IAS Interview Preparation - UPSC Personality Test

UPSC IAS Interview - IAS interview is the final stage of UPSC civil services exam and it is the most crucial phase. The IAS interview will play the deciding role in final merit list, candidates can score good marks in IAS interview and secure IAS cadre and at times it may backfire them. So, IAS interview makes or break in the whole civil services exam. The 30 minutes of your time may change the candidates life.

Now, its high time to prepare for 2019 IAS interview, since UPSC mains exam is over, candidates should spend quality time on DAF analysis to prepare for IAS interview. 

Here in this article, we have provided the details of IAS interview process to nature of questions asked by the UPSC interview board.

What is the Personality Test?

The Personality Test or Interview is the third phase of UPSC Civil Service Examination. The Mains qualified candidates will be called for their interview conducted by the UPSC. The duration of the personality test is not fixed but it depends on the interviewees.

The ultimate aim of the UPSC interview is to ensure the candidate's quality, ability, and capacity whether he/she is suited for administration. The interview is conducted by various boards under UPSC in New Delhi and applicants have to face these boards individually.

Maximum marks that can be earned from the UPSC Interview are 275. Good presentation skills and thorough knowledge of your subject are key and can either make or break your interview. 

UPSC IAS Interview Details


Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), Dholpur House, Shahjahan Road, New Delhi-110069

Interview Sessions

Two sessions per day - Morning Session - 9 AM and Afternoon Session - 2 PM onwards

Dress Code

Men - Formal Pant & Shirt

Women - Saree or Salwar (Chudidar)

IAS Interview Marks

275 Marks (Maximum)

IAS Vacancy Details

896 (UPSC 2019 Notification)


Carry all relevant documents as per DAF filling

Know more: Free IAS Interview Preparation Program

IAS Interview Preparation Tips by UPSC Topper


UPSC IAS Interview Process

If you are an IAS aspirant appearing for UPSC IAS interview for the first time, then you will be eager to know the process of IAS interview on the interview day. Here we are providing the process for you:

  • Candidates need to reach the venue early, there will be some preliminary security checks before entering the UPSC building, where security checks your interview call letter and government ID proofs (carry valid ID proof with you).
  • Candidates need to keep their bags and mobile phones as directed by the UPSC building security. After that, candidates are allowed to sit in the waiting hall to check their documents. The respective government official will verify your documents (educational certificates, caste certificates and other respective documents as per your DAF).
  • Once the documents verification are over, the candidates will be the number of the panel and sequence number to appear before the board. Say For example, if you took a chit of Panel number 5 and sequence number 2, means you appear 2nd in the sequence before the panel number 5.
  • Candidates are sit in groups according to their respective panel numbers. According to your sequence, the staff will take to the panel room to appear before the UPSC interview board. In the meantime, you can avail the travel reimbursement for outstation candidates.
  • On an average, in one session UPSC board takes 5-6 aspirants. Roughly each interview lasts for 25 to 30 minutes.

Appearing for the IAS interview is a unique experience. In order to achieve success and get good score in IAS interview, candidates should be polite, calm and confident.

IAS Interview Preparation Tips

Starting your interview preparation early

Students should start their interview practice as early as possible. Do not wait for Civil Services Mains Exam result to begin your preparation.

Clear understanding of yourself

Spend time studying yourself, because a good introduction can set the tone for the rest of the interview. Most of the candidates are well-versed with their subjects, but fail to introduce themselves clearly. Make a list of points and achievements that you want to highlight about yourself to create a good introduction for your interview.

Clear understanding of DAF

Your Detailed Application Form (DAF) speaks for you in front of the board members when you are waiting for your turn for personality test. Since they have no prior knowledge about your candidature, your DAF sets the tone for the personality test. The DAF gives them a preliminary idea about you and hence, paves way for questions that they may ask.

Generally, three types of questions are asked in Personality Test:

  • Questions from DAF: For example, What is the meaning of your name? or the link between your name and renowned personalities name.
  • Based on your knowledge level: For example, if you are a B.Sc Physics graduate, you could be asked, What is Quantum Theory?
  • Current affairs and situational questions: For example, How does GST affects the federal structure of India?

Here, DAF plays a pivotal role in your interview, as questions about your native place, hobbies, optional subject, graduation, etc. consume a major chunk of the time. As situational questions and questions based on knowledge base are beyond the candidate's control, it is strongly recommended that the candidate should be thorough with his/her DAF.

Read More: How to fill DAF for IAS Exam

Positive Mindset

Do not overlook or underestimate the value of Interview. You can score 205 within 5 minutes or even 100 in 60 minutes. It is clear that the time taken has nothing to do with the marks scored by a candidate. Qualities such as confidence, integrity, humility, optimism etc. play an important role in the personality test. Candidates should make sure that they don't lie in front of the board. Be genuine while you answer, as a psychiatrist is an integral part of the board. Aptitude and body-language are also significant in the Civil Service interview process. Applicants should make sure that they are able to communicate well with the board members.

UPSC IAS Interview Dress Code

Wear a comfortable dress which will make you feel confident. There is no need spend moeny on expensive party wear clothes. Men should wear a light coloured shirt and black pants while women can wear a saree or salwar kameez. 

Read More: IAS Interview Dress code

Confidence is key

Walk in and face the interview panel confidently and deliver your answers without fear. Confidence shows your quality and ability which can contribute towards getting good marks. Even a slight display of overconfidence in your demenour can leave a negative impact. 

Read More: How to prepare UPSC IAS Interview

Documents to be Submitted during IAS Interview

  • Marksheets and certificates of Class X, XII, and graduation.
  • Proof of Category
  • A set of questionnaires that is provided to the candidate once he/she qualifies for UPSC Interview.

The questionnaires are filled with a set of questions like:

  1. Candidate's background
  2. Employment statutes
  3. Previous Civil Service attempt(s)
  4. Education qualifications
  5. Background of parents/guardians etc.

Applicants must submit an Attestation Form to the interview board with the minimum details required such as residence, nationality, education qualification along with a signature of the Gazetted Officer.

UPSC IAS Interview Questions

The IAS interview is to test candidates overall personality, mental ability, social awareness. The UPSC IAS interview is all about not to check your knowledge it is to test to your presence of mind and the approach of questions.

Here we are providing the different sections from where most of the questions are asked by the UPSC interview board.

IAS interview question on Introduction

Most of the questions asked by the UPSC interview board is based on the details that are submitted by candidates in the IAS mains application form DAF.

Once you enter the interview room, candidates greet the panel and you sit before the UPSC interview board.

The initial stage of questions will be on the introductory note like:

  • What is the meaning of your name?
  • What are you currently doing?
  • How many attempts have you given so for? etc

These questions are not to test anything, just to make you comfortable and normal your anxiety. Again, at few IAS interview boards, there may be some variations in the approach.

IAS interview questions on Education

The next round of questions may be asked from candidates educational background. The range of questions may be asked like

  • How your degree will help in administration?
  • What is so popular about your college?
  • What is your marking pattern and why increasing or decreasing? And so on.

Again in this section, UPSC IAS interview board asks the questions from your familiar zone and based on your answer / reply there will be supplementary questions which may take to deep discussions too. 

IAS Interview questions on Current Affairs

UPSC is more fond of current affairs, be it IAS prelims, mains or interview. At times, the complete IAS interview questions will be revolving around current affairs based. But at any interview discussions there will surely be few current affairs questions asked by UPSC interview board.

  • What is a hot topic today?
  • What are the major issues happening in your state/city/hometown?
  • Any burning social issue related questions may also be asked?

Here again, UPSC is not going to test your knowledge, here they are more eager to know how innovative candidates are, how candidates approach such issues. Instead of worrying right or the wrong answer provide a genuine answer according to you before the board.

IAS interview questions on Hobby and Job Profile

The next set of questions may be asked from the Job profile and Hobby section that candidates would have provided in the DAF.

  • Why you left your current job?
  • What are the role and responsibilities of your job?
  • Questions based on the hobby that you filled in DAF

Candidates should be well prepared for this section, especially hobby section, at times UPSC interview board may ask very subtle and technical questions related to your hobby. Say if your hobby is sketching, panel may give paper and pencil and ask you to sketch before them. So, be prepared and be honest before the UPSC interview board.

IAS interview questions on Optional Subject

The next set of questions will be asked from your optional subject. These questions will not be technical as related to UPSC mains, the questions will be mostly on application of your optional subject knowledge on administration.

  • How your public administration optional knowledge help in administration?
  • What is the reason to choose optional subject (your subject)?

Also, you might face some questions in IAS interview related to topics/theory/contemporary issues based on your optional subject. 

Read More: Myths about IAS interview

Personality Assessment by Interview Board

  • Eye contact- make a good eye contact with the Interview Board. Do not look down or elsewhere while giving answers. The Interview board comprises of 5 members and you must make eye-contact with each one of them while giving answers
  • Quoting facts and figures that you are unsure of leaves a bad impression
  • Avoid crossing your arms when you sit
  • Sit straight on the chair
  • Avoid touching your face and hair
  • Nod your head once or twice - it makes the sense that you are interactive in this particular session

The Personality Test is the final stage of the Civil Services exam. A candidate who walks in with confidence, a calm and positive demenour and who is thoroughly prepared can ace the interview.

All the Best!

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