Tips to Prepare for the IAS Interview

Melissa M. Taylor

The UPSC Civil Services Exam (CSE) is one of the prestigious examinations in the country. Lakhs of candidates apply for the CSE every year, but only a handful get selected.

UPSC Civil Services Examination consists of three phases. The first phase is the Preliminary examination, which comprises two papers, i.e. GS 1 and GS 2. GS 1 comprises questions related to history, geography, current affairs, economy, science and technology etc., whereas GS 2 (CSAT) exam contains questions related to basic numeracy, reasoning and comprehension. The Preliminary examination is followed by the Main exam, which is descriptive in nature and consists of papers related to essay, Indian languages, GS 1, GS 2, GS 3, GS 4, optional papers etc. Candidates who pass the Main examination qualify for the personality test. Marks scored in the Main exam and Interview determine the rank of the candidate on the merit list.

To prepare for the CS examination, aspirants sometimes rely on self-study and sometimes seek out the best IAS coaching in Bangalore, Delhi and various other cities throughout the country. Candidates should understand their requirements, familiarity with the subjects covered in the UPSC CSE and availability of time and financial resources to decide whether they wish to opt for self-study or join a coaching institute.

Aspirants should ensure that they prepare well for all the phases of the examination. The strategy to prepare for the UPSC CSE Personality Test is given below.

How to Prepare for the IAS Interview?

The Personality Test is conducted by a Board that comprises competent and impartial observers. The main aim of the Board is to evaluate the mental calibre, social traits, moral integrity, leadership skills and other qualities of a candidate. The primary objective is to assess whether the individual is suitable for a career in public service.

Candidates can go through the important points given below to prepare for the personality test.

  • Go through the DAF

It is very important to prepare well for questions related to the ‘Detailed Application Form’ (DAF) in the Personality Test. Candidates should be well-versed in all aspects of the information they provide in their DAF. They should make a list of probable questions and prepare accordingly for the Interview. They can focus on the following areas:

  • Home state and city of the candidate
  • Subjects that a candidate has specialised in during graduation or/and post-graduation
  • College and school education
  • Hobbies
  • Work experience (if applicable)
  • Achievements etc.
  • Read newspapers every day 

Reading newspapers daily is crucial to prepare for the CSE Interview. Newspapers not only provide information but help individuals in forming an opinion about different events that take place in India and around the world. Therefore, candidates should be well aware of the current happenings in their district, state, country etc.

  • Form an opinion

The major goal of the Interview is to learn about candidates’ personalities and their perspectives on a variety of topics, such as their state, education, interest in current affairs etc. Candidates should therefore read about various facets of a problem, such as the global economic condition, inflation, and poverty, and make an opinion. If the Board asks about a candidate’s viewpoint on a topic, the applicant should express their thoughts and back them up with examples and statistics.

  • Make short notes and revise

The Board may ask questions related to static as well as dynamic domains. Therefore, candidates should be ready to answer a variety of questions during the Interview. They should do this by taking short notes on all relevant issues so that they may go over them again before the Interview.

  • Join mock test interviews

It is necessary to attend mock interviews so that individuals can understand their weak points and work on them. Candidates should not go roundabout a question and should respond with ‘I don’t know’, if they are not aware of a topic. They should be confident and take every opportunity to share their views and opinions with the Board.

  • Be confident and keep self-doubt at bay

Candidates should not doubt themselves or question their calibre. It’s normal to feel a bit anxious before an interview, but with adequate preparation, people might feel less anxious. Therefore, aspirants should have faith in their abilities and should not feel insecure about their shortcomings. They should learn from their mistakes made during mock interviews and improve themselves.

Candidates should take every stage of the UPSC CS exam seriously. They should remember that each stage plays a crucial role in taking the aspirants towards their goals.

To prepare for the UPSC CSE, candidates can either utilise resources available online or sign up for UPSC online coaching. The ability to use the internet has made it simple to acquire the knowledge needed for the Civil Services Exam. Therefore, candidates should thoroughly consider their options before making a choice.

Aspirants should ensure that they take mock tests and answer past papers to understand the requirements and expectations of the exam. They should also revise multiple times and analyse their mistakes after every mock test. Candidates should make every effort to pass the examination on their first attempt.

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