It is my constant endeavor to develop this blog as platform for all IES aspirants. I want to include as many diverse experiences of people as i can. In this article Nishek Jain shares his journey if becoming IES through mechanical engineering. I hope this article helps you in your preparation and overall guidance. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
In Engineering we do a lot of multiple choice questions (MCQs) and answers to many of them are found by eliminating the not so suitable options. It was a similar situation. I graduated in 2011 and got opportunity to work in core mechanical engineering company for 3 years. The job was ok but after almost 2 years the work started becoming redundant and I was not happy. So I started looking for other options. I could think of 4 options:
- Job Change
- Civil Services
- Engineering Services
Job Change was eliminated because I did not really know how to do it. I applied at few job portals and at websites of some good companies but did not get any good interview calls. Also I could not find many good companies where my specific experience of 3 years could be used and I might not be treated as a fresher.
MBA was again eliminated because I gave CAT two times with my job but could not get 99+ percentile because of less preparation and somehow I did not want to spend more time for CAT preparation.
Civil Services, though seemed very lucrative career choice, was again eliminated because I knew that I was not at all good at writing big essays and theoretical questions.
Finally Engineering Services, 1st question was: “Can I clear this exam?” I did a lot of research. Found some friends who have already cleared this exam, discussed with them. Had a look at the previous year papers and was finally confident that if I prepare well I can clear this exam.
2nd question was: “Will it really provide a good career and a solution to my present problem?” Again after a lot of research, the answer was yes. Engineering Services (especially Railways) provides a very dynamic and challenging career. There is a huge impact of your work on society and nation building and it is one of the most coveted and respectable job for engineering graduates. So, Engineering Services it was.
I left my job and took coaching at Made Easy. I wanted to give just one best try so I thought of not leaving any help or support which I could get and so I thought of taking coaching and it was very helpful.
As it had been a long time since college, so coaching helped in recalling all the concepts in a faster way. Also, periodic tests were helpful in judging the present level of preparation. Good competition in the coaching centre motivated me to study harder. So, coaching was very helpful in my case, but I would not say that it is essential.
If one is a final year student or a recent pass out (or anybody) who remembers the basic concepts and can revise them on his own, then self study can be sufficient.
Strategy for anybody:
For Technical Part:-
- Revise all the technical subjects studied in college (if you did) or join a coaching centre to help you do that.
- If you are joining a coaching centre then revise your Class Notes on the same day. Practice the questions suggested by teacher and make short notes.
- No need to purchase books if you don’t have any. You don’t have that much time to go through all the books. Notes of good coaching centers are sufficient which are available at photocopy shops outside coaching centers.
- Practice previous 10-15 years IES questions both objective and subjective yourself. Many questions get repeated exactly or at least the type of questions remains more or less same.
- Join a good All India Test Series and give all the tests seriously.
For English and General Studies (GS):-
English and GS are going to play very important role (atleast till ESE 2016), so this area needs special attention and this is the section which helped me a lot. I got 140 in this paper.. 🙂
- “VoLT Vocabulary” App: It is a recently launched android app which is very good for fast and fun vocabulary learning. It is based on the book “VoLT- Vocabulary Learning Techniques” by Abhishek Jain which I used for Vocab preparation. But now there is app and it is free so you can go for that.
- Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis: Very good book for vocabulary improvement but a bit lengthy and time taking.
Grammar, Sentence Correction etc:
English Theory Book of Made Easy and Previous year questions of this section really help. Same mistakes are repeated many times.
For General Studies (GS):
GS section consists of 2 parts: Static and Dynamic. Static one i.e. Geography, Polity, Biology & History and Dynamic one i.e. Current Affairs. For the Static part notes of any good coaching institute may help but for Dynamic part I recommend notes of A.P. Singh Sir from Made Easy.
Focus on technical concepts and practice more and more questions. Revise the class notes (or short notes) again and again. Previous 10-15 years questions and a good Test Series is must. For ESE-2016, General Studies and English are also equally important, so do focus on them if you are a serious aspirant and want to clear ESE 2016. From 2017 onwards, what happens to this part of the exam is yet to be seen.
My UPSC Interview went well (according to me) but my marks were not that good. I got 120 out of 200. I practiced for the interview with 3-4 mock interviews but the feel of the real UPSC interview was totally different from any of the mock interview. ESE interview this time was mostly technical, no current affairs etc. Technical questions included many questions related to job experience, some basic concept based questions and few advanced application based questions. I could answer almost 50-60% of the total technical questions but my confidence level was good.
Tips for Interview:
As mentioned above, ESE 2015 interview was mostly technical. Also, as per at the new pattern of ESE which is to be implemented from 2017, major portion of the General Studies like History, Geography, Polity etc. is removed from syllabus. So it is my prediction that ESE interviews in future are going to be more and more technical. So I would like to share following tips:
- Revise all the technical concepts thoroughly before the interview.
- If you have worked for a significant amount of time, prepare about your job profile, your significant contribution, recent developments in your area of work etc.
Note: Your English speaking skills play very less role in ESE interview. You just need to know the right answer and should be able to convey it to them.
General (But very helpful) Tips:
In such long preparation duration, feeling low sometimes is a part of the game and it happens with everybody. So whenever such phase comes, you should not get too much tensed or depressed, you should just take some time off the studies and try to do something to cheer yourself up. Watching a movie, hanging out with friends for some time, eating some good food outside may help.
For achieving a big target, a dose of motivation is also very much required time to time. Motivational posters, videos, computer wallpapers etc. are really helpful. My favorite motivational quote is this one by Swami Vivekananda, “Arise, Awake and Stop not till the goal is reached”.