What is IES?
Indian Engineering Services also known as the Engineering Services Examination (ESE) is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) each year, for the recruitment of technical and managerial positions in various fields of Engineering of the Government of India.
UPSC conducts a three-level competitive examination called the ESE to recruit civil servants and officials to the Indian Engineering Services.
Considered to be one of the toughest examinations to crack, the selection ratio of ESE is 0.00275 according to the 2010 statistics. Owing to the fewer postings and its highly competitive selection procedure, becoming an IES officer is as daunting as it can be.
IES as a career option
More than 2 lakh candidates compete for the very limited posts available in the IES. The officers are selected based on merits scored by candidates in the IES exam.
Candidates who crack the ESE examination enjoy various perks from the Government. It is one of the most prestigious jobs which demands respect and stature in the society.
Before we get into details of how to become an IES officer, let us try to understand the roles and responsibilities of these civil servants
What are the roles and responsibilities of an IES officer?
IES officers are mostly associated with the public sector units (PSUs) including roads, railways, power, public works, inspection, telecommunication and manufacturing.
The nature of work of these bureaucrats depends on their engineering branch and the service or cadre they are recruited for. However, they can be moved to any cadre representing the Government of India and they are designated as Class-1 officers.
Fascinating isn’t it? Yes, being an IES officer is an immensely lucrative career option. Read further to understand, how you can become an IES bureaucrat!
Basic requirements to become an IES officer
For starters, any candidate willing to take up the ESE exam has to have a bachelor’s degree in engineering from a recognized university. He/she should be anywhere between 21-30 years of age.
It is usually a common understanding that students graduating from the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) are the ones who can crack the ESE exam. This can be true in some cases, but, any average student with the right kind of preparation strategy can crack this examination.
If you look closely, there is not much of a difference between a topper and an average student neither physically nor mentally.
The only thing a topper swears by is a strict preparation regime. In the end, what matters is your undeterred will to work hard and become a topper. No one said cracking this the ESE examination is an easy task, a sound strategy in place can help you overcome all hurdles.
Coaching is NOT compulsory, however, some coaching material will definitely ease your burden. There are many examples where candidates have cracked this examination without attending coaching classes at any stage.
Now, let’s talk STRATEGY!
How to prepare for ESE?
- For any competitive exam preparation, a smart study is the way to go, which basically means a candidate must be aware of which topic is to be studied and which to be left. Handwritten notes from certain coaching centres or online PDFs will help you with your smart study strategy.
- Always refer to latest notes, consider surfing stuff available online and even opt for NPTEL coaching videos.
- Read the all the topics that are written in the notes, if you do not understand any of the topics, please refer to NPTEL videos or take help of a standard book.
- It is always recommended for IES aspiring candidates to study GATE topics as well for their ESE preparation. Reading books for “only IES” can prove to be redundant, a broader knowledge is always beneficial.
- Once you get hold of the theory part of the subjects, solve previous years question papers for IES and GATE. Make sure you time yourself, taking your own sweet time while solving question papers is a complete no!
- While solving these question papers, there will be a few questions which you cannot solve, do not forget to mark these questions. A sound presence of mind and muscle will help you during revisions.
- As when you solve them, keep on revising formulas/concepts wherever required.
Prepare Short Notes
- When you are done solving the old question papers of IES and GATE, prepare short/brief notes of all the topics.
- In these short notes, write down all the important formulae, and concepts. These short notes will prove to be your holy grail during revisions, so make sure you don’t skimp on these.
- Make sure to complete all the topics and occasionally revise the topics which you have already completed.
Quick tips to prepare for ESE Current Affairs
Usually, the current affairs questions for ESE is straightforward and very limited. All you have to do is to be sincere in your preparations. You can always refer to websites designed to CSE current affairs.
Topics to include in your preparation can be technical, environmental, international affairs, national affairs that can affect your day-to-day life and some topics related to history.
- If you pick any topic, make sure you read all the 5Ws and 1H about the topic; i.e., you should be able to answer: who, what when, where, why and how of any topic for that matter.
- This said, it is always mandatory for you to make short notes on anything you read, this will make your life easier during revisions.
- Also, make time to read current affairs every day and again make notes of everything.
Quick tips for General Studies paper
Most of the questions comprising the General Studies paper will usually be conceptual. A wide or in-depth study of this syllabus is not required as the questions here tend to be very basic.
How to revise?
Once you complete studying all the required material and practising model and previous years question papers, start revising!
- Revise only from your short notes.
- Solve the questions that you have “marked” from the previous year’s question papers.
- Make sure to work out all your revisions, just reading and remembering will not help.
- At this stage of preparation, you can also prepare micro notes where you will only note down the formulae and concepts which you tend to forget or feels difficult.
- There are many offline ESE test series, start answering them.
- Prepare a time-table to provide ample time for both technical and non-technical topics. Though technical topics should be your main focus, non-technical is as important.
- You should continuously revise until the day of the examination. Revise from your short and micro notes as many times as possible before the final exam.
- The goal is to revise and repeat.
What to do and what not to do on the day of the exam?
Tips while answering the actual question paper:
- Go to your examination with a calm mind. You will definitely feel pressure but hey, you have been preparing for this for nearly 2 years now.
- Most importantly try to answer all the relevant questions.
- Attempt all the questions which you are 100% sure. Leave the rest to the last.
- Avoid answering and wasting time over irrelevant questions. Be cautious to recognise these questions and leave them without wasting time during the exam.
- You can see only 30% of the questions will be direct from the syllabus, more than 40% can be anything but direct.
- The added benefit here is that you are an Engineer already, so the Engineer’s aptitude will take you a long way during your preparations as well as the exam.
The key is to practice and revise. Do not leave anything to grace. Be dedicated and sincere with your preparation. Cracking the ESE is a long and exhausting journey. Be focused. Don’t let some hurdles demotivate you. Hold your strength and keep going.