UPSC, JEE Main, NEET, NDA or CDS! Which is The Toughest Exam of India?

In India, various competitive exams like UPSC Civil Services, National Defence Services (NDA), UPSC CDS, NEET, JEE etc are conducted every year at various levels of the student’s life. While NEET and JEE are conducted after school level, NDA, IBPS, SSC, UPSC CSE etc are conducted for providing jobs in various Government sectors. In all these UPSC Civil Services Exam is considered the toughest of all. Know the reason why and what makes UPSC so different and tougher from other exams. 

Although exams like JEE and NEET are considered at a higher level than the normal student of class 12th can attempt but they still cannot be considered the toughest due to a limited syllabus and the kind of consequences of the exam- Getting admission in a college to become a doctor or an engineer. However, UPSC Exam has a different angle altogether. These land you into administrative services in an Indian city/ town or geographical location.  

Many people consider the IAS exam the toughest exam. This is because there is a very low passing rate. The exam requires an extreme level of preparation and struggle. Take a look below at the reasons for UPSC CSE being considered the toughest exam in India.

  • Long Overhauling Syllabus: UPSC Civil Services Exam has the longest syllabus of all the exams. The Prelims overall covers everything from Current Affairs to Art and Culture, History, Geography, Science, Maths, English etc. The candidates who appear for the exam must be all prepared with these subjects to attempt it. The length of the syllabus is extremely overwhelming.
  • Number of Attempts: Any exam is made tougher by making it unachievable after a certain age. The same is the case with UPSC. General category students have just 6 attempts for the exam before they become 32 years of age. The other categories have 2-4 extra attempts and years for the same. However, seeing the syllabus and the candidates appearing for the exam, one cannot say these attempts are enough. 
  • Candidates vs Posts: This is a very small ratio in the case of UPSC Exams. Lakhs of candidates appear for less than 1000 posts across the country out of which the top 200 only get the Grade A service posts. The candidates are many and out of those, the competition is also heavy. However, the posts are so less that people find it difficult to achieve. 
  • Number of Exams: There is a total of 3 exams that one has to pass to become an IAS officer in India. The first one is UPSC CSE Prelims- after passing of which one gets to appear for UPSC CSE Mains and after clearing that the candidate gets to appear for UPSC CSE Personality Test or Interview. All three exams have equal difficulty levels and are attempted by very qualified aspirants. 
  • Uncertainty: Not a single person can say wholeheartedly that he/she would clear UPSC Exam in one year. It is just not possible. Consistency is the key to UPSC. While many qualified and deserving candidates are left behind, those who have been consistent are the ones who qualify in one attempt. People flunk their papers in the successive exams even after passing Prelims with flying colours. Moreover, failing even one of the exams, one has to re-prepare for the next year. There is no middle ground.

Aspirants who wish to appear for UPSC CSE sometimes fail as no proper resources are available to them. However, it has been seen in recent years that people have developed a great interest in these services and prepare from their childhood for the same. The example of the Dabi sisters is supportive enough for this condition. 

So one may say that UPSC CSE is the toughest exam in the country, but what comes next is even tougher. Thus to prepare the candidates for such rigorous services, one has to go through a thin filter/ mesh which is called UPSC Civil Services Exam.

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