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How to Prepare for UPSC IAS interview

  • Categories
    Interview
  • Published
    21st Jul, 2021

Civil services ‘personality test’, also commonly known as ‘interview’ is the final and most crucial phase of Civil Services Exam. This phase is regarded as the most vital as Marks in this may result in amongst the top rank or may evict you out of the race, no matter how good you have been performing till now. The marks obtained in this phase can also decide your rank in the exam and thus service of your choice. UPSC IAS interview is the least prepared of allbut if rightly managed it can be a most rewarding experience. It is the last hurdle, still quite a significant one.

Understanding the Nature of UPSC IAS interview:

The ultimate objective of personality test or UPSC IAS interview is to test the suitability of a candidate for civil services. Alternatively we can say that UPSC IAS interview board determine a candidate's potential in administrative skills. The panel members will not try to test a candidate's knowledge but would rather try to observe the way a candidate approaches the question; they would try to assess his/her personality to determine his/her suitability in civil services. Never think that board members are meant for eliminating you or to demean you. They only check your presence of mind and problem handling capacity. You should have a positive mindset. A civil service interview is more or less like a discussion.

Understand basics before Preparing for UPSC IAS interview:

It should be noted that there is no defined syllabus like prelims and mains exams. The UPSC IAS interview panel consists of members drawn from diverse backgrounds such as academicians, former diplomats, psychologists and scholars. Preparation for UPSC IAS interview should be comprehensive in nature. To prepare for UPSC IAS interview one should choose topics such as Optional Subject chosen for mains, educational background, place of residence, a reason to become an IAS/IPS officer, content written in the Detailed Application Form(DAF) and current affairs. These are the sections that holds maximum potential for questions that can be put from board.

We are suggesting few areas that should never be skipped or left behind while appearing for UPSC IAS interview:

DAF or Detailed Application Form in UPSC Interview Preparation:

Candidates who have been declared qualified in the mains Examinations have to first fill-up the Online Detailed Application Form (DAF). The details filled in this application form range from educational background to your job and personal information. If you have prepared DAF it is considered that your half work has been done. UPSC Interview panel generally dwell a candidate on the content written in the DAF, as this form contains the detailed information about a candidate such as his/her Birth Place, Subjects in graduation, optional subject, details of the college, professional experience, the topic of interests, hobbies, etc. Hence, a thoughtful time must be given to prepare for DAF based questions in the Interview. The following are some tips: 

  • A candidate should gather all relevant information related to every single word mentioned in DAF. For example, in case of candidate Name-Any famous personality with the same name, the meaning of name/surname etc.
  • Hobbies should be given a special mention here as it reflects your curiosity on the subject. You should be aware with the terms and important personalities associated with that hobby. Only a surface knowledge is enough research or thorough knowledge is not needed.
  •  It is always advisable to have a hobby that reflects the trait of your personality. For instance, motivating others as a hobby reflect your personality.

Educational background Related Questions:

  • Candidate must prepare about college/University where he had undertaken his graduation or masters. For instance, the name of the college is Madan Mohan Malaviya Engineering College, a candidate can expect a question on Madan Mohan Malaviya and his contributions in the freedom struggle and social sphere.
  • The course pursued by candidate and reason for choosing this course in graduation.
  • UPSC expects the candidate to have adequate knowledge of his stream since he has devoted 3 to 5 years in mastering a particular stream. Hence refresh the important topics and concept about stream.
  • Check if any current news on stream. For example, a candidate belonging to mechanical engineering must be aware of the 4D printing that is often discussed in the news.
  • Application of degree in civil services and this need to be substantiated with the example.

Job Related Questions:

  • Sound knowledge of the organisation in which a candidate is/was working
  • Key responsibility areas in that organization
  • Any application of his work experience in civil services

Questions related to Reasons for choosing civil service

A candidate must be well prepared with following sets of question

  • Why does a candidate want to join civil service?
  • If already working why a candidate wants to switch over the job?
  • How can the job expertise be useful in the field of civil service?

Optional Subject Questions:

  • Reason for choosing optional if the optional differ from the one candidate has studied in graduation.
  • Concepts and topics of optional need to be brushed up as the question can be asked from the same. For example, a candidate having economics optional can be asked about the present state of the crisis engulfing the economy.

Preference of services Related Questions:

  • Reason for giving preference for the order of services’-IAS>IRS>IPS
  • Why a preference is given for a particular state?
  • If a particular state is not allotted how a candidate will adjust with the state that is linguistically and culturally different?

Questions related to your district and state:

  • One of the most common expected questions that you may confront is related to your state and district. So, you should prepare questions like the problem of your state and town and some statistics related to it like; gender inequality, sex ratio, and rising corruption and things like that.
  • Questions may be asked about the district and state. Collect details about your birthplace. Know the problems in your village or city.

Importance of Preparation of Current Affairs:

  1. Most often UPSC asks questions and everything under the sun from the current affairs point of view.
  2. The candidate must be aware of the current important happenings around the world. The issues should be kept at forefront rather than facts and data alone.
  3. The interview panel comprises subject experts from different fields and the common ground for them would be in current affairs.

Do’s and don’ts of UPSC IAS interview:

1. Ideal Etiquettes of Candidate:

  • First and foremost panel believes in genuinity so it is advised not pretend and be oneself in the interview.
  • Some of the questions might be tricky and it’s better to reply respectfully and politely that you are not aware of the answer.
  • Take time before answering as this strategy will not only give some time to frame questions in your mind but it will also provide weight in your answer.
  • Take time to answer every question and weigh your opinions.

2. Bluffing Interviewer:

  • When you don’t know the answer tell the interviewer clearly that you don’t know the answer at the same time you can ask for permission to guess that answer.
  • By doing these little things it will reflect honesty in your personality.
  • Whatever you say, say it confidently. Do not lie. Even if you lie, do it confidently

3. Maintaining Composure:

  • It’s important to remain calm throughout the UPSC IAS interview as a board member will check on your ability to deal with stressful situation UPSC is more interested in your response to the question rather than the answer Maintain your smile intact as this will reflect your confidence and your positive nature.

Important Things to keep in mind during the UPSC IAS interview:

  • It is not necessary to answer all the questions before panel. UPSC IAS interview is not going to be a quiz competition where you answer more questions to fetch more marks.
  • Sometimes not knowing the answer can be favorable for you as this might give rise to other questions.
  • The answer by a candidate should reflect his clarity of thought, decision-making approach and it should be thoughtful crisp and clear.
  • While answering a candidate need to make eye contact with all the member and not only towards the member who had posed a question.
  • A candidate should take a stand but that stand must not show his non-accommodative approach. He or she must display the willingness to hear the board.
  • Do not fidget or throw your hands around, or shake your head. Less amount of movement does not mean you should sit unnaturally stiff. Your posture should be attentive and relaxed at the same time. Do not crouch/bend forward or place your hands on the table.
  • Use a couple of words from the question while answering any question. It shows you have listened to the question carefully. But at the same time limit the use the technical jargon.
  • It is an attitude rather than aptitude will determine success in the UPSC IAS interview.
  • Do not start evaluating your performance while still in the interview. Even if you have committed mistakes in the beginning, do not think that you have already lost the game. They are looking for warm, sensitive respectful and attentive youngsters. They know you are good or you would not have come so far.
  • Say less to convey more. Less is more these days as per the minimalist creed. Argue logically and generalize correctly. Do not try to read too much between the lines.
  • Candidate must remain alert throughout the interview and must thanks to the board politely after the completion of the interview
  • Remember no one is perfect and perform your best with moral integrity.
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