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IES Exam: How to prepare for IES Prelims and Mains?

Updated On -

Mar 4, 2020

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Atul Yadav

Exam prep master

Thinking about how to excel the written rounds of IES?  Looking for best preparation tips to crack IES 2020. We come to rescue to answer all your answers through this article. IES is an exam that will test your mettle and you must prove to be the best. Your anxiety is normal and we have come up with some effective IES  preparation tips to help you make it to the selection list.

IES 2020 is conducted for four streams of engineering namely – civil engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and electronics & telecommunication engineering. A combined three-stage competitive examination (comprising five tests), called the Engineering Services Examination is conducted by the UPSC for recruitment to the Indian Engineering Services.


IES Exam Pattern

IES is held in three stages, written test (objective and subjective) followed by a personal interview. The written test is of 1100 marks and including personal interview it is of 1300 marks. The written test is spread across three different days. Below are some IES Exam Pattern highlights:

Paper Type Subject Marks Duration
Prelims Objective Paper-1 General Ability and Engineering Aptitude 200  2 hours
Objective Paper-2
  • Civil engineering
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Electrical engineering and
  • Electronics & telecommunication engineering
300  3 hours
Mains Conventional Paper-1
  • Civil engineering
  • Mechanical engineering,
  • Electrical engineering and
  • Electronics & telecommunication engineering
300 3 hours
Conventional Paper-2
  • Civil engineering
  • Mechanical engineering,
  • Electrical engineering and
  • Electronics & telecommunication engineering
300 3 hours
Personality test Interview
  • Civil engineering
  • Mechanical engineering,
  • Electrical engineering and
  • Electronics & telecommunication engineering
200
Total 1300

Check Practice Papers


Preparation tips for IES Prelims and Mains

The correct balance between planning and preparation is the ultimate way to success. If you do the right preparation and stick to the right strategy, chances of getting success increases. We are providing some useful preparation tips for the written exam which may get you through.

General Knowledge

This section covers both current affairs and static G.K. This paper will test how informed you are about your country, the world and your surroundings. Questions related to geography, history, polity will be asked.  The level of the questions will be such that a candidate with basic knowledge could answer. Following are some of the preparation tips for G.K.:

  • Subscribe to newspapers like THE HINDU OR THE INDIAN EXPRESS.
  • Watch news channels and good debates to keep yourself informed.
  • Refer to as many G.K books as possible.
  • Solve previous year papers.

Read about IES Exam

General English

This section will test the candidate’s basic knowledge and understanding of the subject. Following are some of the preparation tips for English:

  • Refer to the books such as INTERMEDIATE ENGLISH GRAMMAR by Raymond Murphy or you can refer to some other grammar books.
  • Read newspaper daily and maintain a copy for vocabulary.
  • Learn antonyms and synonyms of the commonly used words.
  • Practice previous year papers and mock tests.

Technical Subjects

You would not have to work too hard for this section because the syllabus is similar to your graduation studies.  This paper will test the technical knowledge of a candidate. Following are some of the preparation tips for technical subjects:

  • Stick to the IES syllabus. Study the subjects mentioned in the syllabus. Because not sticking to the syllabus may lead to wastage of time.
  • Start studying the subject which you find easy and then move on to other subjects. This will help you gain interest in the subjects.
  • Don’t study more than one or two subjects at a time.
  • After completing a subject solve 10 years previous papers of that subject. Never try to move on to another subject without solving the previous year paper.
  • While practicing mock tests, set the alarm clock and try to complete the test within the time limit. It is applicable to both objective as well as subjective paper.
  • Focus more on the derivations and their step by step workout rather than their end result.
  • Mark the questions and topics which are highly repetitive and try to solve all the questions relating to those topics.
  • As the conventional questions are only 30% repetitive , solve the other type of questions asked in the previous papers.
  • Make sure you maintain notes copy and formula copy side by side. It will prove helpful in final phase of the preparation.
  • You might not understand everything in one go. It is very useful to take 4 to 5 readings of a topic at different point of time before you reasonably understand it.
  • Study your B.Tech. /B.E syllabus voraciously and diligently.

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

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