IES 2021 Exam Pattern, Marking Scheme, Exam Duration, Syllabus and Model Papers

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Mar 19, 2021

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Anam Shams

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IES/ESE Exam Pattern 2021 has been released by Union Public Service Commission. IES recruitment exam will be conducted through three stages – Preliminary, Main Exam and Personal Interview round. IES 2020 Prelims and Main exam will be held on January 5 and June 28, 2020.

Crash Course
  • Indian Engineering Service examination is conducted in offline mode.
  • ESE Preliminary Exam has 2 objective papers whereas the Main exam has 2 conventional papers.
  • IES Prelims Paper 1 is common for every student while Paper 2 is candidate’s opted engineering discipline amongst Civil/ Mechanical/ Electrical and Electronics and Telecommunication engineering. Read IES Syllabus 
  • IES Main exam is completely based on candidate’s opted engineering discipline.
  • The medium of both the examination is English only.
  • For every wrong answer, one-third marks will be deducted in prelims IES 2020 Prelims exam.
IES Highlights

Highlights of IES Exam Pattern 2020

The following infograph depicts the highlights about the IES Exam Pattern:


Download Free IES Question Papers Here

IES Exam Pattern

IES/ ESE Exam Pattern in Detail

There are three stages in IES recruitment exam:

  • Stage 1: It is also known as IES Preliminary exam. It has two objective papers of total 500 marks. Candidates have to clearoverall cutoff as well as cutoffofboth the papers separately in order to qualify the exam.
  • Stage 2: It is also referred to as IES MainExam. Only candidates qualifying in prelims will be eligible to appear in this stage. It has two descriptive papers of 300 marks each.
  • Stage 3: Personal Interview or Personality Test is the final stage of IES 2020 exam. It is of 200 marks.

Candidate must obtain more marks than specified IES Cutoff in each exam to qualify for the next stage. Candidates’ scores in the Preliminary exam, main exam, and interview round will together determine IES Final Merit List. IES Exam Pattern for each stage along with model question papers, marking scheme, duration and syllabus is presented below:

IES Exam Pattern for Prelims (Stage 1)

  • IES Prelims exam will be conducted in offline mode i.e. it is a pen and paper-based test.
  • There will be two papers in the prelims exam. Both papers will have multiple-choice questions.
  • Candidates are provided OMR sheets for both the papers, wherein the correct answer needs to be colored. 
  • For each wrong answer, one-third mark is deducted.
  • IES Prelims Exam Pattern Scheme is tabulated below:
Papers Number of Questions Duration of Exam Maximum Marks
Paper 1 (General Studies & Engineering Aptitude) 100 2 hours 200
Paper 2 (Engineering Discipline) 150 3 hours 300
Total 250 Questions 5 hours 600 marks

IES/ ESE Official Question Papers PDF (Prelims)

Note: Only candidates who qualify Preliminary exam will be issued IES Admit Card for Main exam

IES Exam Pattern for Main Exam (Stage 2)

IES Main Exam is conducted in offline mode i.e. it is a written examination.

  • IES Stage 2 will have two papers. Both the papers will have questions from the opted Engineering discipline (Civil Engineering/ Mechanical Engineering/ Electrical/ Electronics & Telecommunication Engineering).
  • There will be 8 questions as an option, out of which you will have to attempt 5 questions.
  • There will be no negative marking in this exam.
  • Candidates have to answer in English language only.
  • Up to 5% marks may be deducted in case of illegible handwriting.
  • Credit will be given for exact, to the point answer using an economy of words.

IES Main Exam Pattern scheme is tabulated below:

IES Main Papers Number of Questions Duration of Exam Maximum Marks
Paper 1 (Engineering Discipline) 5 out of 8 Optional Questions 3 hours 300
Paper 2 (Engineering Discipline) 5 out of 8 Optional Questions 3 hours 300
Total 10 Questions 6 hours 600 marks

IES/ ESE Official Question Papers PDF (Main)

IES Main Exam Papers Download Links
Civil Engineering Paper 1
Paper 2
Mechanical Engineering Paper 1
Paper 2
Electrical Engineering Paper 1
Paper 2
Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering Paper 1
Paper 2

IES Personal Interview (Stage 3)

  • This stage is also known as Personality Test.
  • It is the final stage in IES recruitment exam.
  • Only candidates qualifying the written exams are called for the interview round.
  • The candidates are scored out of 200 marks.
  • In IES Interview round, the following skills of the candidates areassessed:
    • Suitability of candidate for a career in the public service sector
    • Mental caliber or Mental alertness
    • Leadership Qualities
    • Initiative & Intellectual Curiosity,
    • Mental & Physical energy and
    • Other social traits and interestsin current affairs.

Read How to crack IES Interview?

IES/ ESE Syllabus 2020

IES Syllabus

UPSC prescribes the syllabus for Engineering Services Examination. Syllabus for Paper 1 in the Prelims exam which is common for every candidate is of graduate-level and tests a candidate’s awareness about the current issues and basic engineering knowledge. The other papers are based on the engineering discipline chosen by the exam taker. Syllabus for Prelims and Main is the same, the difficulty level may differ. 

Papers Topics IES Syllabus PDFs
General Studies & Engineering Aptitude Current issues of national and international importance relating to social, economic and industrial development Download
EngineeringAptitudecoveringLogical reasoningandAnalyticalability, EngineeringMathematicsandNumericalAnalysis, General Principles of Design,Drawing,ImportanceofSafety,StandardsandQualitypracticesinproduction, construction, maintenance, andservices, BasicsofEnergyandEnvironment:Conservation,environmentalpollution, anddegradation, ClimateChange,Environmentalimpactassessment,BasicsofProjectManagement, BasicsofMaterialScienceandEngineering, InformationandCommunicationTechnologies (ICT)based toolsand theirapplicationsinEngineeringsuchasnetworking,e-governance, andtechnology-basededucation, Ethics, andvaluesin the Engineeringprofession.
Civil Engineering Building Materials, Solid Mechanics, Structural Analysis, Design of steel structure, concrete and masonry structures, construction practice, planning and management, Flow of fluids, hydraulics machines and hydropower, Hydrology and water resources engineering, Environmental Engineering, Geotechnical and Foundation Engineering, Surveying and Geology, Transportation Engineering Download
Mechanical Engineering Fluids Mechanics, Thermodynamics and Heat transfer, IC Engines, Refrigeration and Air conditioning, Turbo Machinery, Power Plant Engineering, Renewal Sources of Energy, Engineering Mechanics, Engineering Materials, Mechanisms and Machines, Design of Machine Elements, Manufacturing, Industrial and Maintenance Engineering, mechatronics and Robotics Download
Electrical Engineering Engineering Mathematics, Electrical Materials, Electric Circuits and Fields, Electrical and Electronic Measurements, Computer Fundamentals, Basic Electronics Engineering, Analog and Digital Electronics, Systems and Signal Processing, Control Systems, Electrical Machines, Power Systems, Power Systems, Power Electronics and Drives Download
Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering Basic Electronics Engineering, Basic Electrical Engineering, Material Science, Electronic Measurements and Instrumentation, Network Theory, Analog and Digital Circuits, Analog and Digital Communication Systems, Control Systems, Computer Organization and Architecture, Electro Magnetics, Advanced Electronics topics, Advanced communication topics Download

Read IES 2020 Syllabus in Detail 

IES Guidelines

IES 2020 Exam Guidelines

Following are important instructions to be taken into account by applicants regarding IES 2020 exam:

  • Candidates should attempt questions in accordance with directions given in question paper.
  • Candidates should abide by instructions printed on Question Paper and Answer Book givenin the exam hall.
  • Candidates must use only black ball pen to darken the circles on the OMR sheet.
  • Electronic gadgets like mobile phone, Bluetooth, and other communication devices are not allowed inside the exam hall.
  • The particulars allowed inside the exam hall are non-programmable calculators, other engineering drawing instruments.
  • There is a provision for negative marking in IES 2020 exam, so candidates have to keep this in mind while attempting answers.
  • Unfair exam practices are strictly prohibited inside the examination hall and will lead to immediate cancellation of candidature of applicant involving in such malpractices and hence that candidate will not be allowed to attend the examination.
  • Candidates are not allowed to leave the exam hall before the prescribed finishing time of the exam.

Read about IES 2020 Result



Ques. How many stages are there in IES recruitment exam?

Ans. There are three stages- Preliminary exam, Main Exam and Personal Interview round.

Ques. What marking scheme is followed in IES 2020 exam?

Ans. IES Prelims exam is of 500 marks and Main exam carries 600 marks. Candidates are awarded up to 200 marks in the interview round.

Ques. What is sectional cutoff and is it applicable in IES exam?

Ans. The sectional cutoff is the minimum marks as prescribed by UPSC for each section/ paper. Yes, it is applicable to the IES exam.  Candidates have to clear both overall cutoff and cutoff of each paper in prelims and main exam.

Ques. Is negative marking applicable in IES exam?

Ans. Yes, one third marks will be deducted for each wrong answer in IES Prelims exam. However, there is no negative marking in Main exam.

 Do candidates have to follow any word limit while writing answers in Main exam?

Ans. No, there is no word limit restrictions, however, credit is given for short, precise answers using economy of words and no mark is given for only superficial knowledge.  

Ques. Is the final merit list based on Main exam and Interview round only?

Ans. No, IES Final Merit List is based on candidates’ performance in all three stages that are Preliminary exam, main exam and Interview round.

Ques. Can a candidate write the answers in Hindi?

Ans.No, IES exam is completely held in English language, question papers will be set in English only in both prelims and main exam and candidates are supposed to write their answers in Main exam in English only.

Ques. What Engineering disciplines can be chosen for IES 2020 exam?

Ans. The Engineering disciplines that can be opted by the applicants are- Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering.

3 Months Crash Course

*The article might have information for the previous academic years, please refer the official website of the exam.


kanhu charan mohanty
Diploma can apply ESE
shobhna chaturvedi

Hi Kanhu, as per academic qualification, you are eligible for this course. However, you can check other Eligibility Criteria as well in detail from here.

roshini s
Good day sir.Electronics and communication engineering(ECE) batch are eligible to this exam.Why I got this means, in the registration form electronics telecommunication is mentioned.
shobhna chaturvedi
Hi Roshni, yes, students who have done engineering in electronics and communication are eligible for this exam.
shashak pathak
I'll complete my degree in Summer 2020 can i give exam in same year
shobhna chaturvedi
Hi Shashak, if candidate has cleared UPSC IES and has not received the result of the final examination will be admitted only if he/she furnishes the final mark sheet during the UPSC selection process. Thus, if you can obtain the final result before the registration process, then, you can apply otherwise, it would be advisable that you complete the degree and then appear in the exam.
dattu dadasaheb badhe
is ESE prelim is computer based or not?
akansha expert
Hi Dattu, IES 2018 was conducted on January 7, 2018 in online mode. Which is Over dated.
dinesh kumar
Kya main hindi medium me IES exam de skta Hu
garima bansal
Hi Dinesh, The medium of examination is English.
ravi verma
Sir, I have lost my Roll no. of IES pre 2018 exam, Now i have to check my result of pre exam. can i chcek my result through my registration ID.
garima bansal
Hi RAVI, yes The result will be available in a PDF file. You can find the roll numbers of qualified candidates in each branch
rishi rishi
Where can i keep my mobile, wallet, and other accessories while writing exam.... Can they allow us to keep outside the exam hall? Because no guardian is going to come with me... what can i do?
bhawna vedwal
Hello Rishi, Yes, Exam centers allow candidates to keep their belongings outside the exam hall.
arindam moitra
What are the total marks defined for the IES entrance exam?
kalpana sharma expert
Hi Arindam, Let me inform you that, IES exam has total weigtage of 1300 marks, 500 (IES prelims) 600 (IES mains) 200.
arindam moitra
Do I lose marks, if I leave any question un-attempted?
kalpana sharma expert
Hi Arindam, There are no marks deducted for leaving a question un-attempted.
shivani tiwari
If multiple options are correct in IES MCQ based paper, can I mark all?
kalpana sharma expert
Hi Shivani, There is no clarity about the same, as the rule defined says that you can mark only 1 option for every question.
ganesh rathor
In English. ...dear friend
shobhna chaturvedi
Hi Ganesh, thank you for your assistance.
shivani tiwari
In which language IES exam paper will be published? Will it be in Hindi and English language?
kalpana sharma expert
Hi Shivani, Let me inform you that UPSC releases Engineering Services Examination or ESE paper in English language only. No other answering medium is acceptable in the examination.
pankaj pathak
Can you give the formulae used by UPSC for calculation of total score in ESE?
kalpana sharma expert

Hi Pankaj, Please check the following point to know about the formula:

The conducting body has defined a clear formula that will be used to prepare the final score of a candidate. It is as follows:

IES/ESE Score Calculation Formula: Number of correct answers X2- the number of incorrect answers X 0.33.

pankaj pathak
How many months do I get for preparation for IES main exam?
kalpana sharma expert

Hi Pankaj, I want to inform you that, as per the IES Calendar, you will be getting around 6 months to prepare for IES mains. As the Preliminary exam is scheduled for January 01, 2018, UPSC has scheduled Mains examination for July 01, 2018. I am giving you the link of preparation for mains, please check this IES Preparation Tips

sonal rohatgi
Is there a negative marking scheme in IES, what are the details of the marking scheme?
kalpana sharma expert
Hi Sonal, Yes, IES has a provision of negative marking. For every wrong answer, 0.33 marks are deducted. Each question carries a weightage of 2 marks.
sonal rohatgi
Is IES prelims an MCQ based exam or theoretical exam?
kalpana sharma expert
Hi Sonal, I want to tell you that, IES Prelims is the first stage in the Indian Engineering Services examination. It is an MCQ based exam, having approximately 100 questions.