ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING – An unconventional optional choice
Rushikesh Reddy, Rank 374 CSE-2017
Insights Offline Student, Optional Marks – 347
Hello everyone. I secured 374 rank in civil services examination, 2017. Before detailing my electrical strategy, I want to thank this platform (Insights) for its huge contribution in my success. This was the first website I stumbled upon when I started my preparation and it made my preparation more methodical. I was also benefited from many topper’s strategies written on this platform and I feel this is my time to give back.
Choosing Electrical optional
Electrical is highly rewarding optional but it is also hectic in terms of efforts needed. As there is no availability of ready-made material, you have to rely on reference books for completion of a topic. So, the amount of time and efforts needed are little higher than what you need on other optionals. Technical optionals require problem solving and electrical is no different. So, preparation for this optional can bring a change from monotonous GS preparation.
I have relied on book list provided by Prakash Rajpurohit sir (AIR-2 in CSE-2009). For few topics, I have supplemented from other sources which I would be detailing below. For the sake of convenience I would list down the books suggested by rajpurohit sir along with my strategy.
- Circuit Theory: I have referred to A. Chakrabarti (Dhanpat Rai). The key is to solve as many number of problems as you can. Complete all the solved examples and unsolved problems from the book if you have time. Focus on Network Theorems, various parameters of expression of two-port networks and graph theory (often ignored).
- Signals and systems: I have used Sanjay Sharma as my primary book and Oppenheim as my secondary book. They cover the syllabus very well. Please do all the solved examples from both the books. For DFT and FFT have a basic understanding from a source you like (I have used youtube videos). The formulas can be very confusing in this. Please have a sheet of paper and write down every formula and revise it often.
- E.M. Theory: Do not go beyond Sadiku for this. The chapters 9,10,11 entirely cover your syllabus. They are picking solved examples from this book. So, do all the solved examples and attempt unsolved if time permits. If you have time then glance through KD Prasad to not to miss out on anything important (Only after completing sadiku).
- Analog Electronics: I referred to J.B. Gupta. It is an extensive book that covers the topics really well. Do it very patiently. Try to cover only those portions which are in the syllabus and leave the rest. Do all the solved examples. Apart from this, I solved problems from ACE mains ESE material. This is to gain better practise.
- Digital Electronics: Morris Mano is the book you should refer to for this chapter. For timing circuits (555 timer) and comparators refer to J.B. Gupta (same book as suggested for analog electronics). Apart from this, I have solved problems from ACE mains ESE material.
- Energy Conversion: I referred to Ashfaq Hussain. Try to get good grasp of all the solved examples. Apart from this, I also solved problems from ACE mains ESE material.
- Power Electronics and Electric Drives: I have referred to PS Bhimbra. This is also a time consuming book and requires good patience to complete it. It requires two to three iterations to understand the topic completely. Chapters that needs to be covered from the book are chapter 2, chapter 4, chapter 5, chapter 6 (Leave dual converters), chapter 7 (Leave Thyristor Chopper circuits and multiphase choppers) , chapter 8 (Leave force-commutated thyristor inverters, current source and series inverters) and chapter 12. Don’t forget to complete all the solved examples. Questions are directly lifted from these example problems.
- Analog Communication: I have referred to Simon Haykin and BP Lathi. But there is also a very good NPTEL course which covers syllabus in its entirety. In fact the course contents are such that it seems the syllabus is directly picked from the course. So, pick any source you like and complete the syllabus. Apart from this, I solved problems from ACE mains ESE material.
- Control Systems: I have referred to FF Kuo. This is again a very good with enough examples and good coverage of theory part. Focus must be on time domain analysis, frequency domain analysis, stability criteria and state variables. I have also solved problems from ACE mains ESE material.
- Microprocessors and Microcomputers: I have referred to Ramesh Gaonkar. The book is a easy read, so you can complete it easily. I have also read made-easy written notes for this. Refer online for some peripheral device which are not covered well in Gaonkar. The guide will be previous years questions of both IES and civil services.
- Measurement and Instrumentation: The primary book I referred to is made-easy written notes. For the topics like spectrum analyser, signal conditioning, etc which are not covered in made-easy book, refer to Sawhney. Do refer to previous years questions of both IES and civil services for better understanding of types of questions being asked.
- Power Systems: I have referred to Nagrath Kothari. Do all the solved examples of the book. If you have time you can also pick up wadhwa and complete the solved examples.
- Power System Protection: I have to referred to Badri Ram and Vishwakarma. There is no need of referring to any other book as this covers the entire syllabus. Focus on circuit breaker and digital protection as more number of questions are being asked from it. Also please remember the schematic of various protection schemes.
- Digital Communication: I have referred to both Lathi and Haykin. As this a very dicey topic, please cover the topics from both the books. I have referred to Forouzan (Chapter 1 and 2) for data networks and 7 layered architecture. Do not neglect this part as 10 markers are constantly being asked from this.
- Take a printout of the syllabus copy. Once you are done with the topic, check the syllabus and highlight the left out sub-topics. Cover these sub-topics through use of internet.
- Do not neglect solving problems. This is the most important part of your preparation. Solve the problems along with your theory reading and don’t postpone it for later stages.
- Do the previous years questions of CSE and ESE. Last year Made-easy has come up with 16 years solved papers for CSE too. This is very important as same models of questions are asked.
- Join a Test series. This will help in improving your speed and improve the way you present your answers. Although the final answer and the correct approach are more important, but the way you present it (writing down the formulas you use, clearly showing step-by-step approach, etc) also matter.
- Be good with the theory part, especially for paper-2. Remember things like advantages and disadvantages whenever relevant. Also please remember all the derivations.
- Notes making. As the syllabus is very huge, please keep a book where you can update all the formulas and important derivations. This can be useful material for your revision a day before the examination.
- Please avoid silly mistakes. Read the question very carefully. I lost a simple 10 marker last year because I solved the problem for a shunt motor when the question was for a series motor. Avoid such mistakes to maximise your score.
- Be shrewd in the way you attempt questions. In the examination, avoid questions which have lengthy calculations if you have a choice. This is because there are more chances of committing error in those questions.
The preparation for this optional can be exhausting. Sometimes you want to give up and shift to another optional. I went through these phases occasionally. But I always loved electrical engineering as a subject and this made me stick to it for 3 long attempts. So enjoy the optional preparation. And practise more and more.
“The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in combat.” ― Richard Marcinko.
I am unable to find my test series answer scripts. I will post them here once I find them.
All the best to all of you.