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Strategy to crack the UPSC interview - Shankar IAS Academy
23 November, 2022 0 2340

Strategy to crack the UPSC interview

The goal of becoming a civil servant is incomplete without crossing the final step of IAS Personality test. The IAS Interview can be the make or break for the career of those who have cleared the UPSC main examination. Clearing the UPSC Civil Services Mains Examination shows the hard and smart work which has been put into itself but always remember that DO NOT wait for the results of this exam to prepare for the UPSC IAS Interview. After a few days of break after Mains examination, it is suggested that you should start strategizing the days for your UPSC CSE Interview preparation.

A thorough preparation on the various topics of Current Affairs, Optional subjects, the subjects of study at the college level, work experience if any and the details indicated in the DAF are the basic things one can start working on even before the UPSC Mains Exam results are released.

How to do this through various stages:

Detailed Application Form (DAF):

Read your DAF (Detailed application form) carefully. It is advised to give enough focus on each and every word that you have written on your DAF as these words are focussed in the IAS interview. Do proper research on these words and always watchout for any resemblance with current affairs. The UPSC Personality test syllabus is so wide that it can be said it covers everything under the sun.

DAF-based questions are really what you can prepare on like your place of birth, graduation stream, optional subject, domicile, college, profession, hobbies, extra-curricular activities, awards, prices, etc. A good mock interview for UPSC should show you where you stand on your DAF topics.

There can be a question to a candidate from Tamil Nadu like Can you explain the cinema–politics link in TN. And a question to a candidate from Kerala be like, About the root cause of the Mullai Periyar issue. There can be many more examples like this, finally one needs to know how to link the general thing as how to answer like a Civil Servant to all these basic questions in a proper way. Though all such questions cannot be asked for in the UPSC CSE interview, candidates should train themselves for these questions. A good IAS mock interview should contain these questions. Hence mock interviews for IAS by reputed institutes do a detailed profiling of candidates and group them together. These UPSC mock interviews mimic the actual IAS Personality test. The simulated version in the UPSC mock interviews gives a feel of the actual interviews and candidates should give them due significance so that the they will be able to perform well in IAS Personality tests. Reputed institutes like ours selects the panel of board members for the IAS mock interview amongst the experienced civil servants. The panelists for mock interview for IAS for reputed institutes comes from a variety of backgrounds thereby ensuring the skills of the candidates on a multitude of aspects thereby attempting to test the plethora of UPSC personality test syllabus in a short time. These are some of the many aspects which we cover in the mock interview for UPSC.

The UPSC CSE interview board prefers candidates who have made a conscious choice while revealing their details in the DAF and, hence, expect you to defend, analyze and elaborate on every bit of information furnished by you in your DAF. So, while the interview board may take it kindly if you do not answer other questions convincingly, if you are not found convincing on DAF-related questions, the board may take it seriously.

Preparing the DAF by itself consumes a lot of time for the UPSC CSE interview. Hence strategize it as your first step of preparation. As the preparation time may vary, depending upon your attempt (in the initial two years since passing out, one may easily recall the college subjects while others may need more time to prepare those basic things in detail). There are some bright students with poor college academic records. Still, there are some basics which you should know for the UPSC IAS interview like,

  • If you are an ECE Engineer, you should know why a mobile phone is called a cell phone.
  • If you are a doctor, you should know the Hippocratic oath.
  • If you are a civil engineer, you should know how Le Corbusier/ Laurie baker/uses fly ash, etc.

If an ECE engineer who has claimed to do projects in mobile technology is asked how my cell phone’s GPS works without a mobile signal. Is the GPS a transmitter or receiver or transceiver? They should develop competence to answer these questions. If a Chemistry student is asked what is the issue ock inregarding MSG/ Lead-in food, they should answer it. The questions may be on the basics or on the application part. The mock interview for UPSC ideally should test for candidate’s awareness on the same as a significant portion of UPSC CSE interview questions are largely based on this

You should study the interface of your academics with daily life and look for questions here. Also is it good if you interact with knowledgeable people during your interview preparation. Thus, choose a really good mentor who can advise you for the course of preparation of IAS Personality tests and assess you keeping in mind the questions which may be asked for UPSC personality test syllabus. Given the plethora of things which may said to be a part of UPSC Personality test syllabus, self-preparation for an interview will not be much effective without proper feedback. Take a mentor from a reputed institute

Be honest at the time of the interview. Defend your DAF with honesty which will make your interview safe and scoring. Try doing this from the very beginning itself i.e., during the UPSC mock interviews itself.

Prepare an answer for General Questions:

Some general questions which are always expected in the IAS Personality tests are like :

  • Why civil services?
  • Why civil services after Engineering/ Medicine?
  • Why this service/ cadre preference?
  • Will you try again if you get IPS?
  • Will you be ready to work in Meghalaya?
  • Why break in career?
  • Why civil services after this career? And so on.

The best way to prepare for UPSC interview is to prepare an answer, modulate it, and rehearse it in front of your interview trainer.

It is suggested to do this as many times as possible before the UPSC IAS interview. Many times, expected questions like this come in the IAS interview and people do stumble here too. For example, if there was a question on why to choose IPS, the answer was, “I used to play thief and police during childhood and always people in his locality have a poor image of the police. To improve people’s image of the police, he chose police over IAS.” This can be seen as a classic coherence to the answer which is expected out of a Civil Service aspirant.

UPSC interview panel seeks well-rounded individuals with credentials beyond academics. So, it is important to thoroughly research your hobbies, extracurricular activities, and related achievements. Also, study the current national and international developments that are even remotely related to your area of interest.

Practice thinking analytically and think from multiple perspectives. Being confident in facing the interview questions is very important. IAS mock interviews by reputed institutes makes you feel confident in facing the board and gives you the right feedback.

Formulate many questions based on various factors which are expected out of you like honesty, integrity, fairness, empathy, sensitivity towards the problems of depressed sections of the population sincerity, commitment, willingness to assume responsibility, etc. These can be displayed in various ways where you will be asked questions on good etiquette like socially and culturally acceptable behavior, a sound value system, and a balanced personality. Finally, it is your responsibility to project well a rounded-personality who has the ability to handle people’s issues and solve them.

There are good reasons why people say that first impressions matter in the IAS interview. Alongside the visual impression that you give, eye contact, a firm handshake, and your posture say a lot about the Officer in the IAS Interview. Ideally, these are the important aspects to be worked upon in the UPSC mock interviews.

Once you are called in for the UPSC interview inside the hall, greet the interviewer with good eye contact and a warm friendly smile. This will help you to give the impression that you are a self-confident person who is genuinely pleased to meet someone new during the interview. It is quite not possible to attain all these trains just by reading or targeting to do it in the D- day. From learning how to respond in a positive way even when you are not sure of the answer to giving balanced answers with an optimistic outlook for as many questions as possible in the UPSC IAS Interview, especially for the political views and government policies, requires a lot of practice.

Keep practicing your view on various issues from current affairs daily. Be truthful and specific about your views. Do not boast about views that you heard from others in the IAS Interview. It may backfire on you badly in the UPSC interview. Be polite, courteous, and audible. Try to attend many mock IAS Interviews. With so many options for mock interview for IAS, the selection of institutes for the same is also important because it should help you in giving a detailed feedback on your self. While selecting the mock interview for IAS, candidates should go in to the panel, the detailed feedback given, the types of questions asked and guidance on DAF.

One core tenet to develop for IAS interview is to practice taking a stand on certain issues and have an optimized view of issues. There are some questions that you should not escape answering. For example, there might be the question “what is your opinion on women entering Sabarimala”. If for which the answer is “a larger debate is needed on this” or “whatever the government or judiciary decides that should be followed”, it will not create a certain impression that a civil servant should have. It will create an impression of escapism for you on the UPSC interview panel.

So as a Civil Servant, you should learn to take a stand now. You should take a stand for sure when asked. The question comes as to what stand to take.

Normally, in the IAS interview it is advisable to take a stand which is of the government/ judiciary. Still, know and acknowledge there are opposite views. Having said that, if you have a very strong conviction which can be backed by knowledge, you can take a stand against that of the government/ judiciary.

Candidates do the mistake of taking too much mock interviews for IAS without working on the feedback tendered by the last mock. Work on the feedback before proceeding to the next mock interview without which there will not be much improvement in the performance. Please note that the feedback given on the mock interview for IAS is only for the mock interview and thereby one should not feel down. The feedback should be taken positively for self improvement.

Finally, it is suggested to put your best foot forward for the UPSC Civil Services interview. Preparing thoroughly for the UPSC interview will give you the much-needed confidence to clear it, and embark on your dream career in one of the coveted civil services. Attend a few number of IAS mock interviews until you get enough confidence for facing the board. Apart from attending mock interview for UPSC, regular feedback is the key feedback to crack IAS.

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