15 tips to clear UPSC IAS Interview

15 tips to clear IAS Interview
If you are here to read about the tips to clear IAS Interview, then you are certain of successfully clearing the first two stages of the UPSC Civil Services Examination (CSE) — Prelims and Mains. Well, this confidence of yours is also going to help you sail successfully through the interview stage. But with the confidence, you need some other tools that will make this stage a cakewalk, in this article will tell you about these tools and how to sharpen it.
Let’s start with what UPSC has to say about the IAS interview stage in its notification for UPSC Civil Services Examination (CSE).
“The candidate will be interviewed by a Board who will have before them a record of his career. He will be asked questions on matters of general interest. The object of the interview is to assess the personal suitability of the candidate for a career in public service by a Board of competent and unbiased observers. The test is intended to judge the mental calibre of a candidate. In broad terms, this is really an assessment of not only his intellectual qualities but also social traits and his interest in current affairs. Some of the qualities to be judged are mental alertness, critical powers of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, the balance of judgement, variety and depth of interest, ability for social cohesion and leadership, intellectual and moral integrity.
The technique of the interview is not that of a strict cross-examination but of a natural, though directed and purposive conversation which is intended to reveal the mental qualities of the candidate.
The interview test is not intended to be a test either of the specialized or general knowledge of the candidates which has been already tested through their written papers. Candidates are expected to have taken an intelligent interest not only in their special subjects of academic study but also in the events which are happening around them both within and outside their own State or Country as well as in modern currents of thought and in new discoveries which should rouse the curiosity of well-educated youth.”

Tips for IAS interview stage  based on UPSC guidelines

1. Start Early

After the Mains stage, it is very important to start early. Without waiting for the results, a candidate can start off with watching/reading IAS topper Interviews and searching for IAS interview questions related to your Graduation, Optional subject and your Hobbies.

Now that you have started, let’s divide your preparation into subtopics

Academics Preparation for IAS interview

2. Start revising your graduations subjects

Knowledge of Graduation Subjects is very important. It is important to have a clarity of your graduation background as it may have application in your a career as a public servant. So, start with reading about IAS topper Interviews with similar graduation background.

3. Get thorough with your Optional subjects

Knowledge of Optional subject is important for the same reason as that of your graduation subjects, and its application-based approach for your career as a public servant. And this will be tested in your IAS interview. E.g. Anthropology and Tribal studies and its application in as a District collector in areas like Gadchiroli, Maharashtra.

4. Continue reading newspapers 

“Assessment of not only his intellectual qualities but also social traits and his interest in current affairs.” This line from the notification says all about the importance of Current affairs in IAS interview Stage. 

Start building your independent opinion based on rational thinking about every important topic in News, its impact, its significance. You can get relevant examples and how to tackle current affairs questions from IAS topper Interviews.

E.g. Artificial Intelligence, Cryptocurrency, Political turmoil in Karnataka, International Trade wars. etc.

Personality Preparation for IAS interview

Your personality is unique, it has stayed with you for as long as your age and cannot be changed in a matter of few months, but you can definitely nurture, polish as per your strengths and weakness and UPSC IAS interview is all about it.

5. Know yourself

Nobody knows you better than yourself, find strengths which will be helpful in a career as a public servant, find weakness too and work upon it. Clarity about your own personality speaks a length about how clear you are about your goals and ambition.

6. Be thorough in your Detailed Application Form (DAF)

UPSC IAS interview questions by the interviewing panel will mainly be based on your DAF. In DAF, it asks about extracurricular activities and interests (Hobbies), your answer to this in your DAF should be accurate and correct, be ready with every type of question that can be asked from this. For this preparation, you can watch IAS topper Interviews and search for IAS interview questions with similar hobbies.

7. Be true to yourself

Anything you write in your DAF will be a possible subject for the IAS interview questions and, in that case, you cannot bluff about the achievements and leadership positions you have held. if done it may backfire and can be seen in your marks and will undo all the efforts taken to clear UPSC Civil Services Examination (CSE) — Prelims and Mains.  

8. Work upon your Body Language

“a smile is worth a thousand words”
Before anything, the IAS interview panel will judge you by your body posture, personal appearance, your body language, your etiquettes which will make the first impression. Your anxiety or confidence is clearly seen in your body language, keep that in mind and relax.

9. Be prepared with your Dress for the day of IAS interview

Choice of dress should be formal and comfortable so that you don’t have to worry about it and concentrate more on your performance. Choose your dress beforehand try it, test it to avoid last-minute trouble, and also have a spare if anything goes wrong with the first one.

10. Improve upon your Communication Skills

In an IAS interview, its better and marks worthy if you give direct answers and don’t beat around the bush, for that you need to practice summarizing your knowledge of an IAS interview question asked concisely and to the point. This summarizing and concise information is to be done on the spot in the IAS interview. It is important to show your clarity of thoughts which can only be achieved by practising.

For any IAS interview question, if you don’t know an answer you can politely say so as what you answer is not important but how you answer is important. So, it's ok if you if you don’t know the answer. 

As in the Notification, UPSC says “The technique of the interview is not that of a strict cross-examination but of a natural, though directed and purposive conversation which is intended to reveal the mental qualities of the candidate.”

Another important point to be kept in mind related to the communication skill in an IAS interview is EYE CONTACT. Keep your eye contact with all the panel members which will make them involved in your conversations. Always keep in mind “The test is intended to judge the mental calibre of a candidate.” And not your expertise in every department. 

11. Be Honest and Trustworthy

Most of the questions that will be asked in IAS interview will be asked to test your honesty and integrity. And the way you answer these questions will show your moral strength and conviction about an issue. Your opinion about an issue should be based on the morality and integrity of your own conscience.

Mental Preparation for IAS interview

12. Enrol for a Mock IAS Interview

Everything that is said above can be practised beforehand in a mock IAS interview, every mock interview will give you a chance to improve upon each and every aspect you think needs improvement. With every mock, you will gain the confidence to tackle every possible question that may be asked.  Mock IAS interviews are like net practices before every match, utilize it, think upon it. 

13. Be mentally aware

Keeping yourself mentally aware in every situation possible, till the time you reach your interview panel. If you fail in doing so, a simple IAS interview question like “What did you have for breakfast” can confuse you and that confused answer may add upon your anxiety. So be Mentally Aware and Alert.

14. Do not have a Self-Doubt

The fact that you have cleared UPSC Civil Services Examination (CSE) — Prelims and Mains is worth applauding and no strand of inferiority and insecurity can stop you from clearing IAS interview stage also. You still have time to improve make your imperfection into perfection. Daily yoga/meditation can help you cope up with all the anxieties that you have about IAS interview and strength to overcome it.

15. Listen 

The environment of the IAS interview is such that it creates an unconscious pressure and stress. In this situation, we tend to listen incompletely or focus on what we know and ignore what actually is asked. So be conscious and listen carefully and wait till the interviewer finishes the question and get the crux of IAS interview question and keep your answers focused on that.

At last on the day of IAS interview, keep your calm and be cheerful and remember the struggle through which you have gone will surely pay off. Don’t get bog down by the rumours about a particular panel being strict or giving fewer marks, every panel is there to asses you unbiasedly and is sitting there to really know about you, so take every opportunity given to let them know about you in a better way.

To conclude, UPSC IAS interviews are a friendly exercise to know you and your personality, there is nothing to fear about, its all about confidence and conviction in your answers that matters. Practice is the key, practice of the above tips and exercises which will definitely help you build your confidence and conviction in IAS interview.

All the Best

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