In Conversation with Ghulam Hussain
29th in Punjab, PMS 2019-20
Jahangir’s World Times (JWT): First of all, please tell us about your educational background?
Ghulam Hussain (GH): I belong to Jatoi (District Muzaffargarh). I completed my education till matriculation from Govt. Higher Secondary School Rohilanwali. Later, I completed my Intermediate as a private student, and then earned a Bachelor’s degree from Govt. Postgraduate College, Muzaffargarh. Then, I did my Master’s in English Language and Literature from Bahauddin Zakariya University (BZU), Multan, with distinction.
JWT: How much helpful did you find Jahangir’s World Times (JWT) in your preparation for PMS exam?
GH: I have been a subscriber to Jahangir’s World Times magazine. It helped me a lot in preparing for topics related to Current Affairs and Pakistan Affairs, as well as for the interview.
I also joined World Times Institute for interview preparation. I would also like to say that books published by JWT Publications, especially those for optional subjects, are indispensable to success in PMS exam.
JWT: What, in your opinion, is the key to getting through compulsory papers of PMS exam, especially that of General Knowledge?
GH: Before setting out on this journey, a candidate must develop a habit of general reading as well as a base for every subject, and should then go on to advanced-level studies, consulting recommended, quality books. For General Knowledge, initial preparation should cover the passive portion, e.g. history, geography and famous places, from at least two good books, and then the active portion comprising current incidents, summits, organizations, economics and trade from the internet, YouTube and, of course, JWT magazine.
JWT: How answers should be written to get maximum marks in the written part of PMS exam?
GH: Many aspirants misconstrue the question and start answering that in a wrong way. Most aspirants do not possess good presentation skills and many are unable to properly conclude an answer due to mismanagement of time. Content of an answer must be relevant to the question, and it should be brief, presentable and appropriate. Its structure must also be of good quality, having proper introduction, main body and the conclusion.
JWT: How did you structure your Essay?
GH: I constructed the edifice of essay on its three mandatory pillars, i.e. proper introduction, powerful main body and a reasonable and logical conclusion. Simple, correct and concise expression is the key to acing this very paper in PMS. I wrote essay on ‘Significance of Geo-strategic Location of Pakistan’ wherein I enumerated different opportunities available to Pakistan in the region, touching also the external threats faced by the country in geostrategic domain. Relevance and simplicity of language are inseparable elements of a scoring Essay.
JWT: What was your strategy for the General Knowledge paper?
GH: To be specific, I trifurcated the GK paper into Geography, Current Affairs, and systems of governance, and updated with repeated questions from past papers. Internet, YouTube, and JWT pages containing Current Affairs MCQs are indeed a prerequisite of success in the paper.
JWT: Should there be some word limit kept in mind while writing answers?
GH: In my opinion, word limit should be strictly observed in view of the time constraints. Marks for a question, available time and length of the answer should be managed prudently. Risk of irrelevancy and shortage of time will increase if you keep writing just to stuff the belly of the paper. Quality must not be sacrificed on the altar of quantity.
JWT: Is it better to attempt optional papers in Urdu or one should go with English only?
GH: Although both options are available in PMS exam, yet our system and available study material for good preparation have not been converted into Urdu. So, English is the only option left. If you feel easy in expressing your thoughts and have a good command over Urdu, then it is not a bad option
JWT: How one should choose Optional Subjects?
GH: Exposure of the candidate to the subject (s)he wants to choose matters a lot. A degree in a subject, some background knowledge and specifically your interest in that subject are the key determinants. Scoring trend should also be kept in mind.
JWT: Who deserves the credit for your success?
GH: The credit for my success goes to my grandfather who prodded me to go into the civil services. Then, it is due to my family that supported me unconditionally, friends who stood behind me like brothers and my wife who always remained with me through every thick and thin. Prayers of my mother and my father who believed in me made me to ace this exam. Eng. Masood Sanaullah, Sir Qasim Ali Shah and all my colleagues at College where I taught, and offices I worked in, also deserve the credit.
JWT: As interviewers usually grill the interview candidates, how did you manage the situation?
GH: My interview experience was very good as all the members including Mr Chairman gave me a fair space to play. I did well while answering the questions; however, I dropped some and managed the situation by simply saying, “Sorry sir, I will surely read about it later.” In the very start, they asked some questions about my degrees and optional subjects (Punjabi and Mass Communication), and then some questions were about my previous attempts. In this whole process, what I didn’t lose was my confidence, and I think this helped me secure good marks.
My interview went smooth but Mr Chairman grilled me by asking some analytical questions on world politics and Pakistan’s economy. However, I handled the situation aptly. I was serving as lecturer when I qualified PMS Exam. Since I had a master’s degree in English literature, the panellists asked questions from literature as well. Some questions were on great poets of my mother tongue, i.e. Seraiki, and the panel also asked me to recite some verses of known poet Shakir Shuja Abadi. I did that task eloquently. Majority of questions were from Punjabi, literature, education and health sector.