UPSC Civil Services exam is regarded as one of the toughest exams in the world. The exam is a year long process with three levels to be cleared consecutively in one goes. The first level is the UPSC prelims examination. The preliminary examination is an objective type test comprising of two papers, one being general studies paper and the other, aptitude paper. Candidates who qualify the preliminary examination are required to write the civil services examination. Mains examination is descriptive test consisting of 9 papers. Only those who qualify the mains are called for the final stage of the exam which is the personality test, popularly called the interview. The final rank list is prepared based on the total marks scored by a candidate in the mains examination and personality test. Out of a total of 2025 marks, 275 marks are for the personality test.
“First impression is the best impression”. The impression you create in the first five minutes of your interview set the tone for the rest of your questions. It is essential to make your mark at this point in time. The first step in creating a good impression in the interview begins with the way you greet, your attitude when you enter the interview room and most importantly, your confidence. If you enter the room as an officer, you will surely walk out as one. What is of utmost importance is your ability to understand the board’s question, assess the issues or questions with clarity and answer with utmost honesty. The first thing you will be asked is to introduce yourself. Keep the following points in mind while you talk about yourself:
- Be cheerful and have a gentle smile on your face.
- Try and make eye contact with each and every panel member. This will make you seem confident.
- Firstly, focus on your early life. Ensure you give the board members a brief history of your life. The place you were born, the educational institutions you attended etc., this will give them an idea of your overall lifestyle till date.
- Give a glimpse of your academics and professional inclination. It is essential to talk about your academics in depth. In case there are any accomplishments, make sure to highlight them. Similarly talking about your professional endeavours till date, the capacities you have served, accomplishments etc., need to be mentioned.
- Make a mention of your interests and hobbies. Be very specific and truthful. Do not give them a huge list of hobbies which you don’t really pursue. Make mention of only those which are relevant and interest you. Make sure you know about those hobbies in and out. A few questions maybe based on your hobbies and interests.
- Tell them about your aims and goals in life. It is impressive when you make a mention of where you see yourself 5 years from now. If carefully quoted, this can fetch you a very good share of marks.
- Your introduction has to be precise and shouldn’t exceed 4-7 minutes. Maintain a balance in your answer. Make sure not to glorify your achievements and talk too much in self appreciations.
The interview is considered as the proverbial X- factor and a gateway to the prestigious all India and central services. One’s knowledge, general awareness, ability to handle stress, make decisions and the overall personality is tested at this stage. The UPSC calls about 2500-3000 candidates for interview for about 900-1000 vacancies. The interview panel tests the candidate’s view about events of national and international significance. A person’s personal profile is also assessed based on the Detailed Application Form (DAF). Since this is probably the only predictable question, make sure you go well prepared for it.
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