In Conversation with
46th in Punjab, PMS 2019-20
Jahangir’s World Times (JWT): First of all, please tell us about your educational background?
Tamur Usman (TU): My education started from Zamir Public School, Multan, from where I did my matriculation. This was followed by my intermediate from Leadership College in the same city. Then, in 2011, I took admission in Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, Bahauddin Zakariya University from where I completed my degree in 2016.
JWT: How much helpful did you find Jahangir’s World Times (JWT) in your preparation for PMS exam?
TU: World Times magazine is an amazing source for those preparing for the competitive exams. The fact that a magazine of this quality is being published in Pakistan is in itself a great virtue. Over the years, it has helped CSS/PMS aspirants by developing their analytical capabilities. I found an authentic source of information, current affairs and analytical database in the JWT.
JWT: What, in your opinion, is the key to getting through compulsory papers of PMS exam, especially that of General Knowledge?
TU: One of the many problems that aspirants face while preparing for compulsory subjects is that they give much attention to the Optional subjects, and not to the compulsory ones. In choosing the right optional subjects, they usually forget that it is the compulsory subjects that they have to clear first. Hence, the first point to ponder upon is that like “America First”, it’s “Compulsories First”. Other key points are:
1. Reading 2-3 books for compulsory subjects is enough. It’s better to read two books ten times than reading ten books a single time each.
2. Develop a habit of writing extensively.
3. Don’t beat around the bush. Questions are not mere questions; they are guidelines too. They give you the directions about what to write and how much data to give.
For General Knowledge
There are various sources that can be consulted for the preparation of GK paper, e.g. past papers, websites, etc. However, in my opinion, it is the performance inside the examination hall that decides your fate in this exam. Aspirants usually panic during the paper and either commit a mistake or forget what they have prepared. A few points that can help in clearing the GK paper are:
1. Read the whole paper first.
2. Attempt those MCQs first you are sure about.
3. Develop a sense of making analysis as, by doing so, you can find the right option.
4. Give the paper complete attention and time. Don’t decide at the first glance that you are not prepared for it.
5. Remember, the goal is to reach 40 first, so don’t screw yourself by trying to solve more MCQs.
JWT: How answers should be written to get maximum marks in the written part of PMS exam?
TU: First of all, the presentation of your paper should be pleasing to the eye. It shouldn’t be a bundle of pages with nothing but a lot of something written with a ballpoint.
Second an answer should start with introduction. In this portion, one should explain what is being asked in the question. This should be followed by the main body of the answer. One important thing here is: don’t ever deviate from what has been asked in the question statement. Many students start writing irrelevant things but it often leads to low score. Write quotations and add facts and figures with marker in the middle of the page with reference in its right bottom as this makes paper more attractive and interesting and also makes the facts/figures more prominent.
Complete your answer with the conclusion which should be on a positive note.
JWT: How did you structure your Essay?
TU: My strategy was simple: “Don’t beat around the bush”. My plan was to keep it simple and to the point. But before that, there is one thing that is much more important and that is the understanding of what you are about to write. Many of the aspirants just get attracted by the topics like “Is corruption mother of all ills?” and start writing the essay without understanding it properly. This should not be the approach. When it came to the structure, my approach was straightforward. I started by defining geo-strategic importance of Pakistan and then explained its different aspects relating to Pakistan, region and the world as a whole. This was followed by the conclusion.
JWT: What was your strategy for the General Knowledge paper?
TU: For GK paper, my strategy was to prepare as much as I could and then not to forget that during the paper. While preparing for this very paper, I realized that there are three types of MCQs:
1. The ones you are sure about.
2. The ones on which you feel puzzled between two options.
3. The ones you have no idea about the answers of.
Hence, my target was to concentrate more on the first two types of MCQs.
JWT: Should there be some word limit kept in mind while writing answers?
TU: It depends, primarily, on the nature of the question, thought process and writing of the aspirant. I believe that quality must prevail over quantity. This doesn’t mean that your answers should be short but they shouldn’t be very long and lackluster either. One should know where to stop and how much is enough. Increasing the word count in order to give weight to your answer isn’t a good choice.
JWT: Is it better to attempt optional papers in Urdu or one should go with English only?
TU: In my opinion, optional papers should be attempted in English as it is the primary medium of education in our higher education system. Also, books and notes in English are more readily available than those in Urdu.
JWT: How one should choose Optional Subjects?
TU: One should choose optional subjects according to one’s own ease. Some points to be kept in mind while selecting optional subjects are:
1. The subject you are comfortable with should be prioritized.
2. There is nothing wrong with subject of your academic degree; you can score good in that. (I opted for and cleared Veterinary Science twice with good score).
3. Trends can be followed; however, if you are comfortable with a subject, then trends are secondary in importance.
4. Examine syllabus outlines and past papers before choosing an optional subject.
JWT: Who deserves the credit for your success?
TU: The credit for my success goes to my family and friends who stood by me through thick and thin. They always motivated me to dream more, do more and achieve more.
JWT: As interviewers usually grill the interview candidates, how did you manage the situation?
TU: First of all, I realized that interview is never about proving how much knowledge I had. It was about proving my guts; how can I sustain pressure in a difficult situation. I didn’t try to suppress the tension but just moved along it. Similarly, during the interview I found that the panel was not my enemy; in fact, they, sometimes, tried to ease the tension and make me feel comfortable. This was the thing that helped me a lot.