Engineering Services Examination (ESE/IES)

Indian Engineering Services remains the most sought-after career for the engineering graduates in India. Engineering Services Examination commonly known as ESE is conducted annually by UPSC to recruit engineers in four domains namely Civil, Mechanical, Electrical, Electronics & Telecommunications for the techno managerial posts. The examination constitutes a two-stage written examination followed by an interview. ESE is considered as one of the toughest examinations in India due to fewer posts. Owing to highly competitive selection procedure, IES officers carry high respect and status and are mandated to manage and execute activities in diverse technical and managerial fields.

These candidates after the final selection are posted in various Ministries and Departments of GOI such as Railways, Telecom, Border Roads, CPWD, CWC, CPES, NHAI, Naval Armaments, IDSE, MES, Ordnance Factories etc., however, the selected candidates can move to any cadre, organisation, agency, department, ministry and PSU of the Government of India. All these final selected candidates are designated as class-1 officers.

(I) Nationality:
A candidate must be either:
  1. A citizen of India or
  2. A subject of Nepal or A subject of Bhutan or
  3. A Tibetan refugee who came to India before the 1st January, 1962 with the intention of permanently settling in India or
  4. A person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka or East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire and Ethiopia or from Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India.

Provided that a candidate belongs to categories (b), (c) and (d) above shall be a person in whose favor a certificate of eligibility has been issued by the Government of India.

(II) Age Limits:

  • A candidate for this examination must have attained the age of 21 years and must not have attained the age of 30 years on the 1st January, 2022 i.e., he/she must have been born not earlier than 2nd January, 1992 and not later than 1st January, 2001.

  • The upper age-limit of 30 years will be relaxable upto 35 years in the case of Government servants of the following categories, if they are employed in a Department/ Office under the control of any of the authorities mentioned in column 1 below and apply for admission to the examination for all or any of the Service(s)/Post(s) mentioned in column 2, for which they are otherwise eligible.

    • A candidate who holds substantively a permanent post in the particular Department/Office concerned. This relaxation will not be admissible to a probationer appointed against a permanent post in the Department/Office during the period of his probation. However, this relaxation will be admissible to a probationer so appointed provided he/she already retains a lien on a permanent post in a Department/Office under the control of any of the authorities mentioned in column 1 below.

    • A candidate who has been continuously in a temporary service on a regular basis in the particular Department/Office for at least 3 years on the 1st January, 2022.


Column 1

Column 2

Central Public Works  Department

C.E.S. Group ‘A’, CE&MES Gr ‘A’

Ministry of Road Transport and Highways

Central Engineering Service (Roads) Gr. ‘A’

Ministry of Communication, Deptt. of Telecommunication

Indian Radio Regulatory Service  Group ‘A’

Indian  Telecommunication Service Group ‘A’,

J.T.O. (G.C.S. Gr. ‘B’)

Ministry of Defence, Deptt. of Defence Production,

Directorate General of Aeronautical Quality Assurance

Defence Aeronautical Quality Assurance Service(DAQAS)Gr ‘A’

Ministry of Science and Technology, Deptt. of Science and


Survey of India Gr ‘A’ Service

Geological Survey of India

Assistant Executive Engineer Gr ‘A’

Border Roads Organisation

BRES Gr. ‘A’

Indian Navy

Indian Naval Armament Service, Asstt. Naval Store Officer


Military Engineer Services

Indian Defence Service of Engineers (lDSE) Group ‘A’

AEE(QS&C) in Military Engineer Service (MES) Surveyor Cadre

Ministry of Jal Shakti,  Deptt. of Water Resources, River

Development & Ganga Rejuvenation,  Central Water Commission

Central Water Engineering Group-A Service.

Central Electricity Authority

CPES Gr ‘A’ & CPES Gr ‘B’.

Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship

Indian Skill Development Service

  • The upper age-limit prescribed above will be further relaxable:

    • Up to a maximum of five years if a candidate belongs to a scheduled caste or a scheduled tribe.

    • Up to a maximum of three years in case if candidate belongs to OBC category.

    • Upto a maximum of three years in case of defence service personnel disabled in operations during hostilities with any foreign country or in a disturbed area, and released as a consequence thereof.

    • Upto a maximum of five years in case of ex-servicemen including Commissioned Officers and ECOs/SSCOs who have rendered at least five years Military Service as on 1st January 2021, and have been released

      1. On completion of assignment (including those whose assignment is due) to be completed within one year from 1st January 2021) otherwise than by way of dismissal or discharge on account of misconduct or inefficiency, or

      2. On account of physical disability attributable to Military Service or

      3. On invalidment;

    • Upto a maximum of five years in the case of ECOs/SSCOs who have completed an initial period of assignment of five years of Military Services as on 1st January 2021, and whose assignment has been extended beyond five years and in whose case the Ministry of Defence issues a certificate that they can apply for civil employment and they will be released on three months notice on selection from the date of receipt of offer of appointment.

    • Up to a maximum of 10 years in the case of candidates of PwBD (Low vision Locomotor Disability including Cerebral Palsy, Leprosy cured, Dwarfism, Acid Attack victims & Muscular Dystrophy and Hard of Hearing).

    • A candidate of ESE-2021 will be eligible to get benefit of economically weaker Section reservation only in case the candidate meets the criteria issued by the Central Goverment and is in possession of requisite Income & Asset Certificate based on income of financial year 2020-2021.

  • Minimum Educational Qualifications:

    • Obtained a degree in Engineering from a university incorporated by an act of the central or state legislature in India or other educational institutions established by an act of Parliament or declared to be deemed as universities under section-3 of the University Grants Commission act, 1956 or

    • Passed Section A and B of the Institution Examinations of the Institution of Engineers (India) or

    • Obtained a degree/diploma in Engineering from foreign University/College/Institution and under such conditions as may be recognised by the Government for the purpose from time to time or

    • Passed Graduate Membership Examination of the Institute of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineers (India) or

    • Passed Associate Membership Examination Parts II and III/Sections A and B of the Aeronautical Society of India or

    • Passed Graduate Membership Examination of the Institution of Electronics and Radio Engineers, London held after November 1959

Provided that a candidate for the post of Indian Naval Armament Service (Electronics Engineering Posts and Engineer Group 'A' in Wireless Planning and Coordination Wing/Monitoring Organization) may possess any of the above qualifications or the qualification mentioned below namely: 

  • For Indian Naval Armament Service (Electronics Engg. Posts) - M.Sc. degree or its equivalent with Wireless Communication Electronics, Radio Physics or Radio Engineering as a special subject.

  • For Indian Radio Regulatory Service – M.Sc. degree or its equivalent with Wireless Communication Electronics, Radio Physics or Radio Engineering as a subject or Master’s Degree in Science with Physics and Radio Communication or Electronics or Telecommunication as a special subject.


Stage-I: Preliminary Examination (Objective Papers)











(CE/ ME/ EE/ E&T)





  • Minimum Qualifying Marks for each Paper will be at the discretion of the commission.

  • Only those candidates qualifying at this Stage are permitted to appear for Stage – II examination.

Stage-II: Main Examination (Conventional Papers)







(CE/ ME/ EE/ E&T)





(CE/ ME/ EE/ E&T)







  • Only those candidates qualifying at this stage (i.e. Stage – I + Stage – II) are selected for Stage – III which is the Personality Test (Interview).


Stage-III: Personality Test



Personality Test




  • The Candidates who have qualified all stages (Stage I + Stage II + Stage III) ,will be included in the final list of ESE(Engineering Service Exam).


Big Journeys begin with Small Steps

“Success doesn’t necessarily come from breakthrough Innovation, but from flawless Execution.”

Often I hear a concern among the students regarding “What should be our strategy to crack ESE/GATE exams?"  To answer this question in the most simplified way, this article is my sincere effort to strategise things for aspirants, which will be fruitful for young friends.

There are two categories of ESE/GATE Aspirants :(1) Freshers , preparing first time for the competitive exams (Neophytes)   (2) Repeaters , who have already taken their exams, once or twice (Rank Improvers)

(I)  Strategy for Neophytes:

If you are a fresher and preparing first time then I would suggest you the following approach to be adopted-

  • Define your aim and target the desired exam right from the beginning. You should examine closely the examination pattern, syllabus and the level of difficulty.
  • The first step for amateur should be, to go through previous years’ question papers of the aimed exam and identify what type of questions are asked, whether it is theoretical (then what subjects/which topics are mostly asked) or derivations or numerical type.
  • Keep one best reference book for each subject. You are not advised to read so many books for each subject; practically it is not possible in limited time frame.

Make an overall plan of your career; define immediate and ultimate goals of your career, then make a roadmap to execute in most effective manner. Being an engineer, you should understand the importance of planning and execution of the plan.
Overall plan may be further divided in three stages:

1. Six month /One year plan:

Divide months for different subjects and plan it so as to complete the entire syllabus in the left over time. In the current scenario of high cut-offs, do not go for selective study; instead cover the entire syllabus, because you never know “the topic left could be the topic of conquest.”

2. Subject-wise Plan/ Bi-weekly plan:

For each subject, study should be exam oriented, i.e. you should get acclimatize with the subject , so that you know which area is to be focussed, whether theory has to be focussed or numerical or solving previous years’s questions will suffice. Every subject requires different approach .For example in mathematics you may be required to focus on practicing problems where as General Studies Paper requires different approach. similarly, in technical subjects the approach may differ from subject to subject.

If you are enrolled in any coaching institute, then concentrate and study well in classroom. Your class notes should be complete and ready in classroom itself, with simultaneous marking of IMPORTANT concept /formulae and also develop a habit of writing NOTE points ,wherever required. If only self study is your style of preparing without coaching, then also notes making is advisable.

One point to be kept in mind is “Work for Yourself”; i.e. make notes for yourself, it should be self hand written notes, as this will increase your writing efficiency in terms of speed, accuracy and hand writing and also helped in memory retention.

3.  Daily To-Do list /Daily plan:

This is basically for effective time management. Plan and freeze the study hours and abstain from using mobile phones, social media, what's app etc. during these hours. 10 to 15 minutes are sufficient to plan next day schedule, it will help in removing redundant activities of your schedule and you can make best use of your time for study. I would also suggest you to pre plan your area /subject /topic of your study for the next day, it would help in activating senses of your mind to stimulate for study which helps in better memory retention.
Solving previous years’ questions of GATE & ESE (at least of last 10-15 years) should be made contemporaneous with class notes. Do not postpone it for later, for all the topics that are covered in class or studied on your own, finish the previous years' questions on priority basis.
While solving questions, mark the questions which you are not able to solve. Refer the reference book for the clarity of concepts, and solve again. In front of the question write the Page Number and Name of the book referred and underline or highlight the concept. This above methodology is to be followed for all workbook and other materials also. After a few months while doing revision you should re-attempt these marked questions only and no need to solve other questions.

Make a REVISION plan:

Make a habit of reading and revising simultaneously.
While studying a particular subject; devote 70-80% of self study time in developing concepts of new subject and rest 20-30% time should be religiously devoted to revision of already completed topics/subjects. And, towards months closer to exam, increase the revision time for proper retention of concepts till exam day.

While revising, make sure you do the following:

  • Review of class notes.
  • Revise underlined/ highlighted portion of text book.
  • Then attempt only the marked questions once more.
  • If time permits, then start with new set of questions.
Make Micro notes:

After finishing every subject make micro notes, which have only principal formulae/ diagrams/ concepts of utmost importance. Especially note down the area which you find difficult to remember. Then, once this is done, take a snapshot and store on your mobile gallery. These will be your Digital Micro Notes, which can be revised anywhere and everywhere, while travelling, gap between two classes, and free time.

Flow like a river:

Be loquacious and discussion oriented with friends and seniors and keep on clearing your doubts, don't allow to accumulate the doubts which may result in mental stress. Let your doubts/thoughts flow like river water which when flows gets self-purified. Also interact with successful seniors and friends to know about their path of success/strategy.

Evaluate yourself:

Take tests in examination environment and analyze your performance and make notes of areas of difficulty and make a roadmap to improve these before the next test.
Stay away from incompetent and non-achievers. Don’t let their failure demoralise you in any sense.

Make holistic and balancing approach:

Cover entire syllabus but more time should be given to important areas. Identify important subjects and mark important topics within a subject. Scoring and low scoring areas should be segregated. Make a balance study plan for technical and non technical subjects. 

(II) Strategy for Repeaters:
  • Review your past performance and find the reasons for failure. Consider failure as next stepping step. In fact you have not failed your success is little postponed.
  • Identify weak areas of each subject and start your preparation by first improving these areas.
  • Focus more on solving different types of problems and that too from new source of material in each iteration.
  • Plan your study to maintain regularity and self motivation; daily scheduling and subject wise scheduling is very important for a systematic preparation.
  • Join some good test Series & appear for tests with full preparation and take the test in examination environment. Solve previous years’ papers.
  • Maintain continuity and keep up the self motivation, form groups of 3-4 friends and make schedule of group study once in a week to discuss complex questions and doubts.
Things to be kept in mind during preparation:
  • Never read too many books for the same topic. This will simply kill your time. To save time, always refer to material of coaching institute supplemented by the standard books.
  • Strengthen the key concepts of each subject. The questions are based on the basic concepts and they do not require much calculation. Cramming up the formulae won’t help until and unless you have a clear concept of the topic.
  • Focus on writing & presentation skills, theory, derivations & diagrams for subjective paper.
  • Solve all the previous 10 years questions thoroughly. In IES exam, a lot many questions are based on the concepts of previous years' questions.
  • Rather than solving five questions on similar concepts. It is better to solve one question with five different methods. It gives knowledge about the shortest methods to be used.
Strategy during the Exam:
Objective Papers:
  • Stay ahead of time, and not with it. Split your time into milestones like 28-30 questions per 30 minutes.
  • The questions from the same subject on the objective papers are mostly bunched together. Solve the questions from the easy subjects first to be ahead of time and your milestones.
  • Blind Guessing should be avoided. Always try to make a smart guess by eliminating some of the options which cannot be right.
Conventional Papers:
  • Selection of questions and time management is an important key for getting good marks in the conventional paper. The questions must be selected from the subjects which you are good at.
  • With the introduction of Question Paper cum Answer Booklet (QAB) by UPSC in Main Exam, there is absolutely no reason to do the questions in the order they are printed in the paper. Solve the easiest ones first. Getting the easy questions safely under your belt at the start of an exam is a wonderful boost to confidence, and can help reduce any feelings of panic that might arise when looking at the harder questions. The easy questions are likely to take less time than the average. That means you’ll be ahead of schedule from the start – another good confidence booster.
  • Allot time appropriately for the theory questions as per the marks allocated against these questions.

Indian Engineering Officers joins as Assistant Executive Engineers or Assistant Directors at level of Junior Time Scale with a basic salary of Rs. 56,100/- per month and net salary of around Rs. 85,000/- per month.

LevelPay ScaleTime Frame
Junior Time Scale (JTS)INR 56100-177500On Joining
Senior Time Scale (STS)INR 67700-2087003-5 years
Junior Administrative Grade (JAG)INR 123100-21590010-15 years
Senior Administrative Grade (SAG)INR 144200-21820015-20 years
Higher Administrative Grade (HAG)INR 182200-224100 
HAG+INR 205400-224400 
Apex ScaleINR 225000 

Indian Engineering Service Officers are among the top recipients of a good deal of privileges and allowances. Below is a list of allowances and privileges available for IES Officers apart from the basic pay :

  • Residential Quarters (Type IV to Type VIII) OR HRA (presently 24% of basic pay)
  • Official Vehicle
  • Dearness Allowance (presently 9% of basic pay)
  • CGHS Medical Facility
  • Leave Travel Allowance/ Tour Allowance
  • National Pension Scheme
  • Gratuity
  • Leave Encashment
  • Mobile and Briefcase Allowance
  • Newspaper and Mobile Bill Reimbursement
  • Laptops
  • Children Education Allowance
  • Transport Allowance (approx. 8000 per month), etc.


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