(Getting Started) Overview of UPSC Personality Test (IAS Interview)

Overview of UPSC Personality Test (IAS Interview)

IAS Mains Result are out, and the process of the next and final stage of civil services examination would commence soon. The candidates who have qualified for the Personality Test, need to prepare themselves for this stage carefully. Though the weightage of the personality test is comparatively less ( with total marks of 275), but its role in deciding the final outcome can be immense. Candidates can secure as high as 70-75% of the total marks of the interview. This can significantly boost one’s final standing in the merit list.

Thus, it would be a mistake to take the interview lightly. Also, it might be the most important interview, of an aspirant’s life.

In order to help all the candidates who have qualified for the personality test , IASEXAMPORTAL presents an overview of the interview process, and solid strategy to do good.

The above graph shows the proportion of the Interview in the aggregate score of the candidate. If you notice carefully, a very good performance in the Mains is the one that is able to secure 50% marks (according to the analysis of the recent Mains exam). However, if you analyze the recent scores of the candidates in the Personality Test, you would observe that, it is easy to score as high as 70-80% in the interview. This kind of performance can give a fillip to your aggregate score in the final merit list. Thus, You must focus on performing well in the interview. Since you have done your ‘karma’ in the Mains, now is the time to show your metal in the interview.

Knowing Yourself

The Personality test is not meant to test your expertise on academic issues. You have already proven your competency in the academic field, in the MAINS examination. Thus, the purpose of the interview stage is to evaluate you, as a person, and to test your suitability as a civil servant.

Thus, do not attempt a deep research into the traditional texts, that you followed for the Mains. Instead, what is of great value, from the interview point of view, is to know about each bit of word, that you have put in the DAF form.

The interview panel knows you from the DAF form, that was submitted by you. Thus, you are expected to know, in detail, about the various aspects of yourself.

Generally, the interview panel is very accommodating, and does not try to make you feel uncomfortable. The interview generally starts with an introduction of the interviewers and the candidate, and goes into the discussion on personal details of the candidate. In this context, it is important to know about your socio-cultural background, your native town, family background and any possible thing about yourself. Thus, in the coming days, you should try to know everything about yourself and the world that belongs to you.

Talk to your family members, know about your family history; about your native town; meaning of your name and surname. Apart from that, you must develop a comprehensive knowledge about the hobbies and interests, that you have mentioned in the DAF form.

  • For instance, if you have written cricket as a hobby, you might be asked about the general evolution of the game; the latest system that governs the format of international cricket; state of women's cricket; the changes introduced in recent times.

  • If you have given 'Watching Movies' as a hobby, be prepared to face questions on different cinema organizations, international updates on cinema world, recent awards and evaluations, apart from your other areas of interest.

Next, you should be abreast with your educational background and the reason that you chose the field. You should also be able to link the recent developments in the subject of your specialization. You might also be asked the reason for pursuing the civil services as a career. Remember, you are expected to express your own views, and not the bookish 'gyaan'. So, do not rely overwhelmingly on books and texts, to find answers. Books should be only an instrument to enrich your understanding, and make you better able to answer the questions.

Next, you must develop a comprehensive knowledge about your native state. Know about its culture, society, history, political development, general status, and social problems. You should be able to provide an insight in the various aspects of the state and society, to which you belong. Thus, now is the right time to start studying about your state and society.

Other useful hints:

The Interview panel consists of highly qualified officials, from different walks of life. Therefore, do not try to fool them. This might backfire badly, and bring adverse consequences for your result. Instead, if you are not aware of the answers to the questions asked, the best thing to do is to state frankly saying , 'Sorry, but I am not aware about this'.

Be confident in what you are saying. Lack of confidence and frequent fumbling gives a wrong impression. Thus, practice on your speaking skills and talk with confidence. In this context, taking mock interviews might be very helpful, as it helps you to prepare to face the interview environment. Secondly, do not sit in the interview with a stress on your face. A smiling face gives a positive vibe and adds to the impression. Thus, work on your body language, to imbibe a positive energy in you.

Be Optimistic. Too much of negativity might not be helpful. However, it is alright to provide a fruitful critique for something, but it shall be supplemented with a justifiable remedy to the problem. Your answer should reflect your ability to analyze and resolve the problems of administration.

Most importantly, keep yourself composed and calm at all times. Getting over-excited might reflect an immaturity of behaviour. Thus, compose your emotions and feelings, and act modestly.

IAS interview is not a round of question-answers; neither is it like the ones shown on television shows, like roadies. The interview panel is highly qualified and modest in their approach. Thus, you must live up to their expectations. The Interview process is designed as a friendly conversation and healthy discussion.

For an example of interview process please see:

Interview in Hindi or Any Other Vernacular Language:

There is an option to take the personality test in Hindi or in Vernacular languages, provided in the notification of the UPSC. However, very often, candidates with the Hindi, or any other vernacular, medium feel demotivated in taking the interview in a non-English medium. However, you must understand that- since you have qualified for the personality test, on the basis of your merit, there is no need to feel demotivated. You should not be embarrassed of the medium of your education. Rather, take pride in what you know and what you have achieved. Going to an interview, with a negative attitude might give a wrong impression. However, if you face the interview board with confidence, you add to your potential and caliber.

It is not that the interview board does not know about the limitations, that might be created due to a lack of competence in English. However, you have been called for the personality test because the interview board has been impressed by your performance in the earlier stages of civil services examination.

Thus, do not let the consideration of language come into your way. You must have a command on the medium in which you have to face in the interview board. When you succeed in overcoming this psychological concern, nothing can stop you from getting success.

Express Points:
  • Prepare yourself for the interview properly. A good performance in the interview can give a boost to your aggregate marks in the final merit list. Thus, go deep into your DAF form and get acquainted with the details you have put in it. Expand your awareness to broader dimensions.

  • Work on your communication skills, so as to radiate a positive vibe in your personality. You might take the mock interviews, conducted by different institutions. Other than that, talk to your family and friends.

  • Research about your hobbies, and try to know about the different aspects of your state and native town more elaborately.

  • Do not hesitate to accept your shortcomings. Since no one is perfect, you must accept the fact, and admit when faced with something you don't know about.

  • While in the interview, do not get panicky. Compose your feelings and interact confidently. Be modest in your conversation, but do not underestimate yourself.

Just before the Interview

Before sitting for the interview you need to do some formalities:

I. Questionnaire: required for the research and analysis section of UPSC and is used for assessing background information of the candidate appearing for the personality test/ interview. The questionnaire is divided into the following sections:

  1. General Information
  2. Background of the candidate
  3. Employment status
  4. Previous Civil Services attempts
  5. Competitive exams cleared
  6. Reasons for interest in Civil Services
  7. Education particulars
  8. Background of Parents/Guardian
  9. Source of information for Civil Services
  10. Coaching attended
  11. Number of attempts made for Civil Services
  12. Optional subject chosen

II. Attestation Form: The attestation form is to be filled with required details including residence, nationality education etc and is to be signed by a Gazetted officer before being submitted at the time of the interview.

P. S. If you have applied under SC or ST or OBC, or Physically Handicapped category then fill in and submit the respective certificate.

Following these guidelines, you would find the interview process a piece of cake.

You may contact us for further support and assistance. We are happy to help anyone and everyone.

We wish the Candidates, All the Best!!



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