UPSC Interview - Personality Test Preparation Tips and Tricks to clear IAS Exam

What is a 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 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 thourough knowledge of your subject are key and can either make or break your interview. 

IAS Interview Preparation Tips by UPSC Topper


A thorough preparation is necessary for Personality test. For that aspirants can follow some effective and practical ways which are mentioned below:

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.

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.

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. 

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. 

Documents to be Submitted

  • 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.

Venue of the UPSC Civil Service Interview

IAS interview is conducted by UPSC in New Delhi. There are various interview boards headed by Chairman and other members (at least 5 members including the Chairman).

The contact details are as given below:

Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)

Dholpur House,

Shahjan Road,

New Delhi-110-069.

Expected IAS Interview Questions from the Board

UPSC Interview Questions are related to your personal data like name, native place, etc.

Some examples are given below:

  • Your name - the meaning, famous personality with the same name
  • About your career - Why do you want to be an IAS officer
  • Education qualification - Testing your knowledge about your graduation subject
  • Questions regarding your educational institution
  • Questions about your optional subject
  • Questions from the current affairs and General Studies

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 Civil Services exam. A candidate who walks in with confidence, a calm and positive demenour and who is thouroughly prepared can ace the interview.

All the Best!

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