Saturday, 30 June 2018

How to Prepare for the UPSC Civil Services The Interview (Personality Test) by Satyakam Dutta

After the Mains Examination is over, the results are declared in 2-3 months and out of nearly 15,000 candidates who write the Mains examination, 3000-3500 candidates are shortlisted for the Interview stage from which around 1000-1100 candidates make to the final list. The Interview is a crucial stage in the selection process which can make or break one’s selection. I have seen candidates with average marks in the Mains examination, clearing with high ranks after getting handsome marks in the Interview. Hence, it becomes very important that the Interview stage be taken seriously so that one can pass the examination with a good rank.
The Interview process of just 25 to 35 minutes has a wide range of marks scored: 90 to 230. It is the last chance to maximize the total score. Even if one’s score in the Written Examination is near the cut-off, one can score very high and be in the selection list.

CSE, 2014 Cut-off marks (General Category):

Written Score:                                              678   (for getting interview call)
Final Score (Written + Interview):              889 (for getting selected after interview)

So, the marks in the Interview Stage is a very important component in the selection process.
To give a full and clear insight of the Personality Test (Interview), UPSC explains and clarifies in detail:
“The candidate will be interviewed by a Board who will have before them a record of his/her career. He/she 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 caliber of a candidate. In broad terms this is really an assessment of not only his/her intellectual qualities but also social traits and his/her interest in current affairs. Some of the qualities to be judged are mental alertness, critical powers of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, balance of judgment, 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 specialised 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.”

After having sat in the Interview for 3 times and getting selected twice, these, according to me, are the key points one should remember while preparing for the Interview stage:

  • One should be very thorough on each and every entry made in the DAF (Detailed Application Form) which is submitted after clearing the Preliminary stage.
  • While answering the questions one should be very honest and should not bluff. It is good to say “I don’t know, Sir” to issues which are not known. Remember, this is a test of personality and not knowledge.
  • One should sound confident about what one is saying.
  • One should keep a smiling face during the interview. A smiling face can fetch you good marks for sure!
  • Keep good eye contact and sit in a straight and erect position.
  • Please knock the door and seek permission before entering and do not sit in the chair unless told to.
  • One should be thorough with Current Affairs and should even read the daily newspaper diligently on the day of the Interview.
  • One can ask clarifying questions to questions not understood properly. This shows the seriousness of the candidate to understand the question properly.
  • One should be dressed appropriately. A dark colored tie on a white shirt and similarly dark pants fit the bill perfectly. One may or may not wear a coat, that depends on the heat on the day of interview and one should not sweat wearing a coat.
  • Take deep breathes just before entering the Interview hall. It released the pressure, brings your heartbeats down and relaxes you.


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