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Interview Preparation tips by UPSC Toppers (Presentation and Opinion Building)

Interview Preparation tips by UPSC Toppers

Preparing for an interview can be very tough, as the elements of surprise and arbitrariness is there!

How Interview can be a game changer?


Personality Test or Interview carries 275 marks out of a total of 2025 marks, where as the mains exams are of 750 marks. Scoring the 70%  of these 275 marks are in your hands and you can easily score them , where as from those 750 marks from mains even scoring 40% is tough. So, even if you were not so strong in the mains examination you can makeup for it in the interview for some extent.

Presenting Yourself Matters


It is a test of your personality, not your knowledge. How you will present yourself will matter. It might happen that you answer 100/100 questions correctly and still you get a low score, just because of your presentation. In other hand some person who got 99/100 wrong and still got good marks, because he was very good in presentation and board loved him. So, your presentation is the only thing that will matter along with your knowledge. Also no one can tell you that "How to present yourself in a better manner". For this you have to take points like:

  • Your Appearance
  • Your tone and language while speaking to the board

Your manners etc in consideration while preparing for Personality Test or Interview, all above points will matter a lot.

Just before you get the call for Personality Test


Once you get the call for Interview you should Think, Talk and present yourself as a Civil Servant, This will give you a good mindset for the Interview. Once the board members realized that your thinking is akin to what a civil servant's should be they will try to ensure that you end up as a civil servant.

Most important things you must remember in Interview:

Respect the board of Interviewers because they are matured, senior, experienced people. All they are demanding is an adult conversation with a prospective civil servant. it is a conversation, not an examination. Hence make your conversation with board members as you would with such elderly and matured people give them some respect and sobriety.

Preparing for the Interview


There can be numerous topics and the list is infinite but we are giving you few of the most important topics that you should prepare for an Interview.

1. Prepare Current Events from The Hindu, Indian Express and Important discussions on All India Radio.

2. Detailed Application Form (DAF) - Prepare to face question to anything event tangentially related to your DAF, as there has to absolutely zero margin of error here. You should go through you DAF and make a list of 60-70 topics from it where you expect the questions to be, and also look at your summary sheet. Summary Sheet is with all the board member but your entire Form is only with the chairperson. So make sure you have it in your mind that you know everything out of your summary sheet.

You should know about the Festivals, Monuments, Literacy Rate etc about your home state. To prepare Home State - read books related to your states. NBT published books on individual states which can be read. Use the internet to read Wikipedia pages of various areas of your state like Political, Administrative, Geographical, Cultural, History etc.

Opinion Building


Building opinions - You must have opinion on important issues which have been there for years. Example: FDI, J&K, Naxalism etc. For General Studies a basic read through of important areas of Polity, Economy and History. For Optional you should revise the paper 2 part.

Areas from Education Background: You must revise important areas from your graduation subject and in fact, any subject which gets reflected in your DAF. For example - people with medical science background should revise about important areas which you have studies.

Verbal Part - You must speak in a calm manner. Those who aren't adept are spoken English skills have nothing to fear. You should start practice speaking in English and also start to think in English, this would improve your communication. Also do not try to use words more than required to something or don't try to give verbose.

  • Avoid being verbose
  • Don't speak too quickly
  • Don't argue with the interviewer in questions of fact
  • Do not interrupt any board member

If an interviewer argues in a question of opinion, stick to your stand, but also remain polite. Be courteous throughout case you and your interviewer are of opposite viewpoints on an issue. Don't be afraid to say 'I don't know' to questions you have no idea about.