All you need to know about the new ESE pattern 2017

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Recently UPSC has announced major changes in the syllabus & structure of Engineering Services Examination. This change will take effect from ESE 2017 onwards.

Quite obviously, It is a matter of curiosity for ESE aspirants as to how these changes will turn up for them. So, I am presenting an analysis of the announced syllabus along with the change in preparation strategy it demands.

What are the changes?

  1. A 3 stage examination as compared to the previous 2 stage examination– Instead of continuous 3 days examination consisting of objective + subjective papers, it will be having separate papers in two stages possibly spaced by 2-3 months. Moreover, eligibility for stage II requires qualification in stage I. This pattern is basically similar to that of Civil Services Exam having a prelims and a mains paper after which the personality test is taken.
  2. Technical objective papers reduced from 2 to 1– A single technical objective paper will replace the current two technical objective papers. This paper will be possibly taken on the same day as of the General Aptitude paper. So, all of the engineering syllabus will be covered in a single objective paper as compared to earlier two papers.
  3. Changed structure and syllabus of the General Aptitude paper-The paper is now named as “General Studies and Engineering Aptitude Paper”. Basically, it has removed the General English and Conventional General Studies (Polity, Geography etc) from the syllabus, but it has added a lot of other topics. The newly added topics are-
    • Engineering Aptitude covering Logical reasoning and Analytical ability
    • Engineering Mathematics and Numerical Analysis
    • General Principles of Design, Drawing, Importance of Safety
    • Standards and Quality practices in production, construction,
      maintenance and services
    • Basics of Energy and Environment : Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, Climate Change, Environmental impact assessment
    • Basics of Project Management
    • Basics of Material Science and Engineering
    • Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) based tools and their applications in Engineering such as networking, e-governance and technology based education.
    • Ethics and values in Engineering profession
  4. Changed syllabus of technical subjects- Certain changes has been introduced to the syllabus of technical subjects too.

What will be the effects?

So, we have seen the ‘facts’ part. Lets move on to the fun part – analysis. What kind of impact can we expect from this changed syllabus? Let’s take a look at the factors one by one-

General effects and analysis

  1. Increasing the number of stages will certainly increase the pressure on candidates because the first stage is necessary to qualify for writing the second stage. Moreover, the marks obtained in this paper will be added in further stages, thereby, building a solid necessity to toil hard for all the papers.
  2. Separating the stage I from stage II will possibly give the aspirants time to work on their subjective papers based on their performance in stage I. This is a nice step since subjective preparation needs dedication and this will give the candidate freedom from the confusion whether to devote time to objective preparation or subjective preparation.
  3. This will certainly reduce the fatigue effect that takes place during continuous 3 days of examination.
  4. The inclusion of entirely new stage I paper I along with its marks inclusion towards final ranking will definitely increase the toughness of this exam.

IAS (Civil Services) Preparation

  1. Students preparing for IAS along with IES may face difficulty managing two prelims and two mains simultaneously for these exams as compared to present scenario when IES exam gets wrapped up in the month of June giving them ample time to prepare for IAS mains.
  2. This changed pattern will be less stressful for those having engineering subjects as their optional in civil services. In fact, then it will be like targeting two fruits with a single arrow. So, I expect a rising trend for engineering optionals among those trying for IES along with IAS.
  3. Since, many topics of stage I paper I coincide with CSE syllabus, these students will find themselves at an advantageous position.

Preparation strategy

  1. If we take a look at the syllabus, we find (underlined topics are unique for that exam’s syllabus)-
    • ESE 2017 (EE)Engineering Mathematics, Materials, Circuits theory, EMMI, EFT, Basic Electronics, Computer Fundamentals, Electrical Machines, Power systems, Control Systems, Signal Systems, Analog & Digital electronics, Power electronics.
    • ESE 2016 (EE) -Materials, Circuits theory, EMMI, EFT, Electrical Machines, Power Systems, Control Systems, Communication Systems, Microprocessors, Analog & Digital electronics.
    • GATE 2015 (EE) – Engineering Mathematics, Circuits theory, EMMI, EFT, Electrical Machines, Power systems, Control Systems, Signal Systems, Analog & Digital electronics, Power electronics.
  2. The major conclusion that can be made from the above analysis is that ESE syllabus is now much closer to that of GATE syllabus. Hence, students who will prepare nicely for GATE will reap the benefits in IES too. (Difference between GATE & IES preparation strategies – Read Here.)
  3. Reduced objective papers marks will make students toil harder for the subjective ones as subjective papers will now emerge as the king-maker.


  1. Cutoffs will fall primarily because of one reduced objective paper. Moreover, the divergence may also reduce.

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