What Helps Engineers Crack the IAS Exam?

In the question hour session in the Rajya Sabha, Union minister Jitendra Singh said that nearly half the number of candidates who clear the UPSC civil services exam are engineers and they do so by choosing humanities subjects like sociology and public administration as their optional.

This is a growing trend seen in the exam. Although the educational eligibility to appear for the UPSC exam is the only graduation, a huge number of engineers appear for the exam and taste success. And, as per statistics, most of the engineering candidates refrain from taking up engineering subjects as their optional. They opt for humanities subjects instead. What makes engineers successful in the IAS exam? Read on for more insights.

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What helps engineers crack the IAS exam?

The number of engineers has gone up in the ensuing years. Engineering colleges have mushroomed in every nook and corner and every year, a large number of engineers are churned out by them. The civil service provides a good, stable career option for these youngsters. The introduction of the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) in the UPSC prelims exam has also led to a surge in the number of successful engineer-candidates in the IAS exam.

The CSAT was introduced in 2011 and there was a backlash from many IAS aspirants citing the new pattern to be advantageous to candidates with a technical degree. In response to the strong reaction, the commission made the CSAT qualifying for eligibility to the mains exam. The CSAT includes questions on mathematical ability, analytical ability, reasoning, English comprehension, etc. Engineers, with their science backgrounds, generally find the CSAT easy as compared to humanities graduates (although there are exceptions).

Another reason the number of engineering graduates is on the rise is the sheer large number of engineers in the country. A lack of suitable employment opportunities causes a natural drift among youngsters towards other professions including the civil service. Also, there are many people in the country who think otherwise. They set their sights on the civil services but get an engineering degree anyway as a safety net. Due to the unpredictable nature of the IAS exam, people prefer to have a backup plan in case their IAS dream doesn’t come to fruition. On a lighter note, it is said that India is a country where people first become engineers and then figure out what they want to become!


Engineers also have an advantage over the humanities candidates in that they have the option of choosing a wider variety of subjects as their optional. They can either stick to their engineering subjects or other science subjects like Maths or Physics. They can also opt for humanities subjects like history, sociology, public administration, political science or geography. The humanities candidates, however, can only select from among the humanities optional subjects.

Additionally, engineering graduates more often than not, have previous experience in writing competitive examinations. Many of them would have gone through the rigours of taking exams like the IIT-JEE, BITSAT, etc. All this is a valuable experience even if the content of the exams are different from the civil services.

For more UPSC related preparation materials and articles, visit the links given in the table below. You can find more topics by visiting the UPSC Syllabus page:

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