All You Need to Know about Intelligence Bureau (IB) Exam
Assistant Director (BPS-17) posts advertised by Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) under the banner of ‘Posts for a Federal Government Organization’ belong to Intelligence Bureau. The posts have become a regular feature since 2001 with IB gradually becoming the largest ex-cadre civilian service in Pakistan. There have been occasional reports of efforts to en-cadre IB into CSS group but these have met great resistance from PAS and PSP groups. Recently, there was a buzz in Civil Services Academy (CSA) that IB officers would be part next of Common Training Program (CTP), which according to some, is in its preliminary stages.
Selection process for IB posts has undergone radical changes in recent years. At first, there was only one screening paper followed by interview. Screening paper consisted of 100 marks Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs). Later on, to make the process more competitive and ensure minimum chances for stroke of luck, more layers have been added including English Composition paper, psychological assessment test and interview. There are rumors that these changes have been incorporated to make way for en-caderment of the service, giving currency to the aforementioned.
INITIAL SCREENING TEST
Owing to sizeable number of applicants – often running into the range of 20 to 30 thousand – initial screening test has been introduced to short list candidates. Since last year, FPSC has made it a habit to conduct screening tests in batches spanning over 2~3 days, making the competition more inconsistent. Generally, 5~8 candidates against one seat get through to the next stage. This shows the amount of competition during the screening test. Therefore, in order to qualify, candidates should leave no stone unturned to score maximum, aiming at minimum of 95 out of 100 marks. MCQs part consists of following sections:
- English (20 MCQs): English section is the most important as maximum marks in this section would guarantee your place in the short list. Most of the candidates tend to lose marks in this section. It contains multiple choice questions including vocabulary and sentence correction through use of correct and proper words. Suggested Books: SAT Book having sentence correction (The book can be downloaded from internet)
- Maths (20 MCQs): Some candidates from humanities background find it difficult to solve this section despite the fact that it includes simple mathematical questions often involving simplest mathematical formulae along with some analytical questions. Suggested Books: NTS GAT Book (Maths section)
- Every Day/ General Science (20 MCQs): It includes EDS questions on the standard of CSS. EDS MCQs book by Mian Shafique is recommended for this section.
- Current Affairs, Pakistan Affairs, and Islamic Studies questions are included in the last section. Suggested Books: Latest Edition of Caravan MCQs Book
Things to consider while attempting MCQs Paper:
- Attempt maximum questions even if you don’t know answers to some as there is no negative marking.
- Don’t waste your precious time on questions, answers to which you don’t know
- Try to fill answer sheet in the first go, for questions which you can solve easily. Leave questions which create doubt to solve them later. This would save you great amount of time for troublesome questions.
- Do take with blue or black marker for filling up of answer sheet. Doing so with pall point wastes precious time.
ENGLISH PRECIS & COMPOSITION PAPER
Successful candidates with the ratio of 1:8 from screening are called for next stage of the recruitment which is 100 marks English Précis and composition paper. It has been modelled on the pattern of English Précis paper from CSS. In the paper spaced at 03 hours, candidates are required to write a 30-marks English Essay from given topics along with précis of a given paragraph, translation, use of idioms into sentences, sentence correction and answers to questions from a given paragraph. Following points should be given due consideration while attempting précis paper:
- Keeping in view the level of competition, never bunk any question
- Try to solve smallest question first. It would save you ample time for questions such as Essay
- Try to attempt the essay which gives you maximum room for making the it unique in terms of content, argumentation and relevant examples
- Précis question holds prime importance for scoring maximum marks. Attempt it with care and try not to over-do anything. You may rehearse at the back of your answer sheet before final draft.
- Idioms and correction sentences are easy prey, losing marks in these questions would be criminal and dump your chances for getting through.
- Bear in mind that you have to score at least 50 runs to enter next phase of recruitment which is psychological assessment and interview.
Psychological assessment test for IB is a single day activity spanned over 5 to 6 hours. Multiple answers sheets, each containing MCQs or short questions are given to write answers in limited time-span. There is usually 15 minutes break after every 1.5 hours. Candidates are required to provide answers for questions from the following topics:
- Non-Verbal Reasoning
- Analytical Reasoning
- Intelligence Quotient (IQ)
- Maths (Basic Arithmetic)
- Sentence Completion (2 papers)
- Story Completion (3 sentences are given to complete the story)
- Personality Questionnaire (2 papers)
It is always recommended that students should go through these situations to prepare their unique answers for the assessment. Questions in no way portray any negative traits of your personality. Answers for questions having negative connotations should answered in positive sense. For example, if you are asked about your greatest weakness, the appropriate answer should be like ‘I’m committed too much with my work’. IB psychological test does not include group discussion or interview with the psychologist.
Interview is the last leg of selection process for AD IB seat. Interview panel consists of 3~4 members, one of them being the department representative. Interviews are held at five major stations at FPSC regional HQs. During the process of interview, candidates are usually asked general questions including current political and law and order situation. The purpose of these questions is to judge analytical capabilities and knowledge base of the students. Intelligence related questions are rarely asked as nothing much is available on the subject. Candidates are however expected to have knowledge about major intelligence agencies of the country and prime challenges confronting these agencies. Panel may also ask motivation behind joining intelligence-related job.
PROS & CONS OF JOINING IB
- IB is the premier civil intelligence organization of the country, entrusted with the task of internal security of Pakistan. Being part of IB would give you the chance to serve your country in the true sense.
- IB may have the best promotional prospects for an ex-cadre service.
- Some rate IB job better than a number of occupational groups.
- You can be posted anywhere in Pakistan, far away from your home or province
- There is a mandatory hard area posting for 18 months, once in the career
- Depending upon the place of posting, there may be mental and psychological pressures