What makes ESE toppers different from others?

Determination, the right amount of will, sorted priorities and just the required amount of commitment are some of the things that would top the list. Toppers are not people with some gifted or special talents. They are just ordinary people like you who knew how to channelize their energy correctly. Take example of Vaibhav Chhabra, rank-38 of E&T, ESE-2018 who had eight backlogs in college, but could still make it to the list with his perseverance. Knowledge or intelligence is not as much a pre-requisite to prepare for Engineering service exam as are firm determination and motivation. A well-planned strategy and its correct implementation are just what you need to clear a prestigious exam like ESE. If you aim for the starts, see yourself on the top, you need to put that extra dash of effort that no one else does. Since ESE 2018 results are out, so are the names of the ESE toppers.  In this blog, we cover toppers’ study tips, what they had in common and what gave them that extra edge over everyone else. Also, we try to analyze strategies of ESE toppers from all the four branches, Vinay Prakash Sharma (CE), Aman Jain (ME), Chirag Jha (EE) and Shashank Shekhar (E&T) and what made them different from many of us. You can also follow these study tips to get that extra edge in your ESE preparation that you’ve always yearned for:

  • Work smart as you work hard. There are, for sure, no shortcuts to success but there are smart cuts to it. Reading complete textbooks and daily newspapers sound fancy to an aspirant. But that is one thing that no ESE topper would ever suggest. You don’t have a lifetime to clear the exam. In this time bound course of preparation, one needs to work smart to clear the Engineering Services Exam.
  • Choose your sources wisely. If you decide to opt for a coaching, be very careful in its selection. Go through the toppers’ testimonials about any coaching/ test series and see how many toppers recommend that coaching and to what extent was the coaching helpful in their preparation. For instance, ESE 2018 toppers Aman Jain, Vinay Prakash Sharma, Chirag Jha and Shashank Shekhar all do recommend joining MADE EASY as they have all been students of regular classroom courses and received guidance from there.
  • Keep faith in your teachers: ESE 2018 Mechanical topper Aman Jain mentions it at multiple instances that his undying faith in his teachers and mentors at Made Easy could enable him to achieve the heights that he could. He adds that religiously practicing questions and following the guidelines of the teachers alone can suffice for complete preparation.
  • Be strict with your schedule. Whatever schedule you design for yourself, which may not necessarily be ten hours of studying a day. Be disciplined enough to stick to it. Don’t try to blindly follow what others are doing or what toppers have done. Design a custom schedule for yourself but be committed to follow and stick to it.
  • Consistency is the key: ESE 2018, Civil topper, Vinay Prakash Sharma mentions that maintaining consistency in one’s study scheduled is as important as having a strong study plan. He mentions that consistency and self-study can easily outplay luck.
  • Syllabus coverage is a must for Engineering services exam and to add to it, if you aspire for higher ranks, it’s a must that you cover all the areas of all the subjects. If you leave any part of your syllabus, you definitely lose on some marks and you can never be sure of scoring full marks in that subject. So better be prepared completely at your end.
  • Practice Makes a Man Perfect: A lot of practice brings in a lot of confidence with it. You should practice all previous years’ question banks of ESE and also GATE of your branch. If you’ve some subjects common with other branches like electrical and electronics do have a lot in common, try to practice their questions banks also. Since, sometimes questions reoccur in ESE, with changed data, enough practice can ensure you can perfectly target those questions. ESE/IES 2018 Topper from Civil Engineering, Vinay Prakash Sharma, mentions that consistent reading of books of all the topics helped him remember and even prepare some non-technical subjects for ESE.
  • Focus on Preparing for Conventional Questions from the Start: Practice writing answers for previous years’ questions of your branch. Also, practice questions from other exam’s papers that go for the conventional model like Civil Services Examinations, Indian Forest Services etc. Writing skills improve as one keeps on practicing. Although accuracy bags more points when it comes to Mains examination, but if you are aiming for top ranks, then polished writing skills can give you an extra edge.
  • Plan for Exam Before You Appear for it: This is one strategy that many ESE toppers follow and profess. One should not go and appear randomly for an examination. ESE 2018 toppers from mechanical engineering and electrical engineering, Aman Jain and Chirag Jha mention that they had set their target scores for each paper of each stage of ESE long before they appeared for the exam and could strategize their attempt in paper accordingly. If they could attempt the decided number of questions, they would stop and focus on revision to eliminate any possible negatives. If the attempt is way below the pre-decided score, they would go for informed guessing or elimination to attempt a greater number of questions. This practice is beneficial for the final examination and can be attained easily with the help of a good test series.
  • Joining a Test series is Essential: Lastly, joining an offline test series of some good coaching institute, where the number of students enrolled is a real huge figure so that you can accurately analyze your ranks and your preparation strategy, is a must. Test series should be rather taken as an opportunity to learn and add to your existing knowledge rather than to judge one’s absolute knowledge and performance. IES topper from Mechanical Engineering, Aman Jain specifically mentions that he took the offline test series of ESE as a learning opportunity to learn about concepts he did not even know about and also to prepare some subjects completely. Also, after each test, it’s equally important to analyze your performance, discuss your doubts and accordingly improve your strategy.
  • Interpersonal skills should be developed in time: Although language is not a barrier for ESE interview, but personality and communication skills play an important. Mostly ESE interviews follow on technical lines but may be routed towards your previous job experience, your home town or any other relevant point in your DAF. One needs to develop the skill set for the same and also have complete knowledge of all the relevant information that concerns oneself. ESE 2018 toppers from Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, Chirag Jha and Aman Jain mention repeatedly how Interview guidance program of Made Easy was helpful to them in this sense.
  • Flexible strategy: ESE 2018 toppers suggest to be flexible with their preparation strategies. If you ever think a particular approach is not working well, be dynamic enough to change it. If you think of 5 hours of study is not sufficing, be quick to increase it. If you think class notes are not enough, be quick to switch to standard text books for the same.

All in all, just don’t be very stringent for anything, be it your strategy, be it study sources or your approach itself. No IES topper of this year expected himself to top the exam. What they were sure of, though, were to see their names in the final list. And that they have put in enough into their preparations and that worked out pretty well for them. It always does. All the best!

“Toppers are not people who never failed, only those who could find one thousand ways to recover form hundred times when they failed.”

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