An Interview with Dr. A. R. Khan, Director (KSG, New Delhi)

Q.    Congratulation to KSG and its entire team to a great success in 2015 results of the Civil Services. What has been the mantra of such a great result this year?
A.    The KSG has been having good result but we never went publicly proclaiming. Actually, I still feel the success story is of the student that they write themselves, we happen to guide their energy in the right direction only.

Q.    What are the significant features of your guiding pedagogy?
A.    It’s very simple; we try to keep them under the state effect they need to actually perform during the examination. It is a long journey and one need to be fully prepared. But, considering the mammoth task we break the task into small manageable units. We ensure that the students never get over awed by the enormousity of the task.

Q.    What is the role of a Coaching Institution in the preparation for the Civil Service Examination?
A.    As more and more candidates are taking the examination, the competition is getting callous every year. One wrong decision may cause fatality for the entire preparation. Coaching plays a pivotal role in this perspective. Another factor that adds to the utility of the coaching is the nature of the syllabus. It is fairly indicative, especially for the general studies. The experience of KSG in this regard is very useful. We help students identify the optimum en route to the goal.

Q.    What is the role of the optional? And how a candidate should decide about it?
A.    Optional plays a vital role as it comprises of five hundred marks. It is more organized as compared to General Studies. Therefore, one may be more definitive about scoring here. About deciding the optional, one should be guided by a few factors such as one’s liking about a particular subject, support system, books, good coaching, awareness and previous exposure to the subject, current trend and its overlap with the General Studies. I feel liking and the General Studies overlap should be more significant factor in deciding the optional, I must also add, there is no backdoor entry to the services therefore be ready to slog and take any optional that you like.

Q.    When do you suggest to start preparing for this examination?
A.    It is a simple rule if you start early you reach early. However, it is important to note that you should peak at the right time. Usually, the students starting alongwith the graduation by taking extra effort do mature fast. However, it is important that one should start under experienced guidance otherwise initial small steps in the wrong direction may costs high in the long run.

Q.    What is the role of answer writing practice as part of the preparation?
A.    Answer writing is a skill that takes some time to be mastered. We at KSG especially work on this. We consider information giving is at best one part of the job. Learning to use the information is a vital part of the coaching methodology at the KSG. We make students to practices power writing technique a unique methodology developed by us. We also highly emphasize on our innovative POD (Proof of Delivery Technique). It helps students not only for the General Studies but also for their essay and other papers as well.

Q.    What is the role of the test series? Should one join test series along with coaching?
A.    Test series is vital. Practice makes one perfect. However, it is important to note that one must be sure of the credential of the evaluator. At times a wrong advice is much more fatal than no advice at all. So, one needs to be careful in joining a test series upon verification of the credentials of the evaluation.

Q.    What are the vital components of a good answer?
A.    Understanding the question is something, I consider it of utmost importance. There is/are focus/es in a question that have certain context of presentation to be treated for a particular purpose. This may sound nuanced. But, we at KSG help students understand the fine points of answer writing, right from the take off i.e. introduction to the safe landing that is the concluding remarks. Take off and landings are the vital parts of the answer that is often ignored by the students.

Q.    What is the role of past performance? How far they determine the result in Civil Services?
A.    I would rather say that past performance has nearly no role in this examination. It is often said that no matter how hard the past, you can always begin again. The nature of this examination gives everyone a fair chance to start afresh. No one has any past track of the general studies the main forte of this examination. This examination is an excellent platform to write your career afresh. Anyone with any background stands equal chance in this exam and one should be determined enough to give good shot.

Q.    Can we segregate the preparation for the PT and Mains examination?
A.    I think it is very difficult to segregate the two preparations. The examination is one and the General Studies is the common thread to both. One should attempt simultaneously preparing for both the examination. However, the nature and demand of the examination being different, one should focus more on the facts for the PT and Skills of Writing for the Mains.

Q.    What are the cut off marks for P.T. and Mains Examination?
A.    While the cutoff marks vary every year it should never be the aim of the students. One should give its hundred percent and that is all about it. I never recommend anyone to be a cut off chaser.

Q.    What is your opinion about time management?
A.    Actually it is task management. While the time remains constant factor, ‘We help students prioritize their task that some may call it as time management’.

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