NPSC CTSE Success Tip: ‘Revise Multiple Times,’ Advises SDO - Eastern Mirror
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NPSC CTSE success tip: ‘Revise multiple times,’ advises SDO

By Moakala T Aier Updated: Apr 24, 2024 11:00 am

DIMAPUR — Motivated by the desire to contribute to the development of Nagaland, Imitsunep started dedicating his resources, time and effort for the Nagaland Public Service Commission – Combined Technical Service Exam (NPSC CTSE), after completing a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering.

His hard work paid off when he successfully cleared the exam in 2022. The 29-year-old, who is currently as a Sub-Divisional Officer (SDO) in the PWD (R&B) department, said that he enjoys playing basketball and watching YouTube videos.

Known for its extensive Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) format, the SDO shared tips on the NPSC CTSE for aspiring candidates in an interview with Eastern Mirror.

Could you provide a detailed overview of the exam format and pattern for those who are new to it?

The Nagaland Public Service Commission (NPSC) conducts the Combined Technical Service Exam (CTSE) every year to recruit aspirants to join the state government under various departments. Aspirants who have completed a degree or diploma in technical fields can sit for this exam.

The exam comprises two stages – the main examination and the interview.

A) First stage, i.e., the main stage consists of the following papers:

1.            General English and general knowledge paper which carries 100 marks

2.            Technical Papers (of your subject choice), each carrying 200 marks – Paper I and Paper II

B) Second stage is the interview stage carrying 65 marks.

Totalling to 565 marks. As of now CTSE does not have a preliminary stage.

How did you structure your study plan for the exam, and what suggestions do you have for aspirants looking to create their own study plans?

Aspirants with a degree are allowed to sit for both the Degree Paper (Class I Gazetted posts) and Diploma Paper (Class II Gazetted posts) as well. Although the syllabus is almost the same, there are variations in the nature of questions asked but preparation for both the exams is the same.

I compartmentalised my preparations into two sections: the degree paper and the diploma paper. I thoroughly went through the syllabus for both the papers and first completed all the syllabus of degree paper. Some subjects which are specific to diploma papers were prepared during the last few months of my preparation. By doing that I was able to complete the syllabus on time.

An advice that I would like to give the aspirants before they start their preparation is to know the syllabus of the exam thoroughly and analyse the previous years’ questions. It will give you the map and direction to approach this exam. I made the mistake of not sticking to the syllabus and not analysing previous years’ questions in my first two attempts. Focus on the degree paper syllabus and complete it thoroughly and try to find the interrelations between different subjects as a single concept can be applied to multiple subjects.


What books or resources do you recommend for general English and general knowledge papers?

For the general knowledge paper, books like Lucent’s GK are helpful, and for the general English paper I referred to some coaching materials from ‘Made Easy Delhi’.

An aspirant having basic general knowledge and general awareness can answer the questions. Keeping updated with the current affairs, practising aptitude questions regularly and referring to one or two standard books for the general knowledge section should suffice.

How did you approach the extensive MCQ format of the technical subject papers, and what tips do you have for aspirants?

Right from the start of my preparation I focused more on clearing concepts, and it took a lot of time and effort to cover the entire syllabus. Understanding each subject and clearing all the basics before solving any questions helped me to tackle the extensive MCQ format.

After clearing my basics I started solving previous years’ questions from various exams such as GATE, ESE, and some Standard Question Banks available in the market such as: i) SP Gupta & SS Gupta, ii) VS Murthy & R Sood, iii) RS Khurmi & JK Gupta. I did not refer to many books but kept my sources limited.

I also enrolled in Test Series and Mock Test to analyse my preparation. Analysing your mistakes is key as you want to limit your errors as much as possible during the actual exam. Websites such as were very helpful for mock tests.

Without understanding the subject and clearing the concepts, cramming and solving questions will not help. So, I would suggest the aspirants to first work on their concepts and apply those concepts to solving multiple questions. There are a lot of study materials available both online and offline but sticking to some few reliable sources and revising multiple times is key to crack this exam.

How can one manage time when faced with the challenge of writing two technical papers in a single day?

Both Papers I and II have 200 questions each of MCQ with 3 hours for each paper. Basically, a total of 400 questions to solve in just 6 hours. Inside the exam hall an aspirant can produce the desired output only if they have speed and accuracy along with conceptual clarity while solving questions. So, it becomes imperative to have speed and accuracy and that skill can only be honed by solving thousands of questions during the preparation stage.

How many hours in a day did you dedicate to preparing for the exam, and what tips would you suggest aspirants on approaching this process?

I think the number of hours will vary as all of us have different capacities. During the course of preparation, I started with studying for just one to two hours a day to probably 8-10 hours in a day during the later part of my preparation.

I enjoy playing basketball so to relax my mind after studies I would play for a couple of minutes and it helped me manage stress and also kept me energetic. It is easy to burn out in the process, so along with studying, doing some physical exercise and engaging in some activities during breaks will help relax your mind. Maintaining a healthy diet and getting enough sleep is equally important to perform at the optimum level.

How did you prepare for your interview round, and what advice would you offer to aspirants in their preparation?

Interview round tests our personality, and also on how we apply our knowledge to solve different problems. Asking questions from those who have already cracked the exam, sharing information and preparing together with friends and peers and enrolling in mock interviews will help during this stage.

What other career options are available to civil engineering graduates beyond this exam?

Apart from CTSE, NPSC also conducts the CESE (Common Educational Services Examination) to recruit aspirants as lecturers, exams like UPSC IES (Indian Engineering Service), GATE (Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering), SSC (JE), RRB (SSE) are some of the technical exams that a civil engineer can appear.

How does your academic study directly apply to your current job role in practice?

I think as engineers we have been taught on how to solve problems. Likewise, problem solving ability would be something that applies to my current job.


What do you love most about life?

Learning new things.

If you could play 1v1 against any basketball player, who would it be?

Stephen Curry, to learn the art of shooting from him.

A TV series you could watch everyday

Sherlock (starring Benedict Cumberbatch).

By Moakala T Aier Updated: Apr 24, 2024 11:00:00 am
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