How an Average ESE Interview goes – Learn from my mistakes

Deepak Jhalani

Hi All,interview-in-progress-sign

This is me, Deepak Jhalani. I scored AIR 16 in ESE 2014 with Mechanical Engineering. This is an average interview and this transcript I wrote for myself (just after the interview) to refer for future improvements in personality. So this is going to be very critical and many a times over-analysing every tiny details.

Please don’t get bogged down by the details.

Just Follow the basics – Revise your complete notes especially of practical subjects, fill DAF responsibly, remain calm, prepare extensively, Don’t take interview lightly and above all enjoy the process (and I mean it). This is the only phase where you will be rewarded for being yourself, so polish yourself accordingly.

Once again – Preparation is the key. Prepare, prepare and prepare. More you prepare more you score. I see this test NOT as ‘such evaluation of your personality as such’ BUT RATHER a test for…

View original post 1,855 more words

How to prepare GS for IES

Hi All,            In this section I am going to talk about the most dynamic subject of IES syllabus and which is the toughest to decode as well. This has given pain to almost every aspirant because of its seemingly ‘never-ending syllabus’ which is also seen by many covering ‘everything under the Sun’. I also used to see it like this as well.             But with the benefit of hindsight I can say that this is the most interesting, useful and practical part of the syllabus. One gets to learn about how our or any country is run (Polity), how is our Mother Earth like (Geography & Environment), how our body or life on earth functions (Science and Biology), how our past was created (History) and many more useful things. So one should enjoy reading and learning this part of syllabus. Although at this time so close to your examinations you might not share my viewpoint but probably you will also feel the same after some time.             One thing you all should be clear about this paper is that barring few (Only those who are preparing for Civils which can be counted on fingers), all the aspirants share same anxiety about this paper and this remain relatively low scoring for almost everyone. So need not worry too much about this paper rather One should try to score average to remain afloat if one does not have much time. As scoring average is very critical in all papers and scoring extraordinary in one to two paper is the key for scoring good ranks in these super-competitive examinations.             Now in this article I will try to simplify this paper and will make some recommendations which are all up to you to follow. Analysis of Paper              Take a look on the pattern of questions which are being asked in last 2 yrs –   image                           Now the interesting thing about this analysis is that for the last 2 years only 5 sections of GS have carried 50 questions each time. These sections are Polity, Modern History, Geography, Biology and Environment. So one at least can place these 5 sections on the top priority and can finish with a good score in this section. I am going to refer these 5 sections as J5 (Jaroori 5) in remaining article for convenience.                                 Another conclusion which can be drawn is that these all sections are very loosely related to current events and largely static in nature. So one need not worry too much if one has not followed Newspaper throughout the year. One can still hope for an average score. Ideal Preparation of GS One should start preparation of GS at the same time when one starts preparing technical subjects. Because these are new subjects and these require some time to sink of their own to become well understood by aspirants. The nature of questions asked in the J5 and in other sections is very basic and very fundamental. These questions are like the primary questions one face in approaching these 5 subjects. The depth of understanding required to answer these is not much compared to Civils. So one need not compare one’s study with that of Civils aspirant on GS front.  The strategy for long term can be summarized as – One should first read the notes/books of J5 within first month as the length is not much and it will also provide enough time to sink and upgrade. Preferably one should read the good notes (Made Easy Class notes can be one option) if one can get them. One should follow a good newspaper preferably The Hindu or Indian Express. There is always issue about the sources of study because of large number of sources are required if one prepares on his own. And there can be hardly any good compilation of all sources available. And please avoid Guidebooks carrying everything under them. They all carry too much of nonsense as well as errors. And they will only make you frighten the GS more and more. Sources of Study – Polity – 12th Class NCERT (Indian Constitution at Work) Modern History – 12th Class Old NCERT of Modern History Geography – Notes + Selective reading of NCERT + Physical and Political Maps of India and World Environment – Reading of Environment Chapter from Science NCERT from Class 6th-12th + Internet for National Parks, Endangered and Critically Endangered Flora and Fauna, Conservation initiatives,  Treaties, Pollution etc. Biology – Science NCERT Biology chapters from Class 8th- Class 10th. Other – Reading of Newspaper + Internet Tips for the exam Polity – This should be everyone’s stronghold as this is the most static and predictable part. It carries around 10 question every year. You can refer Made Easy class notes or some other notes as well as NCERT book. One should practice questions of this topic as UPSC can make easy questions quite tricky in this part. Modern History – Since last 2 years there have been only 3-4 questions from this section but it can gain its lost prominence any time. So better prepare it thoroughly as it is interesting to read as well. There is going to be high probability that once studied you score good marks in this section. Geography – This is emerging as the favorite section with 10-15 questions coming from this section. The syllabus here include India’s physical features (Mountains, Plateaus, Coasts, Rivers, Lakes) , Other significant physical feature on world map, political map of the world and India, Climate and Vegetation zones etc. One needs to have selective reading of NCERT chapters of 11th and 12th class for these to cover. Biology – This is a section which is seen by many as the easiest to score if properly completed. It can have 10-20 questions. The questions are very fundamental in nature and one can easily score very well with reading of chapters of Biology from chapters (these can be covered in 1-2 days) of Science NCERT from Class 8th – 10th. Environment – This section with its increasing importance in real life is also emerging significantly in Competitive Exams as well. This is quite loosely bounded subject and for now it demands internet based study. It can have 8-10 questions in the exam. One should complete environment related chapters from atleast 8th -10th class science NCERTs (These are very basic in nature so will be the nature of questions in the exam; One can complete all of them in 3-4 hours if required). Apart from them one should use internet to cover other things which I have mentioned in the table.  I am sharing some pages which I found on internet. These can be highly useful for the aspirants so do read these – I am sharing some pages which I found on internet for this year aspirants as I know they have very less time to search themselves. Next year aspirants should prepare on these lines. These can be highly useful for the aspirants so do read these – Don’t read these article in much detail if you have issue of time. Don’t give more than 15 minutes to any article. Food Chain – Conservation Sites – Different Species – Threatened Species – Climate Change – Ozone and IPCC – Western Ghats – GM Crops – Emerging Threats – Forest Survey – Now this is it from my side for the time being. I might add to this article later. I tried to unravel the mystery of GS but I know it was the hardest of all. I hope it helps. For all your queries post your doubts in the comments and I will try to respond positively. For more visit –

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.

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 –