IAS (UPSC CSE) Mains 2021 Preparation Strategy for Civil Engineering Optional

Updated On -

Mar 22, 2021

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Exams Prepmaster

IAS (UPSC CSE) is a three-staged exam and every year only 12000+ candidates get to appear in IAS Mains, among the lakhs who apply. This exam consists of 9 papers among which 2 papers are based on the candidate’s choice of subject. The UPSC list of optional subjects consists of 48 subjects including Civil Engineering.

Advantages of Civil Engineering Optional in IAS (UPSC CSE) Mains 2021

  • If you are a Civil Engineer student, you already studied it for four years, hence your concept will be already clear.
  • As it is a technical subject, it is a very scoring subject.
  • As it is a science-based subject, You don’t need to memorize anything.
  • Nothing is left to the interpretation of the examiner, unlike the humanities subjects.
  • Having a lot of diagrams will pave the way for scoring better.
  • You can even prepare for Engineering Services Exam (ESE) while preparing for civil engineering.
IAS Challenges

IAS (UPSC CSE) Mains 2021 – Challenges of Civil Engineering

  • The syllabus of Civil Engineering Optional is quite vast. It might create difficulties to actually cover the syllabus minutely.
  • There is no overlap with general studies in this subject.
  • The conducting board UPSC has the tendency to ask dynamic questions and these can be difficult to answer unless you have a deep knowledge of the subject.
  • Most of the candidates admit that it is difficult to finish up the paper on time during IAS Main Exam because papers are considered lengthy and include lots of graphical sketching.

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Preoaration Strategy

IAS (UPSC CSE) 2021 Mains – Preparation strategy

UPSC Civil Engineering Optional is, no doubt, a tough subject. Though you have already good knowledge in it, it does not give you the privilege of neglecting it by any means. Only strategic preparation will save you both time and increase the scopes of obtaining scores. Here we are providing such suitable strategies and tips suitable for every IAS Civil Engineering Optional candidate.

IAS (UPSC CSE) Mains 2021 Civil Engineering Syllabus

We have listed the important topics from the syllabus which are more frequently asked in the papers:

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IAS Mains Civil Engineering Optional Paper: I

Sections Important Topics
Engineering Mechanics, Strength of Materials and Structural Analysis Engineering Mechanics, Kinematics and Kinetics, Kinetics of particle, Strength of Materials, Deflection of beams, Structural Analysis, Slope Deflection, moment distribution, Rolling loads and Influences lines, Arches, Matrix methods of analysis, Plastic Analysis of beams and frames, Unsymmetrical bending.
Design of Structures: Steel, Concrete and Masonry Structures Structural Steel Design, Design of Concrete and Masonry Structures, Reinforced Concrete, Water tanks, Prestressed concrete, 
Fluid Mechanics, Open Channel Flow and Hydraulic Machines Fluid Mechanics, Kinematics and Dynamics of Fluid flow, Dimensional Analysis and Similitude, Laminar Flow, Boundary layer, Turbulent flow through pipes, Open channel flow, Hydraulic Machines and Hydropower
Geotechnical Engineering Soil Type and structure, 

IAS Mains Civil Engineering Optional Paper: II

Sections Important Topics
Construction Technology, Equipment, Planning and Management Construction Technology, Construction, Construction Planning and Management
Surveying and Transportation Engineering Surveying, Railway Engineering, Highway Engineering, 
Hydrology, Water Resources and Engineering Hydrology, Groundwater flow, Water Resources Engineering, Irrigation Engineering, 
Environmental Engineering Water Supply, Intake of water, Sewerage systems, Sewage characterization, Sewage treatment, Solid waste
Environmental pollution Sustainable development. Radioactive wastes and disposal. Environmental impact assessment for thermal power plants, mines, river valley projects. Air pollution. Pollution control acts.

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Previous Year Papers

Previous Years’ Question Papers of IAS Civil Engineering Optional

You can download the previous Years question papers of Civil Engineering Optional of IAS Mains free of cost in PDF Format here:

Years Paper Name Link to download
2020 Paper- I Download
Paper- II Download
2019 Paper- I Download
Paper-II Download
2018 Paper- I Download
Paper-II Download
2017 Paper- I Download
Paper-II Download
2016 Paper- I Download
Paper-II Download
2015 Paper- I Download
Paper-II Download
2014 Paper- I Download
Paper-II Download
IAS Books

IAS (UPSC CSE) Mains Civil Engineering Optional Reference Books

Here are some recommended books especially for candidates studying Civil Engineering Optional of IAS Mains:

  • Basic and Applied Fluid Mechanics - Garde
  • Theory of Structure (Vol – II) – Vazirani and Ratwani
  • Fluid Mechanics - Modi & Seth
  • Steel Structure - L S Negi
  • Engineering Mechanics - McLean
  • Prestress Concrete - N. Krishna Rajee
  • Strength of Material - V N Vazaram
  • RCC (LSM) – AK Jain

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Mains Prepp Tips

IAS (UPSC CSE) Mains 2021 Preparation Tips

UPSC Mains Aspirants must follow strategies to complete the syllabus of optional papers along with other papers. Here are some tips to chalk out a seamless study plan:

  • Proper Study Plan:

Make a Plan which includes every subject proportionately so that the syllabus of every subject. Make a plane of 6 - 8 months giving 10 - 12 hours a day and then intensifying the timing up to 15 hours a day for at least 4 months.

  • Prioritize important topics:

Analyse the previous years of question papers and a few sample question papers so that you understand your weakness and strengths, as well as the important topics of Civil Engineering optional. Candidates should know the basic concept of Civil engineering to tackle Paper-II.

No need to read every topic you come across. Separate the important topics and go with a flow that will provide you to take the upper hand in concept clarification and depth of understanding.

  • Find a question Paper pattern:

When you analyze the question papers, you will find that a certain pattern is followed in it. Finding the question paper pattern will let you know about the important topics that are regularly asked in the UPSC mains.

  • Revision:

Revision is very essential. Multiple revision is needed to memorize those long and empirical formulae. Otherwise, you forget the formulas in the exam hall as you have never read before. If you have difficulties in remembering the formulas, try to derive them which will help you to grasp the concept better.

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  • Notes Preparation:

You might be getting suggestions like make your own notes. But your mind is like how to make them and in what format. As we all know that UPSC IAS Mains is an offline descriptive exam. So you need to increase the speed of your writing as well.

Notes should contain important concepts, formula, derivations, and theory, especially for paper 2 topics.

  • Practice Answer Writing:

Invest 90 days in answer writing. Your answer should be crisp and compact. While practising wrings answers of civil Engineering, include diagrams and graphical images as required. You also can follow model answer papers to have a good look at what kind of answers are desired in the IAS Mains Civil Engineering Optional papers by the examiners of UPSC.

  • General smart Tips:

  1. You prepare a concept based on a pre-decided schedule.
  2. You write answers to posted questions for Optional Subjects like every Monday-Wednesday-Friday.
  3. Follow model answers for standard question-answer.
  4. At least 12 Questions a week – 3 Questions every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
  5. Practice questions from Paper-I and Paper-II in Alternate Weeks so that you can maintain a constancy.

IAS Mains is not only about hard word rather it is all about smart preparation. If you already have your study materials at home them kick- off your preparation pouring all your strengths and concentrations altogether.


IAS Mains FAQs Civil Engineering Optional

Ques. Which engineering branch is best for IAS?

Ans. Civil engineering and electrical engineering both branch are best but your own plan which you can choose. But know the language before choosing if this was not the subject you gratulated in.

Ques. How many subjects are there in IAS?

Ans. There are a total of 48 optional subjects in UPSC Mains out of which, a candidate has to choose one. This subject need not to the subject you have graduated in.

Ques. Which optional subject has the highest success rate in UPSC?

Ans. As per the research shows, Agriculture has the highest success rate. Every year approx 220+ candidates take this paper as their IAS Mains optional subject and get 18% recommended.

Ques. Will Optional be removed from UPSC 2021?

Ans. No change has been declared in IAS Pattern in 2021. The Baswan committee recommended doing away with the optional subject, but there is no change in the IAS syllabus and exam pattern in UPSC notification 2021. The candidates are waiting for the removal of optional subjects to wait for more years.

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