An Interview with Athar Aamir (AIR-2)

Q. Give us a brief account of your mantra of getting AIR-2?
A. It has been a combination of hard work, focused study, time management and strong parental support.

Q. What are the things that you did different from the previous attempt to score such a high rank?
A. This time I analyzed my results very thoroughly. I tried to find out the areas in which I need more improvement, which are the areas in which I lack. So this time my whole strategy revolved around those gaps and filling those loop holes. Also I wrote a lot of test and did a lot of answer writing which actually helped me answering the questions for the exam.

Q. UPSC is a long journey. How you kept yourself motivated?
A. The basic point of motivation has to be understanding why we want to come to the services. I was very clear about this at the very first place. I gave a lot of time and thinking in trying to convince myself for the civil services. That itself is a big inspiration on one hand. On the other hand, taking things in a balanced way not only studying but also spending time with your friends, family, hobbies and interest as they always keep you refreshed. i used to talk to my parents and grandparents whenever I felt low and demotivated.

Q. How much time one should devote for optional along with General Studies?
A. we should devote at least 30% of our energy and time on optional

Q. What is the role of coaching institute in your success?
A. During my mock interviews, panelist helped me in identifying the areas in which I need to prepare more and how to improve those. I also did a number of test series as well. Test series helps you in increasing your speed and it also give you feedback. Study materials and class notes also helps a lot.

Q. How KSG has contributed in your journey towards Civil Services?
A.  I have been in personal contact of Dr Khan for a while. He did guide me for the examination. When I attended the interview program at KSG that also helped me a lot. The panelist there did highlight the key area on which I need to focus more and improve in terms of communication and content.

Q. Despite having science background why you selected Philosophy as your optional?
A. It was also my area of interest. I used to study a lot of humanities subjects during my engineering. I had read some of the philosophers during that time only. When it came to choosing the optional, I thought that taking philosophy as an optional will be a good opportunity to reach the concept. I also found that the syllabus of philosophy is very manageable and the extra study material is easily available.

Q. How one should update for the current events on regular basis.
A.  The best way is to read the newspapers regularly that too very rigorously. You should spend time in reading national and international issues, economy related issues, some editorials etc. Also make some notes of them. One can take journals like EPW, Yojana etc they also helps a lot

Q. What suggestion you like to give to the students who are at early stage of their preparation.
A. First of all, try to understand the examination well, the pattern, syllabus, previous years papers as it will give you an idea what is the requirement at the examination. After that you need to plan your studies, make long term or medium term strategies which you can follow. You have to cover each and every area that too with proper depth and understanding.

Q. What are the significant forces that drive towards your goal?
A. Nothing can be a bigger force than our own commitment and passion. If you are passionate about what you are doing, if you love what you want to do then you can achieve any feat.  Some crucial moral support by your parents, teachers and friends also helps you a lot along with a bit of luck which actually is not in your hand.

Q. Does one need to segregate optional and General Studies preparation?
A. There has to be a bit of different approach while preparing for GS and optional. They are completely isolated as the syllabus, area of reading is different, and also you need to give separate time to both GS and optional. But when it comes to GS, it actually helps a lot while answering the optional specially in paper 2. Similarly what you have learnt in the optional will help in answering at the time of GS paper. There is not a particular water tank isolation between the two, yet the study has to be different.

Q. How much time one should devote in reading newspaper?
A. 2-3 hours should be sufficient. If you are reading one newspaper with the notes that you will make.

Q. How to manage the big heap of newspapers in order to cover current affairs?
A. Choose one or two newspaper whichever you find comfortable and easy to understand and after that have the syllabus of the examination in your mind while reading the newspaper. That will help you in reading those articles, editorials and news items which are very much related to your examination. Also, reading newspapers early morning helps a lot as you will be reading it with a fresh mind at the same you can note down some important points from what you are reading. Dont make paper cutting etc as they can pile up. Just note down 2 3 or 4 lines of the article but make sure you write down something out of it.

Q. What is the significance of a mentor in the life of an aspirant?
A. Mentor generally guide students well, they help them in prioritizing things better they give them regular encouragement and feedback which actually helps a lot in the aspirant's preparation time.

Q. What are the social commitments that you would like to fulfill?
A. Apart from the regular job or service, being the civil servant, you also have a responsibility towards social  mobilisation, sensitization when it comes to social issues. Since, I am from Jammu and Kashmir, there are a lot  of issues and problems here so guiding the people here and future aspirants is also my responsibility. Right now I am focusing on the training period we will be having in coming time to try to understand and observe the things as much as I can during the period. I have to understand the system and see how the things work.

Q. How mock interview at KSG has contributed in your success?
A. The mock interview did highlighted some of the basic area in which I Lacked the proper understanding and  knowledge. At the same time they also tried to improve some of my verbal and non verbal communication skill. It was quite similar to the UPSC interview.

Q. Brief us about proper time management strategy?
A. You need to have a time table which can tell how much and how many hours you are going to read every day. It also helps in making the weekly and monthly plans and to cover the topics as well. Set the targets which are achievable, it should not be like you want to finish the whole syllabus in 5-6 days as it doesn't happen. It has to be very realistic. Once you have made your plans, try to stick to them as much as you can. So discipline is the key here & time is the biggest resource.


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