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UPSC or SSC: Best Competitive Examination to Prepare after 10+12

UPSC or SSC which one should you go for After Graduation or Post Graduation?

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Usually, the youth of India choose to opt for Government Job because of the career stability, job security, excellent pay, regular promotion, prestige and status. It is easily one of the most rewarding jobs in India and most sort after as well. Not only that the patriotic feeling which comes from serving your country, playing a role in its grown and contributing to its administration adds to the loss of government jobs. There are a lot of ways through which you can get a government job. The most popular way is the IAS or Civil Service Exams or through SSC Exams.

But which one should you go for after your schooling is over? That’s the question everyone interested in civil service asks themselves. Questions like: ‘can we prepare for both of them? Which one should I do first if not?’ haunt them, turning their dreams into nightmares. This article has got you covered so fear not.

UPSC stands for Union Public Service Commission. It is a central agency authorised to conduct the Civil Service Examination, Combined Defense Service Examination, National Defense Examination, Naval Academy Examination and Combined Medical Services Examination. The agency’s charter is granted by the Constitution of India’s articles 315 to 323 of part XIV titled: Services Under the Union and States.

SSC stands for Staff Selection Commission. The main responsibility of the Staff Selection Commission is to recruit people to Group C (Non-technical) and Group B (non-gazette, that is, both technical and technical) posts in the department of Government of India and its attached and subordinate offices. Except those for which the recruitment is to be made by the Railway Recruitment Board and Industrial Establishment.

The Staff Selection Commission is also assigned the task of conduction Departmental Examination for:

  1. Promotion from Group D to LDC Grade
  2. Promotion from LDC to UDC Grade
  3. Promotion from Stenographers Grade D to Stenographer Grade C besides holding Periodical Typewriting Tests in English and Hindi.

They have a nationwide network of nine regional and sub-regional offices located in Allahabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Guwahati, Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi and Sub-regional offices located in Chandigarh and Raipur. The main question which might formulate in your brain is if SSC can compensate for IAS exams? There is no definite answer as the question in and of itself is subjective. The answer depends on the candidate and their vision for their future career growth within the administrative machinery. Both of these exams are meant to hire candidates for a government job, but the role, responsibilities and powers attached to them are entirely different.

Civil Service exams are aimed at finding the best among the best candidates for the highest position in the government bureaucracy. They are in charge of framing and implementing the government’s policies and of course, development of the nation.

SSC is aimed at hiring candidates to be a part of the government machinery. They help by contributing to the general administrative work as well as the day to day operation of the department and ministry.

The screening process for both of them is also a lot different. IAS exams tend to be much more difficult and extensive in matter and competition as compared to SSC. Here is the syllabus for you to compare.

In SSC CGL, every section consists of 25 questions, each of them carrying two marks. The duration of the Tier-1 exam is 75 minutes. The total marks of the paper are 200.

The paper is usually divided into four sections:

  1. General Intelligence and Reasoning
  2. General Awareness
  3. Quantitative Aptitude
  4. English Comprehension

On the other hand, UPSC Prelims consist of two papers: Paper one and Paper Two. The portion of Paper one consists of:

  1. Current Event of National and International Importance
  2. History of India
  3. History of Indian National Movement
  4. Indian and World Geography-Physical, Social and Economic Geography of India and the World
  5. Indian Policy and Governance- Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues etc.
  6. Economic and Social Development- Sustainable development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives etc.
  7. General Issues on Environmental Ecology, Biodiversity and Climate Change that do not require subject specialisation
  8. General Science

Paper two is full of aptitude reasoning questions.

  1. Comprehension
  2. Interpersonal Skills including Communication skills
  3. Logical Reasoning
  4. Analytical Ability
  5. Decision Making
  6. Problem Solving
  7. General Mental Ability
  8. Basic Numeracy of Class X level (numbers and their relations, the order of magnitude etc.)
  9. Data Interpretation of Class X level (charts, graph, table, data sufficiency)
  10. English Language Comprehension Skills of Class X level
  11. Questions related to English Language Comprehension Skill of Class C level. You will be given English language passages without Hindi translation.

If the syllabus is taken into account, it would not be wrong to say that UPSC is the tougher or at least lengthier of the two.
The Civil Service Exams are aimed to hire candidates from Group A and Group B, which is higher and therefore has much attractive higher pay scale and position. SSC is aimed to hire people for Group B post and Group C, which is as you might have guessed, lower, in comparison to UPSC and hence, has less pay and lower position.

Those aspirants who have exhausted their number of attempts and failed to clear UPSC might choose to opt for SSC as an alternative. For the sake of argument, let us look at life after SSC.

An SSC excise or Income Tax Inspector (SSC CGL Post) and an IRS Officer (UPSC Post). The Income Tax Inspector takes almost 15 plus years to reach the level where the IRS Officer started his career. An Excise Inspector may become an Assistant Commissioner while the IRS, like in the example above, directly becomes that Assistant Commissioner. In case someone who cleared SSC joined MEA, it will take 15 to 20 years for him to reach the same level as the IFS.

There is also a stigma related to being promoted to IFS rank or IRS rank. There is not much respect earned as compared to when you become IFS or IRS through UPSC. One might just find themselves on the receiving end of annoying quips. A person younger than you, who cleared UPSC just recently, might just end up being your boss. This could be frustrating to working hard you.

The lack of authority or decision making is one of the key characteristics of clerical type job, whereas, in UPSC, you are the administrator. As an IAS posted as District Manager, one can make policies which will affect the whole district. The authority is desirable.

Let us now focus on a person’s particular interest or leaning. For people who like or are good in math, SSC might be an attractive prospect. While for those who do not find math attractive but are stimulated by English, they can go for UPSC. Visual readers can go for SSC, whereas those more comfortable with repetitive reading and analysis can choose to go for UPSC.

SSC is excellent for you to start with. Since then you will get an idea about the general studies and get a picture on how to prepare for UPSC. Rest aptitude, reasoning and English will eventually help you in CSAT. You will also develop the habit of reading or going through newspapers daily as well as thoroughly. This will create a strong base for general studies. Thus, helping you grasp the theory.

Once you crack SSC CGK, you will be more confident in your ability. SSC CGL can be described as mini UPSC. Sort of like a practice match before the real match occurs. Upon noticing the struggle required to crack all of these exams, you will get a general idea on how to prepare further.

At the same SSC CGL as the ability to give you a stable job in the Central Government. It comes with a good reputation as well. Hence, from here, you can derive some experience.

You can also prepare for UPSC and SSC simultaneously.

  1. Identify your strength and weaknesses. Develop your strength and work on your weaknesses. Do not run from your weaknesses. Try, try and try again until it becomes your strength. At the same time, do not forget your strength. They will be the driving force behind your success.
  2. Do practice questions. Search for previous year questions. Practice these. If you get any question wrong, try to find out where you went wrong and re-do it.
  3. YouTube videos by We Focus Classes and Online Guruji will be of colossal aid for a Civil Service aspirant. You can search for more channels on YouTube or online. There are many online and offline classes available to make your dream a reality.
  4. Create an exam schedule. It can be weekly, monthly or daily. Weekly is preferred, though. Jot down any critical or upcoming dates. Fill in your study time accordingly. Set achievable goals in comparison to ideal goals.
  5. Remain calm. Yoga is an excellent method to stay calm. Invest some time to meditate and exercise. Eat healthy, as well.
  6. Discover which topics are essential. Focus more on them.
  7. Find common links between both of the civil service exams. Sort them by importance and strength. Do them first before going on to others.