When the results of the most coveted ESE 2017 exam were announced by UPSC in the evening of 11th September, 2017, Namit Jain who topped the exam (AIR-1, CE) was taking a walk on the terrace of his home in Shivpuri near Gwalior. On getting a message regarding the announcement of ESE results by UPSC on his mobile phone from one of his friends, he rushed downstairs, checked the result on his laptop, and stammered, “Mom… I have secured first rank in ESE 2017”.
Namit Jain, who was a student of IES Master Regular Classroom Program (session 2016-17), shares with IES Master his success story, and tips and techniques that can be followed by the future aspirants of ESE to ace the exam.
IES Master: Congratulations Namit for securing All India Rank-1 in ESE 2017 from Civil Engineering branch.
Namit: Thank you so much. I feel extremely delighted to be the topper of one of the most coveted exams in India.
IES Master: Why did you choose Engineering Services as your career path?
Namit: Engineering Services is one of the most sought after career choice of engineers in India. It offers immense job satisfaction, great technical application, and offers an opportunity to serve the nation.
IES Master: When did you start preparing for ESE?
Namit: I came to Delhi in July 2016, and joined the Regular Classroom Program of IES Master, and it was then that I began my preparation for ESE.
IES Master: What was your preparation strategy?
Namit: I always focused on Conventional because I knew that to secure a good rank in ESE, you have to score well in conventional. Since this was my first attempt, many subjects were almost new to me because in college apart from two or three subjects, I did not study nicely. So my strategy was to come home, revise notes, solve previous years question papers, get the doubts cleared by the faculty next day, and make a comprehensive revision strategy.
IES Master: How did IES Master Regular Classroom Program help you in your ESE preparation?
Namit: IES Master Regular Classroom program includes delivering of lectures. Along with lectures, you get knowledge and the basics and fundamentals of each and every subject. Besides that the study material of IES Master is designed in such a way that the lectures delivered in the class are reflected there in the form of questions. The quality content of study material helps you in getting a good grasp over the concepts, and then you can always clarify your doubts the next day. So this is how I feel IES Master’s Regular Classroom program helped me.
IES Master: What was your experience with IES Master faculty members?
Namit: I have no words for the teaching skills of Kanchan Sir. He is simply an amazing teacher, who has deep an in-depth knowledge of whatever he teaches. He is very open to students. He is very approachable, and you are almost guaranteed to get your doubts and queries solved if you approach him. There are many other good faculties who taught me like Ankit Sir and Badal Sir. So faculty members were very much comforting there.
IES Master: Given the fact that ESE is an intensive exam, how did you manage to complete the entire syllabus well in time before the real exams?
Namit: In the beginning I did not knew how to prepare so I used to do objectives also along with conventional. But by the end of September, when our test series was about to start, I stopped doing conventional, and completely started focusing on objectives. So before my preparation, I completed at least four revisions of previous years question papers, and at least three revisions of each and every note that were prepared by me during the classes. For GS part, I used to read current affairs book for an hour every day. And then the other one hour was dedicated to at least one subject out of the remaining 8 to 9 subjects. So that’s how I managed to complete the entire syllabus well in advance.
IES Master: How effective were IES Master study materials in your preparation for ESE?
Namit: IES Master Study program is very well structured. It is very coherent in the manner that concepts are being delivered right from the start and by the time you reach the end of the chapter you have a good grasp of the subjects. Coupled with the quality of questions provided in the booklets you are sure to be very much comfortable with the topic at the end.
IES Master: How did you fair in the tests of IES Master Test Series?
I can’t recall my exact performance in the objectives as I used to be in the 30s or somewhere around there. But then yes conventional as I mentioned was always my main focus, so in conventional test series I was always among the top 10 students.
Conventional Test Series taught me very important lessons like how to manage your time effectively and how to improve your question selection ability. Apart from that it also taught me how to deal with a situation when you are not sure of answering a question. In such a situation what part of the question has to be attempted and how much of it has to be attempted, at what pace, and at what time of the 3 hours that you have in your hand. So yes test series was very instrumental in my success.
IES Master: How was your UPSC Interview experience?
Namit: Arvind Saxena sir was the chairperson of my UPSC interview panel. If I were to analyse my UPSC interview then I would say that it was average per se. It was not very good as I could not answer what chairman sir asked me. Apart from that there were some questions related to underwater welding that I had never heard of, and its concept. I was asked questions regarding total stations, and if I remember softwares using hydrology, which I had no idea of. So at the end of the interview, I had a feeling that I would score somewhere in between 110 and 120. That’s it.
IES Master: What are the qualities UPSC looks for in an ESE aspirant?
Namit: As a ESE aspirant what I feel UPSC looks for in a suitable candidate is first of all technical knowledge because you are there to manage a large number of people under you, and if you don’t have sufficient technical knowledge then you will not be able to guide them properly. Second, I feel that they want humbleness, politeness, and a kind of body language that officers should have because you are going to be a bureaucrat who is going to represent Indian Government’s interest in various fields.
IES Master: What was your preparation strategy in last two months?
Namit: In last two months what I did was solve at least one previous years’ conventional question paper every day, and solve it in three hours exactly by 2 O’clock because we have classes from 9 to 12 and then from 2 to 5. Then at the end of that paper, I used to check it with the solved papers that were provided by IES Master, and then analyse what you couldn’t do and how you could do it better, and what I did was I used to write my mistakes and then after some time I used to revise and check what were the possible source of errors that I have to avoid in certain types of questions.
IES Master: Anything else to be kept in mind during ESE preparation?
Namit: Yes, I feel that ESE requires extreme determination so you have to be disciplined, you should be sincere and most importantly you have to be honest with yourself. Don’t skip test series, don’t skip any test, attend all lectures and never allow lag to creep in during your preparation as that will affect your preparation severely.
IES Master: Your message to the future ESE aspirants.
Namit: To all the future ESE aspirants, I would like to say don’t worry about your results. Study… study till the last day because this exam is more about challenging your capabilities than testing your knowledge. Don’t give up at any given point in time during your preparation, and always stay motivated. To stay motivated, make short goals, complete them every day. Don’t make over ambitious goals. Make short goals. Complete them every day. You will have a feeling of accomplishment each and every day, and that would guide you through the entire journey.
IES Master: Namit it is a huge success. How was it received in your family? Who was the first person you informed?
Namit: I was on the terrace roaming around along with my eldest brother yesterday, and suddenly I received a message on my phone informing that ESE results have been announced by UPSC. I went downstairs. My mother was there, and luckily my aunt was also there. My laptop is always in on position, so visited UPSC website, and started scrolling the list of selected candidates. But I did not get the chance to scroll further as my name was there on the top itself, and I just couldn’t believe that I am the topper of ESE 2017. So, I started stammering, and I informed my mother that mom I secured first rank.
IES Master: Namit who was your inspiration in your family all this while?
Namit: My father as more than me he knows what my capabilities are. When I studied for JEE, he kept motivating me that if you cannot do this, nobody can. When I was preparing for ESE at times I used to tell my father that Papa the competition is very high. Only a bunch of students get selected, but my father used to always say that if you cannot get selected than nobody can. So my father was really instrumental in my success, and always kept motivating me.
IES Master: Tell us a little about your father?
Namit: My father is a sub-engineer in Madhya Pradesh government’s Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan.
IES Master: Tell us something about your mother and rest of your family members?
Namit: My mother is a housewife. My brother is currently in third year at IIT Guwahati.
IES Master: It must be big news at your school, at your native place. How was it resonated in those areas?
Namit: Since it was almost evening by the time the result was announced very few people knew. But I started getting calls from all over India. People started contacting me through social media, and many of friends from all over India started calling me and congratulating me, and I cannot describe in words how I felt at that time.
IES Master: Namit, you have been excellent. You are an inspiration. Thank you so much for speaking to us. God bless you!
Namit: Thank you so much.