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How to Prepare for UPSC IES Exam

Union Public Services Commission (UPSC) conducts Engineering Services Exam (IES) for the recruitment of engineers for various engineering service posts in India. It is one of the elite services for engineers in India.

The engineering services exam are held in three stages, similar to the Civil Services exam conducted by UPSC.

  1. Preliminary Exam
  2. Mains Exam
  3. Personality Test

The recruitment for engineering services are held for the following engineering streams:

  1. Civil Engineering
  2. Electrical Engineering
  3. Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering
  4. Mechanical Engineering

Here in this article, we will provide some essential tips and a general strategy to prepare for the Indian Engineering Services exam.

Why IES?

In India, engineers have various careers options and opportunities across multiple engineering domains in private and public sector enterprises and government organisations. But still, engineering services stand out in the crowd because of the prestigious position and most coveted job in India for engineers.

In Indian Engineering Services, an engineering candidate will get an opportunity to develop a career in some of the most reputed government departments like Military Engineering Services, Central Engineering Services, Indian Railways, Telecom Department, Central Water Services and other esteemed departments in Central government.

In the engineering services, a candidate gets good opportunities to handle challenging technical roles and tasks that have a direct impact on India s growth and development, especially in infrastructure.

Preparation Strategy for Engineering Service Exam (IES Exam)

Engineering services exam is one of the most challenging exams for engineers in India since it is the recruitment of elite engineers for most reputed government departments. To achieve success and to crack this elite engineering exam, candidates should have the right strategy to clear the examination process.

For success in IES exam, an engineering student is required to have good command in the fundamentals of his core engineering streams, because it is an examination to test your engineering knowledge and understanding of various engineering skills.

Apart from that, a candidate should also have sound knowledge of general awareness, aptitude and reasoning to clear this toughest engineering exam.

Comprehensive Coverage of Syllabus

While preparing for engineering services exam, try to cover the IES Syllabus comprehensively and don't just focus on the topics which you are interested. Since it is a competitive exam, you should have sufficient knowledge on all the topics mentioned in the syllabus.

The competition level of engineering services exam has increased many folds in the last few years. To survive this cut-throat competition, your preparation should be a balanced one, and equal importance to all topics need to be given.

IES Coaching Online

Refer Standard Textbooks and Study Materials

In IES exam preparation, always refer standard textbooks. Instead of referring to the same topic from different resources, read from one standard book multiple times.Try to develop regular notes while preparing for your IES exam. Since you need to remember so many formulas and derivations, regular revision will be helpful for you before the exam.


Consolidate Your Basics

The most critical aspect of Engineering Services Exam is the consolidation of the basics that you have studied over the last 3-4 years of engineering. Be it any stream, Mechanical, Electrical, Electronics or Civil; you should be confident in the fundamentals of your subject. Once you are secure in your basics, it will be easy for you to prepare for the next level.

Note: If you want to prepare for IES exam, you need to develop excellent command over your engineering stream during your college days.

Proper Study Plan and Efficient Time Management

IES exam is a year-long process, with Prelims, Mains and Interview phases. To crack one of the toughest engineering exams in India, you should have a proper study plan. You should have a detailed study plan for complete exam preparation and prepare for IES exam comprehensively. If you start preparing for IES Mains exam, then your Prelims exam will be taken care of.

Note: For Prelims, you should focus on shortcuts and simple methodology to solve the complex engineering derivations and problems.


Manage your time efficiently. Initially, it will be difficult to prepare for long hours, but as time progresses, you should study for 7 to 8 hours daily to crack IES exam.

Balance Both Technical and Non-Technical Papers

Most of the aspirants give more importance to technical subjects in UPSC ESE exam and give less emphasis to non-technical topics, which are also a part of IES Prelims exam. Try to provide some quality time for General Studies papers in engineering services exam to clear the most crucial phase of IES exam.

Solve Previous Years' Prelims and Mains Papers

Try to solve last 5 to 10 years UPSC IES exam previous year's Prelims and Mains question papers for a better understanding of the exam pattern.

Once you start solving and analysing the previous year question papers, you will come to understand the nature of questions asked by UPSC. Since it is a competitive exam, you should be aware what kind of questions were asked in the past, and also what kind of questions can be asked in future.

So, develop a habit of analysing previous year UPSC question papers. It will be helpful for your preparation in one way or another.

Give More Importance to Conventional Papers for Mains Preparation

Most of the aspirants preparing for engineering service exam give more importance to IES Prelims exam and give less emphasis to Mains conventional papers. This leads to disastrous results.Always prepare for the exam comprehensively and prepare for both conventional and subjective papers parallely. Though the preparation technique varies for Prelims and Mains, try to cover the same topic in two different dimensions, so that you will be confident enough when you clear your Prelims exam to progress for next phase.

IES Coaching Online

Learn More Shortcuts and Simple Tricks to Solve Complex Problems

The most important aspect in IES exam preparation is, candidates like you need to learn more shortcuts and simple methodologies to solve the complex derivations and problems in your engineering streams.

Especially in Prelims exam, you need to solve more problems in a shorter duration of time, so you need a lot of practice and thorough understanding of the subject to derive the answer in a quick time.

Develop a Habit of Regular Revision

In competitive exams like engineering services exam, you should have a proper revision plan. You should regularly revise what you have learnt during your preparation period.For example, you can either have a weekly revision, what you have learnt in the last one week or monthly revision. In UPSC exams revision is the key to success - the more you revise, the better you recall in your exams. So have a proper revision plan.


Self Analysis of Your Exam Progress

Finally, the analysis of your exam preparation progress is the crucial last factor. Try to assess your IES exam preparation progress periodically. Either self-analysis can do it, or by solving previous year papers or by joining test series.

Once you analyse your preparation, you can find what your weak zone is and where you stand in the preparation process.

As we said earlier, Engineering Services Exam is the toughest exam for engineering candidates - if you want to prepare and crack the IES exam, you need strong determination, dedication and hard work.

Branch-wise Preparation Strategy

Now that you have read through the entire article, you have a fair idea about the IES Exam and the strategy to start preparing for the exam.

Now we would like to help you in another step further - we have prepared branch-wise strategy blogs for aspirants from different engineering streams.

In these articles, you get subject specific tips from experts and toppers to succeed in the IES Exam.

Click on the links to know more:

Wishing you all the best!

Remember, nothing is impossible - you can make or break it. It all depends on your will.


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