Junaid Ahmad, attained 3rd Rank in his 5th attempt in Civil Services Examination-2018

“Perseverance, hard work and learning from my mistakes are the secrets of my success.”

– Junaid Ahmad

“Pratiyogita Darpan” arranged an exclusive interview with Shri Junaid Ahmad who has been selected in Civil Services Examination, 2018, conducted by UPSC. He deserves high appreciation and our heartiest congratulations on his grand achievement. This important, thought-provoking and highly inspiring interview is being presented here in its original form.

PD—Achieving top slot in the CS Examination is no small feat; accept our heartiest congratulations on your splendid success.

Shri Junaid—Thank you for the good wishes.

PD—Were you confident of your success in this examination and how did you react to this news ?

Shri Junaid—No one can be sure of his success in this examination because of the nature of this exam. I expected to be in the list but getting AIR 3 came as a surprise to me.

It was a surreal feeling and the first thing I did was to call to my parents for sharing this feeling with him.

PD—What preference in services have you opted for and any particular reason for that priority ?

Shri Junaid—As I am already in Indian Revenue Service (IRS), I opted for IPS and IAS in this attempt.

The reason for it is the direct connect with people which IAS and IPS have.

PD—What was your optional subject ?

Shri JunaidOptional Subject : Geography

PD—In how many attempts have you achieved this success ?

Shri Junaid—This was my 5th attempt. In 4th attempt I got IRS (352nd rank).

PD—You must have read IAS toppers’ interviews in newspapers/ magazines; what inspired you the most ? Any particular success story which influenced your journey to this result ?

Shri Junaid—More than any story it was the feeling of returning back to the society and serving them, which inspired me the most. Nothing in the world can give you more satisfaction than doing something for others. Civil Service provides the best platform for it.

PD—What was your approach towards Paper I (General Studies) and Paper II (Aptitude Test) during Prelims preparation ? How long time and how much effort did you divide for each ?

Shri Junaid—For Paper 1-The first priority should be NCERT’s reference books for each subject. 1-2 months prior to exam., more focus should be on solving test series and analysing previous years’ papers Coaching Institute helped me in preparing GS subjects.

PD—How did you manage to tackle the ‘Negative Marking’ in Prelims ?

Shri Junaid—You have to practice before the exam through test series. You have to take calculated risk in the exam and minimise you silly mistakes. The fear of negative marking is there but if you practice well you will not face any problems during the exam.

PD—The first step is the most difficult; how to prepare ? Which optional subjects to pick ? What to read ? How much to read ? Many such questions come to your mind when you really get serious about Civil Services Examination ? From where did you get the right advice ?

Shri Junaid—In the starting it is very important to keep yourself on tracks. Luckily, I had some seniors with me who helped me in the process.

For optional I shortlist a few like History Geography and Political Science and read few books. I found Geography interests me more so I took it.

I believe that your interest should be the main reason behind your optional selection.

PD—You achieved the desired success in this attempt; how do you visualize your previous attempts ?

Shri Junaid—I always say that failures are stepping stones which one should use to achieve big things. Failure in my previous attempts helped me in rectifying my mistakes and clearing this exam.

PD—While making final choice for optional subject, what’s important and what’s not ?

Shri Junaid—The only reason for finalising your optional should be your interest.

Previous trends, notes availability, syllabus all are secondary things.

PD—What shift did you adopt in your strategy for MAINS (Written) ?

Shri Junaid—For mains I focused on two things.

        (a) Notes—concise, crisp, notes in bullet points for each topic should be prepared so that you can write comprehensive answers in mains.

(b) Answer writing practice—Everyday I use to sit with my friends and write answers that helped me a lot.

Name—Junaid Ahmad

Father’s Name—Mr. Javed Husain

Mother’s Name—Mrs. Aisha Raza

Date of Birth—28 January, 1991

Educational Qualifications

10th—2007, A.M.U., Minto (60%)

12th—2009, A.M.U., Minto (60%)

B.Tech—2009-2013, Sharda Univer-sity, (70%)

Previous Selections :

CSE 2017, Rank 352 IRS (C & I)


PD—Was there any special effort for effective preparation for ESSAY Paper ? Which topic did you pick up this time and why did you choose this particular topic ?

Shri Junaid—Essay preparation does not require any special efforts. It is your accumulated knowledge that needs to be reproduced in an organised manner.

Topic I chosen (1) Alternate technologies for climate change suitable for India.

(2) Customary morality cannot be a guide to modern life. 1 chose these topics as these areas are my strength.

PD—‘Time Management’ is a key factor while making preparations as well as in writing examination papers, be it Prelims or Main Examination. How did you manage things ?

Shri Junaid—Practice that is the key.

For preparation I always made small targets. Daily, weekly, monthly and tried to complete them. This helps in keeping your studies on track.

For writing The test series and answer writing practice which I did before the exam. helped me.

PD—How did you prepare yourself for interview ? When and which Board did you face ? How did your interview go on, how long time did it last and what were the questions asked during the Interview ?

Shri Junaid—For Interview I gave few mocks in Vajirao and Reddy and also I practiced answering infront of the mirror under the guidance of Dr. Chaudhary Sir. My interview was on 28th of March. My Board was of Satyavati Mam. She is a retired IAS Officer. My interview went well and it lasted for 30 minutes.

Questions were mostly from my application form e.g. B.Tech (ECE) background National electronics policy 2019 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G etc.

Geography—India’s strategic location. Maritime zones etc.

PD—Were you preparing for other career opportunities as well while preparing for your ultimate goal i.e. Career in Civil Services ?

Shri Junaid—I thought of giving a try for other exams also, after I failed many a time.

But my passion for Civil Service brought my focus back and I decided that I will think of it only.

PD—While the changing economic environment offers immense lucrative career opportunities in various sectors, still what kept you motivated towards Civil Services ?

Shri Junaid—I always looked for a meaningful career where I could return back to the society, where I can have job satisfaction and civil services provided the best platform for it.

PD—In your opinion at which Educational Level should one start preparing for Civil Services and what should be the minimum period of time required to prepare for Civil Services Examinations ?

Shri Junaid—One should start preparing for it after graduation. If you think of it before you lose out on the learnings of school and college. If one does this part of his study well, it will not take long time for him to clear this exam.

Talking about the minimum period it requires 1–1·5 years.

PD—What is your opinion regarding the general view that Science subjects have better chance to score than Humanities ?

Shri Junaid—I don’t agree with this views. It is your preparation that gives you marks. UPSC is looking for good candidates from diverse back-grounds and that is the reason this exam. is open for everyone.

PD—What is the importance of medium of examination for exams like CSE ?

Shri Junaid—I always say it is your knowledge that matters. Medium is only a way to express your knowledge. You can choose any medium English, Hindi, Urdu to express.

PD—Can you recall the exact moment when you realized the importance of Civil Services ?

Shri Junaid—It was there from the very childhood. When you look at things around you there is a feeling of being a driver of change. You try to contribute something to the society and that brings you closer to this exam.

PD—Finally, at what point of time did you make up your mind to make career in ‘Civil Services’ ?

Shri Junaid—After graduation I decided to prepare for this exam.

PD—Did you keep in mind some time-frame for the examination preparation and number of attempts ?

Shri Junaid—In the starting I decided that I would not give more than 2 attempts. But when I was into this I started enjoying the whole process and it took me 4 attempts to clear this exam.

Personal Qualities
Favourite Person—Every person who is positive and whom I can learn from.

Strong Point—Perseverance.

Weak Point—Emotions some times put me in trouble.

Hobbies—Reading books, Cricket.


PD—Was CSE your planned decision or your parents’ wish ?

Shri Junaid—Both. Every parent in India has this wish of making their children IAS. My story is also the same. But it was more of my interest which pushed me into the preparation of Civil Services.

PD—Does the educational, financial and demographic status of the family of an aspirant have any impact on the preparation ?

Shri Junaid—It is your self-study that matters. Today internet has reached the remotest part of the country and ocean of information is available there.

I believe the things which have impacted me are Patience, Hard work Perseverance.

PD—In your opinion what role do the Competition Magazines play when you are preparing for an examination like Civil Services ?

Shri Junaid—They help in covering the current affairs domain which is an important part of the preparation.

PD—How do you find Pratiyogita Darpan ? Do you find it close to your expectations ?

Shri Junaid—It is a good magazine for beginners-toppers; strategies are very useful provided in the magazine.

For aspirants—Current events are covered extensively. Also for school, college students it’s a good magazine to read.

PD—As a reader of PD, do you read IAS preparation related articles published in it and do you find these constructive ?

Shri Junaid—Articles in PD helps in opinion formation on a particular issue. It helps in making answers more comprehensive.

PD—Please give your comments on the PD Extra Issues Series on ‘General Studies’ and a few Optional Subjects ?

Shri Junaid—The series is good for aspirants who want to get a know how without opting for coaching institutes. This will help them in their preparation.

PD—What is the secret of your success ?

Shri Junaid—Hard work, patience and perseverance are the things which are required for this exam. It is an open secret to everyone.

PD—To whom would you like to give the credit for your success ?

Shri Junaid—To the Almighty who kept His blessings on me. Parents, teachers and friends who were a constant source of support, helped in preparing according to the needs of this exam.

PD—Any suggestion/advice you would like to give to the future aspirants.

Shri Junaid—You should be passionate for Civil Services. If you put others interests above your, it will become easier. And also failures are part of life, Don’t fear them, they make you a better person. All the best to everyone.

PD—Thank you very much and wishing you all the best for your future endeavours.


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