Top competitive exams for engineering students to prepare during their first year

India is extremely competitive due to its large population and a limited number of college seats and government jobs. Most people in India have at some point of time prepared for a competitive exam. Due to their importance, there are several coaching centres which teach you how to prepare for competitive exams. These centres give students tips to crack competitive exams and help prepare them for the same. However, did you know you don’t have to wait until your final year to start preparing? Rather than waiting until the last minute and then rushing to a coaching centre, it is better to start early. Many students start in their first year to make sure they have enough time to cover all the topics. In this article, we will take a look at how to prepare for competitive exams and which exams you can keep a look-out for during your first year.

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How early should students start preparing for competitive exams?

Most students wait until their last year of engineering to start preparing for competitive exams. However, the experts who give tips to crack competitive exams believe that students have to start as early as possible. First-year is a great option as it is relatively stress-free and easy. You have not jumped into the deeper, more complicated concepts of engineering yet. This gives you more free time to explore other topics and work on your skills. Furthermore, most competitive exams will require you to develop quantitative aptitude and verbal reasoning. These skills will also help you during your engineering studies, making your regular classes easier for you.

Tips to Crack Competitive Exams

When you start going over how to prepare for competitive exams, here are a few tips you need to keep in mind to make sure you get the best results;

  1. Prepare in the right way, by focusing on building the most important skills. 
  2. Rather than mindlessly doing questions over and over again, make sure you make your concepts as strong as possible. This will help you attempt a higher variety of questions, while also improving your understanding of a topic.
  3. Understand that it isn’t about how much time you put in, but how effectively you used the time given. Study the most important topics first so that you have more time to revise them later on. 
  4. Try to create a schedule and stick to it, if you are someone prone to procrastination. Giving yourself a timetable will help you stay focused as you know exactly what to work on every day. 
  5. At least for a while, you will need to limit your social life as it takes away time from preparation. However, this does not mean you must turn into a recluse with no friends. Instead, try to find friends with similar interests and work on projects or topics together. Not only does this help you socialise, but it will also motivate you to study harder.
  6. Don’t try to study very late into the night or very early in the morning. While you do need to maintain a good study schedule, make sure it does not mess up your sleep cycle.
  7. Go through your course content regularly so that you stay aware of changes in the portion, syllabus revisions and other alterations.
  8. As soon as you feel yourself getting sleepy, hit the bed! Studying while trying to stay awake does not help you gain any knowledge, and is truly a waste of time. Give yourself some rest and try again the next day with a fresh mind. 
  9. Use the 4R study method - Read, Recall, Reflect and Review to make sure you have understood each topic properly. 
  10. Study for 30 or 45 minutes and then take a short 3-minute break to freshen yourself and clear your mind. Doing so will make you study more effectively as your mind needs frequent breaks to rejuvenate itself. 
  11. Aim for shorter study sessions, rather than long-extended ones. Our mind can stay more active and efficient for shorter durations, helping you learn more in less time. 
  12. Plan what you will do each day so that there is no wastage of time preparing what to study. Doing the planning in advance will allow you to start studying immediately, leading to less wastage of time.

Top Competitive exams for engineering students to prepare during their first year

  1. GATE: Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering, better known as GATE is a national exam that helps engineering students enter into MTech courses in India. The exam is highly competitive as it tests the aptitude and skill of undergraduates from colleges around the country. Furthermore, a good rank in the GATE leads to employment opportunities in government undertakings like ONGC, BPCL, NTPC and BHEL. You can start preparing for GATE in your first year as the syllabus for the exam is mainly what you learn in college. While you will be eligible to write it only in your 4rth year or after graduation, starting preparation a little earlier can help you complete the syllabus well before time. 
  2. RBI Grade B Exam: If you have an interest in banking and finance and wish to work with the Reserve Bank of India after your graduation, then this is the exam for you. Since the recruitment age is so young, the exam offers a lot of growth prospects and brings with it high job security. After joining the RBI, you can work your way up the chain till you become a Deputy Governor through departmental exams. You can write this exam if you fall between the ages of 21 to 30 years, making it perfect for engineering grads with an interest in banking. 
  3. PSU Exam: Public Sector Undertakings, as they are owned by the government offer good pay and high job security. As a result, most students want a chance to work for such corporations. While a majority of them recruit through the GATE exam, some of them have their own exams. However, a vast majority make use of the GATE exam and hence students should try their best to score well in it.
  4. Railway Recruitment Board: Being the largest employer in India, the RRB conducts annual exams to recruit employees for ALP and Technician postings. It also has a sleuth of Non-Technical Popular Category exams to find apprentices, station masters and goods guards. In most cases, the exam occurs between March and May, and the exam also requires the candidates to be physically fit. 
  5. Staff Selection Commission JE: The SSC Examinations help with the recruitment for posts like Junior Engineers in Civil, Mechanical and Electrical divisions. The SSC JE is an important exam as it allows you to join a government service which assures high job security. You will need to pass your graduate course to be eligible for the exam, and the maximum age for applying is 32. 
  6. UPSC: This exam helps with recruiting engineers to the Indian Engineering Services or IES, and consists of a Prelims and Mains exam. This will guarantee a good government engineering job, which is coveted by students around the country. However, this also makes it one of the most competitive exams in the country due to its large-scale appeal. The eligibility criteria include a BTech from a recognised university and being between the ages of 21 and 30 for General category.
  7. ISRO: A prestigious aerospace wing of the Indian Government, the ISRO recruitment exam occurs annually. The entire paper and work after recruitment are technical in nature, making it great for students who have a true aptitude for the sciences. Details regarding this exam and the subsequent steps are available through the ISRO website. Students with a BTech in Mechanical, CS and Electrical are eligible for the posts. 

As you can see, engineering graduates have a lot of options available to them. All you have to do is figure out what you want for yourself and go after it. We sincerely hope this article answers questions regarding “What can I do after BTech?”. Thus find out which of these sounds like what you want to do in life, prepare a schedule for studying and go after it! Best of luck!!

Top competitive exams for engineering students to prepare during their first year
Skyfi Labs Last Updated: 2022-05-18

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