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Everything You Should Know About ESE-2021 Preliminary Exam

Chithrakala Babu

Engineering Services Examination (ESE/IES) is one of the most sought-after exams in India. Engineering graduates aspire to clear this examination to get placed in reputed positions in various government departments. Every year, UPSC conducts ESE in four engineering streams:-

  • Category I ‐ Civil Engineering
  • Category II ‐ Mechanical Engineering
  • Category III ‐ Electrical Engineering
  • Category IV ‐ Electronics & Telecommunication Engineering

As per UPSC notification, there are approximately 215 vacancies to be filled this year. This includes the seven vacancies for the PWD category. The preliminary exam of ESE 2021 will be conducted on 18 July 2021. Here is EVERYTHING you need to know about ESE 2021 Preliminary Examination.

ESE 2021 Admit Card

  • The admit cards will be available from 3 weeks before the exam date.
  • Candidates should download the e-admit card and take a printout for future needs.
  • It is mandatory to carry the hard copy of the admit card to the exam hall, or else you will not be permitted to appear for the exam.
  • Admit card and a photo ID card will be required for the verification process.

ESE 2021 Exam Pattern

Everything About ESE Preliminary Exam 2021
  • ESE Preliminary exam has two papers with objective type questions.
  • Paper-I refers to General Studies and Engineering Aptitude. It is common to all ESE candidates.
  • Paper-II refers to the subject paper which is specific for each stream.
  • The prelims exam is an offline (pen & paper) examination with multiple-choice questions.
  • Paper-I will have 100 questions for 200 marks, and Paper-II will have 150 questions worth 300 marks.
  • Each question will have four choices out which the candidate should choose ONLY ONE response.
  • OMR sheets will be provided to the candidates for marking the correct answers.

Negative Marking

  • As per the UPSC norms, 1/3rd of a mark (0.33) will be deducted for each wrong answer.
  • If the candidate marks two answers, it will be considered a wrong entry, and a 0.33 mark will be deducted.
  • No marks will be reduced if the candidate chooses not to answer by leaving the column blank.
  • Candidates should strategically respond to the questions that they are not sure of.

ESE 2021 Cut Off

  • ESE 2021 cut-offs will be published on the official website at the same time as the result declaration.
  • The cut-offs of each year are decided based on several factors –  the no. of candidates, the difficulty level of the exam, candidates’ performance and the no. of vacancies.
  • The candidates need to clear the cut off marks to be eligible for the next stage of the ESE exam – the Mains.
  • A candidate needs to clear the overall cutoff and also the individual cutoffs for Paper-I and Paper-II.

Test Booklet

  • Once the invigilator distributes the test booklet, candidates must check the booklet for any kind of damage or missing pages. If they find any issues, ask the invigilator for a replacement.
  • Read the instructions carefully before you fill the test booklet or OMR sheet.
  • Candidates are only allowed to write the roll number in the space provided on the booklet.
  • Candidates are allowed to take the booklet away with them after the examination.
  • An additional sheet will be provided to the candidates for rough work and calculations.
  • DO NOT write anything on the test booklet other than the roll number.

OMR Sheets

  • Optical Mark Recognition (OMR) sheets will be provided for both papers to mark the selected answer.
  • Since it is a computerized evaluation, candidates need to darken the bubbles carefully and neatly.
  • It is essential to practice with OMR sheets during your preparation to avoid any kind of confusions or mistakes.
  • Candidates must use a black ball-point pen to darken the bubbles.
  • DO NOT use any other color pen, a pencil or an ink pen.
  • Candidates need to choose the correct answer from the options and darken the respective bubble in the OMR sheet.
  • DO NOT write your name or any kind of identification details either on the OMR sheet. By doing so, you will be instantly disqualified for the exam.
  • It is mandatory to provide the following details on the OMR sheet – centre name, subject name, subject code, booklet series number and roll number.

Exam Hall

  • Candidates should reach the exam hall at least one hour before the exam time.
  • Electronic items (calculators, mobile phones, bluetooth devices) are strictly prohibited inside the exam hall.
  • It is better not to carry any such items to the exam venue as there may not be any facility to safe-keep these items.
  • Candidates are allowed to carry the following items inside the exam hall – a photo ID card, writing board, pen, admit card, water bottle etc.
  • Candidates should appear for the exam in a focused and disciplined manner.
  • Any kind of inappropriate behaviour or malicious activities will not be tolerated inside the exam hall.

Prelims Result

  • ESE prelims results will be published on the UPSC website in September 2021. The exact date of the result will be announced soon after the prelims.
  • The candidates who clear the cut off will be eligible for the main exam.

ESE Syllabus

  • Candidates can download the syllabus from the UPSC website.
  • Download and keep a copy of the syllabus handy so that you can refer to it throughout your preparation.
  • The syllabus for General Studies and Engineering Aptitude is the same for all four categories.
  • For the subject papers, each category will have a separate syllabus.
  • Click here to see the detailed syllabus for all four categories.

Read Here's All You Want to Know About ESE/IES to know more about the ESE exam.

Preliminary examination is an important stage as it ensures your rest of ESE journey and also gives you an opportunity to assess yourself. Study well and be at your best for ESE 2021 prelims. Work out as many sample tests and previous years' questions as you can. If you are focused and dedicated, you can clear ESE prelims with a good score. Work hard, believe in your ability and stay positive. Success will follow you.
Happy learning!

ESE