Junaid Ahmad is an IAS officer.
He scored the All India Rank 3 in UPSC CSE 2018.
Junaid Ahmad’s success story showcases the power of perseverance, as he didn’t give up and attempted the exam five times and then, secured the third rank.
So read on.
Junaid Ahmad hails from Nagina, Bijnor, Uttar Pradesh.
He studied from first grade to sixth grade in S.T Mary School, Nagina.
Then, Junaid Ahmad shifted to Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and studied here until his 12th grade.
Both in his tenth standard and intermediate he scored 60%.
Junaid Ahmad studied Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics (PCM) in his intermediate.
Later, he graduated in Electronics and Communications Engineering (ECE) from Sharda University, Greater Noida.
All through his school and college, Junaid Ahmad failed in many exams because he wasn’t serious about studying well.
He did his schooling from AMU and enjoyed a reservation of 50% but he couldn’t get admission into the engineering course in AMU.
Later, Junaid Ahmad attempted the Uttar Pradesh State Entrance Examination (UPSEE) but couldn’t crack it.
Then, as he had no option, he got admitted into Sharda University, a private university.
Junaid Ahmad’s plan after graduation was to go abroad and do Masters there but he couldn’t crack the GRE and IELTS.
Thinking of Civil Services Exam-
Junaid Ahmad wasn’t much interested in doing a private job after graduation, so he was searching for a better challenging and meaningful job and then, Civil Services struck him.
So, he started preparing for the Civil Services after graduating in 2014.
Junaid Ahmad was very attracted towards the Civil Services because it offered him the opportunity to directly connect with the people and solve their problems.
He, along with one of his college friends, started preparing for the exam.
Shifting from Delhi to Mumbai-
During that time, Junaid Ahmad was in Delhi and as he had a lot of friends there, he found them distracting and so he shifted to Mumbai in order to prepare for the Civil Services.
He took coaching for IAS in the Haj House for around a year and half.
While in Mumbai, Junaid Ahmad attempted the Civil Services Exam.
He was able to clear the Preliminary exam but not Mains because his answer writing skills weren’t great.
Then, Junaid Ahmad returned to Delhi and started his preparation here.
After returning to Delhi, Junaid Ahmad started his preparation at Rajinder Nagar, Delhi.
But here he didn’t feel much productive and as Rajinder Nagar is a hub for civil service aspirants, he found the crowd to be very distracting.
Also, living there was very expensive.
Then, Junaid Ahmad realised that he could crack the exam with self-study and so he shifted to Jamia.
Studying at Residential Coaching Academy-
Junaid Ahmad joined the Residential Coaching Academy at Jamia Millia Islamia university.
Here he not only received free coaching for Civil Services but also got financial support from the government.
Junaid Ahmad prepared for the Prelims by initially studying the NCERT books of 9th standard to the 12th standard of history, geography, economics and polity.
Then, he referred to the other books and started focusing more on current affairs.
One of his teachers advised Junaid Ahmad to by heart the syllabus of the exam and thanks to this, he aligned his preparation strictly to the syllabus.
Question papers and newspapers-
While preparing, Junaid Ahmad greatly referred to the previous years question papers.
For Science & Technology, instead of referring to the books, he initially referred to The Hindu but later shifted to The Indian Express.
Importance of note making-
Initially, Junaid Ahmad didn’t prepare notes and this cost him dearly in the Mains exam as he couldn’t reproduce his thoughts in an organised way.
Likewise, he failed in a couple of Civil Services (Main) Examinations and only then, he realised the importance of note making.
Then, Junaid Ahmad started preparing comprehensive notes in a very concise manner.
He mainly used bullet points in his notes and this helped him to better remember most of the points.
Initially, Junaid Ahmad was equally interested in both history and geography but later as he liked geography more than the history, he chose geography as his optional subject.
He prepared for this subject by reading the 11th and 12th standard books of NCERT.
Then, Junaid Ahmad also referred to the Certificate Physical And Human Geography book by Goh Cheng Leong.
Then, he selectively read the India: A Comprehensive Geography book by D.R. Khullar.
Later, in an interview Junaid Ahmad opined that the aspirants should read the Fundamentals of Human Geography book of NCERT instead of Khullar’s book.
Essays and mock tests-
Junaid Ahmad was very skilled at writing philosophical essays, so he used to score good marks in it.
Also, he attended around 10 mock tests per year.
Junaid Ahmad took online coaching for ethics from NeoStencil.
He used to keep daily and weekly targets and achieve them.
After Junaid Ahmad fumbled the Civil Services Exam twice, he started focusing on the answer writing.
He along with his group of three friends used to write around seven answers within an hour and then, discuss the points.
Junaid Ahmad got inspired by Shah Faesal, the topper of the 2009 UPSC CSE and later by Athar Aamir Khan, the second ranker of the Civil Services Exam 2015.
He used to read the books of A. P. J. Abdul Kalam and get inspired by them.
Junaid Ahmad considers A. P. J. Abdul Kalam as his role model.
Studying for long hours-
Initially, Junaid Ahmad used to wake up at 5 AM and continuously study until 12 PM.
During that time, he also reduced social interactions so as to not disturb his momentum of preparation.
Apart from reading books and newspapers, Junaid Ahmad also read on the internet to know about different perspectives about topics.
He used to discuss the subjects with his friends and this helped him to revise them.
After studying for long hours, Junaid Ahmad used to either work out at the gym, run or play cricket in the evening.
Volleyball and table tennis are also his favourite sports.
Junaid Ahmad used to watch a movie every Friday to break the monotony of his exam preparation.
In 2014, Junaid Ahmad attended the Civil Services Exam for the first time.
He attended the Civil Services Exam almost every year but many times he failed either at the Mains stage or the interview stage.
In his first two attempts, Junaid Ahmad couldn’t clear the Mains and in the third attempt even when he cleared the Mains, he wasn’t in the final list.
He continuously improved with each passing attempt.
In the 2017 Civil Services Exam Junaid Ahmad got a rank of 352.
Getting into IRS-
After securing the 352 rank, Junaid Ahmad got into the Indian Revenue Service (IRS).
But as he was more interested in IAS than IRS, he once again attempted for the exam and this was his fifth attempt.
And in the 2018 UPSC CSE Junaid Ahmad secured the third rank and thanks to this, he was able to realise his dream of becoming an IAS officer.
He belongs to the IAS 2019 batch and as of August 2021, he is posted in Ballia, Uttar Pradesh.
Junaid Ahmad is the first IAS officer in his family and also the first IAS officer of the Nagina town.
So, how are you inspired by the success story of Junaid Ahmad?
Tell me in the comment section below.