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5 Common (but Serious) Mistakes Made by Students While Preparing for ESE

One small mistake can sometimes cost you a dream and there is no space for mistakes if you are preparing for ESE. Here are the 5 common but serious mistakes students make and how to avoid them.

Chithrakala Babu

Engineering Services Exam (ESE/IES) is a yearly exam conducted by the UPSC to recruit employees in different government departments in India, such as railway, roads, defence, manufacturing, power and telecommunications. The ESE/IES exam is conducted for four engineering fields – Civil, Mechanical, Electrical and Electronics & Telecommunications. Thousands of engineering graduates write this exam every year to get recruited into the limited posts in different government departments.  ESE/IES is considered one of India’s toughest competitive examinations due to its vast syllabus and the difficulty level of the three-stage exam. On average, 2 lac students write this exam every year, and the number seems to be rising. India’s obsession with government jobs is well justified in the context of this exam. The candidates who pass the exam will get placed in various departments with an attractive salary. Preparing for ESE/IES can be a long and tiring process due to the said exam’s multiple levels and the vast syllabus. In your ESE preparation journey, one wrong step can cost you your dream job. So, it is crucial to understand the common mistakes students commit during their preparation. Mistakes teach us more, so here are the five common but serious mistakes that you should avoid during each step of your ESE preparation.

  1. Lacking a Proper Exam Strategy for ESE/IES

Having an effective exam strategy is the crux of your entire ESE preparation journey. If you have a proper study plan or strategy, you are already halfway to success. Browse a little before making your study plan to find out different techniques and effective methods you can adopt for your study plan.  A proper exam strategy is a foolproof plan that is specifically made as per your learning style, weak and strong areas, preferable study time etc. Suppose you are a Civil Engineering student and the subject you are weak in is Transportation Engineering. You need to spend more time on that subject to bring a balance. Sometimes, students tend to copy previous exam toppers’ strategy, which turns out to be a bane than a boon. Everyone has their own unique way of learning. So, blindly following someone else's exam strategy may result in a setback. Instead of copying what someone else did, listen to the toppers and choose the tips and techniques that work best for you. Time management is another essential aspect of your exam strategy. Spending 5 hours daily studying is not enough, but efficiently utilising those 5 hours is. Here your watchword is efficiency. You have to distribute your time wisely to benefit from the time and effort spent. You should include time for regular revisions and tests in your study plan. If you are making a plan, make sure you strictly follow it.

2. Not Working Out the Previous Years’ Question Papers

Previous year’s question papers can be your leading light in ESE preparation. Many students do not to give enough attention to last year’s question papers and it is a mistake that should avoid. Solving those questions will help you understand the pattern and the importance of each subject. This step is no shortcut to get a high score by knowing the answers to the repeated questions. Barely 4-5 questions are repeated every year or less than that. Solving previous year’s questions will give you several valuable insights about the exam pattern and the frequency of topics asked. Besides, this will provide you with a real-time experience of the exam. Practising mock tests or previous year questions is the best way to learn how to utilise your time wisely during the exam. If you listen to the exam toppers, practising mock tests is one common step that everyone would suggest. The benefits of practising model/previous years’ questions are countless and you should never skip that vital step in your preparation.

3. Reading and Re-reading Instead of Learning

Are you a person who spends a reasonable amount of time studying but ends up unable to recollect the important information later when needed? Such an experience can demoralise you in many ways. You may have to reconsider your learning techniques to tackle this problem. Many students tend to spend a lot of time ‘reading’ the notes instead of learning. Students should avoid reading theory parts multiple times hoping to memorize the points. Reading is a skill that you must develop, and it will benefit you for a lifetime. Being said that, students need to understand that passive reading brings more harm than good if you are preparing for a competitive exam. Many studies show that re-reading the same material multiple times is inefficient. Reading becomes learning when you actively engage in the process by taking notes and highlighting the main points.

Check out our article How to Make Killer Notes to Crack GATE 2022 to know some of the most effective note taking methods.

4. Not Giving Adequate Importance to General Studies

It is observed that many students give far less attention to the General Studies paper compared to the subject papers. It is a dangerous mistake that can wreck your whole ESE dream. Giving adequate attention to a comparatively simpler paper can fetch you good marks in the exam. Try to score a minimum of 100 out of 200 marks. It can be a cakewalk if you focus on subjects such as Mathematics, Aptitude, Reasoning, and Current Affairs, along with some subjects related to your branch of Engineering. Make sure you concentrate on understanding all the basic concepts in the General Studies subjects.

5. Unaware of the Syllabus

Do you start your preparation with the utmost energy and enthusiasm but confused about the direction you want to take the next moment? It is a relatable situation for many students out there. You are unsure where to start and how to organise your study hours. There is only one solution for all these problems - understand the syllabus in and out. The first step of your eventful ESE preparation must be downloading the syllabus from the official UPSC website and keeping a copy of it handy. A complete understanding of the syllabus is not an optional step but a vital one. In other words, the exam syllabus should live in your heart. That will help you save a lot of time and effort throughout the preparation.

You need to give your best to fulfil your dreams. Keep all the above-discussed points in mind during your ESE preparation. Despite all the hard work and long study hours, you may still feel low, but it is part of this journey. Stay focused on what you will achieve after passing the exam – your dream job and successful life. Remember the adage, “if you want to shine like a sun, first burn like a sun”.