Engineering Services Examination(ESE/IES)

What is ESE/ IES ?

Engineering Services Examination commonly known as ESE is conducted annually by UPSC to recruit engineers of four domains i.e. Civil, Mechanical, Electrical and Electronics & Telecommunications for the Techno –Managerial posts.

These candidates after the final selection are posted in various Ministries and Departments of GOI such as Railways, Telecom, Border Roads, CPWD, CWC, CPES, NHAI, Naval Armaments, IDSE, MES, Ordnance Factories etc., however, they can move to any cadre, organisation, agency, department, ministry or PSU of the Government of India. All these final selected candidates are designated as class-1 officers.

  • ESE written exam consists of both objective and conventional type questions hence theory, conceptual knowledge and problem solving techniques are equally important.
  • Good writing skills, excellent presentation, subjective theory, explanations, derivations, diagrams and equations will fetch you good marks in conventional or subjective paper.
  • Be aware of exam pattern like how many technical & non-technical questions are asked, negative marks, weightage, exam duration and marks per question. Always make a habit of referring previous year question papers.
  • Prefer Reference books for derivations, equations, conceptual thinking, theory etc.
  • Short Cut Techniques: Use short techniques for numerical solving instead of traditional approach.
  • Reading news paper, watching morning bulletin, surfing websites will help the candidates to prepare and score better in the General ability paper carrying 200 marks. Do not neglect General Ability part as this section is scoring and also plays an important role in personal interview.
  • Practice previous year question papers and analyze the weak topics and concentrate more on those topics. Always try to solve the papers in given time to obtain an idea that how many questions you are able to solve in given time limits.
  • Intense knowledge of the subjects, strong basics, and clear concepts helps in better understanding of the subjects and prove to be instrumental in getting good scores.
  • Personal Interview: Sound technical knowledge, Positive attitude, Body language, Good communication skills, knowledge about current affairs plays an important role to clear personal interviews. Candidates should be prepared for the questions about their strengths and weaknesses


The Engineering Service Examination is divided into two parts; preliminary exam and mains exams.

Part 1 – Preliminary Exam:

There are two sections in the preliminary exam. Paper I and Paper II consist of objective questions on General Studies and Engineering Aptitude and Engineering Discipline for 200 and 300 marks, respectively. Candidates must secure at least 15% of the marks in Paper I and Paper II, and to be eligible for the mains exam, the candidate must score at least 250 marks (50%) in the preliminary exam.

Part 2 – Mains Exam:

In the mains exam, there are two sections – Paper I and Paper II; each carries 300 marks. All the questions asked in the mains exam of ESE are conventional questions, which are based on the subjects Engineering Discipline I and II, respectively.

The candidate must score at least 20% of the total marks in both Paper I and II to clear the mains exam. In order to get selected for the next round, i.e. personal interview, the candidate must score at least 50% marks in each paper. However, this requirement may change according to the difficulty level of the exam every year.

Journeys begin with Small Steps

“Success doesn’t necessarily come from breakthrough Innovation, but from flawless Execution.”
Often I hear a concern among the students regarding “What should be our strategy to crack ESE/GATE exams?" To answer this question in the most simplified way, this article is my sincere effort to strategise things for aspirants, which will be fruitful for young friends.
There are two categories of ESE/GATE Aspirants :(1) Freshers , preparing first time for the competitive exams (Neophytes) (2) Repeaters , who have already given one or more attempts (Rank Improvers)

(I) Strategy for Neophytes:
If you are fresher and preparing first time then I would suggest you the following approach to be adopted-
• Define your aim and target the desired exam right from the beginning. You should examine closely the examination pattern, syllabus and the level of difficulty.
• The first step for amateurs should be, to go through previous years’ question papers of the aimed exam and identify what type of questions are asked, like whether it is theoretical (then what subjects/which topics are mostly asked) or derivations or numerical type.
• Keep one best reference book for each subject. You are not advised to read too many books for each subject; practically it is not possible in limited time frame.

Make an overall plan of your career; define immediate and ultimate goals of your career, then make a roadmap to execute in most effective manner. Being an engineer you should understand the importance of planning and execution of the plan.
Overall plan may be further divided in three stages:

1. Six month /One year plan:
Divide months for different subjects and plan it so as to complete the entire syllabus in the left over time. In the current scenario of high cut-offs, do not go for selective study; instead cover the entire syllabus, because you never know “the topic left could be the topic of conquest.”

2. Subject-wise Plan/ Bi-weekly plan:
For each subject, study should be exam oriented, i.e. you should get acclimatize with the subject , so that you know which area is to be focussed like whether theory has to be focussed or numerical or solving previous years’s questions will suffice. Every subject requires different approach .For example in mathematics you may be required to focus on practicing problems where as in English altogether different approach, similarly in technical subjects the approach may differ from subject to subject.
If you are enrolled in any coachi


(Cut-off Marks)

Preliminary/ Stage-I (Objective Type Papers)


Minimum qualifying standards/marks* for admission to

Mains/Stage-II (Out of 500 marks)


















                                                              ESE 2019 Exam Schedule

Examination Stage Date of Notification Last date of receipt of Application Exam Date
Preliminary Examination 26.09.2018 22.10.2018 06.01.2019
Mains Examination - - 30.06.2019

* Content Pending*

The primary criteria for students who want to appear for the ESE are mainly based on their nationality, age, and qualifications.

  • Nationality

The candidate needs to be a citizen of India, or a subject of Nepal or Bhutan, or a Tibetan refugee who settled in India before the 1st January, 1962, or an Indian-origin citizen migrated from various countries including Burma, Vietnam Pakistan, Sri Lanka or from East African countries of Kenya, Malawi, the United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Ethiopia, and Zaire, to permanently settle in India.

  • Age

The students who will age between 21-30 years on the January 2019 can appear for this exam. The age criterion for the upper limit of 30 years can be adjusted up to 35 years for Government employees applying for this exam.

The upper age limit is also relaxed for candidates belonging to OBS, SC, or ST candidates, defence service personnel disabled in operations, ex-servicemen including Commissioned Officers and ECOs/SSCOs, and also for physically disabled candidates.

  • Qualification

Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree in Engineering from a Government-certified university. Candidates who has passed both the section A and B of institutional exams conducted by the Institution of Engineers can appear for the exam. Candidates who have passed the Graduate Membership Examination or the Associate Membership Examination by Institute of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineers and the Aeronautical Society of India, respectively, can apply for ESE.

· Logical reasoning and Analytical ability with engineering aptitude

· Current affairs and socioeconomic issues on national and international levels

· Engineering drawing and design

· Engineering mathematics

· Fundamentals of project management

· Quality standards and production practices

· Fundamentals of energy and environment

· Material sciences in engineering discipline

· Information and communication technology

Based on various branched of engineering, the syllabus of ESE changes.

For Mechanical Engineering:

Paper I: Fluid Mechanics, IC Engines, Refrigeration and Air conditioning, Thermodynamics and Heat transfer, Turbo Machinery, Renewable Sources of Energy, Power Plant Engineering.

Paper II: Engineering Mechanics, Mechanisms and Machines, Engineering Materials, Manufacturing ,Industrial and Maintenance Engineering, Mechatronics and Robotics

For Civil Engineering:

Paper I: Building Materials, Solid Mechanics, Structural Analysis, Design of Steel Structures, Design of Concrete and Masonry structures, Construction Practice, Planning and Management

Paper II: Flow of Fluids, Hydraulic Machines and Hydro Power, Hydrology and Water Resources Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Geo-technical Engineering and Foundation Engineering, Surveying and Geology, Transportation Engineering

For Electrical Engineering:

Paper I: Engineering Mathematics, Electrical Materials, Electric C