[Optionals Strategy] How to prepare for Civil Engineering – Paper 2

Firstly sincerest apologies for posting detailed strategy for Civil Engineering so late. I am no authority on Civil Engineering but due to requests from aspirants, I decided to go ahead. I freezed my optional subject almost year after my graduation. So it wasn’t easy as I didn’t have my notes (Well who makes notes in engineering 😛 ) but I knew I could do well since I had decent pointer during my graduation.

Let’s come to the point. 2014 was my first shot at CSE. And I had quite decent marks in CE (Paper I: 138, Paper II: 136)


Positives of Civil Engineering as optional:

  1. Assured marks if you’ve adequate command over the subject.
  2. You are already familiar with the subject unlike the strange humanities optionals 😛
  3. Once mastered, you can go on to get a good rank in subsequent attempts unlike humanities where scores fluctuate like Chinese share markets.
  4. Actually it’s good to have such optional as GS & Essay are subjective. Studying such subjective GS at stretch can be monotonous. So mix of CE & GS would be a wonderful combination

Negatives of Civil Engineering as optional

  1. Competition is very high mainly due to aspirants from reputed colleges.
  2. Syllabus is huge, like really really huge. Imagine remembering those eccentric formulae from Transportation Engineering & theory from Building construction at same breath.
  3. Also subjects are related to each other unlike other branches of Engineering. Survey, Soil Mechanics, SOM, Fluid Machines are exclusive sets, I believe.
  4. Time invested is much higher vis-à-vis other humanities optional


Civil Engineering Part II

  1. Construction, Construction Technology & CPM

Books: Building Construction by Arora & Bindra, CPM by UK Srivastava

Analysis: Questions are diverse & mostly predictable. Refer previous years’ IFoS & CSE papers & study accordingly. Prepare your own notes & it’ll help you revise faster. Questions from Engineering Economics are popping out of nowhere. UK Srivastava has covered it beautifully. Also I feel in this humongous theoretical section, one should study with photographic memory. Memorize diagrams & not data. Let the answers flow from your perfect diagrams.


  1. Surveying

Books: BC Punmia (Laxmi Publications)

Analysis: Please do Photogrammetry without fail. If you want to skip this topic you can, but do photogrammetry without fail. Remember basic things here like levelling & PT survey


  1. Railway Engineering

Books: Saxena & Arora (Dhanpat Rai publications)

Analysis: I did most of this part from NPTEL videos however I’d recommend NPTEL videos only for ‘Points & Crossings’ part of Rail Engineering. Questions are mostly simple & attemptable. However be ready for bouncers like 2014 CE questions.


  1. Highway Engineering

Books: Justo Khanna & NPTEL softcopies of same course.

Analysis: Since syllabus is huge, don’t spend much time on any particular section. Solve numericals from Justo Khanna. Do signal designs well.


  1. Hydrology

Books: SK Garg (Primary source), Ven-Te-Chow (optional)

Analysis: Over the years, direct questions on UH, no. of rainfall gauges have reduced. Focus is more on complicated topics as far as numerical are concerned.
However theory questions are much on the lines & predictable


  1. Irrigation Engineering

Books: SK Garg

Analysis: Syllabus is crisp & previous years’ questions can help immensely. Do theory well


  1. Environmental Engineering

Books: SK Garg

Analysis: This topic I feel needs most number of revision. There are less formulae so do them well. UPSC has knack of asking unconventional formulae from this topic (Eg. 2013 CE question on plume).


Common denominator of all topics of Paper-II

  1. Make notes & revise them multiple times
  2. Strictly follow the syllabus
  3. Keep an eye on previous years’ papers.
  4. Questions these days are a step ahead of what we generally study. I mean you’ll find questions in exam from mostly skipped topics.

(Give me 1-2 days to write strategy for P-I of Civil Engineering)

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By Abhijit Thorat

CSE 2014 - AIR 478 | First Attempt | Optional - Civil Engineering | NIT Nagpur - Batch 2012 | Indulgences? Reading, Blogging, Ghazals & engaging with CSOs| Blogs @ alphaqsecc.wordpress.com

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