How to prepare for IES with Mechanical Engineering

About me and this little effort –

Hi all, I am Deepak Jhalani and I secured AIR 16 in ESE 2014. I completed my B.Tech from MNIT Jaipur in 2012. And then I worked for one year before starting preparation for this exam in July 2013. My friend Amit Singh asked me to write an article about preparation for IES and I should admit that I was more than forthcoming in accepting his request. The reason lies in the fact that I really appreciate his blog, his efforts and his sincere bid to make things easier for prospective aspirants. There are many things which look quite complicated due to prevalent information asymmetry in our education system and I do believe these efforts can bring a lot of positive change.


Now coming to the theme of the article. In this article I will try to address the 5 most pertinent issues which I faced or for which I am being asked for help in number of queries by aspirants.

 Words of Caution – Please don’t take my words as sacred words. All these are my own observations and everyone has different observations about the things. Apply your minds and adapt strategies as per your own capability, previous background, comfort level with subjects or any other relevant factors.

  1. Whether Coaching is Required or NOT for clearing the Examination ?

To this my straightforward answer is “Coaching is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for clearing the Exam”.

Yes, you can clear the Exam without taking any coaching. And I also did not take any coaching. And I know many students who cleared the Exam without any coaching.

But it does not mean that coaching does not help students. It certainly helps to some extent in reading right things and understanding the complicated things (Or rather many a times have been made to look like complicated by our Colleges or Coachings).

But if you do not or can not have access to any premier coaching (Yes, You can read it Made Easy or anything else) it does not mean you can’t clear the exam. Every year hundreds of students do it without coaching and will keep on doing in future as well.

But yes, to clear Exam without coaching you need to put extra efforts to find out the relevant things, understand them, practice problems based on them and the most importantly to keep you motivated.

In my case my two college batch mates helped me a lot. One, Mohit Mudgal had secured AIR 40 in ESE 2013 and another Ankit Garg was taking coaching in Made Easy. So guidance certainly matters. And I believe articles like these and many other on internet can help you in providing guidance and company. I, in this and other articles, will try to list out all those things which can probably complete this “Guidance part”.

Muddi ankit
Mohit Mudgal, Ankit Garg and Me (From Left to Right)

2.      Timeline for preparation

Ideally one should start preparation when one is studying in college. As the level of ESE Examination is more or less easier or equivalent to the University level Examination. For some topics, It is just matter of more emphasis and some more problem solving.

But the truth is, there is hardly anyone who starts preparing with college and later people regret this thing. As it is easier and they have all the resources in this period to prepare. And most importantly it saves their precious time of the most productive phase of life. Even I myself started preparing after a year of my college.

Generally one year preparation (July-June) with modest hours (3-4 Hours a day) is considered sufficient for clearing the Exam.

GATE Exam is considered a milestone in this journey of preparation. And there remains a 3-4 months gap between GATE and ESE. So it is good and acts as confidence booster if one scores good in GATE. But if one does not score good in GATE it does not mean one can’t score in ESE as well. As the focus and types of questions asked in both the examination differ significantly one can still prepare and score very well in ESE. I, myself, have secured some AIR 4900 rank in GATE 2014 and with due preparation I was able to score AIR 16 in ESE 2014. And I have seen many people who have achieved equally well in ESE in these 4 months preparation.


3. Book List –

There is this one thing which can make or break one’s chances even if one is diligent and determinate enough in this exam. In UPSC the questions which are asked cover a limited portion of subjects sometimes even narrower in width than our University Examination. So this makes it very critical on part of candidate that s/he reads selectively and in adequate depth about those topics. So this is where candidates preparing on their own face the highest difficulty. I, myself, found many a times in trap of reading unnecessary things at great lengths as I prefer reading from books. Perhaps it was the biggest difference in my preparation for GATE and ESE as well. After my poor show in GATE, I had understood the importance of being selective and problem oriented approach.

Problem oriented approach is about solving the right problems in adequate numbers. In the ESE, UPSC has been quite stagnant about what it asks in the Exam. So it becomes UNAVOIDABLE to solve previous year questions both Objective type and Conventional type. You may find 60-70 % questions repeating themselves with different data or from peripherals of the previous 10-12 year questions unlike GATE. Probably this is the reason of such dominance acquired by some of the Coaching Centers.

Here I am suggesting books I used. You do not need to follow these strictly if you know a better source. Now here is my booklist –

For all subjects-

  • Arrange Made Easy Class Notes – As this will help in restricting scope of your study. Don’t much digress from these. Do extra topics but only if you find them in Previous year questions. You can either get these from your friends or you can purchase (Cost is Around 1100 Rs.).
  • Previous year Questions book (Both Objective and Conventional type) preferably of Made Easy Publication as Arihant has too many of mistakes.
  • NPTEL Courses – This is the best you can get. But be very selective or try to avoid in times of examination as these require long gestation period. But these are Boon for College goers. I wished we had this in our college time. As the course teachers here are the best minds of subjects dealing with the best institutions of our country. So If you are in college go through these courses as these will develop insight into subjects like anything and they very well will eliminate any need of coaching. I used NPTEL for all the subjects.

Paper I

  • Thermodynamics – PK Nag or Cengel & Boles. Problems from PK Nag resemble problems of Exam but C&B is excellent to understand the concepts.
  • Fluid Mechanics and Fluid Machinery – Notes will be sufficient for Theory. R K Bansal for Problems. Very critical subject you can’t clear the exam without mastering it. It can have weightage of 40% itself.
  • Power Plant – Compressible Flow from PK Nag or C&B. Gas Turbine from V Ganeshan (Very Selective). Steam PP from Power Plant by PK Nag (Very Selective).
  • IC Engine – Mathur and Sharma. Avoid book to read too much. Only some 50 pages are required to be read as everything else will be written in the notes. I did not read the book.
  • RAC – Very Scoring subject especially in conventional. Try to read CP Arora for some theoretical portion.
  • Heat and Mass Transfer – Basically only Numerical based questions are asked. You can read whatever book you have referred in your college along with Notes. I did not read any book.

Paper II

  • Theory of Machines – RS Khurmi is more than sufficient. Problems are good and enough in numbers.
  • Strength of Material – You can refer any college book. I used Timoshenko but that is not of much use for exam purpose. Better to use some Indian author book like Punamia or Rajput for problem solving.
  • Machine Design – Read V B Bhandari selectively for problems and theory. This is more than sufficient.
  • Industrial Eng.- You can use University referred books and Coaching Notes. This is the most fragmented subject. I did not read any book.
  • Materials Science – I read Callister and wasted too much time disproportionately to its weightage. Rather read Kalpak Jian, it has in concise and more relevant form.
  • Production Engg. – This always gave trouble to me. Apart from Made Easy notes, PPT Notes of Mondol Sir of Made Easy can be a good read. I tried to read from Kalpak Jian but I could not complete it and I would suggest to avoid it in the beginning. For Casting ME Class Notes are enough. For Welding one can read Swadesh Singh. For Metal cutting and Forming PN Rao is also a good book but it remains inadequate.

GS & English

For English I read the book of English by Made Easy publication and this is a very good book and I found it sufficient.

I intend to write separate article for this paper as I have scored very well here.

4. Test Series –

For clearing any competitive Examination it is always a matter of outperforming your competitors and for this you have to be always conscious about your relative standing. Test Series provides a platform where you always remain in sync with the competition as well as the need of the Exam. I, myself, joined Made Easy Classroom ESE 2014 test series and it worked wonder for me. The benefits of this were –

  • I synchronized my preparation with the test series schedule. So I was able to wind up my studies which is very difficult when you prepare on your own.
  • I got chance to practice question paper in real exam like pressure conditions which is very critical to perform.
  • The competition in their test series is real and good.
  • Their Exam papers were quite in sync with the needs of UPSC.

This year they are starting test series online as well so people from anywhere can access it. One can join any other test series as well or one can join small group of students to practice questions in timed manner as well to achieve the same objectives.

5. My Scorecard


For more please visit –

Provision and Methodology for transfer of Service Agreement Bond

Hello Readers,
It is the follow up of prvious article in which Ayush Srivastava did a comparative analysis of his working experience at IOCL and subsequestly at railways. In this article he explains provision and methodology for transfer of Service Agreement Bond while switching from a PSU to Indian Railways through ESE. He can be reached at  Ayush Srivastava.

Hello Folks!!!

This is Ayush Srivastava, IRSE Probationer, 2013-exam batch. I find pleasure in introducing myself, briefly as follows:

Graduation: B Tech (Civil) from Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology, Bhopal.

Graduating year: 2013           Graduating GGPA: 9.41/10.00            PG: None

GATE-2013 AIR: 84                Engineering Services Exam-2013 AIR: 23

Campus Selection: IOCL          GATE Recruitment: IOCL

I have decided to talk about the transfer of bond, specifically from IOCL to railways, as I was involved with the same two organizations and since it is more of a legal kind of thing, I cannot and will not misguide you by writing anything and everything here in a generalized manner. I am sorry if this doesn’t concern you.
First of all, please be aware that there is a Department of Public Enterprise (DPE) guideline referred as DPE O.M. No. 15(2)/2003-DPE(GM)/GL-57 dated 29th July, 2004 which clearly states that “The bond executed by employees of the Public Enterprises, who have received scientific/technical training at the cost of Public Enterprises and have applied through proper channel during the currency of the bond join Central Govt./State Govt. services or take up employment under quasi-government organizations or any other public enterprise either on the basis of competition examinations/tests/interviews organized by those organizations or the Union Public Service Commission should not be enforced subject to the condition that a fresh bond is taken to ensure that the employee serves the new employer for the balance of the original bond period.” The above guideline can be checked hereunder: .

You should apply through proper channel for ESE (which you would) and intimate in prior, to your controlling authority at your current job in the concerned PSU, while applying for the ESE (at the beginning while filling up the form and not wait till you clear the written exam). Many times, the HR personnel in the PSUs take it as leverage for not transferring your bond, in case you have not intimated through proper channel while applying for the ESE.

An important point to understand here is that in case you are a fresh pass-out and have applied and appeared in the written exam of ESE prior to joining, then off-course applying through so called proper channel doesn’t apply, as you were not a part of your current PSU, while you applied and wrote for the exam. However, it is suggested to intimate in writing, to your boss, that you have applied and written the ESE of the concerned year, which was held prior to your date of joining your current job. This should be done as soon as you join at your first permanent place of posting.

As stated in the above DPE guideline, you need to execute a fresh bond with your current organization for the balance of original period and amount. This bond shall clearly state that you shall serve the department allotted to you through ESE (in our case Railways) for the balance of the original period. In the event of failure to do so on your part, your new department shall realize the proportionate money of the balance bond amount, from you and return to the PSU, with whom you have originally executed the bond. The new department (in my case the railways) shall be custodian of this bond.

Problems Faced:

  1. No official format of fresh bond available, either with IOCL or Railways, which can be used directly.
  2. Convincing the HR personnel of IOCL regarding such a provision of bond transfer. (Though it was not an issue as IOCL has some very good and helpful HR people).
  3. The mechanism of paper work to facilitate the transfer of bond.


The above process of bond transfer was challenge for me, and sometimes I thought of giving up. However, fortunately, I came out with flying colors and was the first ex-iocian of ESE-2013 batch (including all services in railways) to get my bond transferred successfully from IOCL to Indian Railways.

First of all, since there is no official format of fresh bond available, either with IOCL or Railways, which can be used directly, you will have to prepare a format on your own and get it verified from HR people in IOCL, well in advance.( If IOCL is OK with the format, then railways have no problem). To prepare the format you may take help form NTPC guys, who have a format of their own, as far as I know. You should pressurize the HR department of your PSU (IOCL in this case) to provide this agreement format. However, at last, if you have to prepare it yourself, you may take the help of a professional lawyer to prepare such a format, or search the internet, if you are lucky. It is quite possible, that seeing the rising number of requests for bond transfer every year, PSUs including IOCL, by now, might have officially prepared such formats for transfer of service bonds from their organization to some other state/central department and you may get saved from this mind-wrecking task.

Regarding having a strong stand for enabling your bond transfer, you should let your HR know about the DPE guidelines, so that you are not denied of your right. As far as railways is concerned, I know and so can say that it is always a plus point, because it is clearly written in the appointment letter, that the railways accept the transfer of bond from PSUs/Central  departments. You should submit a Xerox of your railway appointment letter with your resignation letter to IOCL, in which it should be clearly stated that you want your bond to be transferred as per the relevant DPE guideline.

Once a fresh agreement has been typed on the bond paper, it should be duly signed by you and your surety and then countersigned by the competent personnel in IOCL or accompanied by a letter from IOCL stating the said bond is accepted by them. This letter along with the original bond paper shall be submitted at IRICEN, Pune at the time of joining. The railways shall keep the original bond paper, and send a copy of the same, to IOCL, with a covering letter stating the acceptance of the bond on the part of railways. This marks the completion of the bond transfer process.

P.S.: As per prevailing culture, you will be given a provisional release order from IOCL, on the basis of which you can join the railways. (Without provisional release order you will not be allowed to join).  Once the bond process is completed, IOCL shall dispatch your formal release order to railways, under intimation to you.

I think that’s all of what I am capable of sharing with you. Study hard, study smart and always be clear with your priorities. A life full of dilemmas is like having a bowl full of butter chicken in front of you when you know you can’t eat it because of an upset digestion.

Wishing you all a happy reading and a successful life ahead!!!!!!!


IRSE (P), 2013.

Life In a Psu-A comparative analysis

Welcome Readers,
This following post is the first installment of article written by Ayush Srivastava in which he explains his prior working in IOCL and his subsequent joining in railways. He can be reached at


Hello Folks!!!

This is Ayush Srivastava, IRSE Probationer, 2013-exam batch. I find pleasure in introducing myself, briefly as follows:

Graduation: B Tech (Civil) from Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology, Bhopal.

Graduating year: 2013           Graduating GGPA: 9.41/10.00            PG: None

GATE-2013 AIR: 84                Engineering Services Exam-2013 AIR: 23

Campus Selection: IOCL          GATE Recruitment: IOCL

So I need not tell again that prior to joining the Indian Railways Service of Engineers, I was working with Indian Oil Corporation Ltd., a public sector undertaking, under the Government of India. I was in line for the preparation of ESE since the beginning of my pre-final year, and so I won’t be much of a help in case you ask me WHAT TO DO and WHAT NOT in, say 3 or 4 months, prior to ESE for clearing the same. Seeing the whole lot of time I took in securing a “meh” rank like 23 in an exam like ESE, you are absolutely right with your conclusion that I was (and am) more of an average student requiring a lot of toil to move meager distances and keep things in my small head. But I am not here to talk about myself, but to share something which might help some of you, even though I am not sure of that.

So, after persistent hammering for 2 months, by my very good friend and a great blogger, Amit Singh, I finally present here, solely from my personal experiences, some scribbling related to stuff like:

  1. Life in a PSU
  2. ESE departments and a PSU like IOCL, NTPC and ONGC: An attempt of comparison.


I was selected in IOCL through campus as well as GATE score shortlisting. I joined IOCL on 22.07.2013 and worked there till 30.11.2014. I was working as Project Engineer in the Pipelines Division of IOCL at Allahabad and was involved in the shifting of Barauni-Kanpur underground oil pipeline. I am mentioning about my job profile at IOCL, here, to make you feel the nature of work that I was into. It was the best that IOCL could have offered to a civil engineer. Some major TECHNICAL issues which I looked after were construction of small buildings, preparation of petty estimates, concreting at field, route survey for pipeline and studying soil test reports. Besides these, I had to do a lot of letter drafting.

So what I gathered from my tenure of 16 months in IOCL can be summarized as:

  • You are related to what you have studied in your engineering, between 0%-10%, while you are on job in a PSU. This applies to some of the companies only viz. IOCL, ONGC, NTPC, SAIL and GAIL and that too for civil engineers specifically. I am not talking about core civil PSUs like RITES, NHPC and the like, as I bear no experience of these. Now this may become a point of work dissatisfaction for many (it was for me…I am not sure of others) as to be doing something completely not of your prime interest.
  • In a PSU, or I should say at my office at IOCL, apart from an engineer, I was an unsung stenographer who gathered the material for a letter, the typist who typed it, the incognito peon who carried the draft to the boss for approval, again the typist who corrected it if required, the office boy who dispatched the letter and the neat engineer who then dealt with the party to whom the letter was addressed, regarding the issues therein.

In a nutshell, it was something completely away from involving my authority and decision making. This again made me introspect sometimes, that what am I doing?

  • BUT!!!!!!…. There was this thing called money. Entry basic salary in a PSU is Rs.24900/-. There are a lot of perks apart from salary and a number of loans on meager interest offered by PSUs to the employees. Believe me, you earn a good decent living in a maharatna PSU.

ESE departments  and a Maharatna PSU: An attempt of comparison:

Now this is something big that I have tried. Please see to it that all the views herein are purely personal and based on my short stay at a PSU and even shorter stay at Indian Railways. Neither I intend to challenge or correct anyone, nor do I mean to offend anyone. This is just what I feel, and if at all it could be of any help to any of you.

  1. You are more involved with the CIVIL engineering you studied in your college in a department like Indian Railways or CPWD, when compared to working in a PSU like IOCL, ONGC, SAIL, NTPC.


  1. You enjoy more authority when you are in an ESE department at the entry level, as against that in a PSU. If I talk of railways, you have a substantial workforce to control and you are to extract the maximum potential of your subordinates under limited conditions, with 100% correctness of the technical aspect of the work.


  1. Your decision making and responsibility sharing is manifold in an ESE department. Particularly in railways a civil engineer is directly related to safety of passengers and so you are to take decisions for your jurisdiction length of track for which you are single-handedly responsible.


  1. Talking of the technical exposures, you will be actually building stuff like bridges and tunnels, and your work won’t be limited to checking concreting in the field. Some of these projects might of national importance like the bridge at Bogibeel which connects Arunachal and upper Assam to rest of India or a bridge over Chenab in J&K., which will definitely instill a pride in you.


  1. Ohh!!! How could I miss this??…..You shall be a Gazetted officer in an ESE department and will enjoy the social status associated with it (if any). Moreover, on a lighter note, now you will be authorized to attest the photocopies of the documents of all the students in your neighborhood and the whole area will be living in the (mis)belief that you can get their tickets confirmed anytime from anywhere to anywhere, in case you join railways.


  1. Yes…I now you are dying to know that….but as far as railways is concerned… will get a house with substantial space, a few good men to look after it and an office vehicle with a driver. I am not aware of the other ESE departments, but I want you to know that I was not provided with a vehicle when I was in IOCL, nor the house allotted to me there, was in a habitable condition.


  1. The cash in hand you get is always better in a Maharatna PSU, as compared to an ESE department. The difference can be as much as Rs 15000/-. Besides the prevailing rate of Daily Allowance (not the Dearness allowance, i.e. DA) is Rs 1150/- in IOCL, while the same is Rs 600/-in railways. You are one of the highly paid sections of Indian Working class (apart from the private corporates) with a highly stable job if you are in a Maharatna.

Now, since I have blabbered a lot of points of comparison on the subject, let me once again tell you that all the above are subjective and my personal perspective. I have heard people being very much satisfied with their jobs in IOCL, NTPC and the like and also there are people who complain of joining some of the ESE departments like MES, CWC and BRO after leaving a job in a PSU. So there are views of all types. What matters is what you want and so what you decide to achieve it.

So, now in a nutshell for civil engineering aspirants!!!!!!!! (again my personal views)……..

  1. If you get a department like Indian Railways or CPWD, then join it, no matter wherever you are working currently, unless point no. 3 is applicable to you.


  1. If you get a department like IOFs or CWC, and you wish to prepare for civil services in future, join it.


  1. If you have worked in a MAHARATNA for 3 or more years, then I think you should NOT consider joining any ESE department, unless point no. 2 is applicable to you. This is because you will be losing a lot of pay-scale, promotions of your parent PSU and moreover seniority for promotions in a department like railways, largely depends on your age. Lesser the age, better chances of promotions in the long run. So if you feel that you have crossed the bar of 26 years before coming to Indian Railways, then you may not be a “Horse for the long run” in railways (I can say of railways only).


  1. If your ultimate aim is IAS, and you are not getting preparation time in your current PSU, neither you want to sit home, then you may consider joining CPWD or IOFs or CWC through ESE, and never ever consider joining railways.


  1. If none of the points 1 to 4 apply to you, are you a hell lot of dissatisfied with your job in your current PSU, you are highly engaged in non-technical works which you feel are not your cup of tea and you may get retarded if you continue the same (just kidding!!!!), then just study hard, write off the damn ESE and come join any department of your like, YOU ARE WELCOME!!!!!!

Ayush Srivastava