UPSC Vs PCS: What Is Tougher?

By Ishika

22 February, 2024

Comparing the difficulty levels of the UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) and PCS (Provincial Civil Services) exams involves considering various factors such as syllabus coverage, competition, and administrative responsibilities. Both exams are prestigious and require rigorous preparation.


Here are four points to consider when evaluating which exam is tougher:

The UPSC exam has a broader and more extensive syllabus compared to PCS exams. UPSC covers subjects such as history, geography, polity, economy, science and technology, environment, and current affairs in depth, along with optional subjects. On the other hand, PCS exams may have a narrower focus, covering subjects relevant to the specific state or region. The comprehensive nature of the UPSC syllabus often makes it more challenging to cover and master all the topics.

1. Syllabus and Coverage:

2. Competition and Selection Ratio:

The UPSC exam attracts a significantly higher number of aspirants from across the country due to its national-level recruitment and prestigious administrative services such as the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), and Indian Foreign Service (IFS). The competition for UPSC is intense, with a low selection ratio compared to PCS exams, which may have a relatively higher selection ratio depending on the state or region. The sheer volume of aspirants and limited number of vacancies make UPSC exams highly competitive and demanding.

While both UPSC and PCS exams lead to administrative positions, the scope and nature of administrative responsibilities may differ. UPSC recruits candidates for various central government services, including civil services, whereas PCS exams are conducted by state governments for administrative positions within the respective states. The administrative roles and responsibilities associated with UPSC services, such as IAS and IPS, often entail broader jurisdiction and greater public scrutiny, which may add to the pressure and complexity of the job.

3. Administrative Responsibilities:

4. Exam Format and Difficulty Level:

The format and difficulty level of UPSC and PCS exams may vary slightly, with UPSC exams typically featuring a three-stage selection process (Prelims, Mains, and Interview) and PCS exams varying by state or region. UPSC exams are known for their challenging questions, analytical reasoning, and comprehensive coverage of subjects, requiring aspirants to demonstrate a deep understanding and critical thinking skills. PCS exams may have a similar format but may focus more on state-specific knowledge and local governance issues.

Both UPSC and PCS exams are challenging in their own right, with unique characteristics and requirements. While UPSC exams have a broader syllabus, intense competition, and prestigious administrative services, PCS exams may offer a more focused approach and higher selection ratios depending on the state or region. Ultimately, the perceived difficulty of each exam may vary depending on individual preferences, strengths, and career aspirations.