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.
- 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”.
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.
- 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.
- 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
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