Structure of Conventional Papers:
The strategy for conventional papers is almost similar to that of objective papers but first let’s have a look at the structure of conventional papers.
Each conventional paper consists of 7 questions. The first question is compulsory and it contains sub-questions from all the subjects. Out of rest of the 6 questions, we have to attempt any 4 questions. Each of these question contains sub-questions from only one subject. It is not necessary to attempt questions serial wise but all parts of a question must be attempted continuously.
1. Some Insights into the Subjects:
You have already prepared some of the subjects in detail for GATE exam. So you might have the good resource of study material. These subjects can be prepared with least amount of effort. Hence you should prepare these subjects first and thoroughly.
2. Types of Questions being Asked:
Many of the questions are direct. They are based on a formula or a technique or a simple concept. Sometimes a simple theoretical question (Example from ECE: Difference between direct and indirect band gap semiconductor) is asked. The first question in both paper generally consist of such questions only. You have solved such questions in GATE exam and even in objective paper. These questions are abundantly covered in all coaching class notes, guides etc. Hence the preparation for these questions is not very challenging.
The problem is with the rare kind of question which are generally not covered in coaching classes.
Many times few questions are repeated from a previous question paper. For example Question 3(b) in Paper 2 of 2015 is sequence generator problem. This question was also asked in 1995 question paper. UPSC can go that back!!! That is why it is absolutely necessary to solve all the previous year question papers.
Prior to 2003 conventional question were also asked in GATE. Sometimes a similar question is asked from those. For example a question similar to 3(b) in Paper of 2014 was asked in 1990 paper of GATE. Two marker questions of recent GATE are also important for conventional point of view.
Sometimes solved examples of standard books are also asked. Example: In 2013 Paper-2 Q.3(b) has been directly asked from Morris Mano book.
A decent number of theoretical questions are asked every year so one should not commit the mistake of leaving theory.
Apart from all the above types of questions there will be some questions which are very tough. Since less than 3 months are remaining now hence it is prudent that you focus on what can be easily handled in such a short period of time.
3. Strategy :
In my earlier post I wrote that objective papers are about range of your knowledge. There is a bit change in the statement here. Subjective papers are about depth of your knowledge about the subject. Hence it is necessary that you should prepare 5 subjects in depth for each paper. However you should not completely neglect the sixth subject as the first question will contain a 5-marker from it.
- (1) First prepare easier subjects.
- (2) Solve all the previous year question papers. Choose books which have subjectwise and chapterwise classification of the problems. and having questions from 1980s i.e. more than 33 years of questions.
- (3) Once you are done with IES papers, solve GATE papers. Pay more attention to conventional questions and 2-markers. Remember the purpose of solving IES and GATE problems is to be acquainted with diverse type of problems. Hence you can leave the repetitive questions.
- (4) Keep reading the theory simultaneously. Analyzing the previous years paper would help in filtering important concepts from less important ones.
- (5) If time permits, try to solve examples from standard books. [I am asking to solve the examples at the last because of paucity of time. While solving examples don’t waste time on the questions with which you are very well familiar. Try to look for more diverse problems.]
(6)Keep analyzing and keep improvising.
When you are solving a numerical question, solve it till you reach the answer. Don’t deceive yourself by thinking that you know the method and answer would be right. Because if you can’t solve it here, how will you solve it under pressure in exam. We humans are animals of habit. What gets repeated also gets permanent.
When solving problems in exam, write in a neat and clean manner. There is no limit on the space for answer. You can take supplementary copies. Remember that you have to solve all sub parts of a question together however questions can be attempted in any order. So solve the questions which are easiest first. 3 hours are more than sufficient for 5 questions so don’t panic about time.
Suggested By Bhanwar Meena (Cleared IES-2014)