Common mistakes made by students while preparing for ESE

We are sure you are all gearing up for the ESE examination this year and are working really hard: reading books, revising, practicing and re-revising everything to make sure that you can make the most of the 2+ 3 hour exam and score a rank which gives you your dream job and a peaceful life. Working hard whether in coaching or through self-study to reserve your place in the merit list, today we want to talk about a topic that all of you will relate to therefore do not forget to read till the end.

Before we start with the mistakes, it is necessary to have a brief idea about the ESE exam:

To recruit engineers from the four streams-Civil, Mechanical, Electrical and Electronics and Telecommunication every year, UPSC conducts the ESE (Engineering Services Examination). Candidates after the final selection are posted in various Ministries and Departments of GOI such as Railways, Telecom, Border Roads, CPWD, CWC, CPES, NHAI, Naval Armaments, IDSE, MES, Ordnance Factories etc., however, they can move to any cadre, organization, agency, department, ministry or PSU of the Government of India. All these finally selected candidates are designated as class-1 officers.

Exam Paper Type Subject Time Marks
Preliminary Examination Paper I Objective General Studies and Engineering aptitude 2 hrs 200
Preliminary Examination Paper II Objective Engineering Discipline 3hrs 300
Mains Examination Paper I Conventional Engineering discipline I 3 hrs 300
Mains Examination Paper II Conventional Engineering discipline II 3 hrs 300

Having discussed the exam and its pattern, now let’s move ahead and start discussing about the preparation for the ESE. While we all focus all our attention on what all is required for this exam, we talk to toppers asking them their strategy to crack exam but what we forget to think about are the common mistakes that students make before or during the exam which create the fine line between those selected and those rejected. Today we will focus on some common mistakes that we tend to ignore during our preparation.


There are plenty of mistakes that students make during their preparation, but here we would like to point out the 10 important ones. This blog will act both as your guide as well as it will give you a sense of understanding of what you must not do. Some mistakes you may be already aware of but this article will tell you about some habits that you have unknowingly developed and which may act as a hindrance in your preparation.

To sum up, the diagram below shows the mistakes which have been later explained in detail.

Common Mistakes During ESE Preparation

  1. Following the toppers blindly: ‘Every Man’s story of success is different’. During the exam we all tend to read articles and blog, watch videos about toppers and the strategy they adopted to score high in the exam. These not only motivate us but also act as a guiding light because we tend to apply those strategies in our preparation too. While trying similar approach during your preparation is not a bad idea, using the same strategy and planning can land you in trouble. We must remember that no two people on the earth are same therefore, their habits, their mental capacity and even their learning approach cannot be same. Therefore, you must not blindly follow any topper but instead try adopting good things from their preparation and make a strategy of your own.
  2. Unaware of the syllabus: If you have started your preparation in full swing now but haven’t looked at the syllabus even once then you need to take a pause. Please visit the UPSC website and look at the syllabus of the ESE exam. You can also check the ESE or Engineering Services Examination syllabus at This isn’t a customary thing to do before an exam but a vital part of preparation for the ESE exam. You must keep your exam syllabus handy at every time of the day so that you do not waste time reading the topics which are out of syllabus and with respect to any subject you only read what is in the syllabus.
  3. JACK OF ALL TRADES , PERFECT IN NONE: We as students have a habit of collecting books, and during the ESE preparation though reading books is not a bad habit or approach, but reading 10 books without knowing about the concepts within is a mere wastage of time and effort. So make sure you read one book carefully, make notes of it and then switch to the next one and follow the same pattern henceforth.
  4. Choosing the wrong Institute: If you are preparing on your own, please skip this point but if you are enrolled or planning to join a coaching institute this point is especially for you. Before joining any course in a coaching institute, make sure you read the course manual, visit the institute (if possible) and take review from the students (which is easily available today on the internet on websites like Quora, reviews on the respective coaching institutes’ portal etc.). You must ensure that the institute is fulfilling your needs and is not just a mere wastage of time and money. You must also look for scholarship programmes of the institute so that the coaching fee is not very heavy on your pocket. So choose wisely and study timely. You can visit us and know more about our coaching at
  5. Not focusing on GS paper: Have a closer look at the pattern of the exam. Paper I of the preliminary exam is General Studies (GS) and Engineering Aptitude of 200 marks and with the past trend in mind, to clear the preliminary exam you must score at least 50% in each paper. Therefore, with a logical mind, we draw the conclusion that GS is an integral part of the syllabus and it is necessary that you pay it its due regard. GS though may look difficult to some students but most of the times it becomes the deciding factor during the prelims examination.
  6. Improper management of time: Time is precious during this preparation, so take utmost regard of your time and manage it well. As mentioned earlier, go through the syllabus and make sure that your preparation is in line with it. Also give special attention to the core subjects and main topics depending on previous year papers and do not waste much time studying and revising the unimportant and insignificant topics as it would only make your task tedious and ineffective.
  7. Lack of practice and revision : ‘Practice makes a man perfect’ so utmost care must be taken to revise what you have read from time to time and not leave your books and notes lying around the shelf after just one read. Only reading any concept once will never be embedded in your brain because your brain has to realize that it is important which is only possible if you keep revising it frequently. You must from time to time revise it, for which it is extremely necessary that you make notes as it will reduce your task of revision and inspire you to revise it every now and then. Also along with revision, practice previous year questions and if possible join some test series as it will help you get  real time analyses and judgment of your strategy and your preparation as you will compete with your other contenders  and know how much more hard work and in which direction and for which subject  is required. We can help you in practicing by providing you best in market test series, visit us at
  8. Fantasy world: Well most of you will relate to this at a very personal level. Right from our engineering days we have heard of the ESE examination and the perks that are a part and parcel of clearing the exam, a bungalow, house help, government vehicle, power, prestige, respect and this mind palace keeps on increasing. All these things every now and then take us to an imaginary land where we think of how happy our parents will be, how happy we will be and the dream goes on and on, and before you know you have wasted 1 hour of your study time imagining something, which doesn’t even exist yet. So, you for sure cannot stop dreaming about this very fantasy world as it is what inspires you to work harder for this exam, but it would really help if you can cut down on the times and the number of hours you spend in this delusion. If you only look at the goal, without taking care of the steps needed to reach their, you may falter in your journey.
  9. Procrastinating: ‘The greatest amount of wasted time is the time taken to get started’. So instead of putting down things and your preparation till tomorrow, start with small steps today, right at this moment. If you are unaware of where to start with, go through the syllabus as that will inspire you and instill confidence in you that you can easily ace the exam. During the preparation time make sure to be punctual with your classes, studying hours, test series, food and most of all the revision part. Do not leave things for tomorrow, as that may never come.
  10. Friends and Health: The ESE examination is considered one of the toughest examinations of India and thus requires proper concentration and sincere effort for which, it is also important that you take special care of what you do during your free time. You must have friends and companion who inspire you and help you in your preparation. Friends with whom you can discuss and analyze concepts and theories so that they are embedded in your memory forever. Along with your friends and companion, you must also take care of your health. Eating street food, oily food and skipping proper meals are some common mistakes that many students make, though in the short run it may buy you some time to study but in the long run it will kill your time by making you weak and sick. So be careful to eat healthy, exercise (maybe just for 15mins a day) and drink lots of water.

We hope you relate to this blog and will take utmost care to not repeat these mistakes because with this level of preparation, done with so much dedication and enthusiasm we cannot let some simple mistakes hamper your rank in the ESE examination. Wish you all the very best keep learning and keep growing. If you face some hindrance or obstacle during your preparation and need guidance don’t forget to contact us at

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