How to prepare for civil services interview

Importance of Thought Process in UPSC Personality Test Exam

Interview is slightly different from your prelims and mains examination. It is not a test of your knowledge, because your knowledge and information already tested in Prelims and Mains. They have already confirmed that you are very good at expression, memory, analysis and writing.

Now what they want to test is your qualities as an officer. When you will sit in a chair of an officer, how you will take the decisions. They will see you as future administrators, and they try to fit you into the frame of an administrator. They want to test that how far you qualified for that framework or eligible for the post. 

Now the first Mantra is that Know Yourself and Present yourself, as you are. So it is basically a test of your personality. How you think, tackle issues, face pressures. If you see the patterns of few interviews are very tense interviews where interviewer starts questioning about topics which you are not familiar with, then he catches you in the corner, then he ask further questions goes deep down and then tries to corner you regarding the particular subject.

So, the thing is to be tested here is how you stand in pressure. Whether you loose your calm, react suddenly, whether you tried to run away, whether you face the reality that sorry sir I don’t know. Means, it is also a test of your understanding and how you think. 

So, First mantra is Know yourself and Present yourself as you are. Many times we really don’t know ourselves, our own capabilities also. So first try to know WHO I AM? And it not be as us fluent in English as Shakespeare, not be as fluent in my mathematical or analytical ability as scientist. Whatever is my ability I should know first and then I should present myself as I am.  

There shouldn’t be any artificiality

“You should not take the Burdon of expectation that how you should give interview with all those jargons and etiquette & manners, and try to present a picture of yourself, not real you. Then this contradiction is immediately found out and you can not succeed in this particular examination.

The Interview panels/boards are different from each other and their way of thinking and interviewing. But you have to be sure that whatever the way of the interviewer board, I will remain as I am.  If I go plan that is the interviewer ask me very though questions, If he is very pressure giving board or cool quite board. Then I should not prepare myself according to the board?  Remember I am what I am.

Do not mislead because you have come at this level, you have studied hard the more than 2 decades of your life, preparation you did and personality you have. Now, whatever the size or style of the board they just have to judge yourself whether you fit for this job or not. So, no artificial drama.

Believe me whatever you may go prepared with or false things you may assume for the sake of interview, but they will come out if the right question ask to you and you will be caught. So, Your presence of mind and how instant you answer is actually expression of yourself.

Generally, Few question they will ask from your education, background or place somewhere you come from. Few question from current affairs, about subject you opted for civil services or civil services in general, about challenges that India faces in general.

Now everything has various aspects, so there is no one right answer. Somebody may favour different view and somebody a diagonally opposite view. There is no right answer to certain issues, they are still debated and still going on. But thing is what is expected from you or say what is the right answer then?

Point is: Every answer which has sound reasoning, and I should be able to justify my answer.

(while explaining/answering)
I should not say that : "This should be done because, I feel so".
I should be saying: "This should be done because I think so".
So you should be able to think and justify your answer considering that you should have a framework of thoughts. 

Those aspirants who read some newspaper, information sources and then just reproduce that in interview or exam. Look, there is an inherent inconsistency in their thought process and contradiction will immediately evident. Because it is not your opinion, framework of thought you have and reflects lack of self analysis.

You must have a consistent way of analyzing issues, way of looking at things, then your answer will not be like this because that will be your own answer.

Reference: Prashant M. Wadnere (IAS - 2008)

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