IIT: Here I come

Last year Athar qualified CET, AIEEE, BITSAT, almost all the entrance exams he appeared in. But IITJEE eluded him. This year he fulfilled his dream and qualified for IIT. Ibrahim Wani reports

Athar Aamir-ul-Shafi Khan (Sitting row extreme left) attending his final convocation at IIT Himachal Pradesh.
Athar Aamir-ul-Shafi Khan (sitting row, extreme left) attending his final convocation at IIT Himachal Pradesh.

For many, qualifying the JK CET exam for an MBBS seat is the ultimate aim. For Athar Aamir-ul-Shafi Khan it was not.

He qualified the exam, like he qualified AIEEE, BITSAT (for admission to Birla Institute of Technology) etc. But his aim was higher. “I had a dream of going to the IIT,” says Athar. However, he could not qualify the Joint Entrance Examination for admission to IIT (IITJEE) in the first attempt.

He joined GMC Jammu. But he did not leave his dream. When the results to the IIT JEE exam 2010 where announced on 26th May, there could not have been a happier person than Athar. On his second attempt, he qualified the exam.

“Many people would have thought it to be foolish to go for IIT JEE after already securing a medical seat,” he says, “but I thought differently. I was steadfast on fulfilling my aim.”

Athar Khan (22, IAS Probationer)
Athar Khan (23, Kashmir IAS Topper)

Athar had started aiming for IIT right from his 11th class. However, initially he too had started out like other students “whose aim is either to secure good marks in the board exam, AIEEE or JK CET”.

“One of my teachers observed that I had very good analytical ability. He advised me to aspire for IIT,” says Athar. Till then he hardly knew anything about the exam. Now he started looking into it. “I saw the pattern of the exam and started studying books which were prescribed for IITJEE,” he says.

After passing his class 12th board exams, Athar headed to Delhi for coaching. He soon realized that it was not of much use. “There is actually nothing as a crash course. It is just a way for the coaching institutes to make money,” he says.

Athar feels that to succeed in any endeavor, it is necessary for a person to know what he or she is doing. “My focus was always IIT even after I joined medical college,” he adds.

“Another thing is the clarity of concepts,” says Athar. According to him, this is particularly important because the IIT JEE exam does not just test the power to memorize. “In this exam they are checking conceptual clarity.”

Athar had only limited time to study for this exam as he had to take care of his medical college studies also. But this did not deter him. “I always believe that it is not the hours you put into study, but the study put into the hours that matters,” he says, enlisting time management as one of the important pre-requisites for success in any exam.

The number of Kashmiri students qualifying the IIT exam is very small-almost dismal.  “There is a lack of exposure among students here,” he says, adding that many students think that it is a very difficult exam to qualify when actually it is not.

“Another reason is that teachers and students here are oriented for board exams, AIEEE and CET. So the aptitude to qualify for IIT is not developed here,” says Athar.

Athar feels that more and more students from the valley can qualify the exam provided they make it up in their mind to do so. “Do intensive study, try to know the exam and prepare accordingly,” he advises.

Is he a bookworm?

“No,” he says, “that is not a good thing to be.” Athar is a fan of Chetan Bhagat and has read all his novels. “I like movies also and have always found time to watch the newest releases,” he says. Besides this, as a student of IMI Islamabad and then Tyndale Biscoe School (at higher secondary level ), he has been an active participant in the co-curricular activities. “I was among the toppers at the Indian science congress in 2006,” he adds.

Athar credits the major part of his success to his parents. “They always let me do whatever I wanted to and never put any pressure on me,” he says. He adds that if he would have had any pressure from his family then he would not have been able to qualify the exam.

List of books he prescribes for the IITJEE exam:-

a)    Physics:-HC Verma and DC Gupta.
b)    Chemistry:- EA Carey (organic) and Dhawan, Amit Gupta (inorganic).
c)    Mathematics:- SK Goel and ML Khana.



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