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)



Provision and Methodology for transfer of Service Agreement Bond

Hello Readers,
It is the follow up of prvious article in which Ayush Srivastava did a comparative analysis of his working experience at IOCL and subsequestly at railways. In this article he explains provision and methodology for transfer of Service Agreement Bond while switching from a PSU to Indian Railways through ESE. He can be reached at  Ayush Srivastava.

Hello Folks!!!

This is Ayush Srivastava, IRSE Probationer, 2013-exam batch. I find pleasure in introducing myself, briefly as follows:

Graduation: B Tech (Civil) from Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology, Bhopal.

Graduating year: 2013           Graduating GGPA: 9.41/10.00            PG: None

GATE-2013 AIR: 84                Engineering Services Exam-2013 AIR: 23

Campus Selection: IOCL          GATE Recruitment: IOCL

I have decided to talk about the transfer of bond, specifically from IOCL to railways, as I was involved with the same two organizations and since it is more of a legal kind of thing, I cannot and will not misguide you by writing anything and everything here in a generalized manner. I am sorry if this doesn’t concern you.
First of all, please be aware that there is a Department of Public Enterprise (DPE) guideline referred as DPE O.M. No. 15(2)/2003-DPE(GM)/GL-57 dated 29th July, 2004 which clearly states that “The bond executed by employees of the Public Enterprises, who have received scientific/technical training at the cost of Public Enterprises and have applied through proper channel during the currency of the bond join Central Govt./State Govt. services or take up employment under quasi-government organizations or any other public enterprise either on the basis of competition examinations/tests/interviews organized by those organizations or the Union Public Service Commission should not be enforced subject to the condition that a fresh bond is taken to ensure that the employee serves the new employer for the balance of the original bond period.” The above guideline can be checked hereunder: .

You should apply through proper channel for ESE (which you would) and intimate in prior, to your controlling authority at your current job in the concerned PSU, while applying for the ESE (at the beginning while filling up the form and not wait till you clear the written exam). Many times, the HR personnel in the PSUs take it as leverage for not transferring your bond, in case you have not intimated through proper channel while applying for the ESE.

An important point to understand here is that in case you are a fresh pass-out and have applied and appeared in the written exam of ESE prior to joining, then off-course applying through so called proper channel doesn’t apply, as you were not a part of your current PSU, while you applied and wrote for the exam. However, it is suggested to intimate in writing, to your boss, that you have applied and written the ESE of the concerned year, which was held prior to your date of joining your current job. This should be done as soon as you join at your first permanent place of posting.

As stated in the above DPE guideline, you need to execute a fresh bond with your current organization for the balance of original period and amount. This bond shall clearly state that you shall serve the department allotted to you through ESE (in our case Railways) for the balance of the original period. In the event of failure to do so on your part, your new department shall realize the proportionate money of the balance bond amount, from you and return to the PSU, with whom you have originally executed the bond. The new department (in my case the railways) shall be custodian of this bond.

Problems Faced:

  1. No official format of fresh bond available, either with IOCL or Railways, which can be used directly.
  2. Convincing the HR personnel of IOCL regarding such a provision of bond transfer. (Though it was not an issue as IOCL has some very good and helpful HR people).
  3. The mechanism of paper work to facilitate the transfer of bond.


The above process of bond transfer was challenge for me, and sometimes I thought of giving up. However, fortunately, I came out with flying colors and was the first ex-iocian of ESE-2013 batch (including all services in railways) to get my bond transferred successfully from IOCL to Indian Railways.

First of all, since there is no official format of fresh bond available, either with IOCL or Railways, which can be used directly, you will have to prepare a format on your own and get it verified from HR people in IOCL, well in advance.( If IOCL is OK with the format, then railways have no problem). To prepare the format you may take help form NTPC guys, who have a format of their own, as far as I know. You should pressurize the HR department of your PSU (IOCL in this case) to provide this agreement format. However, at last, if you have to prepare it yourself, you may take the help of a professional lawyer to prepare such a format, or search the internet, if you are lucky. It is quite possible, that seeing the rising number of requests for bond transfer every year, PSUs including IOCL, by now, might have officially prepared such formats for transfer of service bonds from their organization to some other state/central department and you may get saved from this mind-wrecking task.

Regarding having a strong stand for enabling your bond transfer, you should let your HR know about the DPE guidelines, so that you are not denied of your right. As far as railways is concerned, I know and so can say that it is always a plus point, because it is clearly written in the appointment letter, that the railways accept the transfer of bond from PSUs/Central  departments. You should submit a Xerox of your railway appointment letter with your resignation letter to IOCL, in which it should be clearly stated that you want your bond to be transferred as per the relevant DPE guideline.

Once a fresh agreement has been typed on the bond paper, it should be duly signed by you and your surety and then countersigned by the competent personnel in IOCL or accompanied by a letter from IOCL stating the said bond is accepted by them. This letter along with the original bond paper shall be submitted at IRICEN, Pune at the time of joining. The railways shall keep the original bond paper, and send a copy of the same, to IOCL, with a covering letter stating the acceptance of the bond on the part of railways. This marks the completion of the bond transfer process.

P.S.: As per prevailing culture, you will be given a provisional release order from IOCL, on the basis of which you can join the railways. (Without provisional release order you will not be allowed to join).  Once the bond process is completed, IOCL shall dispatch your formal release order to railways, under intimation to you.

I think that’s all of what I am capable of sharing with you. Study hard, study smart and always be clear with your priorities. A life full of dilemmas is like having a bowl full of butter chicken in front of you when you know you can’t eat it because of an upset digestion.

Wishing you all a happy reading and a successful life ahead!!!!!!!


IRSE (P), 2013.

Life In a Psu-A comparative analysis

Welcome Readers,
This following post is the first installment of article written by Ayush Srivastava in which he explains his prior working in IOCL and his subsequent joining in railways. He can be reached at


Hello Folks!!!

This is Ayush Srivastava, IRSE Probationer, 2013-exam batch. I find pleasure in introducing myself, briefly as follows:

Graduation: B Tech (Civil) from Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology, Bhopal.

Graduating year: 2013           Graduating GGPA: 9.41/10.00            PG: None

GATE-2013 AIR: 84                Engineering Services Exam-2013 AIR: 23

Campus Selection: IOCL          GATE Recruitment: IOCL

So I need not tell again that prior to joining the Indian Railways Service of Engineers, I was working with Indian Oil Corporation Ltd., a public sector undertaking, under the Government of India. I was in line for the preparation of ESE since the beginning of my pre-final year, and so I won’t be much of a help in case you ask me WHAT TO DO and WHAT NOT in, say 3 or 4 months, prior to ESE for clearing the same. Seeing the whole lot of time I took in securing a “meh” rank like 23 in an exam like ESE, you are absolutely right with your conclusion that I was (and am) more of an average student requiring a lot of toil to move meager distances and keep things in my small head. But I am not here to talk about myself, but to share something which might help some of you, even though I am not sure of that.

So, after persistent hammering for 2 months, by my very good friend and a great blogger, Amit Singh, I finally present here, solely from my personal experiences, some scribbling related to stuff like:

  1. Life in a PSU
  2. ESE departments and a PSU like IOCL, NTPC and ONGC: An attempt of comparison.


I was selected in IOCL through campus as well as GATE score shortlisting. I joined IOCL on 22.07.2013 and worked there till 30.11.2014. I was working as Project Engineer in the Pipelines Division of IOCL at Allahabad and was involved in the shifting of Barauni-Kanpur underground oil pipeline. I am mentioning about my job profile at IOCL, here, to make you feel the nature of work that I was into. It was the best that IOCL could have offered to a civil engineer. Some major TECHNICAL issues which I looked after were construction of small buildings, preparation of petty estimates, concreting at field, route survey for pipeline and studying soil test reports. Besides these, I had to do a lot of letter drafting.

So what I gathered from my tenure of 16 months in IOCL can be summarized as:

  • You are related to what you have studied in your engineering, between 0%-10%, while you are on job in a PSU. This applies to some of the companies only viz. IOCL, ONGC, NTPC, SAIL and GAIL and that too for civil engineers specifically. I am not talking about core civil PSUs like RITES, NHPC and the like, as I bear no experience of these. Now this may become a point of work dissatisfaction for many (it was for me…I am not sure of others) as to be doing something completely not of your prime interest.
  • In a PSU, or I should say at my office at IOCL, apart from an engineer, I was an unsung stenographer who gathered the material for a letter, the typist who typed it, the incognito peon who carried the draft to the boss for approval, again the typist who corrected it if required, the office boy who dispatched the letter and the neat engineer who then dealt with the party to whom the letter was addressed, regarding the issues therein.

In a nutshell, it was something completely away from involving my authority and decision making. This again made me introspect sometimes, that what am I doing?

  • BUT!!!!!!…. There was this thing called money. Entry basic salary in a PSU is Rs.24900/-. There are a lot of perks apart from salary and a number of loans on meager interest offered by PSUs to the employees. Believe me, you earn a good decent living in a maharatna PSU.

ESE departments  and a Maharatna PSU: An attempt of comparison:

Now this is something big that I have tried. Please see to it that all the views herein are purely personal and based on my short stay at a PSU and even shorter stay at Indian Railways. Neither I intend to challenge or correct anyone, nor do I mean to offend anyone. This is just what I feel, and if at all it could be of any help to any of you.

  1. You are more involved with the CIVIL engineering you studied in your college in a department like Indian Railways or CPWD, when compared to working in a PSU like IOCL, ONGC, SAIL, NTPC.


  1. You enjoy more authority when you are in an ESE department at the entry level, as against that in a PSU. If I talk of railways, you have a substantial workforce to control and you are to extract the maximum potential of your subordinates under limited conditions, with 100% correctness of the technical aspect of the work.


  1. Your decision making and responsibility sharing is manifold in an ESE department. Particularly in railways a civil engineer is directly related to safety of passengers and so you are to take decisions for your jurisdiction length of track for which you are single-handedly responsible.


  1. Talking of the technical exposures, you will be actually building stuff like bridges and tunnels, and your work won’t be limited to checking concreting in the field. Some of these projects might of national importance like the bridge at Bogibeel which connects Arunachal and upper Assam to rest of India or a bridge over Chenab in J&K., which will definitely instill a pride in you.


  1. Ohh!!! How could I miss this??…..You shall be a Gazetted officer in an ESE department and will enjoy the social status associated with it (if any). Moreover, on a lighter note, now you will be authorized to attest the photocopies of the documents of all the students in your neighborhood and the whole area will be living in the (mis)belief that you can get their tickets confirmed anytime from anywhere to anywhere, in case you join railways.


  1. Yes…I now you are dying to know that….but as far as railways is concerned… will get a house with substantial space, a few good men to look after it and an office vehicle with a driver. I am not aware of the other ESE departments, but I want you to know that I was not provided with a vehicle when I was in IOCL, nor the house allotted to me there, was in a habitable condition.


  1. The cash in hand you get is always better in a Maharatna PSU, as compared to an ESE department. The difference can be as much as Rs 15000/-. Besides the prevailing rate of Daily Allowance (not the Dearness allowance, i.e. DA) is Rs 1150/- in IOCL, while the same is Rs 600/-in railways. You are one of the highly paid sections of Indian Working class (apart from the private corporates) with a highly stable job if you are in a Maharatna.

Now, since I have blabbered a lot of points of comparison on the subject, let me once again tell you that all the above are subjective and my personal perspective. I have heard people being very much satisfied with their jobs in IOCL, NTPC and the like and also there are people who complain of joining some of the ESE departments like MES, CWC and BRO after leaving a job in a PSU. So there are views of all types. What matters is what you want and so what you decide to achieve it.

So, now in a nutshell for civil engineering aspirants!!!!!!!! (again my personal views)……..

  1. If you get a department like Indian Railways or CPWD, then join it, no matter wherever you are working currently, unless point no. 3 is applicable to you.


  1. If you get a department like IOFs or CWC, and you wish to prepare for civil services in future, join it.


  1. If you have worked in a MAHARATNA for 3 or more years, then I think you should NOT consider joining any ESE department, unless point no. 2 is applicable to you. This is because you will be losing a lot of pay-scale, promotions of your parent PSU and moreover seniority for promotions in a department like railways, largely depends on your age. Lesser the age, better chances of promotions in the long run. So if you feel that you have crossed the bar of 26 years before coming to Indian Railways, then you may not be a “Horse for the long run” in railways (I can say of railways only).


  1. If your ultimate aim is IAS, and you are not getting preparation time in your current PSU, neither you want to sit home, then you may consider joining CPWD or IOFs or CWC through ESE, and never ever consider joining railways.


  1. If none of the points 1 to 4 apply to you, are you a hell lot of dissatisfied with your job in your current PSU, you are highly engaged in non-technical works which you feel are not your cup of tea and you may get retarded if you continue the same (just kidding!!!!), then just study hard, write off the damn ESE and come join any department of your like, YOU ARE WELCOME!!!!!!

Ayush Srivastava




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.

Is it right to leave PSU and go for IES

Ganesh Pal asks this question
“I have gone through your blog and i like it…and i have got your mail id 4m there..

i have some confusion in my mind regarding IES Preparation…presently m working in NTPC 4m last 3 yrs. nd i hd done coaching in made easy of IES Preparation.   from dat tym i m very keen to be in IES but due to some circumstances  i hadn’t go through….now m in state of confusion due to some reason as my age is 30 yrs nd here i gt good package …but my posting is in worst plant of NTPC ie in Assam…
Please suggest me that at dis age or in dis package is it is right to prepare for IES-2015. ….i have well prepared notes of mine…my branch is mechanical….my college was NIT Allahabad…2009 pass-out…”


Is it right to leave PSU and go for IES after significant years of service in PSUs?
This is a question which has no pet answer only a discussion is possible. So here we are…

These are the few points which we are going to consider while we analyze the situation.

1. When you leave, at that time, you cannot expect the facilities offered by PSU and by an IES service (lets assume railways) will be at par. It can’t be same as you will be entering at junior grade (JG) level, your salary will be less, maybe only 40% of what you are getting from PSU after 7-8 years of service.
Also you might have settled in life and your expenses will be huge than a college freshers, you might be having kids..
These things you have to ask yourself. Can you manage your life in-spite of this drastic change in your professional life.

2. What are your job quality expectations? Are you not satisfied by the quality of work or is it the place of posting that bothers you?
Well if its the quality of work then Engineering services offers you a wide variety of work (like railways, CWS, Roads).
There is a work for every engineer and that to of his/her core branch.
If its because of the place of posting then there is not much respite as the service is of all India level you cannot expect to get your favorite place.

3. I have met a lot of people who has transitioned from PSUs to IES (Specially Railways). Some of them (only few actually) have opted it at the age of 30 something and from PSUs like IOCL etc. One thing for sure is the early you enter in this service the more is scope as the promotion is more or less time bound. So you cant expect to get the top positions.

4. Two versions:
If you ask to a higher officer maybe (SAG) that you have opted IES at the age of about 30 and that too leaving a shining PSU, his first reaction would be “WHY?, aisa kya dikha railways mein, yaha Promotions are slow…re-numeration is not attractive if you compare with PSUs..workload is much (well its everywhere) “.
So for them its not a right decision. But they are mostly people who doesn’t have any experience in PSUs.

And if you ask someone who has switched PSU, He would say ” workload was too much, odd duty hours, far away posting places” these type of things and also one most heard sentence “Class 1 officer ki baat hi kuch aur hai” (I do not certainly agree with it) . Well, Grass is always greener on the other side of court. Well i say, Yes its greener but only a few shades…

PS: I hope this help you in someway to makeup your mind and decide judiciously.

Ravinder Singh
(IRSE 2012 Batch)