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UPSC ESE 2020 Exam Analysis

Updated on 28 May 2021
Competitive Exams guide
7 min read 1 views
Updated on 28 May 2021

The UPSC conducts the Engineering Services Exam (ESE) once a year to provide various job opportunities to engineering graduates. The level of this exam is considered to be tough as it has a lot of demand. Before going into the actual ESE 2020 Exam Analysis, let’s understand the standard exam pattern. The exam is divided into three stages i.e. ESE Prelims, ESE Mains and Personality Test/Interview Round. 

The ESE Prelims

  1. The Prelims is divided into two papers i.e. Paper 1 and Paper 2. 
  2. Paper 1 consists of General Studies and Engineering Aptitude questions
  3. Paper 2 consists of Technical questions i.e. Civil/ Mechanical/ Electrical/ Electronics & Telecommunications.
  4. The mode of prelims exam is objective i.e. MCQ based.
  5. Paper 1 consists of a total 0f 100 questions for 200 marks and the duration of the paper is for 2 hours.
  6. Paper 2 consists of a total of 150 questions for 300 marks and the duration of the paper is for 3 hours
  7. For each wrong answer, ⅓ marks are deducted. 
  8. Candidates who clear the Prelims are only eligible to appear for the Mains Exam. 

The ESE Mains

  1. The ESE Mains is divided into two technical papers i.e. Paper 1 and Paper 2.
  2. Both the papers weigh 300 marks each i.e. 600 marks in total.
  3. The ESE Mains is a conventional type of exam.  
  4. Candidates have to attempt 5 questions out of 8 in both papers.
  5. The duration of paper 1 is 3 hours and Paper 2 is 3 hours.  
  6. There is no negative marking for the Mains Paper. 

Personality Test/Interview:

  1. Candidates who clear the Mains exam are eligible for this final round.
  2. The candidates are evaluated based on particular skills like Suitability for a specific job role, Mental alertness, managerial/leadership skills, etc. 

The Prelims exam was conducted on 5th January 2020 in two sessions for each paper. Paper 1 was held from 10 am to 12 pm. Whereas, Paper 2 was held from 2 pm to 5 pm

According to the students, Paper 1 was easy as compared to last year’s prelims paper. 

Below is the list of the number of questions asked and the level of questions according to the topics for Paper 1


No of Questions

Difficulty Level 

Current issues (national & International)



Engineering Aptitude



Engineering Mathematics



General Principles of Design, Drawing and Importance of Safety



Standards and Quality practices in production, construction & maintenance & services



Basics of Energy & Environment 



Basics of Project Management 



Basics of Material Science & technology 






Ethics & values in the engineering profession 



There were no specific questions asked this year from international issues in the current issues questions. The overall level of the exam was easy as stated by many students. 

The ESE 2020 Exam Analysis for Paper 2 is as follows

The questions asked in the exam were mostly calculative in nature. Note that, the ESE conducts exams only for four disciplines namely Civil, Mechanical, Electrical and Electronics & Telecommunications. Candidates appear for the particular stream for which they have applied. The level of Paper 2 is also considered to be easy as compared to last year’s paper. 

For Civil Engineering

Maximum Number of questions were asked from Strength Of Materials Topic (18 questions)

For Mechanical Engineering

Maximum Number of questions were asked from Fluid Mechanics Topic (21 questions)

For Electrical Engineering:

The maximum Number of questions asked here was from the Analog electronics topic (17 questions)

For Electronics & telecommunications Engineering:

Maximum number of questions were asked from Network Theory (20 questions)

The Mains Exam 2020 was supposed to happen in August 2020 which has been postponed according to the officials. 

The ESE 2020 Exam Analysis will help to gain an understanding of the exam pattern, the number of questions, importance/weightage of topics and level of the exam. It will also be helpful for candidates who are preparing for the ESE Exam next year i.e. 2021.

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