Mechanical Engineering Optional UPSC: Strategy, Booklist, Notes, Answer

Mechanical Engineering optional UPSC Startegy Booklist and Topper AnswersMany UPSC Aspirants with Mechanical Engineering background ask how is mechanical engineering optional for UPSC. Here I will discuss strategy for mechanical engineering optional which is very high scoring if prepared properly. I have also given topper’s answers to previous year questions of mechanical engineering optional by me and Vivek Kumar, IAS


UPSC Mechanical Engineering Optional Strategy

I did classes for GATE from Made Easy. So, I made class notes as the base, and further kept adding topics from varied sources as per CSE syllabus. For numerical practice, me and my friend Vivek solved the previous year questions separately, and then compared and discussed our solutions.

Some suggestions for Mechanical Engineering Optional:

  • Make previous year questions as your guiding compass. Identify and prioritise the favourite topics of UPSC. (Solutions for previous year questions are now available in the market)
  • Don’t leave any topic of syllabus untouched. Cover at least the basics of all the topics
  • Prepare short notes of formulae and other facts, figures and diagrams for last minute revisions. It gives immense confidence just before the exam
  • Revise syllabus and questions as many times as you can
  • Practice solving papers in time bound manner
  • Question selection is important. For instance, in a question, if choice is given, sometimes one of those choices can be solved in 5 minutes, whereas the other choice may take 15 minutes to solve. So, try to develop a judgement for question types during practice itself. It’ll help you in exam in time management and not getting stuck in difficult questions
  • Avoid silly mistakes in numericals. Find right balance between speed and efficiency. For instance, I tried to maximise my attempt, but without making silly mistakes. So I attempted 425/500

Topic wise sources for Mechanical Engineering Optional


Mechanics: Made Easy notes

Engineering Materials: Made Easy Material science notes (by Swadesh Singh Sir) + Callister’s Materials Science and Engineering (for plastics, ceramics, composites and nano materials)

Theory of Machines: Made Easy notes + some reference to Theory of Machines by Rattan

Manufacturing Process: Made Easy notes (Mondal sir’s slides + Swadesh Singh Sir’s notes)

Manufacturing management: Made Easy notes + Mahajan (for theory portion eg factory location, plant layout, JIT, TPS, TQM, PMTS etc) + Internet


Thermodynamics, Gas Dynamics and Turbine: Made Easy notes + internet (for compressible flows, shocks and some previous year problems) + Munson and Douglas (wherever conceptual clarity needed)

Heat Transfer: Made Easy notes + internet (for laplace, poisson equations; reynolds and prandtl analogy)

IC Engines: Ganesan (for combustion chambers, fuels, additives, lubricants, alternate fuels, cooling, heat balance sheet etc) + Made Easy notes

Steam Engineering: Made Easy notes + P K Nag (for draught system) + internet (for governing, combined cycle, HRSG )

RAC: Made Easy notes + C P Arora (for expansion devices, simple duct design, air conditioning load calculation)

Vivek Kumar’s book list here and Youtube talk on detailed strategy here

Raveesh Gupta’s book list and detailed strategy for self-preparation here.CSE 2016 Mechanical optional topper followed this blog whole-heartedly and got 345/500

Akshay Tripathi Mechanical Short Notes here

Taranjot Singh Mechanical Short Notes for GATE, IES & CSE here. (The quality isn’t upto the mark; I’ll get them re-scanned and re-uploaded in a few days)

Click for Topicwise solution of Mechanical Engineering Optional Previous Year Questions by IAS Topper Taranjot Singh.

Click for Topicwise solution of Mechanical Engineering Optional Previous Year Questions by IAS Topper Vivek Kumar.

READ: International Relations Lessons for GS Paper 2

13 thoughts on “Mechanical Engineering Optional UPSC: Strategy, Booklist, Notes, Answer”

  1. Rajnish mishra

    I am eagerly waiting for the solution of previous year mechanical engineering cse by taronjot sir….Please upload soon….Thank you…

  2. why not form a google or whats app group for all people opting mechanical as optional as there is very less resource material available for it?
    my number 7696210998

  3. SSA sir and Thank You for the detailed strategy and notes.
    My Queries Are :

    1. Do we get step marking if in case our numerical answer goes wrong. (E.g. like 70% of allotted marks for wrong answer but correct steps) ?

    2. In numericals that are direct formulae based, do we need to derive it also(or directly use it)?

  4. Namaste sir, i have decided to take mechanical engineering as my optional but i too feel little fear about the subject.But i have decided myself to go with the mechanical,pls give me some tips & tricks ,thank you sir

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