Conventional paper: A boon not bane

What fears most of the candidates is writing mains/subjective/conventional paper of ESE. The question is why? In my perspective its because most of the other exams(Gate/PSU’s etc) have objective papers only and we have a lot of practice that fear of objective paper is almost gone . But, Lets face it, no one can clear this exam without scoring a decent marks in conventional paper . So how to overcome this fear. One  can do so by understanding the importance of conventional paper. with no second thoughts it is a boon for candidates aspiring to be IES officers.

ESE conventional paper is the most scoring part of this exam where right presentation can increase your marks manifold. I would share few points which I followed while preparing for Conventional paper and also while writing the paper. Conventional paper writing is an art and if done right can sail you high in ranking.

Conventional paper has questions which have sub parts that can be from one topic or different topic. As soon as you get the paper analyse all questions then follow the below steps-

  1. First question- Remember first impression is the last impression. Pick your first question to be answered very carefully as this will set your image in the eye of examiner .Try to avoid cutting and solve the question in one go. For this choose question which you have confidence that you can attempt it in one go.
  2. Use separate color pen to highlight important points that you want examiner to notice. You can underline with black pen if you are answering with blue. This saves time and also makes your answer sheet interesting to check.
  3. you are writing your final answer in a numerical type question cover the answer in a box.
  4. Try to depict with figures and block diagrams as many as possible. This will show that you have a great grasp of basics.
  5. Avoid writing in paragraphs as this makes answers look boring. Also eaxminer may miss important lines in middle of paragraphs. Make your habit of writing in points the way I am answering this question. Believe me this will surely help you in scoring big and also lengthening your answer.
  6. Don’t write unnecessary things and try to be to the point.
  7. Always ,always,always start with a new page for new question. You don’t have to worry about the number of pages in this exam.
  8. While attempting if you are stuck in midway in some part of a question, leave blank space and continue the remaining paper.
  9. You don’t have to answer questions in sequence . But there is one question that you must attempt. You can either attempt this in start or later depending on your convenience.
  10. Try to solve numericals question first because they need fresh mind and it also reduces the chances of silly mistakes.
  11. There is step marking also so if you don’t know full answer then also try to write atleast something. Always try to attempt all questions.
  12. Practice in room for writing conventional. For this, I will suggest to practice only previous year conventional paper of ESE . Most of the questions will be of similar type only.
  13. This is a very easy technique , when you are selecting a question to attempt in conventional make a flow chart in your mind as how u will answer this question. This will avoid unnecessary cutting in middle of question.

Try to understand why I am more focused on impressing the examiner because no doubt if your answer is correct he will give marks anyways. But they are also human and generally IIT profs. So they focus more on approach and proper presentation. Thats why always think of examiners perspective as how can you make your answer sheet stand apart from lakhs of others.

All the best 🙂

Change in pattern and syllabus of ESE 2017

UPSC has announced the new pattern of Engineering Services Examination which is to be effective from 2017 ownwards. Those appearing for 2016 need not worry, their syllabus and pattern remains the same. This change was  expected quite for some time as there were unofficial rumors in the market of coaching. Now that new format is out in public domain, it is necessary to have some discussions about it.

The changed format of IES is here ESE Reforms publicity


ies pattern

There has been radical change in the format of ESE. At this point , it is very difficult to predict nature of questions and difficulty level for 2017 aspirants. They will be appearing for the exams without having the backup of ‘previous year papers’. Till now we were almost sure of nature and pattern of questions which were being asked in ESE but this luxury will not be available for next few years. Aspirants have to be ready for surprises till UPSC exhausts its question bank.

Biggest change has been the introduction of stage-1  a.k.a ‘prelims’ . However i don’t think that this stage-1 is equivalent to prelims because the prelims should be just a qualifying stage but in this case that marks of stage-1 will be considered for final selection. In a way, not only you have to perform good to be eligible for stage-2 but also you have to score good for clearing next stages. In civil services, prelims is just a qualifying paper but in ESE it is part of overall process.


Paper -1:- This paper is common for all the candidates. The questions asked will be from general studies and engineering aptitude, thus setting the stage for further competition.Although the general studies still remains the part of paper-1 , its scope has been severely curtailed. There is no separate syllabus for general studies and engineering aptitude. In all, there is combined syllabus given for paper-1. For GS portion , the syllabus given is “Current issues of national and international importance relating to social, economic and industrial development”, this almost negates the necessity of old pattern of  static GS portion from NCERT. But the problem is that we can’t make this presumption about UPSC that everything will be from what it has given as syllabus. So , over the course of one year , at-least one reading can be given to NCERT books for basic understanding. This new pattern has heavily increased the importance of newspaper reading. Even you will be required to make notes from newspaper on a daily basis so that you understand the issues at hand. How to make notes from newspaper is a tricky affair. It will take some time to understand the relevance of news from examination point of view.  This article will help you to grasp the techniques of note making from newspaper.

Engineering Aptitude covering Logical reasoning and Analytical ability: This should be manageable at the level of aspirants himself. You can also follow because he has lot of resources on this topic which he gives for other exam but it may be relevant here too. Logical reasoning and analytical ability should not be a big issue for any average engineer. You can by any decent book from market , or wait for coaching institutes to release their material

Engineering Mathematics and Numerical Analysis : We all study this subject in first year of our colleges. Also , this topic is included in GATE examination for every branch. Pick up your first year books and start preparation now. Those who are in their first year of college should take this subject seriously.

General Principles of Design, Drawing, Importance of Safety:  Civil and mechanical engineers study design and drawing in second year of their  course so your friends in this department will helping you to get through this subject. I think coaching institutes will bring out study material as soon as possible

Standards and Quality practices in production, construction, maintenance and services: This belongs to the domain of Production and Civil engineers. Those who are still in graduation should really look into others branches as well.

Basics of Energy and Environment: This is the primary domain of Civil and Environmental engineers. In fact, environmental engineering takes the lead here.

Basics of Project Management: Again this is topic straight from civil engineering like CPM and PERT.

Basics of Material Science and Engineering: Every branch has this subjects , so each aspirants should study books of other department

Information and Communication Technologies: This is the domain of Computer Science and IT department. Apart from just using Facebook and WhatsApp try to learn the IT structure of these applications, atleast of those which you use regularly.

Ethics and values in Engineering profession: Here this most important question “Why did you become an engineer”. What are the  core values of an ‘engineer’? How will you serve the society in this profession.?

Right now there is no study material which comprehensively covers all the topics of Paper-1. We will have to wait few months before the materials are out in the market. I will also try to update this article with the relevant links from other websites. At present, you will have to manage yourself till coaching institutes do their job. NPTEL  is a good website to start learning basics of core engineering. UPSC wants you to study basics of almost every core branch and acquire interdisciplinary skills so that in future you will be better able to communicate with officers from other department.

You should be able to appreciate the technicalities of other branches of engineering. You should not shouldn’t study in isolation. Take interest in basics of other department. Make friends from diverse background of specialization. After few months, coaching institutes will flood the market with study material for above topics. At this juncture, you will have to arrange such material which seems beneficial from point of view of Stage-1 examination.


This is an objective paper which will be discipline specific. Earlier the pattern was of  2 papers with 200 marks each. The syllabus was also divided accordingly. Now, there is a single paper of 300 marks which means that whole syllabus will be covered in a single paper which makes it quite tough. The best way to prepare is to go for objective papers of previous years. Both Paper-1 and Paper-2 should be covered as there is a single objective paper this time.


The word ‘mains’ has traditionally  been associated with civil services. From 2017 onward, the vocabulary of ESE aspirants will also change. After you qualify stage-1 , there will be a subjective examination of 600 marks. UPSC will announce results of stage-1 atleast after 1 months but it can easily go to two months. Those selected in stage-1 will write two conventional paper of 300 marks each. Compared to previous format, the number of question will increase for subjective papers. However,I don’t think that the strategy for preparing subjective exam will undergo significant change.  After two months of prelims , you will give one single day exam thereby concluding your  written part of the process.  By this time ,you would have been judged for 1100 marks in total.

Introduction of mains in ESE is debatable. On one hand ,it increases the overall duration of examination process, while on other it gives you enough time to prepare for subjective examination.
We don’t know the examination cycle of new format. It would be difficult to guess so as to which other exams would be affected because of ‘ESE’.  Suppose the cycle of exams start in January, so you will be preparing of GATE as well as Prelims simultaneously. If the prelims are held in May , then some of you who are civil services aspirants will not be able to go for prelims of civil services.  At present ,there is no option before you except to prepare in uncertainty. Whatever comes , you should be ready to make full use of the opportunity at hand. Whenever an examination format changes, it is either an opportunity or catastrophe for aspirants.

Due to mains, the strategy changes from now. Earlier you prepared to be ready for objective and subjective exams at the same time. Now you can prepare one thing at a time. Objective before prelims and subjective before mains. 1-2 months’ time would be sufficient for revision of subjective questions. I think the test series would also get modified to suit the needs of changed examination format.

 Personality Test

Interview weight-age has been left untouched, I think it is a good decision. After clearing two stages, no one would want to fail in third stage due to high variation of marks in interview. The preparation and mock for interview would the remain same. .


Apart from structural changes in format, the content has been changed only for paper-1 of stage -1. This exam will bring out knowledge required for an engineer and patience required for a manager. All the stages are filled with traps and the one who knows the maze or the pit-falls of the game is going to win it. Now you can say that  format has been changed from one day cricket to a test match. As Always , GATE remains T20 sizzler. You have to be all-rounder for surviving in the game. I would suggest you not to play IPL, only the genuine player will win here. Don’t run after quick results, remember that in the end you have to be a man of match. Remember, Interview will like a journalist asking for your opinion before the game is over and the result will be like a captain who is holding the trophy.

Thank You
All the best for the ‘Games of Dholpur House’










How to get AIR 2 without coaching

Hello ,

This is Ashish Verma working in Indian Railway Service of Engineers selected through  Engineering Services Examination  conducted by UPSC in 2013.Change in pattern of GATE , IES this year  has forced me to share my views on this blog.

I feel proud that I got selected in several competitive exams without taking any coaching throughout my studies. I would like to give you brief introduction about myself.

When I was in 12th standard I was not knowing about even IIT’s , NIT’s. My aim was to become a engineer. One of my friend asked me to fill the form of UPTU, so I did and I got selected .Then I Graduated from Kamla Nehru institute of technology, a UP state government college in 2012. I feel happy to tell u that I was GOLD MEDALLIST of UPTU University in Civil Engineering.Sometimes I was thinking whether I will be getting any job after graduating from such college. But I didn’t loose any hope. I continued my studies and started my preparation in sixth semester for IES .Then I appeared for GATE  and secured AIR-41. I couldn’t appear for the IES exam as minimum age requirement was changed during the same year.

Through that I was called for NTPC and IOCL interview and was selected in both the Maharatna PSU’S . During preparation my interest inculcated in Structural engineering. So I applied in Council Of Scientific Research (CSIR) and  got selected as Scientist in Structural Engineering Research Centre( SERC), Chennai. But due to some family constraints I couldn’t join it and finally joined NTPC in August 2012. But I never lost my confidence and will. I continued  my preparation but there was lack of time then time management played significant role in my preparation .

My classroom training in NTPC was undergoing in Power Management Institute,Noida from August 2012 to March 2013 where schedule of classes were fixed. So I planned accordingly.I identified my weak subjects, areas and made study plan accordingly to cover as much as possible. During my preparation I found that there is problem of forgetting the formulas etc which is generally with everyone but you can find the solution for that .If I have to study a subject for  1 hour, then I used to divide it into three parts ; first part 25 minutes theory of new topic ;20 minutes numerical of previous topic covered which helped me to memorize the concepts; remaining 15 minutes for objective questions of new/previous topic. Every hour or half an hour I used to change the subjects and generally used to study 7-8 subjects everyday.At initial stage you will feel that you are studying very little but time and pace your summation of study will be more effective and productive and  you will not feel boredom at any time.If anytime you feel bored with any subject you change the subject and study your liking subject which you want when you feel sleepy start doing numerical part of subject which you studied earlier.

During holidays my study plan was to cover atleast all the subjects because latest exam pattern of IES is more subjective focused and covers all the subject,so if  you miss any subject you may not able to attempt all the questions of the section you select.

The Selection of Standard books plays the most significant role for preparation and use your books as your reference notes and mark with different color  depending on importance of topic you think is important and would help you in revision further

In March 2013 I was posted as Assitant Manager  in Tapovan Vishnugad Hydropower Project ,Chamoli Uttrakhand .I continued my study plan and used to change the duration of each subject as per weightage of each subject and time availability ,but due to workload I couldn’t cover all the subjects. Therefore ,I took one month leave before the exam and covered all the subjects. I used to cover all fourteen -fifteen subjects everday and also General studies and English vocabulary daily as it is one of the most important part for scoring good rank.I memorized all GRE English vocabulary which helped me a lot in English section.I managed to correct all English meanings and synomyns.


For any exam it is necessary to understand what that exam demands from the candidate.IES present pattern demands theoretical as well as numerical approach of the subject .In objective it needs time management and lot of practice of objective questions from several standard books.

I have seen that UPSC is directly picking concepts and questions from standard books which aspirants are generally not aware and blindly follow the study material and notes of coaching available in the market  which generally contains repeated concept questions asked earlier . The candidates are not able to attempt the new questions and waste there time during examination  hours and thus not getting the expected results. Present situation is such that it would make a lot of difference and you will be lagging behind. Likewise in conventional paper selection of questions is very important. UPSC is mixing questions of 3-4 subjects in single section and if candidate has not covered all the subjects, it would limit the attempt generally upto 110-120 marks which in my opinion is not sufficient in present situation. Therefore ,prepare all subjects and follow standard books of every subject and not wholly rely on coaching and their material and it is my firm belief that this exam can be cleared with good rank with self study, practice  and dedication .Continuity of study  is mandatory for this exam.

I appeared for IES -2013 and I was so confident even after my written examination that I will be able to secure under top 20 and secured AIR-2. IES 2013 exam was the most analytical and conceptual paper since 15years  in which UPSC attempted to find out  the self  study of standard books  and practice from the aspirants rather than asking questions directly from coaching material available  in the market.

The main aim of  giving my brief introduction was to motivate each and every aspirant who are preparing for any engineering competitive exam  . I have found that everyone is running for coaching and they are more inclined towards coaching rather than self study.The changing trend of IES,GATE is more focused on analytical approach , concepts ,self-study. Every exam needs different focused approach. I would like to suggest to follow standard books of each subject and practice as much as possible. I will be further sharing my ideas on this blog.

For any questions, please comment below.

It would be pleasure to answer your queries.

All the best for future aspirants!!!

Ashish Verma

AIR-2 (IES-2013)



Proper Channel for PSU to UPSC

About Author 


Author has worked with NHPC Ltd.(Central PSU) for more than 3 years and while working cleared UPSC ESE three times consecutively in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Author has received awards from the Chief Minister of UP twice for securing Merit Positions in High-School and Intermediate Examinations of UP Board and also honored by Department of Science/ UP for securing highest marks in Science in High-School Examination. Author also bagged the Silver Medal of the University in B. Tech. Author has a deep interest in Hindi Literature and also received the title of “Manas Mandal Sudharak” from Manas Samiti Kanpur.


I have found many candidates preparing for exams conducted by UPSC while working with PSU or Some other government organization. Some of the candidates are always concerned for the transfer of service agreement bond, technical resignation, proper channel and resignation procedure etc.

I have appeared in UPSC ESE consecutively three times starting from 2011 to 2014 along with working in NHPC Ltd. (Miniratna Company). I got selected with AIR-144, 073, 157 in ESE-2012, 2013 and 2014 respectively. Since I was working with a PSU, I always applied for the exam duly intimating my parent organization at each stage of the selection procedure. I have also found that many candidates do not intimate to their parent department while applying for any Competitive exams due to many reasons.

Let us understand the consequences if you will not intimate your parent organization:

  • Since UPSC does not ask for any experience certificate and No Objection Certificate for appearing in ESE, you can hide the fact without indicating in DAF (Detailed Application Form) and without intimating your current department, but it may cause trouble in future because these details will always be in record. Suppose you want to apply for any other post through Deputation, you cannot show your experience of previous job because you have not mentioned it in DAF while applying.
  • If while applying for UPSC ESE, you have not intimated to your current organization. You cannot give resignation indicating that you are going to join Some Central Govt. department allocated through UPSC ESE, but you have to give resignation on personal ground.
  • If you are under any Service Bond Obligation and your bond period is not completed in the current organization, you have to pay the currency of the bond and resignation must be on personal ground.
  • If your current organization is PSU, it must be having EPF (Employee Provident Fund) Scheme, and for State Government/Central Government the Scheme is NPS (New Pension Scheme). If you are coming from PSU, you have to withdraw the amount and If you are coming from State Government/Central Government department you can transfer your NPS account, without withdrawing your money, But for the transfer of account your resignation must be through proper channel.
  • If you are appointed through the ESE, you will get pay-protection and balance leave transferred, only if your earlier employer was a State Government/Central Government organization and resignation is through proper channel. In case of PSU, no provision of pay-protection is there.
  • In the rarest of the rare case, you may be in trouble if your current organization informs to UPSC that you have not applied through proper channel without intimating them. It may result into cancellation of candidature and a case may also be registered under Section-420 of IPC.

Proper Channel

Many candidates are not aware of the facts that every communication to the Human Resource division of the organization should be through proper channel. Proper Channel simply means that you have intimated through your controlling/reporting officer to the head of the division to the HR section of the organization, indicating “through proper channel” at the top of the letter. (E.g.- Chief Engineer ⇒Divisional GM ⇒ Divisional ED ⇒ GM (HR))

Technical Resignation

Technical Resignation simply means that you have applied through proper channel intimating at all the phases of the selection procedure.

Service Agreement Bond Transfer

Now-a-days, every organization like PSUs, BARC, DRDO etc., is following a trend of Service Agreement Bond. The bond mentions that you have to serve under that organization or Defence Services or Government of India for a particular period of time. If you have applied through proper channel, your bond gets transferred to the new organization clearly indication that you must complete the remaining period of the bond with the new organization. If you have applied through proper channel, it is the responsibility of your previous organization to communicate with the Concerned Ministry about your bond obligations and you need to sign the new bond with the new Organization for the remaining period of bond and it will be sent back to your earlier employer.

Intimation Stages

Many times it happens that candidates intimate only at the time of application only, but you must intimate the present employer at each phase like while application, while filling DAF and Interview and Finally resignation. While taking leave for appearing in exam, you should clearly mention that you are talking leave for appearing in Examination.

The aim of this article is to familiarize the peoples about the common mistakes that may create problem in your bright future and also aware the candidates about the procedure to be followed while applying for UPSC ESE or any other Examination.

For any query, please comment.



Hello Everyone

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



My Choice:

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:

  1. Job Change
  2. MBA
  3. Civil Services
  4. 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.


My Preparation:

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:-

  1. Revise all the technical subjects studied in college (if you did) or join a coaching centre to help you do that.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.. 🙂

For English:-


  1. “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.
  2. 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.

In short:

 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 Interview:

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”.



A look at GS paper Of ESE 2015

In this article we will look at General Studies portion of IES General Ability Paper. This section contains 60 questions which are of multiple choice types. First of all we will analyze the paper from the point of view of diversity of questions and their difficulty of question. We will also look at the difficulty level of questions in different sections. Analyzing this year’s paper will gives us new perspective in our preparation. We can analyze the current trend and accordingly orient our studies.
While doing this exercise, I faced difficulty in breaking up question in their different topics. Sometimes they were too close, and sometimes they were a mix from two topics. In deciding the difficulty level of questions I have taken the average knowledge level as the basis point for my consideration.


From above figure it is clear that once again Geography and, Environment and Biodiversity are the major fishing ground for UPSC. No of questions from polity has decreased and history questions have shown rise this time. There has been no question from economics which has become sort of neglected topic in this exam. Current affairs have shown a jump. Science and Technology has gained prominence and most of the question from this section were difficult to deal with. Questions from life sciences has decreased a bit.



47% of the total question were easy doable in this paper which should have been done by every serious aspirant in this exam. 33% of the question fell in moderate category i.e an average student who has done hard work in GS should grab these marks. So, 80% of total question were in your hands this time. Now rest 20% question were for those students who studied GS round the year.The current affairs have been asked from Nov 2013 for paper conducted in June 2014.This paper, it seems was neither too hard nor too difficult for an average student.

Now we will analyze topic wise difficulty

Note-The figure on the chart represents number of the questions not the percentage.

 These figures below are self explanatory. Out of total number of question from a particular topic,it show their relative difficulty.




g4 g5 g6 g7 g8 g9 g10


This was just a brief analysis of general studies paper. If i have made any mistakes please let me know about it in the comments.
Thanks and Good Bye.


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 –

Poll between PSU and IES


I have seen that people are confused between PSU and IES most of the time. Those who are already in PSUs face this dilemma even more. So, In this post well do a poll so as to judge that balance lies on which side. Before that ,let’s take a case study. I got this question from a reader of my blog.

Hi…I just want to discuss my confusions about PSU and IES.right now m working in IOCL(Indian Oil corporation ltd.) and preparing for IES-2015. I need your guidance in this regards.
Since I joined in 2013 its been almost an year working here…and as discussed on quora blog I got a deep insight and difference btw psu and ies working area…i m quite aware of the things as discussed by u..but what I want to point out is that there is some kind of politics which happens in psu’s and we have to juss” logo Ki ……… padti h…”…i juss want independence…and work is not that much…the work we r doing is same as done by dypty manager level officers…but its not amusing working here…people play politics…with each other…to show others low in front of boss…(boss is 1 for all) at my station…now regarding salary…right now my basic is 24900-50500 and I m getting around 58000(including HRA+scooter allowance+provident fund)…now plz tells me…the working conditions in IES…(railways or common)…salary with starting pay scale.(since money matters a lot)…promotions period…and max. Tenure at any posting/location…is there any politics there??…plz help me out…

In a conclusion…we must have some kind of support…or source if we want quick promotions…or hold transfers…moreover transfers happen after every 4/5 years(if there is no source)…all above management is poor…innocent people cant survive…here…

So wt is promotion and transfer rate there in IES…???wts the criteria…plz tell me briefly…

Now ,after going through his problem we should discuss this so as to gain some insight for our own decision making.We have already discussed about facilities and life of an IES officer. However, his main problem seems to be the politics played in his office. Let me tell you that , politics is the way humans interact with each other. We can’t expect out fellow worker to be nice and sympathetic to our cause. This world is a cruel place to live in , and its nice that we simply play politics not resort to violence. So, wherever you go , politics will follow, whether it is in IES or PSU.  If you want to be completely free of these things then take a job in MNC as these people play less politics and only do their assigned job. In government jobs, a kind of sycophantic behavior is observed because those who don’t want to do their work get appraisal  in this manner.  So in this situation , Kamal is caught between a rock and a hard place.These type of decisions are most difficult to take because they can either make or break your happy life.

Now, what do you think about the choice between IES and PSU? Vote in the poll below.