Alumni Talks with Ms. Priyanka Padhy

Getting into a government job, and that too via something as prestigious as OPSC Examinations undoubtedly takes constant efforts and perseverance. But figuring out the right direction towards this acme can be a lot painstaking. 
We talked to Ms. Priyanka Padhy, a 2018 Civil Engineering graduate of NIT Rourkela, who has achieved meritorious results in the OPSC Assistant Executive Engineer (AEE) 2019 by emerging as the Girls Topper and has secured the laudable Rank 10. As an alumna of the institute, we believe, she can be the best person to guide the students who carry this aspiration in their hearts. 
Following is an excerpt.

CEST CLUB (CC): Walk us through your childhood days.
Ms. Priyanka Padhy (PP): I have completed my 10th as well as 12th standard from Saraswati Sishu Vidya Mandir, Neelakantha Nagar, Berhampur, Odisha. I believe school life is the most important phase of life where one learns basic principles of behavior and etiquette. My school life nurtured me to develop good habits, respect for elders and made me Obedient. From the school days, I was good at my studies. I was fond of painting and also got prizes in inter-school painting competitions. My teachers encouraged and helped me in the study in all possible ways.

CC: What made you choose Civil Engineering at NIT Rourkela?
PP: Good numbers of job opportunities are available for both in government as well as in the private sector for a Civil Engineering graduate. There is a wide range of jobs you can choose after graduation like Construction Manager, Public health Engineer, Environment Engineer, Urban Planning Engineer, etc. As it is one of the oldest branches of Engineering so most of the colleges/Universities have a Civil Engineering stream, one can pursue higher studies (MTech or Ph.D.) hassle-free in any University.

CC: How were your four years at NIT Rourkela and what co-curricular activities were you a part of, alongside your academics?
PP: I am privileged to be a part of the reputed NIT Rourkela, a factory of brilliant minds. Experienced faculties inspired me to organize my ideas and also facilitated me to groom academic spirit. They were my best advisors. This NIT journey made me the person who I am today. The environment on the NIT campus was very conducive for my technical and personality development.

CC: When did you begin your preparation for the prestigious OPSC AEE examination? What were the initials steps you took?
PP: In NIT Rourkela I was sincere for my studies and good at academics. For every semester, I had gone thoroughly through NPTEL video lectures and the books of reputed Authors suggested by NIT Rourkela faculties which made my basics in each subject strong. In last semester, as theory subjects were less, I was able to devote my time to prepare for competitive examinations. I decided to study from postal study packages. But at that time (2018) there was no OPSC AEE notification for us. Therefore, I decided to prepare for GATE. Whether GATE or OPSC AEE, the syllabus is more or less the same in the technical domain. The major difference is the question-pattern in the two examinations. GATE mostly consists of numeric questions and OPSC AEE of conceptual questions. I started my preparation from the postal GATE study packages. But with the project, thesis, and seminar in NIT, I could not give sufficient time for preparation for any competitive exams. After graduation, I joined coaching for strengthening my concepts. The Workbook questions, weekly exam pattern, online test series, and CBTs (Computer Based Test) shaped me to follow a planned way of studying, along with quick tips, time management, and smart study advice.

CC: When does the application process for the examination start and what are the eligibility criteria for the same?
PP: The application process for OPSC AEE 2019 had begun on 7th June and continued till 6th July. A candidate must hold a degree in Engineering in Civil or equivalent qualification from any University or Institutions recognized by the Government. The minimum age limit was 21 years and must not be above the age of 32 years as of 1st day of January 2019. The candidate must have knowledge of Odia (read, write and speak). Passed Middle school exam with Odia as a Language subject or Matriculation with Odia as medium or Odia as a language in final class VII or passed a test in Odia in Middle English school. Other criteria one can get in OPSC AEE 2019 Civil notification in site.

CC: What is the examination pattern and how did you prepare for the various subjects?
PP: The written test consists of 2 papers and each paper carries 180 questions of 1 mark each with a deduction of 0.25 for each wrong answer. The time duration of each paper is 3hrs. The Viva-voce test consists of 40 marks. The final merit list will be prepared on the basis of marks obtained in both written and viva voce. During my BTech days, I had studied precisely the books of reputed Authors, NPTEL video lectures, and also the books suggested by respected faculties.
For Surveying I and II - B.C Punamia, Fluid Mechanics – R.K. Bansal, Environment Engineering - S.K. Garg (Part- I & II), Highway Engineering - Khanna & Justo, Building Material – Rangwala, RCC – Pillai and Menon, Theory of structures – S Ramamrutham, Design of Steel structure- S.S Bhavikatti. 
These books gave me an overall idea of subjects during academics. After graduation, I felt the need of strengthening my concepts in each Civil Engineering subject. Keeping in mind the upcoming tough competitions prevailing in various competitive exams, I took coaching.

CC: Were all the subjects taught in NIT Rourkela as a part of the curriculum enough for scoring well in the examination?
PP: Since Civil Engineering is a vast subject it is not possible to cover all subjects in the curriculum. One can learn the remaining subjects from postal study packages or NPTEL lectures or few standard books. Usually, we read in our college from a semester exam point of view. But, in competitive exams like OPSC AEE, we have to be very clear in both fundamental & in-depth study in each subject.

CC: Any particular preparation strategy that you would want to share with our reader?
PP: Make a schedule and work out how much time you need for each subject. Try to make a friend circle who is also preparing for that exam so, in case of doubt, there is a support network around you. If you have joined any coaching, then clear doubts from the faculty. No matter whatever exam you are preparing for, the most important thing is to know the syllabus and pattern of that exam. Go through the past question papers and make yourself used to the type of questions asked. By being familiar with the syllabus of the exam, you will be able to know which topics have to be studied. I believe you can crack any examination if you follow these 3 steps.
The first one is to Prepare short notes of individual subjects. If you get any new points/concepts you can add them to your short notes. Most of the students think, making short notes is a wastage of time but it actually saves a lot of time during revision because no individual coaching study material or classroom coaching, or books from reputed Authors cover the whole concept. So, you cannot solely rely on one study material or any top-notch competitive book. You may find new concepts that are relevant for your exam from the internet or any other study material. You just need to add those new points in your short notes so that at the time of revision you need not have to study 3/4 books or material. Only you have to study your short notes which actually saves an ample amount of time and gives enough time to prepare for other subjects or academics.
The second thing is Revision. Give yourself enough time to revise properly as well as breaks for relaxation. Revise those subjects or concepts more often which you find tricky or difficult till you get command of those concepts or subjects.
The third thing is Practicing questions as much as possible and giving mock tests. Mock tests help in revising the entire syllabus well before the real examinations. You will be able to know your mistakes and accordingly work on them so that the same mistake is not repeated again.

CC: Which department under the Government of Odisha are you going to work in? What kind of work profile do you foresee?
PP: Departments have not been allotted yet. I have completed MTech in Transportation Engineering. My personal interest lies in roads and infrastructure-related things. So, I have chosen Works Department (PWD) as my first preference. PWD is associated with planning, designing, construction, maintenance of roads, bridges & buildings, conducting inspection and analytical tests. I will give my best whatever projects assigned to me.

CC: Your final piece of advice for the future aspirants.
PP: OPSC AEE Civil exam consists of mostly conceptual objective questions and a few numerical. I suggest all future aspirants solve questions of Civil engineering (Objective Type Question) by SP Gupta & SS Gupta. This is one of the best books which covers a wide range of questions. This book also covers few important brain-storming questions asked in ESE & CS examination. In the future OPSC AEE exam, it is planned to include a GATE score. For the GATE exam, the previous year's question paper needs to be solved thoroughly. Mock Test series for both GATE and OPSC AEE is to be practiced. A proper realistic and flexible study plan, clarity in concept, frequent revision, and variety of mock tests ultimately guide you to crack any examination.
All the best to the future aspirants for their upcoming exams.

We congratulate Ms. Priyanka Padhy for her accomplishment and wish her the very best for her future endeavors, and hope that she keeps shining, and making the institute proud.


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