conducted by PPSC and FPSC to have a fair idea of paper trend.
JWT: What were the questions you found challenging during the interview?
UT: As I am a law graduate, owing to the vastness of law, questions related to my degree were a bit tough.
JWT: As interviewers usually grill the candidates, how did you manage the situation?
UT: The panellists were very cooperative but they also countered my answers on many occasions. They, in fact, asked around 40 questions in total. However, I maintained my composure and answered the questions in points rather just stating a thing as it is.
UT: My parents, who were very supportive throughout, and my sister who bucked me up whenever I lost hope. In addition, I dedicate my success to my teachers who always provided me with the best of knowledge and advice.
JWT: How did you prepare your notes?
UT: I did not prepare any notes but added points and current information onto my books and for some lengthy subjects like Public Administration and Islamic Studies, I made one-page outlines for each question.
JWT: How one should choose Optional Subjects?
UT: One should choose optional subjects as per one’s academic background and personal interests; however, scoring trends should also be kept in mind e.g. languages are generally regarded as more scoring than the social sciences.
JWT: Is it better to attempt optional papers in Urdu or one should go with English only?
UT: It also depends on your academic background and comfort level with a particular language. I think the quality of your answer matters rather than the medium you choose.
Most interesting incident in my PMS journey
I was very much reluctant giving the attempt this time due to a limited number of vacancies available but decided just a few days prior to the cut-off date to give a try and by the grace of Almighty I made it.
My Interview Experience
Chairman PPSC, Lt Gen Sajjad Akram, Mr Muhammad Anwar Rashid, Mr Seerat Asghar and one other worthy panellist interviewed me. They asked me a whole lot of questions beginning with those related to my introduction, books I have read, books on my current reading list, hobbies, favourite movies, etc. Other questions were related to constitutional law like US and British constitutions, CrPC, why I wanted to join PMS, bureaucracy and its image and, current affairs e.g. US policy in Afghanistan. A 2-minute speech on war on terror was also a part of the interview.
My Advice for Fresh Aspirants
If you aim for something, don’t give up and work as hard as you can in the right direction and have faith in Allah as He knows better what is best for us.