IES Subjective Preparation

Subjective papers in IES are most dreaded things to encounter. This paper is like a test match,  you have to stay at crease…. You have to face most difficult thing on the last day of exam when you are totally worn out. Some students become so hopeless that they don’t appear in this paper. Most of the students have this perception that subjective paper marks are uncertain and erratic. This may be true to some extent but if you do a question correctly then you will get full marks but if there are some mistakes then it is upto examimer to consider your marks. The most important thing is to make up your mind that you are willing to attempt the question with sincerity , not just attempt just for sake of it.  Some say that if you attempt around 300 marks you may get upto 150 marks out of 400. This is a trap , don’t fall for this. I have seen many people attempting over 300 and not getting even 100 marks. This is not your college exam where filling pages will fetch you marks. We all do this in our college but leave this habit at the beginning itself. No of pages don’t give you marks. Write neatly, don’t overemphasize anything.

The syllabus is divided in two parts ..part 1 and part 2 corresponding to paper 1 and paper 2. You should know this detail about your subjects i.e how the paper is divided and no of marks alloted to each section. When you study any topic make sure that you can answer almost anything from that topic. Solve numerical related to that topic in time bound manmer. Subjective paper require intensive study approach , you must be clear with the concept otherwise you will not be able to solve any variation in the question.

Some students prepare selectively thinking that  skipping some topics will not make much difference. So let me tell you that,  UPSC can design question paper in such a way that a single question may contain sub parts from different topic,  therefore your expectations may not convert into reality. The best thing is to prepare for all the topics , only this strategy can save you in case of emergency. If you know all the topics then you can choose selectively which 5 questions out of 8 you will be able to score good marks.

The practice for subjective exam must be done in writing,  it can’t be oral preparation. You should know your weakness and try to remove them. A man must also known his strength and use them . You will come to know it only if you practice on the paper. Keep all your practice notebook with you,  don’t throw them away. Keep all your question paper at one place. Also make a diary where you write your plan of revision and then follow it up. Make habit of writing daily the mistakes you have committed in that diary. Look back at it after few days , and mark your improvement. Self scrutiny is very much important, you become more conscious of yourself.

With these suggestions,  I close here . If you want to say anything , leave it in comments.

Thank you
Best of luck to all


I am posting this article just for your information. Some portions of the answer have been taken from internet

Q-How is life of an IES officer compared to doing a job in MNC ? What all opportunities can one get?
Ans- In MNC , life is boring and mechanical. In IES life is happening and wonderful. I cann’t  even think of sitting like  robot in front of workstation and doing the same repetitive work again and again. Let me give you a famous example to illustrate my point about how i felt when i was in MNC.

Sisyphus punishment representing absurdity
Sisyphus punishment representing absurdity

There was a man in ancient Greek. He had been condemned to roll a boulder up to a mountain slope and then release it. The boulder would fall down the slope immediately. He had to again pick it up and repeat the same process. This punishment is cruel than death, because it is the perfect example of absurd life one can live. It doesn’t have any meaning. I didn’t want to be like Sisyphus, this life of MNC job would have been the same punishment as meted out to Sisyphus had i stayed there. We are fully humans only if we create something, not just repeat everything. Boredom and absurdity are greater enemies of mankind than Death. I have worked in a Korean MNC for 9 months and I knew that i would be falling into Sisyphean nightmare if i don’t clear  IES
U dont compare Engineering Services with a MNC, In Engineering services u get to serve India. U get to shape India directly. If u only think of money, then u should not be here (We don’t want any more corruption in India). It’s probably the best job in India for an Engineer, u will be paid high enough to lead a happy life. Send your kids to the best school in town, Get u a good home, 4 square meals a day, enough salary to allow u to visit some of the best places in the world.  And of course a lot of respect. E.g Metro man , E Sreedharan

Q-How is IES  officer job in respect to psu in India

Ans-First of all, i want to tell you its really worth the hard work.

Indian Engineering Services is a purely Central Government job and you get Central Government pay scales.

In India, Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) is a term used for a government-owned corporation. The term is used to refer to companies in which the government (either the Union Government or state or territorial governments, or both) owned a majority (51 percent or more) of the company equity.

While you hear that the salaries are lower in comparison to PSUs, it is not always true. As the PSUs enjoy autonomy, the better performing PSUs pay better ( Maharatna or Navratna PSU), then comes the Miniratna ( Category A and B) and then the not so well known and loss making PSUs. Your salary and pay scale completely depends upon the performance of the company you are in.

IES is prestigious because one gets powerful posts and positions where his chair holds responsibilities, that only he has to undertake. But to the contrary, in a PSU a system works, be it (good or bad) and there is a fixed role and you become a part of it. There isn’t much to do in a PSU, because there is a ready-made system for that. Individual contributions or efforts goes unnoticed.

Also if you have apprehensions regarding the career progressions of an IES officer, here is a list which can definitely inspire you to go for IES.
At the time of selection – Assistant Executive Engineer / Assistant Works Manager / Assistant Director.
after 3–4 years of service (including probation period) – Executive Engineer / Works Manager / Deputy Director (equivalent to Under Secretary to Government of India).
after 8 years of service – Superintending Engineer / Deputy General Manager / Joint Director (equivalent to Deputy Secretary to Government of India).
after 13 years of service – Chief Engineer level-2 / Joint General Manager (equivalent to Director to Government of India).
after 20 years of service – Chief Engineer / Additional General Manager (equivalent to Joint Secretary to Government of India).
after 30 years of service – Engineer-in-Chief / Senior General Manager (equivalent to Additional Secretary to Government of India).
after 34 years of service – Chairman / Director General / Managing Director (equivalent to Secretary to Government of India).
Promotions are subjected to availability of vacancies and may take more time than mentioned above.

After the results

I am writing this post to tell you what happens after you successfully crack Indian Engineering Services.

There are different types of success. If you get exactly what you want then it’s called being successful. However if you don’t get desired outcome then you will  you will do feel successful but with a pinch of frustration. Let’s say that you do wonderful IES, then be prepared to expect pleasantries from people. They will come praising you. These are the same people who would have criticised you ,had you failed. Nevertheless , the news of you becoming IES will spread like wildfire. Most of the people confuse IES with IAS, because their pronunciation
Is almost same. It is annoying to make clear this confusion.  Imagine a situation where people think that you have become IAS but you are not, it is embarrassing situation. But I don’t care about these people who don’t know the difference between IES and IAS.  Both of these services appointment class 1 gazetted officer, however their work profile are different. Their is no difference between status in terms of pay and rank.

After initial feel good period,  the noise subsides but you will become more confident in talking to people.  Then there is a medical examination conducted by railway board all over the country for selected candidates. You can’t prepare much for medical examination but get tested at local clinic. Know you medical status before hand. My story of medical examination is pretty interesting which I will detail later on. Once the medical are over you wait for the results and joining letter. This is going to be the best time of your life. This period between results and joining is full of happiness and joy. I would recommend you to do that which you have always wanted to do. There is no sense of insecurity and you can reflect back on life with contentment. You will feel that all the hard work has been worth doing. You will have no guilt of the past because all is well that ends well. But you should also develop a sense of being an IES , you will have to behave and talk like that. I mean start taking responsibility and show some maturity. Remain ground to earth and don’t be brash for you may ruin all the good will of the people. You may have good knowledge but it takes character to stay at top.

There is one more surprise after the results. The rate of marriage proposals for you will increase exponentially. This itself is lot of fun which your family member will certainly enjoy. Those same girls that you thought difficult to win over , you can now directly talk to their father. He will not think twice before giving his daughter to you. But if you have no such plan, then wait for the proposals to come and select the girl according to your choice. My suggestion is that you should delay marriage as long as you can. Enjoy your life first , adapt to the working conditions and then only think about family.

General Ability

This paper is marks scoring if you have prepared it well. I got 151 out of 200 in this paper. Most of the students neglect this subject and in the end time they ask for suggestions. Let me give you few tips for preparing general ability. If you are going to give IAS exam then you will not face any problem in this subject. However those who have not been preparing for any other exam, they need to start from beginning. Most basic task is to read newspaper daily. I would recommend The Hindu or Indian Express. Reading newspaper has double benefits because it improves English as well as general knowledge. The questions will not be asked directly from newspaper but it is necessary to understand the background of topics. It also helps in improving vocabulary systematically. I can assure you that if you develop the habit of reading newspaper daily then you will be able to score good marks in English. If exam is near, then go for a good English grammar book and learn the rules. However, if upsc introduces any new novelty, then only newspaper practice can help you tide over. You don’t need to remember detailed analysis of topics, just get the basic idea about it. You can make assumptions only if you have idea about the topics. Only remembering mcqs will not do. For general studies,  start with a basic reading of ncert books to understand the concepts. Thereafter you can move to any specific book for a particular subject. Note that questions asked are objective, so understanding is more important than quantity. Lucent GK book is good along with Madeeasy materials. You can purchase other books such as Arihant practice papers etc. But ensure that you have time to do these things. If you are in a emergency, then only go for Madeeasy materials and class notes. Try to solve general studies paper of IAS prelims if you can , because some of the questions are similar. Skip those questions that are not in your syllabus. Understand the nerve of Upsc to crack this exam. Also try to read current affairs magazine, I would recommend magazine by Madeeasy institute. This magazine is prepared selectively for this exam. However if you still have time , you can go for frontline magazine. Reading current affairs also improves your general knowledge. In IES exam , lot of questions come from life sciences and geography. Exhaustively prepare these two topics. Polity is easy and scoring. History is uncertain, they don’t ask much questions from history. Sometimes they ask from economics also. Rest of the topics are miscellaneous. When you solve previous year question paper, observe these things. If you get into the mindset examiner, then it becomes easier to make assumptions. Now let me give few sources from where you can prepare for general ability.

Note- I am recommending madeeasy materials because GS syllabus is huge and one needs to be focused to study only relevant topic. You can go for material of any other coaching institute as well.


1. Madeeasy GS material and classmates of history

2. No need to study all NCERT books because its very time consuming and voluminous. However if you want, you can go through NCERT of Modern Indian.

3. Previous year practice paper of IES,CDS and other such exams.

4. Madeeasy question bank.

Going through above sources for history would be more than enough. History is not very marks fetching for GS so if you have less time then focus only on modern India.


This is very important topic for GS portion. You will have to prepare this topic thoroughly.

1. Madeeasy Material and Class-notes

2. NCERTs of 11th and 12th related to geography . These  books are must.

3. Study of Map and Atlas is very important. Paste a full size map of India and World in your room and look at it daily.

4. Previous year papers of IES,CDS and other such exams.

5. Madeeasy Question Bank.


This topic is easy to remember and also marks fetching.

1.  Madeeasy Material and Classnotes

2. NCERTs of 11th and 12th related to polity . These  books are must.

3. D.D Basu or M.laxmikanth as a reference book

4. Previous year papers of IES,CDS ,…..

5. Madeeasy question bank

Life Sciences

IT is also one of the most important section for general studies. Question related to diseases are frequently asked.

1. Madeeasy Material and Class-notes

2. NCERT of 9th and 10th Biology or Crash Course Biology

3. Previous Year papers of IES and CDS

4. Madeeasy question bank


This is a monster. IT covers almost everything left. So how should you go for it. I am suggesting few specific sources of study material for this section.

1. Madeeasy material on this section

2. Mrunal– This is a very famous website in India for preparation of competitive exams. All the materials on this website are not relevant for IES but coverage of topics and ease of understanding are very good. Now , you can also find video lectures of mrunal on this website. This website also deals with currents affairs in detail. So go though this website few times a week.

3. India Year Book- This books is officially released by government of India. So this book would be the most authentic source to look for any Information.

4. Madeeasy magazine for current affairs.- This is a very good magazine. You don’t need to go through any other current affairs magazine after this.

5. General Studies Manual- This should be the last thing you should pick because these books are vast and they may consume your time without any much benefits.


1. Vocabulary based questions- There are hundred of books in the market including madeeasy material for increasing your vocabulary out of which book by Norman Lewis is good. If you maintain your own vocab notebook then it is the best thing to have. There are also material in the market which produce collection of words appearing in  various newspapers. Then there are practice sheets for antonym and synonym. This section is based on memory. If you have a good memory then you  definitely have the edge. Others can try various memory techniques available on the internet. The whole point is to increase the retention of what you have learnt.

2. Non-Vocab based Question- Let me tell you that if your English good then this is the most marks scoring section. Don’t do any mistake here. Madeeasy material are sufficient to prepare for this section. No need to waste time by going for other sources. Practice previous year question papers of IES and CDS and you are done.

If you score well in General ability exam , then it can save you from defeat if you fare badly in technical subjects. If everything goes well, you will surely get good rank. So don’t neglect this subject, read newspaper and ncert books, you will definitely feel confident.

Bestof luck to all of you