How to Prepare for PSU Exams

Name: PSU Exam (Public Sector Undertaking Exam)

Eligibility: Most of the PSUs require candidates to clear the GATE (Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering)

Age: 22 to 40 years, depending on the organisation you are applying for

Degree of competitiveness: Very competitive

Exam pattern:

  • If GATE score is a criterion, then the candidate will have to directly go in for the personal interview or a group discussion followed by the personal interview, or as specified by the PSU.
  • If GATE score is not a criterion, then the candidate will have to clear the exam conducted by respective PSU, which will be then followed by a Group Discussion and a personal interview.

What is a PSU exam?

Before getting into what is PSU exam, let us first understand what is PSU. PSU is the abbreviation for Public Sector Undertaking. These are units owned by the government of India and may be corporations or state-owned enterprises. These have been established with the intent to undertake commercial activities on behalf of the government. The PSUs regularly undertake large projects, and in the process generate numerous job opportunities. By clearing the PSU exam, you can get employed in PSUs.

Is GATE compulsory to get employed in a PSU?

Many PSUs recruit on the basis of the GATE. In fact, for most of the PSUs, the GATE is a primary criterion that candidates have to fulfil in order to apply for the various available positions. Some of the PSUs where the GATE is mandatory are: HPCL, Power Grid, NHPC, NTPC, Mazagon Dok Ltd., BPCL, IOCL, NLC, GAIL, NFL, Vizag Steel, CEL, NPCC and MECL.

However, some PSUs recruit without the GATE score.

Exam Preparation Tips for PSU exam

Like mentioned above, many PSUs require a GATE score. Here, the candidate will have to prepare for GATE and also apply for the vacancies in individual PSUs, as and when they release their notifications. And if GATE score is not needed, then the candidates will have to take the exam conducted by respective PSUs.

If you are going via GATE

If you are applying in a PSU where GATE score is needed, then you will have to first clear the GATE. In that case, you will have to begin preparations well in advance. The GATE is comparatively a tough exam to crack. It is an all-India entrance examination that tests a candidate on his complete understanding of various subjects in Engineering and Technology. It is held on behalf of the National Coordination Board, GATE, Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India by the Indian Institute of Science (IISC), Bengaluru and seven Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT). These eight institutes have the sole authority to conduct the GATE exam.

The test is meant for engineers and is mainly a gateway to prestigious institutes like the Indian Institute of Technology and the Indian Institute of Science for advanced studies. However, since the PSUs have also begun considering the GATE score for recruitment, people aspiring to secure a PSU job should begin concentrating on the GATE.

Preparing for GATE

Here are few tips that will enable you to prepare for GATE.
  • First and foremost, visualise yourself as cracking GATE. By this, we mean have the
  • determination and the confidence that you will clear GATE with excellent scores. This belief is going to play a major role in helping you succeed.
  • Next, have a clear understanding about GATE, the syllabus, the exam pattern. Gather as much information as possible about GATE.
  • Concentrate on the syllabus. Understand the subjects involved and then choose the study materials that will cover the syllabus completely. The study materials can be procured online or offline. You can ask your peer groups or your professors to recommend you the right study materials.
  • Prepare for GATE well in advance. Set yourself a routine that will complete the entire syllabus two months prior to the exam, thus giving you ample time for revision.
  • Now, begin to religiously follow the routine. If you are unable to follow the routine, that is where your determination will come to play. You have to strengthen your determination to score well in the exam and start following the routine religiously. Remember, each day counts, each hour counts, each minute counts. Do not neglect the routine.
  • As you begin to follow the routine, ensure that the concepts are very clear. Even as you rush to finish the syllabus, it will be a futile exercise if your concepts are not clear. So the focus has to be concepts. The clearer the concepts, the greater confidence that you gain.
  • Do remember to make notes as you are covering the syllabus. The notes come handy when you are revising.
  • One of the biggest thumb-rules while preparing for the GATE exam is to refer to past question papers. Referring to them will make you understand the exam pattern and will also give you a fair idea of what to expect in the exam. As you refer to the question papers, begin practicing them too. The more question papers you solve, the better you will get.
  • Try to take mock tests too. These tests allow you to evaluate yourself. The tests can be found online or in the form of books and DVDs. Taking the tests will enable you to understand where you stand in terms of preparedness and also help you identify those areas where you need to work further.
  • Keep checking the routine to see if you are keeping pace with the timeline that you have set for yourself. It is important that you complete the syllabus on time. In case there are subjects which simply don't interest you and you are dreading to pick them up, divide the syllabus of the subject into high-scoring and low-scoring and concentrate on the high-scoring bit. That way, you will be at least touching the subject.
  • During the preparation for GATE, if at any time you feel that you are unable to give ample time to studies, check how you are spending your time. Are you watching too much television, or spending a lot of time on the Internet, or whiling away time with friends. If you are indulging in any of these activities or similar activities, then put a check on yourself. It would be best to solely concentrate on the preparation, the rest of the activities can come once the exam is over.
  • Last but not the least, don't let nervousness get to you. Believe that you can crack the GATE by following a planned schedule and putting in the required amount of hard work.

More Prepation Tips >>

If you are not going via GATE

Each PSU would have its own exam pattern, but here are few generic points that may be of help to you:
  • The PSU exam can usually be broken down into two sections: technical and non-technical. The technical section concentrates on the subject specialisation of the related stream, while the non-technical part includes General Awareness, Reasoning and Aptitude, Current Affairs and English Reasoning.
  • Candidates should prepare for both the sections. Usually, 50 to 70 percent of the questions are from the technical section, while the rest are from the non-technical section.
  • Refer to past question papers, if possible. That will give you an idea as to what to expect. Solving the question papers will also help you understand your areas of strength and weakness.
  • Consult as many reference books as possible.

Group Discussion

Group Discussion is an activity where a topic would be given and the candidates will be asked to discuss and share their viewpoints. The Group Discussion is conducted to judge the behaviour of a person, to check his leadership skills, his team-building ability, cooperation skills, and presence of mind. There are no specific rules to prepare for the Group Discussion; however, these points may be of use:
  • Keep yourself abreast with the latest in Current Affairs. Reading newspapers and watching television regularly will help to a great extent.
  • Concentrate also on general knowledge. You can brush your GK by referring to an year book or taking online quizzes on various subjects.
  • When the topic is given to you during the Group Discussion, understand it properly. In case of any doubt, ask immediately.
  • Then quickly gather your thoughts. Be precise and sharp in your thoughts.
  • Communicate your points in a smart, precise manner. Remember, it is not necessary to talk too much. What is important is that what you are talking should have relevance and make sense.
  • Communicating the correct points is very important. To excel here, you can have mock group discussion among your family or friends, where they can give you a topic and begin a discussion. This way, they can tell you if you are able to communicate your points effectively or not and if at all there is a communication problem, you can rectify it.
  • At the Group Discussion, try to take the lead. Do not force to lead but let it happen gradually. You can lead by initiating a different view to the topic or by giving very relevant points that have not yet been shared in the discussion.
  • As you are speaking at the Group Discussion, put in an effort to exhibit the knowledge that you have about the topic - you can do this by drawing references, citing incidents or by giving examples.
  • Try to be in control of the discussion as far as possible and as the discussion is nearing to an end, try to conclude by summarising all the points discussed so far.
  • On the day of Group Discussion, dress in comfortable clothes and be confident of yourself.
  • Avoid loose talks and stick to your point.
  • Be in control of the discussion but also give others a chance to contribute.
  • Use easy language that everyone can understand.

Personal interview

The personal interview will basically test your personality. Before going for the interview, learn all about the PSU and its various projects. See how best you can contribute to these projects. This will help you give ideas to them during the interview. Also, figure out if the company is facing any challenges or has any competition or threats from within. If you are aware of all these, the way you answer their queries during the interview will automatically enable them to understand how much you know about them and your keenness to work on their projects. Also, be prepared with answers about your strengths and weaknesses.

Last but not the least, be yourself at the interview and answer all the questions confidently.

Best of luck!

Last Updated on : January 19, 2016