Is The UPSC Exam Tough? What Makes The UPSC Exam Tough?

Do you aspire to serve India as a civil servant? Do you want to become an IAS or IPS?

If yes, then you must be familiar with the UPSC civil services exam conducted by the Union Public Service Commission to recruit various civil services of the government of India.

UPSC is considered one of the toughest exams in India and worldwide. But what makes it challenging?

The prime reason is the limited number of seats in the Indian civil services and lakhs of aspirants appearing for the exam every year.

On average, approximately 10,00,000 students appear for the exam for 900 openings in Indian civil services. Out of which, barely 25% pass the prelims exam (1st stage of UPSC CSE). And the chances of becoming a civil service officer are around 0.2%.

Can you imagine? Such a low selection rate?

But, with a proper preparation strategy and the right guidance, the chances to crack the exam increase.

Want to measure the toughness of the UPSC CSE exam? Keep reading, and you’ll figure it out.

5 Reasons Why UPSC Exam is Tough

1. The UPSC Exam Process

The UPSC examination consists of three phases:

  • The Preliminary Examination (Objective type)
  • The Main Examination (Descriptive type)
  • The Personality Test (Interview)

Each phase has its unique challenges and requires rigorous preparation.

1st Phase (UPSC Prelims Exam)

It involves evaluating the candidate’s fundamental competencies.

2nd Phase (UPSC Mains Exam)

Evaluate the candidate’s multidimensional thinking and subject knowledge.

3rd & Final Phase (UPSC Interview)

Evaluate the candidate’s analytical capabilities for addressing real-world problems.

Preparing for these three stages requires careful planning and rigorous, disciplined action.

This isn’t yet. If you reach the final interview and cannot crack it, you’ve to start from zero, i.e., giving the UPSC Prelims exam next year.

2. The extensive UPSC syllabus

Some say the UPSC syllabus has everything under the sun. This is not the truth. UPSC syllabus is vast but comprehensive.

The IAS Syllabus is diverse and includes many facets. This means that UPSC aspirants need to be aware of current events happening worldwide to submit their replies to the IAS exam in a multidimensional manner.

The goal of studying the syllabus is to develop a multidimensional approach and an officer’s perspective on an issue or concept. This can be acquired by reading multiple books & newspapers to stay updated, and wisely making notes for UPSC exam.

3. Negative Marking

Negative marking is integral to the UPSC examination, further adding to its difficulty. For every incorrect answer, candidates are penalized by deducting a certain number of marks.

Giving negative marking eliminates the guesswork; hence, the aspirants must be accurate about their answers during the examinations.

This system discourages guesswork and emphasizes the importance of having accurate knowledge and applying careful reasoning while solving the tough questions of UPSC.

4. Time required for the preparation

The time invested in preparation is another element that determines how challenging the exam is. It takes about a year to prepare for the UPSC exam properly.

The extensive syllabus requires continuous revisions, revisions, and multiple revisions. Practicing mock tests and developing an officer’s conceptual understanding and mindset takes real thinking and focused efforts.

You should prioritize your routine by sacrificing leisure and sometimes social life. You will need to be motivated enough, be patient, and perform consistently to extend the preparation effectively.

5. Not choosing the right optional subject

Optional subjects come into the picture in the 2nd phase of the exam phase, where aspirants have to choose one optional subject out of 48.

Many aspirants make the wrong choices on optional subjects, leading to lower marks in the exam.

Choosing an optional scoring subject and studying it from India’s finest teachers is crucial for a UPSC Aspirant to crack the exam and become an IAS officer.

How can you deal with the toughness of the UPSC Exam?

How tough the UPSC exam is, is not a question if you know what you have to do to prepare yourself for the day. You might hear people talking about the endless syllabus, years of time, or the low selection rate.

All these are not the core reasons that make the exam challenging. The qualified aspirants agree that keeping up discipline and motivation throughout the preparation is the most difficult part of UPSC preparation.

Aspiring students should keep up the motivation knowing that although the syllabus is vast, it can be managed properly. They can watch motivational videos, civil services interviews, read quotes & books, Josh talks UPSC, etc.

  1. Prepare a study plan and stick to it.
  2. Manage your time efficiently to get more focused study time
  3. Have a comprehensive guide for the UPSC syllabus and focus on the proper
  4. Strike a balance between study time and breaks.
  5. Learn from failure of your own and of others.
  6. Seek mentorship and guidance from experienced UPSC aspirants.
  7. Stay updated with current affairs and develop your mind to have an unbiased take on things
  8. Stay motivated by knowing your passion for qualifying for the exam and achieving your dream.

If you go into the roots and speak with UPSC toppers and aspirants, you will realize that most serious and dedicated students clear UPSC exams with flying colors.

Deal with the preparation stage just like you would with other problems being an Administrative officer. You will feel the power to change and drive your life toward what you aspire to be.


Editorial Team of Mera Xaam.

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