Motivated to change society, an engineering graduate, Faizan Ahmed has cracked UPSC civil services exam in his second attempt. Ahmed is among one of the highest scorers across the country and has bagged an All India Rank (AIR) 58. He has scored 995 marks in total including 805 in written and 190 on the personality test.
Preparation for UPSC CSE was not just about academics for Ahmed but also included learning and unlearning social skills. For him, civil services preparations meant reading English newspapers for the first time, and getting out of his comfort zone, and being more communicative.
He claims that it was his passion to help society and make the lives of people better that led him towards civil services right after obtaining a degree in mechanical engineering from Rajasthan Technical University, Kota in 2018. He first attempted civil services in 2019, however, could not crack the exam. By the end of the preparations, it was him who became a better man.
While in the first attempt he could not pass the preliminary test, in the second attempt, he is among the national toppers. What changed? The Kota-boy claims, it was having focused preparation. During his stay at the RCA, he prepared for all three rounds simultaneously.
He claims the reason behind not clearing in the first attempt was a lack of guidance. In September 2019, Faizan joined the Residential Coaching Academy Programme of Jamia Millia Islamia.
During his stay in Delhi, he had to evolve and work towards his people skills. “For the interview, initially, I had small difficulties in talking to people, initiating conversations, and answer questions with confidence. Later, during the preparation process, I started conversing and bettering my personality. It was an entire process,” he says.
Hailing from Kota where most people speak Hindi it was only during his preparations that he started reading English newspapers. “Although I had read in an English medium, Hindi was the most preferred language. It was when I started preparing for the UPSC in September 2018 that I started reading English newspapers,” he adds.
For prelims, he made notes which helped him till the end. He studied for an average of 8-10 hours daily as well as played football to stay refreshed. His seven-month preparations during the first attempt helped him during his second try as well. “I had learned a substantial amount of the syllabus and most of the notes by then. After the first attempt, I put focus on my preparation strategy,” he says.
He credits his success to his family who had motivated him to take the path. “My grandparents always motivated me to do something for the society and make it a better place for the betterment of the people. They told me if I want to do something for the nation, I have to come out of the engineering zone. It was a gradual unfolding of my personality that I started wanting to become an IAS officer” says Faizan.
Not only his grandparents, but his best friend, who works with NGOs too motivated him to take up UPSC. His father is a station master with the Indian Railways posted at Kota, his mother is a homemaker. He also has an elder sister, who is a doctor, and a brother who is pursuing his master’s in history.