IAS: Tips to prepare for personality test

Updated On -

May 25, 2020

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Neha Rani

Exams Prep Master

The Civil Services Exam (commonly known as the IAS Exam) is one of the most competitive exams in all of India. It consists of three stages which are Preliminary, Mains and the Final Interview stage. The IAS interview round is the final and most crucial step for being selected in the final list. This interview round is also known as the personality test where the UPSC interview board aims to find your true personality and qualities as an individual. 

Helpful Tips for IAS Interview

Helpful Tips for IAS Interview

Generally, the IAS interview lasts for around 30 minutes. However, it can easily take more time depending on the candidate. Therefore, go through the following tips to be better prepared for the final interview stage. 

Start Early Preparation 

Preparation for the IAS Interview should be started as soon as the UPSC Civil Services Main exam is over. This will help the candidate to build up his personality and knowledge. Hence, candidates can start exploring and discovering mock interview questions. Additionally, they can start reading about the latest events happening around the world to stay up to date with the current affairs. 

Study your own Personality

Most of the time, UPSC interviewers question the candidates regarding their Detailed IAS Application Form. This acts as a bio data of the candidate. Moreover, it is filled by the candidate himself. Therefore, it is important to go through the DAF again and again and to remember it by heart. 

The best way to do this is by simply filling it with correct information. Once questioned, the candidate has to be positive and confident while answering. It is a common practice for the interviewers to cross-question so as to throw off the candidates. However, being confident while answering and remembering what one wrote in the form is a good way to overcome these questions. 

Be Truthful and Honest 

As a lesser known fact, UPSC interviewers are professional lie detectors. This means that they can easily recognize your lies by studying your body language, speech and tone of voice. Therefore, it is recommended not to reflect any false information in the DAF. 

Moreover, the candidate should be alert, energetic and confident while giving his answers. Some of the questions will revolve around the candidate’s hobbies and interests. Here, it is beneficial for the candidate to display his deep interests while keeping the answer short and to the point. 

Be Aware of World Events 

Apart from personal questions, UPSC interviewers will also ask questions related to the latest events happening in the world. Therefore, candidates need to stay up to date with current affairs, international relations and socio-economic issues. 

In addition, they need to revise the optional subject that they had taken during the exam. Interviewers are highly likely to ask questions from this subject. They also ask questions from graduation textbooks. In case you do not know the answer, you have to stay calm and politely convey the same. There is no negative marking for not answering a question. You simply have to be civil about it. 

Give Straightforward Answers 

Most importantly, candidates need to give short and descriptive answers. Lengthy answers give a bad impression and it will come off as unprofessional. Moreover, they can easily sense whether you really know the answer or just fumbling. 

Also, try to be as neutral as you can while discussing a controversial topic. Make sure that you point out the positives and negatives of both the sides before picking one. Candidates who pick a side without giving though to the other will be seen as narrow minded and impartial. 

Learn about your Surroundings 

Some of the favorite questions asked by the interviewers revolve around the candidate’s hometown and immediate surroundings. Therefore, they can ask whether the district, city or state is famous or infamous about something. 

These questions allow the interviewers to determine whether the candidate is active and alert or not. They can ask as many questions as they like to find out the true personality of the candidate and his interpersonal skills. 

Take Mock IAS Interviews 

As an added advantage, candidates can take mock interviews among themselves or with friends or families. This will help them to prepare for the final interview without being nervous or fearful. 

There are many online resources with common questions asked during the interview. As a result, candidates can prepare for them beforehand and identify their mistakes or drawbacks. Subsequently, they will be able to develop communication skills and build up confidence while learning from their mistakes. 

Check Here IAS Preparation Tips

Types of Questions asked in an IAS Interview

Types of Questions asked in an IAS Interview

Usually, the UPSC interviewers put emphasis on questions to find out the candidate’s personality. However, they may ask some general knowledge questions as well. Here are a few types of questions that can be asked in the interview. 

  • General Interest 

  • Current Affairs

  • International Relations 

  • Hypothetical Situations to Measure Mind Alertness 

  • Logical and Analytical Reasoning 

  • Real-world Problem Solving 

  • Stress Handling 

Important Factors Considered in an IAS Interview

Important Factors Considered in an IAS Interview

The UPSC Interview board judges a candidate on a few important characteristics. The first thing that they look for is the mental alertness of the individual. Hence, they will throw a hypothetical situation and ask how it can be handled. 

If a candidate is able to give prompt answers, then he is guaranteed to get a higher score. Apart from this, here are some of the qualities that the interviewers are actively looking for. 

  • Clear and Logical Thinking

  • Presence of Mind 

  • Balance of Judgement 

  • Hobbies and its Level of Interest 

  • Leadership Qualities 

  • Intellectual Capacity 

  • Honesty and Moral Integrity 

Dos’ and Don’ts for IAS Interview

Dos’ and Don’ts for IAS Interview

There are certain implied rules and regulations that need to be followed during the IAS Interviews. These rules are not explicitly stated but should be followed as a good practice. Hence, go through the following section to learn the do’s and don’ts for the IAS interview. 


  • Dress Professionally 

  • Give Short and Descriptive Answers 

  • Be Neutral During Debates 

  • Converse in a Formal and Professional Tone 

  • Give Logical and Practical Answers 

  • Be Energetic and Active 


  • Be Lethargic, Gloomy or Nervous 

  • Say sentences like “I am sorry”, “Quite Obvious”, “As you know”, “That’s right”, etc. Be conversational yet formal. 

  • Give Lengthy or Technical Answers.

  • Be Rude, Impolite or Unrespectful

  • Heavily Partial towards One Side

  • Be Emotional while Giving Answers 

IAS Interviews are usually friendly and aren't hard on the candidates. It is mostly done to find out the true personality of the individual. Therefore, one should not be nervous or scared while giving the interview. However, candidates have a higher chance of scoring more marks if he or she is updated with all the current events and can provide confident answers. 

*The article might have information for the previous academic years, please refer the official website of the exam.