Utkarsh Agarwal wants to build his career as an electronics engineer and use his skills to serve the nation. Youth with will, determination, and caliber are rare to come across. This Engineering Service Exam (ESE, also known as IES) topper has charted a wonderful journey.

From being the Gold medalist in engineering, to pursuing M.Tech in IIT Delhi, and now getting 17th rank in UPSC IES, one of the toughest exams in the country, Utkarsh has come a long way.

Aglasem correspondent Shivika interviewed this successful young man who delightfully shared his success mantra for UPSC aspirants.

Name Utkarsh Agarwal College and Degree
  • Institute of Engineering and Technology, DAVV, Indore for B.E. (Electronics and Telecommunication)
  • IIT Delhi for M.tech (Opto-electronics and optical communication)
Branch Electronics and Telecommunication Working Yes
All India Rank 17 Department preferred IRSSE


For the success, he thanks his relatives, friends, parents, especially his mother who supported him throughout the preparation.

Engineering Service Examination 2015 – Utkarsh Agarwal’s Scores

Subject Marks
General Ability Test 95.55
Objective I 109.45
Objective II 131.67
Conventional I 161
Conventional II 129
Interview 116.33
Total score 743


Why motivated you to choose Engineering Services as the next step after M.Tech?

Engineering service is the most sought-after career for the engineering graduates in India. I wanted to build my career as an electronics engineer and engineering services provide me the best opportunity to apply my technical skills to serve the nation.

When did you start preparing for Engineering Service Exam? In your opinion how much preparation time is required to score well in UPSC ESE? 

I started preparing from September 2014. I was in the first semester of my M.Tech at IIT Delhi, so I used to give 2-3 hours daily for engineering services. Then from February 2015, I focused more towards ESE. I increased my study hours and dedicated completely. It varies from person to person, but on average it will take 8-10 months. I prepared for engineering services along with my M.Tech.

Did you join UPSC IES coaching?

I did not join any classroom program. Last year in September, I joined rank improvement batch of Made Easy. But due to my M.Tech examinations and work, I was not regular. I used to give the test conducted by the coaching and those tests helped me to score high scores in conventional papers.

Can you share with our readers your UPSC Interview experience?

My background: I am currently doing M.tech in optoelectronics and optical communication from IIT Delhi.
Date: 2nd December 2015
Board: Mr.Chattar Singh

Questions asked:


  • What is the meaning of ‘Utkarsh’?
  • What do you like more electronics or communication?
  • What is HAM radio?
  • What was the earliest form of communication?
  • Have you seen a satellite phone?
  • Why doesn’t Ambani have a satellite phone?

Techincal Persons:

  • How did communication take place at the time of cloudburst in Kedarnath?
  • What is iridium project? Why did it fail?
  • Explain the function of a transponder.
  • Limitations of satellite communication.
  • The size of VSAT antenna.
  • The value of attenuation constant at particular values of wavelength in optical fibers.
  • Some questions on LASER, modulation schemes used in optical Communication.

Please share some tips to crack UPSC.

I am giving tips to score good marks in conventional exams. I got highest marks in the first conventional paper.

  • Attempt as much as possible. But do not write anything irrelevant, it may annoy the checker.
  • Be neat and precise. One of the reasons for fewer marks in paper 2 was this. In few answers, I initially did mistakes and then my work became little untidy.
  • Yes, they do give 100% marks for your answers if you present well, so practice a lot to increase your speed and accuracy.
  • They do good step marking, it’s not like that if your answer is wrong, you will loose about 50% marks.(In paper 1 there was question to find resistance, I did mistake in that question and got the wrong answer if they  have just given me 3-4 marks I won’t be able to get 161 as I did some  more mistakes in other questions also)
  • Try to write the used formulae.
  • Draw a line with pencil and scale after every question.
  • Cross the leftover pages.
  • Keep 5 minutes to fill front page details. Do not do mistake in that.

What are the qualities an ESE aspirant must have?

ESE aspirants should be well focused, their goal should be fixed. Another thing is that as ESE syllabus is very vast many times person will feel to give up, but believe me, hard work always pays. They should have patience and faith on their work.

Some words of wisdom for the students who are aspiring to crack the UPES ESE exam.

It’s up to you there are 5 papers you have to identify your strengths and plan accordingly to score 140+ in at least any 2 papers then you have a fair chance of selection. Have faith in you and your hard work. This is the last chance for this pattern (ESE 2016), grab the opportunity, give your best.

Please name the books you prepared from for UPSC ESE / IES?

Book Author Comments and Buy Online Link
Material Science S.P.Seth
Electronic devices and circuits (EDC ) S. Salivahanan, Neamen CAT Preparation Buy on Amazon
Measurements A.K. Sawhney CAT Preparation Buy on Flipkart

CAT Preparation Buy on Amazon

Measurements H.S. Kalsi CAT Preparation Buy on Amazon
Networks Ghosh and Chakraborty CAT Preparation Buy on Amazon.
Very good book!
Signals Schaum series, Singh and Sapre Random variable, Fourier transform.
EMT Schaum series, Sadiku I did not prepare much for this subject.
Analog Electronics Jacob Millman, Christos C. Halkias; Adel S. Sedra, Kenneth C. Smith Few chapters
Digital Electronics Morris Mano , Tocci
Communication Singh and Sapre Best book for ESE communication
Communication Kennedy, Senior Optical
Microwave Samuel Liao, Kulkarni.
Control Systems A.K. Jairath CAT Preparation Buy on Amazon.
It has a lot of examples.
8085 Ramesh Gaonkar Not prepared Computer part

What was your preparation strategy?

When I started preparing for ESE 2015, I first analyzed my weaknesses and strengths. In ESE 2014, I got 307 marks in the objective with 82 marks in GA paper. So GA was my biggest weakness, but my strong point was conventionals. As, I am a gold medalist in B.E., I knew how to get good marks in written exams. So, I decided to prepare well and score maximum marks in conventionals. I first saw conventional papers of 2013 and 2014 and analyzed which all books UPSC is following to make the papers. I purchased some, some books were with me. I tried to solve all the solved examples of all those books. I used to self-conduct test for myself and then evaluate, it helped me a lot to improve accuracy and speed. During ESE 2015, when I saw the conventional question papers I was very happy most of the questions were similar to what I had practiced, It gave me confidence and speed. I was able to attempt 175 marks in paper 1 within 3 hours and I got time to recheck my answers also. (Remaining 25 marks I was not able to answer) and 180 marks in paper2 (unable to solve more because of lack of time).

What was your preparation strategy in last two months?

Last two months are very crucial for any competitive exams. For last two months, I made a timetable and strictly followed it. In those 2 months, I practiced a lot of questions from standard books mentioned earlier. I solved last 20 years papers of both electronics and electrical engineering.

Anything else to be kept in mind during preparation?

Some suggestions for aspirants:

  1. Join a test series. You will feel the real competition, give every test seriously.
  2. 4- 5 months are enough if you are not preparing for the first time.
  3. Make a time table and follow it seriously. Keep some empty gaps in the timetable to complete the pending work.
  4. Do practice conventional questions. It will increase your speed. I find people who can get the answer of the question easily but don’t know how to write /present it to fetch maximum marks.


Thank you Utkarsh! With a mind full of ideas, and heart full of passion, you will definitely be successful in all your future endeavors. We wish you the very best for all the good things in life ahead.

Are you also preparing for UPSC Engineering Service Exam (ESE / IES)? Have questions in mind? Clear your doubts from UPSC Toppers. Post your queries in discussion forum.

UPSC Topper Interview

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