IES General Studies

Keeping track of current affairs and topics of national and international importance is essential for any government service aspirant. General Studies forms the basis of the IES ESE examination. Candidates write an objective type paper in the Preliminary examination stage which is worth 200 marks of the 500 total marks allotted for Stage 1.

IES General Studies Syllabus

The syllabus of the paper is as follows:

  1. Current issues of national and international importance relating to Social, Economic and Industrial Development.
  2. Engineering Aptitude covering Logical Reasoning and Analytical Ability.
  3. Engineering, Mathematics and Numerical Analysis.
  4. General Principles of Design, Drawing, Importance of Safety.
  5. Standards and Quality practices in Production, Construction, Maintenance and Services.
  6. Basics of Energy and Environment: Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Climate Change, Environmental Impact Assessment.
  7. Basics of Project Management.
  8. Basics of Material Science and Engineering.
  9. Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) based tools and their applications in Engineering such as Networking, E-Governance and Technology-based education.
  10. Ethics and values in the Engineering profession.

Each topic will form questions totalling to 5% of the 200 marks. So each topic needs to be accorded equal attention.

IES General Studies subjects are divided into three categories

1. Static subjects

Topics under this category do not vary year on year and the study material remains the same.

  • Drawing, design and safety
  • Quality practice in production and maintenance
  • Project management
  • Material science
  • Engineering ethics and values

2. Dynamic subjects

Topics here depend on the current year's happening. The topics see a continuous change.

  • Current happenings on social, economic and industrial issues
  • Energy & Environment
  • Information and Communication Technologies

3. Mathematics and reasoning

These are reasoning subjects which need analytical preparation

  • Engineering aptitude and reasoning
  • Engineering maths and numerical analysis

Detailed topic list for IES General Studies

  1. Current affairs of national and international importance
  2. Social: Education, health and development, poverty alleviation, disadvantaged classes and reservation policies, different government acts and schemes related to the above, important reports etc. under current happenings section are also covered.
  3. Economic development: Budget and economic survey, economic growth, taxation, fiscal and monetary policies, different economic and banking sector, trade, globalisation and liberalisation, international economic treaties and groups
  4. Industrial development: Manufacturing, agro-processing, services and labour related issues, employment generation, policies and acts.
  5. Environment: Concepts of environment, ecology, biodiversity, environmental pollution and degradation, climate change treaties and policies, conservation policies, efforts and treaties, environmental impact assessment etc.
  6. Energy
    • Conventional way of energy productions such as Thermal power plants, hydropower, biogas etc
    • Unconventional energy generation such as Solar power, tidal power, wind power etc..
    • Non-renewable energy sources such as fossil fuels which get depleted once used
    • Renewable energy sources such as solar energy, wind energy, tidal power etc. Government policies to encourage the same.

Information and Communication Technologies

  1. Technology: Different technologies related to mobiles, internet, communications and new developments etc.
  2. Applications: Different topics under this section are both global and national developments
  3. Communication
    • Telecommunications
    • Internet of things
    • Social media
    • e-governance
    • Implementation and advantages
    • Government schemes
    • Different case studies

Material science

Introduction to atoms and different chemical bonds, crystallography, electronic materials, magnetic, mechanical and optical properties of materials, ferrous, ceramics, polymers, composites.

Design, drawing and safety

  1. Design: Basis design concepts in mechanical, electrical and electronics.
  2. Drawing: Basics of engineering drawing will be covered
  3. Safety: Industrial safety protocols, standard safety procedures in different types of industries, constructions etc. will be covered
  4. Quality practice in production and maintenance: Total quality control, ISO, six sigma etc. will be covered

Project management

Concepts like project life cycle, formulation, project planning and scheduling, project organisation, appraisal, monitoring and control, project evaluation and control etc., will be covered.

Ethics and values in engineering profession

  1. Ethics: Values and morals, laws, code of conduct, ethical dilemma, probity in profession
  2. Engineering professional ethics: Personal ethics vs. professional ethics, corporate ethics, regulations, decision making, quality and standards, professional competencies, public relations etc. will be covered

Maths and aptitude

Changes in the ESE examination pattern and syllabus

  1. The topics of General English and Conventional General Studies (Polity, Geography, etc.) have been removed from the syllabus from 2017.
  2. Electrical Engineering: Specific section on engineering mathematics has been added in Paper I of Mains examination.
  3. Civil Engineering: Few advanced topics in structural engineering.
  4. Electronics & Telecommunications:
  5. Advanced electronics topics like VLSI, DSP, embedded systems.
  6. Advanced communication topics, i.e. communication networks, microwave & satellite communication systems.
  7. Mechanical Engineering:
    • Renewable Sources of Energy in Paper I of Mains examination
    • Mechatronics and Robotics in Paper II of Mains examination

Books to study for IES General Studies

There are several books which will help you to study for the General Studies paper of the IES ESE examination.

  1. General Studies & Engineering Aptitude Guide
  1. ESE 2018 Prelims Paper 1 - General Studies and Engineering Aptitude Practice Questions Book
  1. ESE 2018 General Studies and Engineering Aptitude Practice Book 3000+
  2. General Studies and Engineering Aptitude Paperback 2017 by R.K. Jain

You can follow this as a daily study plan or create one of your own.

Topics Engineering Subjects General Studies (Without Daily Current Affairs) General Studies (With Daily Current Affairs)
Time allocation 5 hours 3 hours 3.30 hours
Time subdivision Up to you Topics - 2.45 hrs Revision - 15 min Topics - 2.45 hrs Revision - 15 min Daily news and quiz -30min

IES ESE Previous Year Question Papers

These can be downloaded from various sites. You can also buy the books, if you prefer.

ESE 2018 Prelims: General Studies and Engineering Aptitude Theory and Solved Papers Vol. 1.

ESE 2018 Prelims: General Studies and Engineering Aptitude Theory and Solved Papers Vol. 2.

IES General Studies Subject wise preparation tips

General English

This paper is designed to test the English language skills of the candidates.

Preparation tips:

  • Study the basics of grammar such as sentence formation, tenses, parts of speech etc.
  • Learn 10 new words everyday as this will help increase your vocabulary.
  • Learn antonyms and synonyms and the right usage of the word.
  • Read an English newspaper everyday. This will increase your grasp of the language.
  • Solve previous question papers.

General Knowledge

This paper is designed to test the candidate's knowledge of the current affairs and world dealings. The wide range of topics covered will also give an insight about his grasp of basic concepts.

Preparation tips:

  • Keep yourself updated about what is happening in the country and across the world
  • Read newspapers and watch the news everyday to keep yourself updated.
  • Refer to the latest general knowledge journals.
  • Answer previous question papers to know the extent of your preparations.

Preparing for either one of the subjects - Civil Engineering / Mechanical Engineering / Electrical Engineering / Electronics & Telecommunication Engineering

  • Each subject has a detailed syllabus. Organise your preparation according to this.
  • Ensure you do not leave out any topic.
  • Stick to a study plan to help you cover the entire syllabus.
  • Solve previous question papers.

General Preparation tips and ticks

  1. Dedicate a specific time to each subject mentioned in the detailed syllabus of the IES. Start with your strengths.
  2. After completing each subject, solve question papers to understand how well you have studied the subject.
  3. Time your tests so that you know you can complete the question papers in the allotted time.
  4. Do this in both the objective type and subjective type question papers.
  5. Pay attention to the conventional English papers as this will yield you a good amount of marks. Study your English well.
  6. Answer the first question in any paper well. This will create a positive attitude towards you in the evaluators mind.
  7. Write legibly. Untidy handwriting will lead to a 5% deduction in marks.
  8. Answer all formulas in detail and explain symbols as well.
  9. You can use a pencil to underline or highlight important points.
  10. You can also add notes to emphasise extra information. This effort might impress the evaluator and fetch you extra points.
  11. Answer the questions in-depth.
  12. Do not waste time on trying to answer questions you do not know.
  13. There is negative marking in the objective type paper. So do not answer any question if you are not sure about the answer.


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