How to Prepare English for IES

Hi all,

First of all sorry for such delay in coming up with this article. The delay was due to some unavoidable circumstances. Now coming back to the preparation, The D-Day is coming. And I hope your preparation is going good.
In this article I will try to help you with English for GAT paper of IES.

Words of Caution – I am not that good in English. I am just trying to help fellow aspirants with my observations. As we all are learning English from last around 15 years still I and many of you know that there is still a large gap between what we know and what we should know after these many years.

But probably language learning is like this. It takes years of reading, learning, communicating and writing to become very good in any language. And in this marathon of learning English for our professional life I like many others have ended up even with average knowledge of our mother tongue.

So this article is only about improving your score in an exam and not about helping with your English. I believe for learning a language we have to go through quite a tiresome and long path. So far I do not know any shortcut for that.

If you have any better strategy you better follow that.

1. Importance of English Paper

First of all let me talk about the importance of this paper.

  • As for Mechanical this year, i.e. 2014, cutoff for Objective was around 278 and One may expect it to go further to around 300.
  • And I have seen some of my friends could not clear the Exam due to Below Average marks (Around 80 or less) in this paper who were exceptional in their technical subjects.
  • Around 100+ marks, probably one should aim for clearing this exam as it is getting more and more competitive ( with continuous improvement in objective paper score due to increasing number of GATE aspirants, penetration of Coaching institutes and increasing number of padhe likhe berojgaars. )
  • At the same time there is very less marginal improvement in score in technical subjects beyond a point.(Remember Law Of Diminishing Marginal Utility).
  • GS the 2nd part of this paper is very dynamic and wide ranging by its own definition. And it is not much possible to score very good marks in this part by most of the aspirants. Probably it requires a yearlong following of a good Newspaper and a genuine curiosity about knowing and understanding things. And which is easier said than done.

So, I think, the best strategy is to score maximum possible marks from English as it has limited course and good sources are available to complete it. I tried to follow this strategy.

2. Paper Analysis

The English section is designed for checking whether the aspirants can frame, understand and ,if required, correct the sentences of English in our real working life scenarios. That is why the questions are of ‘Sentence Improvement’, ‘Spotting the error’ , ‘Restructuring the Sentence’, ‘Sentence Completion’, ‘RC’, ‘Vocabulary Based’ type.

These types of questions certainly also provide an opportunity to improve our English and probably this positive and practical aspect of this paper helped me to learn it better and sincerely. I hope it works same for you as well.

Spotting the Error (A) Sentence Improvement
Restructuring the Sentences(C) Fill in the blanks/ Sentence Completion (D) Synonym
Antonym (F) Reading Comprehension (RC)
2013 10 10 10+11 9 10 (3 Passages) 60
2014 20 19 7 5 5 4 (1 Passage) 60

Basically there are 3 types of questions in this paper Grammar Type, Vocab Based and RC Based.

A+B+C – Grammar Type

D –         Grammar and Vocab based

E+F –       Vocab Based

G-           Reading Comprehension Based

3. Source for Studies

I used only one book for this and that worked for me. I was quite satisfied with this book. This was General English by Made Easy publication. This book can be easily completed within a week. The Vocabulary part may require some extra time. I will recommend this book if you do not have any other better option.

4.1 Preparing Grammar Part

This is the largest part (around 30-40 Questions) of the paper and it can have questions of A, B , C and of D types.

The questions in this part generally follows a standard pattern and all of these patterns are well covered in the book.

And one can prepare micro notes of all the new things learned and common grammar rules for revisions. As this section is all about Grammar Rules, one should write, revise and practice them repeatedly.

You can check out my micro notes for this for reference (Warning : those are hardly legible and may look meaningless to you)-

4.2 Preparing Vocab Part

This section may carry 10-20 questions and it is the easiest part to score. Because the words are limited and one needs to learn only around 1000 new words and one can get up to 20 questions correct. And the most important of all the list is available to all in the Made Easy Book.

Although I know sometimes learning words can be very difficult as with time they start slipping from our mind. But still with repeated revision (Around 10-20 times) one can be sure of getting the same questions which one has prepared. So it sounds a fair deal to me.

To make this task easy and effective I after reading the words from book highlighted the new and relevant ones. And then later wrote down those words in separate 15 pages. I tried to revise them in the morning repeatedly. I prefer Morning because this is the best time for mugging up, at least for me. You can choose your best time. I am uploading those 15 pages to help you. I would suggest to rather come up with your own word list from that book and that might work wonder for you rather than learning from someone else’s list.

4.3 Preparing RC

These can be 5-10 questions and these are the easiest to score. Practice RC to improve your score in this part.

So this is it for the time being. For Any other queries and doubts please comment below.  I will try to respond positively.

A visit to The President of India

press 2

On Sunday morning, phone rang up with good news. Our special coach from pune to delhi had been confirmed. Everyone had a sigh of relief especially the family guys having their spouse travelling with them.

It was around 4 am and we found ourselves half waking-half dreaming on the platform waiting for the arrival of Goa express. As soon as the extra coach was attached, we hopped on. Of course the family guys were given preference in selecting their berths which they used generously.

In such a long journey, there are few activities that one can resort to. To name a few, one could sleep his way throughout the journey which is my favourite. Another is bakaiti which had its own delights. Take a random topic, consider yourself master in that, curse a few well known people and voila!, you are a bakait in no time. Playing cards is prominent among all. The uncertainty of game resembles life in a way. It was a good time to settle the account of coats. Of course, you can complete the long forgotten novel, but this most of time remains an idea till you get to your seat.

The day was hot as hell. It’s a lousy room in a lousy part of a lousy town. Only that it wasn’t a lousy part of Delhi. State entry road, runs parallel to Chelmsford’s road had taken us there. Yamuna rest house is near to NDLS. The CRB was to address probationers in the afternoon. Besides IRSE, probationers from IRTS, IRAS, IRPS, IRSS and RPF had gathered there. The small rooms of rest house seemed even smaller with one washroom being shared by 6, 7 peoples!! We managed somehow by thumping doors of washrooms occasionally.

CRB’s address was as dry as the month of may. Food was good and it really took away the frowns from faces. By evening, mob scattered and took abode to various places. Some went to rest houses at Yamuna, Lajpat Nagar and Luteyn’s bridge. Some retired to Ber sarai, Katwariya sarai to their chaps who were still perspiring there to get a taste of success.

And the fortunate day came, the next day 06 May 2015, when girls were busy in straightening the plates of there ivory white saries and boys in adjusting each other’s tie-knots. Bus was waiting outside yamuna rest house.

Crossing the Rajpath, One could see the famous Dome of Viceroy’s House through the uphill road at raisina hills, flanked by secretariat building on both sides. It was nearly 12 o’clock, sun was brightly lit over the wide roads of New Delhi. Vehicles looked dancing over the roads radiating heat. Bus took right from the Dalhousie’s road and we entered a highly secured area.

The front or the east gate of Rashtrapati bhawan has a large courtyard. There stands a peculiar column ( called jaipur column) having a lotus on the top. The lotus sprouts a star.

At the base these words were inscribed…

“In thought faith

In word wisdom

In deed courage

In life service

So may India be great”

On the right, A Gulmohor tree was blooming. Red at the top with green underneath. Guards were standing in front under a small shade made of sandstone. They invariably resembled the gulmohor with their red turbans and dark green uniform. Infact, everything was of sandstone in red and yellow. Thick walls, Oversized Pillers, Cannons depicted administration and authority.

We waited for our turn to step out of the bus. The grand staircases protected by 12 giant columns received us. Durbar hall is right under the great dome. Instead of expressing luxury, It reflected austerity. The statue of Buddha in abhay mudra was situated at one end of hall looking over the throne. It was all around draped by maroon velvet drapes which gave the setting a sense of royalty. A large chandelier was suspended in the center.

We waited there for a while. Staff introduced us with our surroundings. The Durbar hall was the same place where transfer of power took place, the annals of freedom were written, the shackles of slumber were broken.

At last the Honorable President of India arrived, Dressed in impeccable black buttoned up suit, with the golden chain of his pocket watch visible. Before he came all sort of rehearsal of photography session was done. Staff was diligent, how to address him (not his majesty, but Honorable President), checked the speeches, about who had to receive and how one receive him.

Two of the probationers shared there training experiences, some facts and aspirations. During training we traveled to the corners of country, met with people of different races and culture, watched sun going down to the depth of ocean and rise again from the heights of mountains, observed peacefully the faith of devotees bathing in holy rivers, the thunder of oceans at Kanyakumari and silence in the deserts of Rajasthan. For this and all, we were indebted to railways.

The president shared his words of wisdom with us. Although, the thing with wise words is, they are easily forgotten. Let me recollect some of them.

He stated that the scope, exposure, and responsibility that career in government offer, that too at a very young age is rare. The 162 year old railway is one of the oldest railway systems in the world. Railway finances have exponentially grown from Rs. 183 crores in 1947 to Rs. 1.59 lakh crores  in 2014-15. It is the virtual lifeline of the nation and has also now joined the select club of 1 billion tonnes plus freight loading Railways.

We should serve the people of the nation by putting in their best efforts. He called upon us to uphold the high standards and dignity which has been maintained over the years.

After the photography session was over, we had tee and snacks in the banquet hall. It was long room having golden curtains against the background of brown wooden walls with the portraits of previous presidents.  It had a long long table in the middle.

Then the crowd dispersed and there began another photography session.  Everyone was crazy in clicking and saving the moment. At the great stairs, in the forecourt, by the column, cameras and probationers were everywhere.

Inspite of a piercing sun overhead, the joy couldn’t be refrained. On the right, A Gulmohor tree was smiling. Red at the top with green underneath….

IRSE 2012
IRSE 2012

Foundation at National Academy Of Indian Railways(NAIR)


National Academy of Indian Railways is the alma mater of all the officers of Indian Railways.It is situated in a sprawling campus of 55 acres of the Pratap Vilas Palace at Lalbaug, Vadodara. NAIR has adequate hostel,sports and recreational facilities. It provides training to all levels of Indian Railway officers, from probationers to General Managers. Every railway officers visits NAIR at-least once in his life time.Campus of NAIR consists of variety of flora and fauna which includes languars,peacocks,birds,snakes etc. The campus is all green and atmosphere is always alive, filled with singing of birds and dancing of peacocks. This campus provides a serene environment for budding poets and writers. Late evening and early morning is the best time to take tour of the campus. Sometimes, the Arabian winds blow right across the campus which mesmerizes and says something in your ears that winds of change are about to come…


Different batch of probationers from various services reached NAIR on 26/2/2015.In the beginning itself we were  allotted AC rooms in Pahune Hostel. Arrangements were  made in such a way that probationers of different service were made as room partner. Similarly, all the officers were divided in 4 groups. Group was made as heterogeneous as possible. This was done to promote intermingling among various services so that we may get to know each other very well. Inter-departmental harmony is very essential for railways functioning and therefore all these measures were a step forward in the right direction.

Pahune Hostel for Probationers.
Pahune Hostel for Probationers.

First day at NAIR was all about joining formalities but in the evening there was ice-breaking ceremony. We were given few hours to prepare something and then present in front of everyone by the evening. On the very first day,when we barely knew each others’ name, probationers of different services had to perform as a team. As the name suggests , ‘Ice-breaking’ was all about breaking the hold of unfamiliarity but when we performed in the garden of Lalbaug, it didn’t seemed like we had been strangers to each other. Probationers from technical and non-technical services performed as team and ultimately all the ice was not just broken but it evaporated too.

Within few days, classes picked up the pace and test and quizzes started happening at regular interval. Foundation course is all about knowing something about everything related to Railways. So our subjects were civil,electrical,mechanical,signalling telecom,safety,accounts,personnel,commercial,operating,medical,Material management,law and Rajbhasha. In Rajbhasha you are taught the working knowledge of Hindi. For non-Hindi speaking candidates this is a kind of challenge but in the end they performed brilliantly in Hindi oratorical skills .So, if you come to NAIR for foundation course ,be prepared to study all these subjects in brief. Classes timings were from 9.00am to 4.15pm but in the morning we had PT and yoga sessions. Everybody used to get up around 6.00am and then report for their respective sessions. One absent was considered as one-fourth leave,so we took it seriously. In retrospect , i can say that forcing us to do yoga and PT was a good idea but. Now  probationers know various exercise and yoga position for their physical fitness.

Officer’s mess is quite spacious here with adequate dining facilities. The quality of food is average as per the opinion of majority of the probationers. Mess staff and workers are co-operative and work hard to feed us three times a day.Cleaning and hostel staff also deserve a mention here because in the noise their hard works remains unnoticed.

Mess building
Mess building
Dining facilities in the mess
Dining facilities in the mess

After around one month of classroom teaching, it was time for the tour. Again we divided in five groups  to tour different parts of country. I was in Shimla-Chandigarh trip.
A separate coach was attached to the train for carrying us to our destinations there by eliminating the need of doing reservations. Let me tell you that very few people get this privilege i.e travelling in the coach of your own. There are many memories to be shared from that trip but space and words becomes limit me for that.  Travel in Shimla toy train was ultimate experience of its kind.This train passes through valleys,curves and tunnels giving you visual delights which are rare to be found.

Inside Kalka-Shimla Toy Train
Inside Kalka-Shimla Toy Train

While contemplating the beauty of surrounding hill, i also marveled at the engineering expertise of Indian Railways , and whose part i was becoming. The beauty of hill becomes even more enchanting when looked through the windows of this train.   Second most memorable occasion was Wagah Border beating retreat ceremony, let me tell you that all probationers were given VIP passes and clearance. All this came to be so because we were part of Indian Railways.

Probationers at Wagah Border
Probationers at Wagah Border

This trip served a great deal in bringing us closer to each other. There were similar trips organised for other parts of country as well in which other groups participated. Overall, this practice of sending us to trips is a healthy tradition in Indian Railways and it should be continued for future probationers as well.

At this point, i must mention that cultural and sports talent in probationers was on full display during the foundation course.You can play lot of sports on NAIR Campus. Sport events were organized regularly and a probationers was given every opportunity to excel in the sports of his choice. Some of our probationers were multi-talented and they won medals in diverse fields.

 Probaioners' Cricket Team  at Divisional Groud
Probaioners’ Cricket Team at Divisional Ground

Cultural performances were a delight to watch. The abundance of talent and willingness to perform was evident during cultural events. From monolouge to group dance, from singing to mimicry,probationers surprised everyone with their sheer talent. It is not just about books but railways teaches you to enjoy every part of your life.

At the end of this 10 weeks course,it was time to say goodbye and start the next journey for our separate destinations. We parted, but with the promise of meeting again in the future. For me it was totally trans-formative experience. I would thank all those who came across my life at this juncture. Memories of past will linger and hope of the future will persist in my life where NAIR would have played a great role.

Thanks for reading this post. In the end I am leaving you with the complete group photo of our foundation course.

Complete Batch Of Probationers at NAIR
Complete Batch Of Probationers at NAIR