Cassian Baliarsingh

Industrialist Anand Mahindra, known for his witty and engaging presence on X (Twitter), has once again sparked a debate online on whether UPSC is tougher than IIT JEE. After being impressed with Vikrant Massey’s 12th Fail, Anand Mahindra was curious to know what is the toughest exam in India.

The movie inspired him to seek more details about how aspirants prepare for the exam and how difficult it is to clear it. Later, he understood that UPSC was way tougher than IIT JEE after being enlightened by an IIT graduate who had also taken the UPSC exams.

Sharing the story on UPSC, Anand Mahindra wrote, “After watching #12thFail I checked around and spoke to a number of young people about the relative difficulty of our entrance exams. One of them was a graduate of IIT who was involved in a business startup but who has also taken the UPSC exam. He stated emphatically that UPSC is much tougher than the IIT JEE. I wonder if this is a commonly held perception, in which case this ranking needs to change!”

His tweet has triggered the discussion with several responses coming from different social media users.

An X user shared, “The exam itself is not tough but it has 3 stages and every graduate can take it which makes the competition very tough. One small mistake and you are out of the race. But if difficulty level of question papers is compared, of course, JEE is much more tough.”

“One of my relatives cleared IIT in first attempt and cracked UPSC in 4th attempt. He always says that UPSC is the "mother of all exams",” commented another user.

A third user wrote, “It’s a misconception of Indians. UPSC is not tougher than JEE it’s more competitive. JEE have questions which many PhD holders can’t solve in a time constraint.”

“It is not a perception, but a reality – in the UPSC civil services, examination, the best of all the streams including IIT/IIM, and all other disciplines of art and science combine together – including brilliant medical graduates. Hence, the competition is tougher—number of seats far fewer,” another user wrote.