How to prepare for an IAS Interview?

IAS Personality Test is the last stage of the examination. Candidates struggle hard to reach this stage as, before it, there are prelims and mains examinations which are a hard nut to crack. However, once a candidate reaches this personality test; he/she should make sure that they leave no stone unturned to find their name in the final merit list. 

Every year lakhs of aspirants apply for the UPSC Civil Service Examination. However, only a few hundred candidates clear the exam. The commission releases the UPSC Marksheet after the entire process of the recruitment is over; i.e. after the final results are declared. The marks for each stage are as below:

  1. Preliminary Examination
    1. General Studies-I – 200 marks
    2. CSAT – 200 marks
  2. Mains Examination
    1. General Studies I-IV [Each paper is of 250 marks]
    2. English and Regional Language Papers – 300 marks
    3. Essay – 250 marks
    4. 2 Optional Papers- 250 marks
  3. Personality Test- 275 marks

Things to note about the IAS Marks:

  1. Prelims marks are not considered to decide the final merit list. It is a qualifying stage. 
  2. UPSC Mains Language papers’ marks too are not considered in deciding the final merit list. These are of qualifying nature. 
  3. A candidate’s score out of 1750 in Mains examination and 275 marks in UPSC Interview is the key score to decide his/her rank in the exam. 

Now, let’s find out how one should prepare for UPSC interview after he/she is selected post Mains results.

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Tips for UPSC Interview

Usually, aspirants take a break after UPSC Mains as this particular stage is a challenging one. However, one is advised to not get carried away into extra relaxation as scores in the IAS personality test will definitely affect the rank. It is a fact that the performance in IAS Mains makes the most of result, however, this should not be the reason for ignorance for IAS interview preparation:

  1. Mock Interview – Similar to Prelims and Mains mock test series, almost all valuable and reputed coaching institutes bring forward their mock IAS panels. Unlike prelims mocks where aspirants are mostly advised to stick to only a couple of mocks; for interviews, one should opt for 5-6 mock interviews. 
  2. Detailed DAF preparation – Detailed Application Form is one that an aspirant fills after a successful prelims examination. A candidate must go through the DAF and remember what one has filled on it. 
  3. Basic Information – Mostly interviews start with questions on oneself, about educational qualifications or work experience. Hence, a candidate should be prepared to answer these questions which are generally easy to understand.
  4. Revision of UPSC Mains syllabus – Though this comes as a surprise, a candidate must revise important notes of all UPSC Mains subjects as panelists can ask questions on any topic they like. 
  5. Focus on your optional subject – Panelists ask questions on a candidate’s optional subject. Hence, whichever optional subject you have chosen, revise it properly and also check for any current affairs related to it. 
  6. Saying ‘sorry’ is not a problem – There will be some questions during your interview where you might not know the answers. This is the right place to apologize. However, one must resort to this as the last option. Too many ‘Sorry’ too can spoil your score. 
  7. A composed personality – A candidate should look calm and composed and exude confidence. A confident personality with optimum knowledge is better than a boring and anxious personality. 
  8. Greeting goes a long way – Greet your panelist’s first thing you enter and also the last thing when you make an exit. While you enter, always greet the woman panelist first (if any) followed by others. While leaving, say ‘thank you to all. 
  9. Take feedback on your mock interview – Taking reviews from the mock interviews always helps in the main personality test. Work on the loopholes is suggested by the mock interview panelists. 
  10. Be honest – Though this is last on the list its importance doesn’t diminish. For each question, be honest with your responses. 

The above-mentioned points will definitely help you with the CSE interview. For candidates who are preparing for IAS 2021 must go through the previous years’ UPSC Cut Off to know the benchmark of the examination. 

This year the commission is conducting prelims on 27th June 2021. Also, the interview for UPSC 2020 got over in January 2021. Hence, stick to your preparation and whatever be the result, if becoming an IAS officer is your dream, keep preparing.

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