UPSC SCRA Exam: Benefits, Tips, & Syllabus

UPSC SCRA Exam: Benefits, Tips, & Syllabus

UPSC SCRA stands for Union Public Service Commission’s Special Class Railway Apprentice Eligibility. It recruits teenagers as railway apprentices, across the country. Apprentices are people who enroll to learn something. Unlike the other exams conducted by UPSC, SCRA is not meant for direct recruitment. Rather, it first provides training in the field and then the job.

If you’re preparing for the UPSC SCRA exam, then this blog is quite useful for you. Here, you will get information about the benefits of SCRA, the syllabus, and tips to crack it. So, stay tuned here till the end!

Benefits of SCRA Exam

1.    A Paid Degree

UPSC SCRA exam is an important exam because it helps in attaining a government-funded graduation degree for which you are paid. Yes, you heard it right. Once a person has qualified for all the rounds of the exam, they get to do mechanical engineering at the Indian Railways Institute of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, Jamalpur. It is a four-year training program at the institute on completion of which a person shall be accorded the Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering as the course is recognized by the All India Council for Technical Education. Besides experiencing good learning at the IRIMEE, you also get to be educated at Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra, Ranchi.

Wondering why we called it a paid degree. That is because you get paid a monthly stipend for all the time that you are enrolled in the institute. For the first three years, students get a monthly allowance of Rs. 9100. During the first half of the final year, the stipend increased to Rs. 9400. Another Rs. 300 is added to the stipend of the people who make it to the second half final year taking the monthly stipend to Rs. 9700. Besides this, students also get some paid leaves and other allowances like medical allowance, etc. But to get all this and to qualify for the exam, you need to prepare UPSC SCRA notes and prepare hard.

2.    A Secured Job

UPSC is primarily a recruitment agency of the government of India. Hence, the sole aim behind the expenditure it is making on a selected individual is so that they can be recruited by the Indian Railways. Those who complete the four years of graduation get posted as Assistant Mechanical Engineers (AME) in the Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineers. It is a specialized job and that is the reason why people are trained in specialized skills besides the basic training that other mechanical engineers will also get. AME is a gazetted group ‘A’ officer, hence, a prestigious job to be in.

Having understood the importance of the exam, we shall now focus on some strategies to be successful in it.

The Syllabus

It is important to start with the syllabus and the pattern of the exam. It often tells a person volumes about the exam and the strategy that one needs to develop. The exam comprises two major sections, the written exam, and the personality test. The written exam comprises three papers that carry a total of 600 marks. Paper 1 is General Ability Test – English, General Knowledge and Psychological Test (also known as the mental ability test), paper 2 is Physical Science – Physics and Chemistry, and paper 3 is mathematics. Each exam runs for 2 hours for 200 maximum marks each.

Those who are deemed qualified after the written exam are then called for the personality test. It weighs another 200 marks and is the hallmark of UPSC exams. Those who qualify for this round are then called for the medical test. By no means, therefore, is it an easy exam. But if we adopt the correct strategy, it isn’t too difficult either.

Mathematics in classes 11 and 12 is a prerequisite for the candidates who wish to sit for the SCRA exam. Hence, you can’t just wake up one day and decide you wish to become an AME. Planning has to start at a ripe age. Hence, if you wish to sit in the exam or someone else you know, who might be interested in doing so, starting right after class 10 is the first step of the strategy. You also need 45% or second division in your class 12 or any other pre-engineering course that you have done to be eligible to write the exam.

Tips for Each Paper

  • The first step one should do is to own all the prescribed basic books for the exam. You can easily find a list on the Internet at multiple query platforms. You can also search for topic-specific resources if some topic gives you chills. You can’t miss out on a single thing as this exam is having more competition than the CSE.
  • The next step should be to brush up on the fundamentals of mathematics, physics, and chemistry from 10+2. The fundamentals will help you reach places if you do them correctly. NCERTs should be the place where you start and then you can refer to other advanced resources.
  • For general knowledge and current affairs, reading the newspaper is a must. Besides, subscribing to a magazine or a journal is also a good idea. The only thing to keep in mind is that you need to read what is relevant to the syllabus. Do not skip any information that relates to the Indian Railways.
  • Focussing on the English language and grammar is equally important. A daily practice of the same is the least one can do to be sure of scoring maximum marks in the section.


UPSC SCRA, hence, is a well-contested exam in the country. Only Indian citizens and subjects in Nepal and Bhutan can apply for the exam. One needs to be at least 17 years old to give the exam. The vacancies for the same are minimal, sometimes as low as 10. That is what makes the exam one of the most difficult exams in the country. But that is also the reason why it is one of the most reputed exams. Who would mind a paid graduation degree and a government job right after that?


  1. What is the minimum age to give the UPSC SCRA Exam?

17 years is the lower UPSC SCRA age limit.

  1. Will we get a direct job after SCRA?

No. First, an individual has to complete a graduate training program for 4 years before they get appointed as an AME.

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