IAS (UPSC CSE) Interview Preparation Tips

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Mar 23, 2021

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IAS interview or the UPSC Personality Test is the final stage of the selection procedure of the UPSC IAS Exam. this is a face-to-face personality test. UPSC IAS Interview questions test the candidates’ mental acuity, general awareness, social etiquette, and overall personality. Generally, an IAS interview lasts for about 20 minutes and aspirants face interview questions that cover a broad range of topics.

IAS Highlights

IAS (UPSC CSE) Interview: Highlights

  • Candidates Interview call-letter contains the time and the venue of the interview.
  • Candidates must carry their Interview letter with them otherwise they will not be allowed.
  • It is recommended to carry some of the government-issued identifications.
  • Do not carry any electronic devices or any unnecessary accessories with you.
  • The Interview is a completely different experience and tests the inner psychological state of the interviewee.

Must Read: Tips and Tricks for UPSC Mains Answer Writing

Mains Interview

IAS (UPSC CSE) Mains – Preparing for an interview

The following is the do’s and don’t along with the probable questions with suggestive answers. Here are the tips:

What are Don’ts of IAS (UPSC CSE) Interview Preparation?

Here will discuss all the things and strategies you should not do whether in the preparation period or in IAS Interview to gain better scores and create a good impression on the interviewer of UPSC IAS Exam:

  • Don’t take UPSC interview lightly:

Be conscious about IAS Interview. Don’t take it lightly. As it is the final stage pf the selection process and you have really worked hard to achieve it so far, it can be the make-or-break situation and one step towards your goal.

  • Don’t Underestimate:

Never underestimate the persons on the board. They have vast experience and knowledge. Don’t be too casual on serious questions. Be respectful towards the board members who take your personality test.

  • Don’t stop reading Current Affairs:

As in the time of your preparation of IAS Mains, you maintain a daily routine to spend time in reading Current Affairs and Newspapers, continue to do so even after the exam. It will sharpen your mind as well as keep you updated. Newspapers are important even for IAS Interview. Board Members can ask questions from contemporary issues and affairs from your locals, districts or even your point of view about national movements.

Know How to read the newspapers

  • Don’t lie:

Never lie about yourself or make up any falsified answers which have no base on reality and never lie to impress the UPSC Interview Board Members. Never create facts out of thin air to make your resume look good. If your fake answers are caught which they often do, they will take legal action against you.

  • Don’t compromise your moral Integrity:

The bureaucratic job description calls for moral integrity which often leads the board members to look especially for some moral qualities in the candidates. The will ask questions that will reveal your mental alertness, variety and depth of interest, clear and logical exposition, a balance of judgment and intellectual and moral integrity.
  • Don’t be swayed by rumours:

Many UPSC candidates are seen to be carried about by the rumours about the personality test. Certain board members are really tight in awarding with maks while others are perceived as liberal. But it totally depends on your performance. The marks of IAS Interview are notably on the one-day performance.

  • Don’t Memorize:

Many candidates have seen to be memorized their introduction as well as the answers to many probable questions. Avoid this practice at all costs. Practice answering in front of the mirror so that you can maintain eye contact with the board members and maintain the concept of your answer without mugging up.

Check IAS Mains 2021 Preparation Strategy for History Optional

IAS Preparation

What are the Do’s of IAS Interview Preparation

Here our main focus will be what you should maintain to gain a better score. IAS Interview preparation is not the same as IAS Exam preparation. Here all you need to present the best of your self not about your knowledge.

  • Start early

As IAS Mains preparation takes time, IAS Interview also takes a lot of time. So, it is very important not to lose time. Start early. Don’t wait for the results of the UPSC Civil Services Main Exam. Start polishing your personality as early as possible.

  • Prepare well on your hobbies

There are a few questions asked on hobbies as it represents your taste and interests. More than 2-3 hobbies considered as the inability to focus on one thing. Mostly these are asked to light up the mood. Make sure you start well. Don’t give cliche answers. Hobbies help the interviewer to understand the personalities of candidates. Keep practising what you have to say about your hobbies till the last week before the UPSC interview.

  • Work on communication skills

Good communication skills are really important. Here are some steps which you can do: listen to what people are saying, practice to speak in public or in group and establish your point logically, give negative feedbacks with utmost sincerity and politeness if needed, and try to speak in a friendly manner to everyone so that it will become your habit.

  • Maintain Positive attitude

There are several creative ways to keep a positive attitude: maintain a gratitude journal or any journal to clear your mind, take care of both your physical and mental health, you can unwind, de-stress, and have some “you” time, you can start your day with yoga to lift up your energy, and avoid listing to gossips or any rumours news. This way can develop a positive attitude any IAS Candidate need with good physical fitness.

  • Revise the Optional subject

A very crucial part of IAS Interview preparation is to revise the optional subject. Many candidates have experienced that they have been encountered questions from the optional subject and the reason behind choosing the particular subject as an Optional subject. Brush up recent happenings related to your optional subject.

  • Revise Graduation Subject

The minimum qualification of an IAS candidate is graduation or equivalent degree from any university recognized by State/Central government. So, it is desired from you that you already have good control over the subject you studied for the graduation degree and the reason behind choosing the subject and even choosing the particular university even.

  • Learn to Answer logically

Master the art of giving to-the-point answers. Very often, long answers can be condensed into crisp, but interesting statements. Crisp answers carry a strong statement of your depth of knowledge. You can take other professions’ help to develop such a way of speaking.

  • Give Balanced Answers

Your point of view matters and they should be well-balanced and impartial. Ideally, you should be without any political or social biases. Once you take a stand on controversial topics, be prepared with your justification for the same. Don’t give sweeping generalizations without a proper base.

  • Know you locals and district

India is full of cultural diversity. So, Questions may be asked about the district and state. Collect details about your hometown. Know the problems in your village or city. Be prepared with solutions as well. Also, brush up the resent affairs related to your state as well as your district and locals.

  • Proper Body Language

Body language speaks more than spoken words. Reinforce your spoken words through your body language. Avoid gestures that do not suit the occasion. Avoid habits like nail-biting, smoking, excessive drinking, being late, etc.

  • Take mock IAS interviews

Rehearsals help to avoid common mistakes. Good mentors and friends can find your strengths and weakness and suggest necessary suggestions. In this process do not love your genuine personality because your true-self only can make you stand out of the crowd.

Check IAS Mains 2021 Preparation Strategy for Public Administration Optional

General Tips

General Tips for the IAS (UPSC CSE) Interview Day

  • Venue checking

It is gravely suggested that after receiving the call letter of the IAS Interview, on two-day before or the previous day,check the venue so that you will be aware of the shortest route or the timing of the transport. This will help you to reach on time on the Interview day and no need of searching for the venue on the interview day.

  • Neat and Clean Dress

On the day of the Interview, maintain a formal dress that is well-pressed and clean. For men, a shirt and professional trousers are most preferable. For women, matte coloured saree or shalwar kameez would be good as they both are well-recognized dresses in India. Otherwise, they can wear western formal dress. Avoid wearing jewellery, unnecessary accessories, like vibrant make-up, sunglasses, etc for both men and women.

  • Avoid electronic gadgets

Electronic gadgets like cellular/mobile phones, any other devices for communication, laptop, Bluetooth device, and calculator are banned inside the examination hall as well as in the interview of IAS.

  • Maintain a good diet

A good diet is key to good health. Try to get a basic check of your health if possible a few days before to ensure that your health is perfectly fine.

  • Be on time

Never arrive late. Your arrival shows your punctuality and time management. If possible fix your ride to the interview hall to reach safely. Depart from your location 1 hour before the necessary time to avoid traffic or any probable disruption at all.

  • Re-check Essential documents

We advise you to carefully verify the documents before-hand to avoid last-minute panic. Ensure that you have all the necessary documents ready. If possible, collect all the essential documents on the previous night.

  • Personal Experiences

When it comes to IAS personality test, your personal experiences can help you a lot. The majority of questions posed by the interview panel (excluding the technical ones) would relate to the general socio-economic and political problems faced by India as a country in a variety of fields.

On the other hand, they can ask questions about your working experience. Do not makeup experiences of you don’t have.

  • Read your bio-data multiple times

Copies of the Detailed Application Form (DAF) will be shared with each of the board members. It is extremely important not to fumble on personal questions. Revise your bio-data many times and prepare well for questions from areas like hobbies, education, work experience, service-preference, etc.

  • Stay Calm

Question will undoubtedly puzzle you for being from a wide area of subjects and topics. You may not know the answer even. UPSC, the conducting board know that none knows everything under the moon and sun. Therefore, If you do not know anything about a topic you are asked, then admit that you do not have any idea. Don’t panic. Keep calm.

Check IAS Mains 2021 Preparation Strategy for Anthropology Optional


FAQs related to IAS interview Preparation Tips

Ques. Why is the UPSC interview called a personality test?

Ans. Actually IAS Interview is a conversation between the UPSC Board Members and the IAS Mains qualified candidates. There is a saying “Actions speak louder than the words” . just like the quote, this interview is to examine every action, bodily postures, facial expressions by the psychologist. They already know about your depth of knowledge. They try to know how you manage pressure and the manner of your language. Questions will be more factual or even situational to bring out the true self of each candidate.

Ques. Why do UPSC candidates get rejected in interviews?

Ans. Interview carries 275 marks out of total 2025 and these 275 marks can be life-changing. A candidate’s marks in mains certainly speak for his/her preparation and knowledge. Poor performance can cost as much as 50 marks leading to failure in not making to the list.

There are many students who repeatedly clear mains but fail to see their names in the final list. Generally, the word getting rejected in the interview is used for such cases. However, the real reason is that the marks secured in mains are generally not enough to compensate for poor marks in the interview.

Ques. What is IAS medical test?

Ans. UPSC will allocate each candidate a date and hospital. On that specified date, candidates are advised to go tote hospital for their medical examination.

After the medical exam, if there is found not to fulfill these prerequisites, the candidate will not be selected. This medical test is mandatory for each interviewee of IAS exam. Thus Medical examination is one of the most important factors. Competition of medical test is essential for future smooth service accordingly.

Ques. Is it so tough to get through the IAS interview?

Ans. IAS Interview contains 13% of the total weightage. UPSC CSE Interviews are considered difficult because of their unpredictable nature, dependency on the luck factor, the subjectivity of the board, and other issues. There are certain characteristics like confidence, calmness, and composure, speaking with rationality and humility will help you portray a positive image.

Ques. What are the interview questions for IAS?

Ans. Anyone would agree that IAS Interview Questions are really unpredictable. Here are the 15 most probable questions:

  • Give a brief introduction about yourself or tell me something about yourself.
  • Why do you want to become an IAS Officer?
  • What do you think is responsible for the reduction in research? (for background)
  • Instead of choosing a job or research, why did you choose civil services as a career option?
  • Do you think your educational background and experiences will fit for an IAS officer?
  • Many people do well in their studies but not in life. Why does it happen?
  • It’s reported that in the last 19th and 20th-century man has made numerous discoveries. What are your views on this?
  • What would you innovate today if given the opportunity?
  • Why is Lata Mangeshkar called the queen of melody and not the likes of Asha Bhosle and Shreya Ghosal?
  • What is governance? What is the governance deficit? What should we do to solve this deficit?
  • : Tell us, who is a good teacher?
  • Tell me about AFSPA, have you heard of it? should we repeal AFSPA?
  • 10 Federation, what are the changes happening in the last 50 years and there is the talk of a federal front, what do you think?
  • How can a man go eight days without sleep?
  • What happened when the wheel was invented?
  • The Bay of Bengal is in which state?

Ques. What is the importance of mock interviews for UPSC?

Ans. We recommend Mock Interview any candidate should attend 3-4 mock interviews so that they can polish themselves and see them through other people’s eyes. The necessities of mock interviews are:

  • You will be judged y the unbiased board members. So your first impression really can affect the score.
  • Your walking style, your dressing sense, your body language, your communication skills, your overall personality will be judged.
  • The moment you walk in the room for interviewing, an internal tension can raise. Out of such nervousness, you can mess up your score also.
  • In this procedure, you need to maintain eye contact with the board members as well as give proper respect which is needed to be practised.

Ques. How unpredictable is IAS Interview?

Ans. IAS/ Civil Services panel interviews/ personality tests are a bit like the weather: they are both predictable and unpredictable. The interview is predictable as much as UPSC is recruiting civil servants. But beware of surprising questions. Your grip over the moment and your self matters. They already know how intelligent you are but what they want to know that how quickly how straightforward and smart you are in different situations.

Ques. What is the eligibility for the medical fitness test for IAS?

Ans. Candidates will be sent to a hospital for medical test on a specified date to check if you are medically eligible or not. Here are the physical standards for the medical fitness test for IAS:

  • There is no height, weight, and chest girth minimum requirement, unlike the technical services. But if candidates’ measurements are inappropriate as regarded by the medical board, they will be sent for further investigation and chest X-ray can be taken.
  • For the proper vision of eyes, corrections permitted are spectacles, CL and refractive surgery like LASIK, ICL, IOL, etc. Those who have myopia with macular degenerative changes will be declared unfit for service in the IAS. People with a squint in the eyes are fit for service. Night blindness is also not a ground for candidates to be declared unfit.
  • Blood pressure over 140/90 should be subjected to further testing in the hospital to ascertain whether the abnormal BP is temporary due to excitement, etc. and not an indication of any disease.
  • Candidates should be free from diabetes mellitus.
  • Pregnant female candidates will be fit except for those services that require physical training. In such cases, the candidates will be declared fit after confinement.
  • Candidates’ teeth should be in ‘good order’
  • The heart and lungs of the candidate should be fine.
  • There should not be any abdominal disease.
  • The feet, hands, and limbs are well-formed and there should be no restriction on joint movements.
  • There should not be any congenital malformation or defect.
  • There should not be any sign of acute or chronic disease indicating an impaired constitution.
  • Candidates should bear marks of efficient vaccination.
  • The candidates should not have any communicable diseases.
  • Candidates with grade I haemorrhoids are declared fit.
  • Diseases like hernia, varicose veins, hydrocele, haemorrhoids, etc. are declared temporarily unfit and should be declared fit after successful surgery.
  • Candidates with malignancies at the time of entry to service are declared unfit.
  • Candidates with transplanted organs are declared unfit. An exception is made only for a corneal transplant.
  • Please note the technical services have certain minimum requirements.

Ques. How many interviews are there in the IAS exam?

Ans. There are 8-9 separate UPSC interview boards. Each board consists of a chairman and 4-5 members. The chairman of each board is a UPSC member. The other four members are external members invited by UPSC.

Ques. Can I face UPSC interview in Telugu?

Ans. Yes, you can. You are always welcome to give an interview in your mother tongue. But the problem is if you give your interview any other language than English/Hindi, there might not be a translator or if there is one, in the process of translating, the originality and the fluency of the interview gets hampered.

Ques. What is the duration of IAS interview?

Ans. The duration of IAS Interview differs. It can last from 20- 30 minutes depending on the board members and the candidates.

Ques. How much 10th and 12th marks matter in the IAS interview?

Ans. The marks of 10th and 12th, even the graduation marks does not matter. Even if you have scored less in these exams, you can reach the IAS Interview level. But you might be asked the reason for your poor performance in these exams. We recommend you to justify your answer properly, this may show how you have learned from your mistakes.

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