Electrical Engineering Strategy for CSE Mains

Electrical Engineering Strategy- by Neelabh Saxena, Aman Mittal, Anunaya Jha

For Electrical Engineering, Prakash Rajpurohit Sir’s (AIR-2 in CSE-2009) blog has all the relevant information.

Following is the link.



With additional inputs from my side I am also writing the strategy I followed in my preparation.

  • Theory and numericals both are scoring. Attempt theory as well if you are stuck in numericals i.e. not able to solve them or having paucity of time in completing the question paper. Just give small examples in your theory answers say a small RC circuit or any gate to emphasize your point made in theory.
  • But one needs to understand that Electrical Engineering requires a lot of effort. The syllabus is vast and many books need to be prepared for the completion of the course. However, the needs of UPSC Civil Services Exam are not very stringent and only basic knowledge of the topics mentioned in the syllabus will be sufficient to score well in this examination.
  • At the beginning, I would strongly suggest the aspirants to go through the papers of previous years and ascertain the level of difficulty for themselves. It would be useful if the aspirants actually try an attempt one of the papers to see their comfort level with the topics they may have already covered in the college. It is not necessary that you may have excellent grades in the college, but a general interest in the subject is necessary to overcome the rigors of the syllabus over the period of preparation.
  • In my personal opinion, the optional papers of electrical engineering are similar over a period of time. The questions are generally similar, with many repetitions over a period of time. The papers of the last 10 years are a pointer to the same.
  • Another point of note is that UPSC will never tend to ask extremely difficult or out of course questions. This makes this optional more predictable with a higher probability of scoring in the upper spectrum.
  • The most important thing is the use of internet for the course. There are many topics which seem extremely difficult and have not been done in college graduation, especially those in digital communication, coding theory etc. For this, I would advise the use of electrical lectures available at NPTEL. For communications part, I used to refer to the site http://www.radio-electronics.com. Another useful site for electrical engineering is the http://www.electrical4u.com .
  • Given the nature of the exam, I strongly suggest to all the aspirants to at least cover the syllabus once, and prepare the previous year’s papers even if the detailed strategy as provided later is not doable.
  • The solutions for the previous years ESE papers is also a useful asset for the aspirants as it covers almost the entire spectrum of the course.
  • The book list given below is not the only source. Try to cover the subjects from books you have studied in your college and keep these books as reference only.


  • Circuit theory, signals and systems, digital electronics, EM theory, Analog communication are easy to cover and scoring as well. You should try to cover all topics in these subjects. Start your preparation with these subjects if you are an Electronics and Communication Engineer like me.
  • Circuit theory should be conceptually very clear. Don’t get confused by the circuit conventions of different books, stick to your conventions and answer will always be the same. The fundamentals of solving a circuit are very relevant in other subjects like analog electronics, EMT, Analog communication, machines. So be thorough with this subject to do well in numericals.
  • Analog electronics will require conceptual clarity. Millman Halkias is a very good book but time taking. Go for it if you have sufficient time in hand. Cover op-amps from Gaekwad. For basic electronics i.e PN junction and diodes Streetman is very good….read it selectively according to the syllabus.
  • Since the paper is of EE, questions from ECE stream are relatively easy.
  • Electrical Machines- go in depth if you are a core EE. Ashfaq Hussain is a good book. Even for ECE and other background students cover the theory portion, graphs, derivations and basic numericals.
  • Power electronics- cover topics from bhimbra as given in detail below.

Paper 2…

  • Whether you are from EE or any other stream…this paper requires power system and power system protection to be covered in detail. Finish off these subjects at the earliest as they are time taking.
  • For power system Ashfaq Hussain is a good book. Cover it for entire syllabus. Refer Wadhwa if you don’t understand any topic from this book. Cover all derivations as they may be repeated in 2-3 years.
  • Power system protection- TMH book Badriram Vishwakarma is good. Read it properly.
  • Control systems, Measurement are very scoring…practice control questions for last 10 years from IAS/IES papers. Do all bridges and their derivations properly from Sawney selectively sticking to the syllabus. Practice oscilloscope and digital instruments block diagrams.
  • Microprocessor- for 8085 and its peripheral devices do from Gaonkar. Cover it completely.

In 2-3 years questions from 8086 can be asked. DV Hall is a good book or you can read 8086 from any research paper/journal online. But cover 8085 properly.

  • Digital Communication- cover theory and derivations. If numericals come- either they are very easy that can be solved by your theory knowledge else they can’t be solved so no need to go after numericals.

Reproducing Prakash Rajpurohit sir’s blog with my inputs :-

Electrical Engg Strategy

Paper – I

  1. Circuit Theory: In this topic one should be fast in solving problems. Best way to gain speed is to practice regularly from IES papers of both electrical and electronics. Do questions from single IES paper (there are 3-6 questions every year) within time limit.
  2. Signals and systems: Here also speed is important. It is better to make a formula sheet and revise it regularly. For DFT/FFT, refer to Oppenheim’s book on DSP.
  3. M. Theory:Read chapter 6(till 6.29), 7 and 8 from K.D. Prasad. For Smith chart and impedance matching refer Jordan & Balmain. Make the list of formulas and practice all the derivations.Can also go for IES coaching notes for theory.
  4. Analog Electronics: Diode, Transistors and Amplifiers can be done from any book. Topics that are to be covered from JB Gupta or Gaekwad are: Oscillators, Op Amp, Wave shaping circuits, Multivibrators, Waveform Generators and Power supplies.
  5. Digital Electronics: Mano is sufficient for the part of syllabus which it covers. For topic left like Timer (look at chapter on 555 IC Timer), Comparator, S&H circuit refer to JB Gupta.
  6. Energy Conversion: Try to cover everything given in the syllabus from Ashfaq Hussain and make good command over all the numerical given in the book. It covers topic from IES point of view. Do all the questions asked in the IES exams thoroughly.
  7. Power Electronics and Electric Drives: Topics to be covered are Chapter 2(characteristics of diode, BJT, MOSFET, IGBT), chapter 4-Thyrister(complete), chapter 5 – Thyrister commutation techniques (complete), chapter 6 –Phase controlled rectifiers(Leave dual converters), chapter 7- Choppers(Leave Thyrister Chopper circuits and multiphase choppers) , chapter 8 –Inverters(Leave force-commutated thyrister inverters, current source and series inverters) and chapter 12-electric drives(complete). Cover all the derivations (like deriving expressions for particular type of rectifier or inverter) as well as working of circuits.
  8. Analog Communication: Cover chapter 4(AM) and Chapter 5(on FM and PM) from BP Lathi. Random process(chapter 1) can be covered from Haykin. And Noise(chapter 4) can be covered from Singh and Sapre. Also cover AM AND FM practical modulation and demodulation circuits from Singh and Sapre.

Paper II

  1. Control Systems: Nagrath and Gopal is sufficient for all the topics. Practice from previous year IES and CSE papers.
  2. Microprocessors and Microcomputers: Cover chapters 1 to7 and 9, and parts of chapter 8 and 10(from which questions has been asked in IES exams), In peripherals cover 12, 14, 15, 16 (Focus more on whatever has been asked in IES papers).
  3. Measurement and Instrumentation: Cover all the instruments given in the syllabus thoroughly from the Sawhney. Here also guide will be IES questions.
  4. Power Systems: I did this topic from Nagrath and Kothari as I already had covered the book in graduation. Practice solved examples of both Wadhwa and this book. Or go for Ashfaq Hussain or any book you had in your graduation.
  5. Power System Protection: Chapters of Protective relays and circuit breakers (from Wadhwa) cover large part of the syllabus in much better way. For microprocessor based relays refer to TMH book.
  6. Digital Communication: For PCM, DPCM, DM refer to chapter 6 of Lathi. ASK, PSK and FSK are covered much better in Haykin. Information theory and codes can be covered from either of them. Chapter 1 and 2 of Forouzan are to be covered for data networks and 7 layered architecture.

Electrical Engineering(Mains) Booklist

Paper I

  1. Circuit Theory:A. Chakrabarti(Dhanpat Rai).
  2. Signals and systems:Oppenheim and Willsky. For DFT/FFT, refer toOppenheim’s book on DSP. For better coverage of z-transform, refer any Indian author.(I had Sanjay Sharma’s book)
  3. E.M. Theory:K.D. Prasad. For Smith chart and other minor topics left refer Jordan & Balmain.
  4. Analog Electronics:J.B. Gupta. For topics like feedback amplifiers and any other topics not covered well in that book refer Sedra & Smith.Or Millman Halkias, Gaekwad, Streetman.
  5. Digital Electronics:M.Morris Mano, RP Jain
  6. Energy Conversion:Ashfaq Hussain. For topics not covered in detail referFitzgerald.
  7. Power Electronics and Electric Drives:PS Bhimbra
  8. Analog Communication:(a)Simon Haykin (b) BP Lathi (c) Singh and Sapre(TMH)

Paper II

  1. Control Systems:Nagrath & Gopal
  2. Microprocessors and Microcomputers:RS Gaonkar
  3. Measurement and Instrumentation:AK Sawhney
  4. Power Systems:(a)Nagrath and Kothari (b) CL Wadhwa or (c)Ashfaq Hussain
  5. Power System Protection:(a)CL Wadhwa(only chapters of  psp, circuit breaker)  (b) Badriram &Vishwakarma
  6. Digital Communication:Same as Analog Communication. For Data Networks and 7-layered architecture I referredForouzan(TMH).

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