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Friday, July 15, 2016

Administrative and Diplomatic Office (PTD) - The Story Behind the Scene

I have received an offer to be an Administrative and Diplomatic Officer (PTD) in the government sector. It is well known that this job is the most difficult job t get in the government sector and Alhamdulillah I have been chosen to join the post-graduate programme and later on can be oficially appointed after finishing the programme.

This entry is purposely written to review the stages that I have been through to get the offer. I will not specify things like the topic, questions and so on. This is more like a framework of stages that I have been through:

ONLINE EXAM

I had already forgotten that I registered for the exam when the email came into my inbox. At that time, I had joined UNITAR and was busy in the middle of the October semester. The online exam was divided into 2 exams. The first exam is focused on logical mathematics (quite difficult, I tell you) and the second exam is more related to general knowledge.


Programme Assessment Centre (PAC)


The result of the online exam came out after a few weeks. I was so excited to know that I passed the exam and that I was called for the PAC. The PAC that I went was the second cycle out of 6 cycles. It was in INTURA (INTAN Wilayah Utara). These PAC programmes were held all around Malaysia. The PAC consists of:

1. Physical Assessment

Early in the morning, after the registration was done, we were given a number that we needed to wear throughout the day. The first assessment is to see whether you are fit and well enough to join the programme. The assessments were: BMI, 1 minute sit up, hand grip and bleep test. Then we went for a quick medical check up with the doctors. It took the whole morning to the afternoon to complete these activities. 


The physical assessment is really important as it will determine whether you can stay for the night or not. If you pass, you can carry on with the other assessment that will require you to stay for a night. The most tiring assessment was the bleep test where you need to do a shuttle run from point A to point B faster than the sound of the beep. The sound will get faster according to the level of the stage. My advice for you is to train a bit before you go to the PAC so that you are prepared to run and at least achieve the minimum level!




2. Essays Exam

After lunch, we were given the result of the physical assessment. Then, candidates who passed the physical exam straight away went to the exam hall while saying goodbye to the candidates who failed in the physical assessment. Sad. 

There were 2 essay exams and 1 hour was given for each exam. The first essay exam was a Malay essay exam. There were 2 questions given and we needed to choose 1. My advise is to choose the question that you can write a lot as there were no words limit. 

My aim during that exam is to be precise and objective as I can. Lucky for me I have been working in the university for a while. Somehow marking my students assignments gave me wide experience on the essay writing for example what to avoid writing and how to plan an essay. The second essay was in English and the rules are the same. Choose only 1 topic and write your experience, opinion or facts that you know.

3. Group Activity

After a bit of rest, we gathered in a hall during the night time. We were divided into a small group (around 10 people in each group). We were given a task that needed us to think outside the box as well as make a good judgement based on the condition given. The test is to see how well you can work in a group, how effectively can you think and come out with a good reasoning in a short time and how convincingly you can deliver a message. The activity was fun but a bit stressful as well because the facilitators will try to provoke and ask you high level questions that will make you sweat to answer.

After the activity ended, we were given a topic for the next day activity. One topic for public speaking in Malay and one topic for public speaking in English. Not so much time to prepare, so you need to be really clever about how to manage your time and get ready the next day!

4. Individual Public Speaking

In a small group, we needed to do public speaking for about 5 minutes. There were 2 sessions for each participants. The topics were mostly about general knowledge, short and simple. It depends on you how you will elaborate in your speaking.

I used personal experience as the basis for my public speaking. It will be easier for me to relate and talk when you use your personal experience. Believe me, 5 minutes is not short and easy for public speaking. When you are nervous and people are looking and focusing at you, waiting for you to share your thoughts, 5 minutes is like 5 hours! So be ready... most importantly, try to be confident and avoid holding papers in your hands!

5. Group Discussion

After finishing both sessions of individual public speaking, we moved to another room for a group discussion. Remember that all of these activities happened simultaneously with the other groups. In the group discussion, we were given only 1 topic and then the discussion needed to last for 1 hour. We were given 5 minutes to prepare and then started t talk to each other. Here, you need to agree, disagree, support and help each other out. Everyone needs to show their ability to think and express their opinion. My suggestion for you: do not be greedy to control the situation and talk the whole time!

The PAC was done after we finished the group discussion. Such an intense 2 days and somehow you need to be strong and ready with immediate thinking and ideas. Intense but a very nice and useful experience to explore and feel.

INTERVIEW

The last stage of this PTD intake assessment was an individual interview. When I received the email that said I had passed to go on to this stage, I was a bit speechless. You know, I have never really planned for this route, but this was a great chance! I went to the interview having done some preparation by reading material online. I think at this point you should know where you would like to work, if you have a chance to choose. Then you will know what to read. As PTD is a very flexible job that involves moving around different ministries, you should have some targets.

There were 2 panels that ask you questions and provoke you during the interview. I believe they want to see how can you respond to immediate questions. How can you deal with difficult questions? How will you react to certain provocation? Can you be calm? Or will you be too nervous to handle the questions?

I was very nervous as sometimes I felt like I had not prepared enough. It was hard for me sometimes to explain my opinion. But I did it anyway, trying to be honest and calm the whole time, even though inside, it felt like I was going to explode! aha

I am so happy that the result was positive for me. This is a new journey to take but a good journey, I believe. I think that at this stage, when you receive a chance of changing your whole career, you need to think really deeply and carefully. Wish me luck!

PS: Selamat Hari Raya 2016!