Competitive Exams: A complete guide on Reference Books

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Competitive exam: complete guide on books to follow
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Competitive exams may be boon for some and bane for others. For some they get what they want, for others they are left frustrated. So preparing for competitive exams is surely one of the most crucial stages in excelling in the exam.

Books and teachers are the basis of knowledge that every student has to achieve their goals in life. For some, the knack of learning from books is easy. For others, they are blessed with great teachers or have good guidance.

But the one thing which is common for competitive exams is, having a good set of books and a good strategy. Good books and good strategy was the mantra used by many of those who successfully passed GATE 2020. The GATE 2020 results were recently announced, for some it was joy for some it was mission GATE 2021.

In GATE 2020, a total of 10 Lakh students gave GATE exam from all branches. For ESE exam this number is drastically more and when we talk about the other government exams, the number is always increasing.

The general consensus among students is that get one government job and prepare for other exams whilst doing that job till you get the desired job. So students need to be competitive for all type of exams and always be on their toes to give their best shot.

For those preparing for competitive exams, once the knowledge about the subject is done, students can go over to the preparation of competitive exam. So when students need to learn or gain knowledge from good set of books, they need to find the correct books to supplement their hunger for success. There are many books available for students for reference which may be confusing for students.

In this blog post, books review will be helpful to you to select the right type of books which will help you to excel in exams.

Examfiverr states the various books for Mechanical engineering, Civil engineering, Electrical engineering, Electronics engineering, Computer Science engineering and Instrumentation engineering branches which will be helpful for concept clearing, and understanding the various topics. These books will also be helpful for GATE and other exams preparation.

The various subjects of a particular branch is listed out and the books that can be used as reference for studying those subjects have been provided.

Mechanical Engineering

Lest first start with Mechanical engineering, which is probably the most competitive branches right now. So many people are giving competitive exams that it is imperative for students to be at their best and give their best shot. Here you can find the Mechanical engineering syllabus for GATE.

  1. Strength of Materials.
    1. Strength of materials by Ramamrutham – This books involves basic principles of all SOM concepts. Its a good book for concept building,and good for Competitive exam preparation but MKS units are used.
    2. Strength of materials by R.K. Rajput – Contains syllabus of most Indian Universities. Diagrams and concept along with ample practice questions. Great for Self study.
    3. Mechanics of materials by Timoshenko and Gere – All topics covered from basics to advanced level. Great authors and explained from fundamental level and good for concept building.
  2. Operations Research
    1. Operations research by Hira Gupta – This book has covered all the topics regarding OR in a very simple and easy way. All the different problems and the steps of the problems are explained well and ample examples are given. But OR is a very small part in GATE, so any source may do the trick.
  3. Industrial Engineering
    1. Industrial engineering and management by O.P Khanna – This book covers all concepts of IE. Well explained concepts but not much solved problems. Also GATE portion is very less so if preparing for GATE only then go for notes or other source.
  1. Production
    1. A textbook of Production Engineering by P.C. Sharma – Theory of topics covered well along with adequate numerical. Helps in building theory for theoretical questions asked in competitive exams.
    2. Manufacturing Engineering and technology by Kalpakjian – A good book with descriptive information for students having interest in production engineering. Helpful in concept building.
  2. Material science
    1. Material science by William Callister – One of the best books on material science covers all concepts in easy and simple understandable method. If you are from IIT or NIT search for the book in library as this book is very expensive.
  3. Machine Design
    1. Machine design by V.B. Bhandari – Covers all topics for GATE/ESE. Step wise solutions provided in easy way for all type of numerical.
    2. Mechanical engineering design by Shigley – Another good book for clearing concepts along with numerical.
  4. Mechanical Vibration
    1. Mechanical vibration by S.S. Rao – Topics covered are very descriptive and easy to understand. Good for concept understanding.
    2. Mechanical vibration by V.P. Singh – Another great book in which concepts are explained well but derivations are not all explained.
  5. Theory of machines
    1. Theory of Machines by S.S Rattan – Good book for concepts related to topics on TOM. good for concept clearing
    2. Theory of machines by R.S Khurmi – Good book for questions. Theory not that well explained.
  1. Fluid Mechanics
    1. Fluid mechanics and hydraulic machines by R.K Bansal – Great book on Fluid mechanics along with topics on hydraulic machines. Good descriptive theory along with ample numerical.
    2. Fluid mechanics by RK Rajput – This book has detailed understanding of concepts and ample numerical for competitive exams.
    3. Fluid mechanics and hydraulic machines by K. Subramaniam – Similar book like Rajput, but this book has more solved numerical than Rajput.
  2. Refrigeration and Air conditioning
    1. Refrigeration and air conditioning by R.S Khurmi – This book has well defined theory, easy to understand and numerical which can be helpful for competitive exams.
  3. Heat transfer
    1. Heat and mass transfer by R. K Rajput – Good book which covers all basic concepts and also has a lot of numerical to practice.
    2. Fundamentals of engineering heat and mass transfer by R.C Sachdeva – Another good alternative for concept understanding.
  4. Thermodynamics
    1. Thermodynamics by P.K Nag – The most preferred book for this subject. Well descriptive concepts in easy language and ample numerical in it. Good for competitive exam preparation.
    2. Thermal engineering by R.K Rajput – This book not only covers thermodynamics, but also various topics like Steam engines, RAC, IC engines, HT etc. good book for reference and ample numerical for practice for competitive exams.
  1. IC Engines
    1. IC engines by V Ganeshan – One of the most famous book on IC engines and loved by students. Good depth of information and ample numerical to help students for competitive exams.
  2. Mechanics
    1. Engineering mechanics by N.H Dubey – Mehcanics has relatively less concepts to learn and handle. This book is good to clear concepts and numerical to improve your understanding.

Electronics Engineering

Now lets talk about Electronics engineering another branch in which students are really competitive and students need to be conceptually clear to score good marks. Here you can find the Electronic engineering GATE syllabus.

  1. Network theory
    1. Fundamentals of electric circuits by Charles Alexander, Matthew N, O Sadiku – Best book to understand concepts and also helpful for competitive exams. Simple and easy explaination of concepts provided.
    2. Network analysis by M. E Van Valkenburg – Good book for concepts but very less numerical explained.
  2. Electronic devices and Circuits
    1. Semiconductor physics and devices by Donald Neamen, Dhrubas Biswas – Concepts explained in simple and easy to understand language. Good book for competitive exam theory preparation.
    2. Solid State electronic devices by Ben G Streetman, Sanjay Banerjee – A book made for intermediate students who have knowledge of EDC. Language used is a bit tough to understand.
  3. Control Systems
    1. Auto Control systems by Benjamin Kuo – Good book for concept building along with ample questions for practice. Great for competitive exams.
    2. Control systems Engineering by IJ Nagrath, M. Gopal – Good for basic understanding of the subject in a simple way.
  4. Signals and Systems
    1. Digital signal processing by John Proakis, Dimitri Manolakis – Best known book on DPS, adequate explaination.
    2. Signals and systems by Alan Oppenheim, Alan Willsky – Good book for concept understanding but very less questions.
  1. Communications
    1. Communications system by Simon Haykin – Good book for all basic knowledge related to this topic.
    2. Communication system engineering by John Proakis, Masoud Salehi – Another good book for basic understanding of concepts.
  2. Analog circuits
    1. Microelectronics circuits by Adel Sedra, Kenneth Smith – Very systematic and simple explaination provided in book for analog circuits. Great book for gaining knowledge.
    2. Electronics circuits by Donald Neamen – Book with very easy and simple language used to explain concepts with ample numerical.
  3. Digital Circuits
    1. Switching and Finite Automata theory by Zvi Kohavi – Concepts explained in simple and logical way but not many practice questions for competitive exams.
    2. Digital design by Morris Mano – Simple language used to explain concepts and especially good for self learners.
    3. Microprocessors architecture, programming and application with 8085 by Ramesh Gaonkar – good reference book about microprocessors.
  4. Electromagnetism
    1. Principles of electromagnetism by Matthew N, O Sadiku, Kulkarni – Good book for concept clearing and questions solving for competitive exams.
    2. Schaum’s outlines Electromagnetics by Joseph Edminister – Intermediate level required for understanding of concepts.

Electrical Engineering

Now lets move on to Electrical engineering, which is one of the core branches of engineering. Here also the competition is fierce and people will have to score good to get into a PSU or a government job. Here you can find the Electrical engineering syllabus.

  1. Electric circuits
    1. Network analysis by M. E Van Valkenburg – Good book for concepts but very less numerical explained.
    2. Fundamentals of electric circuits by Charles Alexander, Matthew N, O Sadiku – Best book to understand concepts and also helpful for competitive exams. Simple and easy explaination of concepts provided.
  2. Electromagnetic fields
    1. Principles of electromagnetism by Matthew N, Sadiku, Kulkarni – God book for concept clearing and questions solving for competitive exams.
    2. Schaum’ outlibes: Electromagnetics by Joseph Edminister – Intermediate level required for understanding of concepts.
  3. Signals and Systems
    1. Digital signal processing by John Proakis, Dimitris Manolakis – Best known book on DPS, adequate explaination.
    2. Signals and systems by Alan Oppenheim, Alan Willsky – Good book for concept understanding but very less questions.
  4. Electrical Machines
    1. Electrical machinery by PS Bimbhra – Most Concepts covered along with deep understanding and easy to understand language. Good for exam preparation.
    2. Electric machines by DP Kothari, IJ Nagrath – Theory and numerical both covered in this book. Good for exam preparation.
  5. Power systems
    1. Power system engineering by DP Kothari, IJ Nagrath – Book covers theory and derivations. Not many questions covered in this book.
    2. Power systems analysis by John Grainger, William D Stevenson – Theory given is in depth and may take some time to understand by students to grasp. This book is good for understanding the concept indepth.
  6. Control systems
    1. Control systems Engineering by IJ Nagrath, M Gopal – Good for basic understanding of the subject in a simple way.
    2. Control system engineering by Norman Nise – Good for concept clearing and understanding of theory.
  7. Electrical and Electronic measurements
    1. A course in electrical and electronic measurements and instrumentation by AK Swahney – Good book covering concepts and also useful for exams. Ample questions along with easy and simple understanding language.
    2. Electrical measurements and measuring by Golding EW, Widdis FC – A bit of deep understanding is required but concepts explained are very good.
  8. Analog and Digital circuits
    1. Microelectronics circuits by Adel Sedra, Kenneth Smith – Very systematic and simple explaination provided in book for analog circuits. Great book for gaining knowledge.
    2. Electronics circuits by Donald Neamen – Book with very easy and simple language used to explain concepts with ample numerical.
    3. Digital design by Morris Mano – Simple language used to explain concepts and especially good for self learners.
    4. Microprocessors architecture, programming and application with 8085 by Ramesh Gaonkar – good reference book about microprocessors.
  9. Power Electronics
    1. Power electronics by PS Bimbhra – Concepts explained from a very simple point of view. Easy to understand and lucid language with detailed explaination. Great for concept clearing.
    2. Power electronics, circuits, devices and app by Muhammed Rashid – Concepts explained well with enough explaination of topics. Good for reference.

Civil Engineering

Civil engineering branch is another highly competitive branch in which students have to perform well to excel. Here you can find the Civil engineering syllabus.

  1. Structural Engineering
    1. Mechanics by N.H Dubey – Mehcanics has relatively less concepts to learn and handle. This book is good to clear concepts and numerical to improve your understanding.
    2. Strength of materials by R.K. Rajput – Contains syllabus of most Indian Universities. Diagrams and concept along with ample practice questions. Great for Self study.
    3. Mechanics of materials by Timoshenko and Gere – All topics covered from basics to advanced level. Great authors and explained from fundamental level and good for concept building.
    4. Theory of structure by Ramamrutham – Concepts easy to understand and ample numerical for solving.
    5. Theory of structure by Gupta & Pandit, CS Reddy – Good for self study along with ample numericals.
    6. Construction engineering and management by Seetharaman – Covers concepts very well and useful for understanding.
    7. RCC Design by AK Jain, SN Sinha – Contents of this book is very easy to understand and is good for concept solving.
    8. RCC design by Pillai, D Menon – Great book for understanding concepts along with the depth of subject. Can be used for concept building but not enough numericals.
    9. Limit state design of steel structures by SK Duggal – Good explaination of concepts in easy language and great for exams.
  2. Geotechnical engineering
    1. Soil Mechanics by BC Punmia – Good book for concept clearing and understanding for competitive exams and numericals are also given.
    2. Soil mechanics by KR Arora – Another good book for understanding of concepts.
  3. Water Resources engineering
    1. Fluid mechanics and hydraulic machines by RK Bansal – The best known book in Fluid mechanics with well explained concepts and easy to understand along with ample numerical with good for exam preparation.
    2. Hydrology by K Subramanya – Good book for understanding and for self study.
    3. Irrigation engineering by S.K Garg – Great book with well explained concepts in detail and useful for reference.
    4. Irrigation Water Resources and Water Power Engineering by P.N Modi – Theory is explained well which is good for concept clearing.
  4. Environmental engineering
    1. Environmental engineering Part 1 and 2 by SK Garg – Concepts explained thoroughly well and used for exam preparation with plenty of numericals.
    2. Environmental engineering part 1 and 2 by Peavy and Rowe – This book is good for environmental engineering in general for understanding the subject.
  5. Transportation engineering
    1. Highway engineering by LR Kadyali – This book has in depth explaination about topics so its good for concept clearing.
    2. Highway engineering by Khanna and Justo – Topics are explained in a very short and brief way.
    3. Railway engineering by SC Saxena and SP Arora – Good book to cover topics for this subject.
    4. Airport engineering by SK Khanna and MG Arora – Well written book with contents easy to understand.
  6. Geomatics engineering
    1. Surveying by SK Duggal – Book with good detailed explaination and ample MCQ for practice.
    2. Surveying by BC Punmia – Most topics covered with ample and easy description.

Computer science and IT engineering Branch

Computer science is a branch where competition is very intense as very few pursue higher education or government job vacancies in India and also the chances are comparatively less. Here find the Computer science and Information technology GATE syllabus.

  1. Computer Organization and Architecture
    1. Computer organization by Carl Hamcher, Zaky – For understanding concepts this is a good book.
    2. Computer system architecture by Morris Mano – Great book explains topics from basics to advanced concept. Explained really well and good for understanding.
  2. Programming and Data structures
    1. Programming methodologies by Pratt – Good book explaining the topic well and easy language.
    2. Data structures by Tenanbaum – Data structures explained very well.
  3. Algorithms
    1. Introduction to algorithms by Cormen – Good explaination provided in this book regarding algorithms.
  4. Theory of Computation
    1. Theory of computation by Peter Linz – Theory explained well helps in concept clearing.
  5. Compiler Design
    1. Compiler design by Ravi Sethi, Ullman – Concepts explained well and good for understanding the topic.
  6. Operating System
    1. Operating systems concepts by Silberschatz, Galvin, Greg Gagne – Easy and simple language used for concept explaination.
  7. Databases
    1. Fundamentals of database systems by Navathe, Korth – Information regarding topic explained well and good for concept clearing.
  8. Computer networks
    1. Computer network by Tenanbaum – Concepts explained in depth with easy understanding.

Instrumentation Engineering Branch

Instrumentation engineering students are competitive but again since there are less opportunities, it is important to score good to succeed. Find the Instrumentation engineering GATE syllabus here.

  1. Electrical circuits
    1. Fundamentals of electric circuits by Sadiku – Best book to understand concepts and also helpful for competitive exams. Simple and easy explaination of concepts provided.
    2. Network analysis by M. E Van Valkenburg – Good book for concepts but very less numerical explained.
  2. Signals and systems
    1. Digital signal processing by Proakis, Manolakis – Best known book on DPS, adequate explaination.
    2. Signals and systems by Alan Oppenheim, Alan Willsky – Good book for concept understanding but very less questions.
  3. Control systems
    1. Control systems Engineering by IJ Nagrath, M Gopal – Good for basic understanding of the subject in a simple way.
    2. Modern Control engineering by Ogata – Good reference book for concept understanding.
  4. Analog Electronics
    1. Microelectronics circuits by Adel Sedra, Kenneth Smith – Very systematic and simple explaination provided in book for analog circuits. Great book for gaining knowledge.
    2. Electronics circuits by Donald Neamen – Book with very easy and simple language used to explain concepts with ample numerical.
  5. Digital Electronics
    1. Digital design by Morris Mano – Simple language used to explain concepts and especially good for self learners.
    2. Modern Digital Electronics by RP Jain – Good book for fundamental knowledge and for exams.
  6. Measurements
    1. A course in electrical and electronic measurements and instrumentation by AK Swahney – Good book covering concepts and also useful for exams. Ample questions along with easy and simple understanding language.
    2. Electronics instrumentation by HL Kalsi – Good book for information and concept understanding.
  7. Sensors and Industrial Instrumentation
    1. A course in electrical and electronic measurements and instrumentation by AK Swahney – Good book covering concepts and also useful for exams. Ample questions along with easy and simple understanding language.
    2. Introduction to measurement and instrumentation by Arun Ghosh – Good book for topic understanding.
  8. Communication and Optical instrumentation
    1. Analytical instrumentation by RS Khadpur – Good book for concept clearing and understanding.
    2. Introduction to fiber optic by Ghatak A, Thayagrajan K – Good informative book about the topic.
    3. Biomedical instrumentation and measurement by Leslie Cromwell – Information about the topic is provided.

While the above books are about specific branches, there are common books which most students use for preparation of Maths, General aptitude.

Following are the books which are recommended for those subjects,

  1. Maths
    1. H K Dass – H K Das has excellent problems solved. In maths concepts must be cleared for solving complex problems. H.K Das addresses that problem.
    2. Engineering Maths by Grewal – Ample questions to practice and theory explained very neatly.
    3. Basic maths by Rosen – Good book for competitive exam preparation.
    4. Advanced engineering maths by Erwin, Kreyszig – In depth concepts with easy to understand language. Very good for exam preparation.
  2. General Aptitude
    1. R.S Aggarwal – The most well known and followed book for learning, understanding and practicing questions for aptitude.

Now this covers the reference books which students need to go through and understand to get a firm grasp on the subjects. Once the subjects have been studied and understood, it is time to move on to question solving.

Most students start by solving previous years question papers as it gives students a feel about the exam difficulty and paper pattern. Many books are available for students to refer to to get the previous years papers and their solutions.

Previous years solutions

I’d personally go with MADE EASY and ACE publications, as i feel that the solutions provided are almost accurate along with with explaination. Other than that there are other sources also which a student may refer to for a second opinion to be absolutely sure about it.

We at Examfiverr, have our own app, which is specially dedicated to Mechanical engineering students to help them in their preparation for competitive exams. The solutions provided are accurate and as are the diagrams too. Do check out the Examfiverr app now.

If you have any doubt with regards the book mentioned please feel free to comment below and let us know, we are ready to help you. If you liked the content and found it helpful, do share it with your friends and let you know in the comments section below.

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