Why is UPSC CSE the Toughest Exam?

by Vajiram & Ravi


05:54 AM

The UPSC exam is one of the toughest exams in India. The first hurdle to becoming an IAS officer is the UPSC Prelims, which is a difficult exam that is taken by lakhs of candidates. Only a small number of candidates with great determination are eligible to take the Mains exam. Candidates who score exceptionally well in the Mains exam are called for the final interview round.

Only a few hundred candidates out of lakhs of candidates are recruited into the Indian civil services after clearing the personality test. However, it is important for aspirants to understand that the UPSC exam can be cleared with patience, honesty and determination.

Clearing the UPSC exam is not impossible. With the right strategy and hard work, anyone can crack this exam. You do not need to be a college topper to become an IAS officer. Many people with average academic records have cleared the UPSC exam.

Is the UPSC Exam Tough?

The UPSC Civil Services Examination is not just an exam; it's a journey that tests a candidate's intellect, perseverance, and determination. The vast syllabus, intense competition, multiple stages, evolving nature, and subjective evaluation all contribute to its reputation as one of the toughest exams in the world.

Despite the immense challenges, those who succeed in the UPSC CSE not only join the prestigious Indian Administrative Service but also become catalysts for change and progress in the nation. The journey to becoming a civil servant is undoubtedly tough, but it's also immensely rewarding, as it opens doors to a career dedicated to public service and the betterment of society.

5 Reasons Why the UPSC Exam is Difficult

The UPSC Civil Services Examination is renowned for its prestige, complexity, and rigorous selection process. As one of the most sought-after competitive exams in India, the UPSC CSE tests candidates on a wide array of subjects, making it a true intellectual marathon. Here are 7 Reasons why the UPSC Civil Services Examination is considered one of the toughest Exam:

  • Vast Syllabus: One of the primary reasons for the UPSC CSE's reputation as the toughest exam is its expansive syllabus. The exam covers a multitude of subjects, including history, geography, polity, economy, science, technology, and current affairs. Aspirants are expected to possess a deep understanding of these topics, making it a daunting task to prepare comprehensively.
  • Competitive Nature: Each year, thousands of highly educated and motivated aspirants compete for a limited number of vacancies. The intense competition means that aspirants need to consistently outperform their peers to secure a coveted position in the civil services. This competition elevates the exam's difficulty level as even the slightest mistake can be the difference between success and failure.
  • Multiple Stages: The UPSC CSE comprises three stages: the Preliminary Examination, the Main Examination, and the Personality Test. Each stage has its unique challenges and demands. The Main Examination, in particular, involves subjective essay writing, which tests an aspirant's analytical and expression skills.
  • Evolving Nature: The UPSC is known for evolving its examination pattern, making it unpredictable. The inclusion of new topics, changing question formats, and the dynamic nature of current affairs necessitate aspirants to adapt continuously and stay updated.
  • Long Duration: The preparation journey for UPSC CSE is a marathon, often taking a year. Aspirants need to consistently study and stay focused over an extended period. The demanding schedule can take a toll on an individual's physical and mental well-being.
  • Critical Thinking: UPSC CSE doesn't merely test rote memorization; it assesses an aspirant's ability to think critically, analyze situations, and offer practical solutions. The exam seeks out aspirants who can make informed decisions in high-pressure situations.
  • Subjective Evaluation: Unlike many other competitive exams, the UPSC CSE involves subjective evaluation of the answers. This makes the evaluation process more comprehensive and dependent on an individual examiner's judgment, increasing the overall difficulty.


Is UPSC harder than IIT? 

The difficulty of the UPSC CSE and IIT entrance exams is subjective and depends on individual strengths and interests. However, UPSC CSE is often considered harder due to its vast syllabus, subjective nature, and the need for a deep understanding of diverse subjects, including current affairs.

Is UPSC tough for average students?

UPSC can be challenging for average students due to its extensive syllabus and high competition. However, with dedicated preparation, consistent effort, and the right strategy, even average students can excel in UPSC by focusing on building a strong foundation in key subjects, improving analytical skills, and staying updated with current affairs. Success in UPSC depends on determination and effective study methods rather than innate intelligence alone.

Is UPSC the hardest exam?

The UPSC Civil Services Examination is widely considered one of the toughest competitive exams in India and globally due to its extensive syllabus, subjective evaluation, unpredictable question patterns, high competition, and the need for a deep understanding of diverse subjects, including current affairs.