Difference between ESE and IES Exams. Tips for Sure Success


Working for the wellness of a country is a job of responsibility. So if you are working for the government, you are responsible for your family. But your family becomes the whole country. You are working for the wellness of every citizen of the country. Thus a chance to work for the government does not come that easy. It requires hard work, persistence, focus and the will to serve the country. Hence there are various exams that one can give to get a chance to serve the country. One of those exams is the ESE or IES exams. IES is Indian Engineering Service, and ESE is Engineering Service Examination. So these both exams are the same. I’ll tell you all about how and why. So this article is concerned with all the information about these exams.

The difference between ESE and IES?

These exams are conducted by the UPSC, which is Union Public Service Commission. The UPSC used to call Indian engineering service as IES and Indian economic service also as IES. Therefore these similar abbreviations for both the exams created confusion among the students. Hence this confusion led to the filling of the petition. Thus, changing the name of Indian Engineering Services (IES) to Engineering Service Examination (ESE).

So, if you are an ESE aspirant, you don’t have to get confused between ESE and IES.

January 14, 2022
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Table of Contents

What is the ESE exam?

An Engineering service examination or Indian Engineering Services constitutes engineers who work under the government as a class-1 officers. They work under the various sector of the Indian economy. They are railways, power, telecommunications, central water engineering, engineers’ defence service, and central engineering service. So the work they do largely depend upon the engineering background. They include high esteem jobs and high areas of responsibility.

You can also read our blog on the difference between IES and IAS.

Other important details about the exam:

It is conducted once a year, unlike other exams. This exam has a very specified age limit—the age limit taking from 21 to 30 years only. The educational qualifications required for this exam is engineering with other eligibility criteria mentioned below. So there are three main steps under which this examination is conducted. They are preliminary, main exam and interview.

You can also read our blog on the Best Optional Subject for UPSC Exams.

What are the services or posts offered?

ESE exams conducted by UPSC offers recruitment under the following categories.

  • CATEGORY 1: Civil Engineering

This includes posts related to the Indian Railway Service of Engineers, central engineering service, and India group A service survey. It also includes Indian defence services of engineering, Indian skill development, etc.

  • CATEGORY 2: Mechanical Engineering

This includes services or posts like the Indian railway service of mechanical engineers Indian defence service of engineers. It also includes central water engineering service, mechanical engineering posts in the Indian navy, central power engineering service.

  • CATEGORY 3: Electrical Engineering

It includes the Indian Railway Service of Electrical Engineers, Indian Railway Stores Service, Central Electrical & Mechanical Engineering Service. It also includes the Indian Defence Service of Engineers and Indian skill development service posts.

  • CATEGORY 4: Electronics & Telecommunication Engineering

This includes services like the Indian Railway Service of Signal Engineers Indian Railway Stores Service. It also includes Indian Telecommunication Service Gr ‘A’, Indian Naval Armament Service.

What is the exam pattern?

The exam pattern of ESE is divided into three parts. The three stages comprise different tests and papers with different patterns. All three stages are explained below:

Stage 1: a preliminary examination

This is an objective-based examination. Thus the subjects included in this exam are General Studies and Engineering Aptitude. And Engineering of streams Civil/Mechanical/Electrical/Electronics and Telecommunication.

They consist of 200 and 300 marks of 2 and 3 hours respectively.

Stage 2: main examination

This is a conventional type of paper. Thus this includes two papers just like stage one. One and the other is Engineering (Civil/Mechanical/Electrical/Electronics and telecommunications). Both papers are descriptive and of 3 hours and 300 marks each.

Stage 3: personality test

How to prepare?

Many students take proper coaching for every stage of the examination. However, many students clear this examination without any help from the coaching institutes.

And for those students, CHEGG can be of great help. CHEGG is an online platform that provides links between students and teachers. CHEGG is a platform for students to solve their problems with various subjects. A subject matter expert solves those problems and provides solutions. And hence you can always take the help of CHEGG for the preparations. You can check about the subjects on the CHEGG here.

What is the Eligibility Criteria for this exam?

The eligibility criteria for this exam is as below:

Medical examination:

Every candidate must undergo a medical examination, which is decided by the Ministry of Railways irrespective of whether they have appeared for such medical examination in the past. Even if they were found fit/unfit based on an earlier examination, the medical examination would be conducted at various Railway Hospitals under the Ministry of Railways.

Physical standards:

Candidates should be physically fit according to physical standards for admission to Engineering Services Examination, 2021, as per guidelines.


A citizen of India, Bhutan, Nepal or Tibetan refugee came to India before January 1, 1962. They should have come to India intending to settle India permanently.

A person must be of Indian origin and have migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, or East African Countries of Kenya and Uganda. Person migrated from the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia, or Vietnam. And migrated intending to settle in India permanently are also eligible for this exam.

Age limit:

A candidate for this examination must have attained the age of 21 years. They should not have attained the age of 30 years on the 1st January, 2020. Hence, they must have been born not earlier than 2nd January, 1990 and not later than 1st January, 1999. The upper age limit will be expandable up to 35 years if an existing government servant. Also, four times, the maximum allowed several attempts for the ESE exam that a general candidate can have. For an OBS candidate, it is seven times. And for an SC/ST candidate, it is nine times.

The list of departments which offers recruitment are as follows:

  • Ministry of Railways (Railway Board)
  • Ministry of Road Transport and Highways
  • Indian navy
  • Ministry of Defence, Department of Defence Production, Directorate General of Aeronautical Quality Assurance
    Geological Survey of India
  • Ministry of Jai Shakti, Department of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Central Water Commission
  • Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship
  • Central Electricity Authority
  • Military Engineering Services
  • Border Roads Organization
  • Ministry of Science and Technology, Department. of Science and Technology
  • Ministry of Communication, Department of Telecommunication
  • Central Public Words Department

You can also read our blog on How to prepare for UPSC Civil Services.


As an employee, you are always looking for job satisfaction. Where does this job satisfaction come from? This job satisfaction comes when you get something from the job, and you can also give something valuable in return. Doing a government job and serving the nation gives you that job satisfaction. As a government servant, you must be accountable for the people. Therefore you have to be honest and regular for the job.

There is no greater joy than working for your country. Hence, one should always try not to miss any chance to better the people. Jobs security, other perks, respect, and work environment are just the added advantage that one can get if you are even interested in giving these exams. Then take my advice and start preparing for it because there is no drawback to this but only advantages.

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