CSC: Heartiest congratulations to you from Civil Services Chronicle for your success. How are you feeling about it?
Junaid Ahmad: Getting AIR 3 in civil services is no less than a surreal feeling. I am really overwhelmed, but along with that a greater sense of responsibility has also come in.
CSC: What was your inspiration for becoming an IAS officer?
Junaid: I always looked for a career where I can find meaning in. Where along with my personal growth, I have avenues to return back to society what all I have received from it. Civil Service provides the best platform for it.
CSC: Whom do you give credit for your success?
Junaid: Firstly, thanks to the Almighty who kept his blessings on me. Along with that I also want to thank my parents, teachers and friends who remained a constant source of support for me during my preparation.
CSC: What was the role of family and others (teachers, friends) in your preparation and success?
Junaid:Family – Whenever I failed at any stage, they always motivated me, gave me the courage to stand up and fight again.
Teachers – It is due to their hard work and teaching that I am able to clear this exam.
About Your Preparation
CSC: What was your source of Preparation? Which Books, Magazines, News Papers and Online Sources were used by you during you preparation?
Junaid: Starting – Focus on UPSC syllabus and Previous Year’s Papers.
Books – NCERT’s help in developing a base for this exam. Then reference books like Laxmikant, Khullar for Geographhy etc help.
Magazines – Yojana andKurukshetra.
Newspapers – Indian express and The Hindu.
Online – PIB, ADR, Wikipedia website.
CSC: How much time did you devote for this Exam?
It is an integrated study. 1 – 1.5 years are required for building up a base with standard books.
Then for Mains – Answer writing every day and crisp and concise current affairs notes
Optional – It takes around 3-4 months to complete an optional.
CSC: How did you manage your time in both prelims and mains examinations?
Junaid:Prelims – 2 hours Paper
1st hour – first reading and attempting questions I know vey well.
2nd hour- second reading of questions whereI have some doubt.
Mains – Answer writing practice every day helped in managing the time in mains exam.
CSC: Did you integrate your Prelims and Mains preparation or was it separate?
Junaid:It is an integrated study in the beginning.
1-2 months prior to the prelims, one should focus more on objective questions and solving test series.
After clearing Prelims 2-3 months, answer writing should be focused upon along with revision.
CSC: Did you prepare notes? How helpful are notes? What is your advice on notes-making?
Junaid: Yes, notes are very very helpful during mains examination.
Making notes should be very crisp and concise, preferably bullet points which you can elaborate in the exam.
CSC:What were the Books and Strategy for Preparation of Ethics Paper- IV?
Junaid: Ethics is more of an applied thing. Still for basic terminologies LEXICON is good.
Apart from that focus on examples and try to use them in your answers.
CSC: Tell us something about the preparation of essay paper.
Junaid: Essay requires holistic application of knowledge which you have acquired during your preparation.
Quotes, anecdotes, poems, examples are different ways to start an essay. Also the demand should be addressed in a comprehensive manner.
CSC: What was your style of writing in the exam? How was it distinct from the general writing style? How did you develop this writing style?
Junaid: My style of writing was a mix of bullet points and paragraphs. Also, Introduction, body and conclusion are required along with headings and subheadings to make it more visible.
CSC: What was your optional? What was the basis of selecting this optional?
Junaid: My optional was Geography.I shortlisted few subjects like History, Geography and Political science. I read few books and found out that geography interested me the most. So it is solely your interest that should be the reason of selecting your optional.
CSS: How did you prepare for interview?
Junaid: I gave few mock interviews and tried to improve on my mistakes. Vajirao and Reddy helped me in this. More than knowledge, it is your personality which gets tested there.
CSC: Which type of questions was asked in the interview? Did you answer all the questions?
Junaid: Questions are mostly from your background and current affairs. For e.g., I am from B.Tech (ECE) background, so questions on New Electronics Policy 2019, 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G difference etc. were asked. Since my optional is Geography, questions on strategic location of India, maritime zones and their importance etc were asked.
No, I did not answer all the questions. You can say no to those questions of which you are not sure of. Just do not try to bluff.
CSS: Was there any specific area they emphasized upon?
Junaid: Things which you mention in the application form, questions are asked from that only. Also International relations is an area they are interested in.
CSC: What is the importance of coaching in the preparation of exam?
Junaid: Coaching is helpful in the beginning to keep the new aspirant on track. After that it is your self-study that matters.
CSC: What is the role of Civil Services Chronicle in your success?
Junaid: CSC covers the domain of current affairs in detail, which has become an important area in prelims as well as mains exam.
Suggested Book List:
- G.S : NCERTs – 9th to 12th
- Reference books:
- Polity – Laximikanth
- Geography– GC Leong and Indian Geography by Khullar
- Economics- Ramesh Singh
- History-Bipan Chandra
- 1.G.S. 1, G.S.2, G.S.3 and G.S.4
- For static part above mentioned books.
- For current – Notes from newspapers.
Mains Optional:GeographyUPSC Roll No.:0863569