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Strategy for Crack UPSC Interview | IAS/IPS Interview

Understanding the Real Meaning of interview

  • IAS/UPSC Interview is not a test of knowledge (they have already tested it in Mains and Prelims) but your innate personality.
  • It is a test of how you choose to answer questions and it is understood that you won’t be knowing each and every question asked by the interview board. These questions are asked just to gauge your personality.
  • Indeed, the interview cannot be prepared in a couple of days and a couple of months, as building own personality is an ongoing process which takes time. But, you can shape your personality in these couple of months to give your best in the interview.
  • In order to crack this last battle, you should work on certain aspects like your mental alertness, way of giving answer, honesty and decency in accepting the fact that you don't know the answer, you should also work on developing the thought process of tackling extreme question that is being asked by interview board many times to check out the response of candidates.

Preparing for your optional subject

  • Preparing for the optional subject is always the last in the list of many candidates who are going to appear in Civil services interview. It is always advisable to go through your optional subject and know about any change that has happened in recent times related to your optional subject.
  • Although, it is not necessary to know in detail about everything for the interview you should have an overview of many key aspects related to your subject. Let's understand this through an example, suppose your optional is Political science and international Relation. As you may know that recently Presidential Election held in Srilanka. So Interview panel may ask you difference between Parliamentarian form of government and Presidential form of government.
  • It is also advisable to have an overview of ideologies as many times the interview panel asks directly about some ideology.

Preparing graduation subject

  • Always prepare yourself from graduation subject. Interview panel has the habit of asking the question from your domain subject and make you a bit humiliated in your subject.
  • It is advisable to prepare deeply from your graduation subject and have an overall overview of your subject. If your graduation subject is of humanity then know the key terminologies of the subject and also know the current aspects and key person related to particular theory or ideology.

Preparing for 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.

Preparing Questions from DAF

  • Always be prepared for the questions from DAF (Detailed Application Form). Your DAF will be shared with all the interviewers and the questions will be asked directly or indirectly from your DAF. So, you have a chance to impress the interviewers by graciously answering these questions.
  • It is most important, that you have practised hell lot of possible questions from DAF. As your DAF will be shared all members of the interview panel so prepare well from this aspect as you don't want to be humiliated in from of the interview panel.
  • So, read your DAF/Bio-Data once again and prepare for the questions from your education, work experience, hobbies and service preference etc.

Preparing Questions from Hobbies

  • After DAF the most expected questions from an area are your hobby. Your hobby is something that you are doing continuously, it is not like I play cricket, which I played four years back .you will not feel confident in answering that question that you have not done in such long period.
  • It is always advisable to either develop that hobby you are writing in your DAF or write something which you do actually in your day to day life.

Preparation of Current Affairs:

  • It is witnessed that UPSC asks questions and everything under the sun from the current affairs point of view.
  • The candidate must be aware of the current important happenings around the world.
  • The interview panel comprises of subject experts from different fields and the common ground for them would be in current affairs.

Do’s and don’ts of Interview

  • Ideal Etiquettes of Candidate:
  • Be honest with the board. If you do not know the answer to a question, just say that- “I am sorry Sir/Madam, I don’t know the answer to this question.”.
  • Stay calm in front of the interviewers. Keep up a decent smile.
  • Appear for as many mock interviews as you can.
  • Give mock test in your friend circle and take questions from your biodata and ask questions about your DAF and hobbies so that you will have clarity of thoughts when you will enter the interview room.
  • Take time before answering as this strategy will not only give some time to frame question in your mind but it will also provide weight in your answer.
  • Take time to answer every question and weigh your opinions.
  • 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.
  • Going in Nervous Mode:
  • Smiling face is always desirable (it indicates you are not nervous).
  • Do not talk negative. Be optimistic. Show that you have constructive thinking. Do not get excited. Keep calm. Do not lose your patience.

Some of Myth Associated With Interview:

  • Candidate have to wear Suit and Pant
  • Not really, you can wear a shirt and pant and black or brown shoes neatly polished. It is an absolute myth that one has to wear a suit and pant .however, girls should wear sarees.
  • Candidates’ are advised to dress neatly and act with decency in the interview room.
  • Candidate has to answer each Question
  • This is again nothing but a myth that candidate have to answer each question, you have to remember that, the interview is your test of handling the situation and answering with decency even if you don't know the answer. The interview is not your test of knowledge; your test has been already tested in prelim and mains examination.
  • If know the answer it is plus point and even if don't know the answer say with decency that you don't know the answer.
  • Academic performance of candidate determines interview marks:
  • Like I have said above, the interview is a step of judging a candidate based upon his/her way of answering at that time. it is nothing to do with your educational background your academic performance in the past.
  • You should have this confidence that if you have cleared this examination till interview then you deserve to on the chair to give the interview.
  • Only English medium students are on the list of UPSC
  • This is a myth. UPSC allows students to take their interview in their regional languages.
  • Separate regional boards are assigned to conduct UPSC interviews. Only the candidate's performance on interview matters not his English speaking skills.
  • However, no one can deny the fact that Hindi medium candidates’ percentage of selection has been less in the last couple of years.
  • Candidates are advised to fill carefully the medium of Interview the candidate wishes to deliver in front of the interview board in the Detailed Application Form (DAF) of UPSC.
  • Aspirants from Delhi preparation hubs have more chances
  • That time is gone a long time ago when every aspirant of UPSC has to come to Delhi for the preparation. Due to a revolution in information and communication technology now every single aspirant is on the same platform, whether he/she is sitting in Delhi or sitting in a remote village.
  • It is advisable to students focus on your preparation rather than thinking about any rumours surrounding that will engulf your preparation and will lead to halting to your movement further in this beautiful journey.

At last, I would say that you have cleared the two steps and you just a step away to fulfil your dream. So, don't let any negative thoughts dilute this achievement to become a reality. Believe in your ability and come with flying colours.
Best Wishes,


Tips to improve your performance at the IAS/UPSC Interview

  • There are generally 5 members at the board with the Chairperson seated at the center. Enter confidently and greet the Chairperson, who will probably welcome you, and pleasantly nod at other members. Wait till you are asked to sit.
  • Intelligent listing is the mantra, and for this maintaining eye contact is very important. You should not glare but all the same appear attentive and do not glance at other members, it can be very distracting for the interviewer. However if some other member asks you anything, look at that member and answer and turn back to the first - this is what we do in normal attentive listening.
  • 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.
  • Cut your answer short to the required patience shown by the member talking to you. They usually like to talk more, so listen carefully and think for a few seconds before you start answering the question. This will show that you are organising your thoughts in mind before starting to speak.
  • Leave some room for difference in opinion. Do take a stand, but do not look adamant or unwilling to appreciate the board's opinion.
  • Use 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.
  • Listen very carefully. Come to the central issue of the enquiry immediately. Wild guessing or speculation are a complete no no.
  • 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.
  • Talk humbly about your achievements and hobbies. You may have mentioned some hobbies in the form without serious background in them, but before the interview it would be useful to pick up some basic info on the hobby.
  • Say less to convey more. Less is more these days as per the minimalist creed. Argue logically and generalise correctly. Do not try to read too much between the lines.
  • Remember, while answering any question, what is easy to see is easy to miss. We often tend to miss the obvious and go for some non-crucial aspect of the subject.
  • Get up to leave only when the chairperson asks you to, not because you think everyone has asked a question. Similarly, even if someone has not asked a question and the chairperson asks you to leave then please leave. Some members do not ask questions at all, due to various reasons like limited time.
  • Before leaving politely thank the chairperson and nod at the others politely. Avoid saying "Have a good day sir". A "Thank you Sir/Madam" is enough