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How to Prepare for the UPSC IAS Interview - Do's & Don'ts, Common Question Asked, Tips and Tricks

How to Prepare for the UPSC IAS Interview - Do's & Don'ts, Common Question Asked, Tips and Tricks

Edited By Soujanya K | Updated on Feb 14, 2024 05:41 PM IST | #UPSC CSE

The UPSC IAS Exam is a nationwide exam held annually by the Union Public Service Commission to recruit gazetted officers for group A & B posts. The IAS exam is one of India's most popular exams, and for this reason, is also extremely competitive. There are three stages in the UPSC IAS exam, these being the preliminary exam, the main exam and the interview round.

For the Civil services prelims and mains, one can easily find out which topics will be covered via the IAS syllabus 2024. However, It is not as easy to find out exactly what the UPSC IAS personality test entails due to its dynamic nature. For details regarding the IAS Interview round, go through the material below, where we discuss how to prepare for the UPSC IAS interview effectively and create a good impression on the interview panel. The three stages of the IAS call for different types of answers.

The preliminary exam is an objective exam that is answered on an OMR sheet, the IAS mains exam is a subjective paper where long answers must be written down and the interview is taken verbally, face to face with a panel of interviewers.

Each stage is more difficult than the previous one due to the stiff competition, as many lakhs of candidates are competing for a few hundred seats. Below, we discuss the dos and don’ts of the IAS Interview round and give tips on how to prepare for the UPSC IAS interview.

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What is the UPSC CSE Interview Stage?

The personality test is the third and final stage of the UPSC IAS selection process, candidates who clear the Mains, as declared by the IAS result, are eligible to appear for the interview. The UPSC IAS interview round is conducted at the UPSC Bhavan, New Delhi across multiple shifts and dates.

Candidates numbering 3 times the number of UPSC Vacancies are shortlisted to appear for the interview. For instance, if there are 800 vacancies in the Civil Services, then approximately 2400 candidates will appear for the interview.

How to Prepare for the UPSC IAS Interview?

Aspirants preparing for the exam can refer to the IAS syllabus for the preliminary and main rounds. However, for the IAS interview, there is no specific syllabus as the questions are dynamic. Apart from candidates' answers, their confidence and ability to answer the questions, look and posture, pronunciation, communication skills, common sense, ability to express, ability to explain, and how to tackle situations based on given circumstances are also judged. A panel of 4-5 experienced members from UPSC take the interview and based on the performance of the candidates, they are given the marks. These marks are then added to the marks of the mains exam to create the final merit list.

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What Type of Questions are Asked in the UPSC Civil Services Interview?

As already mentioned in this article, the questions in the IAS personality test are dynamic. The UPSC panel can ask questions from anywhere. However, these questions are somewhat related to the candidates themselves. A major chunk of these questions in the IAS interview are based on the detailed application form (DAF) that the candidates will fill out after clearing the mains exam.

For your reference, here are some of the questions that are generally asked by the UPSC Interview panel during the IAS interview. The panel will cover:

  • Questions related to the candidate's personal information

  • Questions related to the academic background of the aspirant

  • Questions related to current affairs

  • Questions related to service preference

  • Situation-based questions

  • Questions related to optional subject

  • Questions related to previous job (If the candidate was working previously)

  • Questions related to taboos, societal misconceptions, stereotypes etc.

  • Questions related to political ideology, communism, socialism, capitalism etc.

  • What makes the candidate best suitable for UPSC?

  • What are the positive qualities of the candidate?

  • What are the negative qualities of the candidate?

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Questions related to personal information asked in the IAS interview

  • Candidates introduction.

  • Meaning of candidate's name.

  • Question on family background.

  • Information related to the candidate's surname, like history, and origins

  • Information related to the candidate's hometown, famous things about the hometown, political figures, and famous personalities about the hometown.

  • Historical links about the hometown.

  • Tourist spots and famous cuisine.

  • Questions related to their home state, history, economic state, crops, and famous things about their home state.

Questions related to academic background

Questions related to the stream in 10+2, and why the candidate took that specific stream.

About graduation, college days, and subject-specific questions.

Questions related to current affairs asked in the IAS interview

This is the most uncertain section, so anything can be asked especially from the last 12 months.

Questions related to service preference and cadre

This section will be based on the Detailed Application Form (DAF) that candidates will have filled out. The questions will be based on the service preference, such as why the aspirant has preferred IAS over IPS, why the aspirant has chosen a specific place as cadre etc.

Questions related to optional subject

The panel will ask questions related to the optional subject, like why the candidate has chosen a specific subject. For example, if a candidate has opted for Political Science as their optional then the question might be - "Why have you chosen Political Science? Why didn't you choose Public Administration? Your graduation subject was Economics, why didn't you choose Economics as an optional '' etc?

Situation-based questions

Candidates will be given hypotheticals and asked about what they will do when faced with such situations. For example, if you are an IPS, and a riot-like situation occurs, what will your plan of action be? Or, if you are an IAS officer and your subordinates are not obeying your orders, what action will you take?

Questions related to the candidate’s previous job (If the candidate was working previously)

If the candidate is a working professional, then the questions might be based on the working background, area of work, expertise, the reason for switching from the field they were working in previously to Civil services etc.

Questions related to taboos, societal misconceptions, stereotypes etc.

If the candidate belongs to a certain religion or background then there might be a few questions that can be related to this. In such a situation, candidates must stay calm and answer the question politely and objectively.

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Questions related to political ideology, communism, socialism, capitalism etc.

Candidates might be asked questions related to their political ideology. While being faced with this question, it is of utmost importance to behave diplomatically and not show too much bias towards or against certain ideologies or figures. If the candidate answers the questions without proper discretion, the panel will be under the impression that the aspirant heavily leans towards a specific political ideology and that they might be susceptible to bias while on duty. This runs the risk of negatively influencing the interview.

What makes the candidate best suited for UPSC?

Here the candidate will have to praise themselves and talk about their best qualities.

What are the positive points of the candidate? (Candidate will have to answer this)

Talk about the positives, but make sure to not get carried away.

What are the negative points of the candidate? (Candidate will have to answer this)

Everyone has some negative points, but it is best to avoid this question politely. Candidates can answer something along the lines of "Sir, I don't think there are any negative points in me as far as I can see, but if the experienced panel's vision can see any shortcomings in me, I assure you I will work hard to rectify it."

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UPSC Civil Services Personality Test- Do's and Don'ts

The interview is the final stage of the Civil Service recruitment process. The UPSC Civil Services exam is a taxing process that takes a toll on the candidate's mental and physical health. Candidates invest years of their lives to be able to qualify for the IAS interview. The candidates' actions during the 30-35 minutes of the interview will determine the direction of the rest of their career. Therefore, candidates must strive to do their best during the interview.

Below, we have shared some dos and don'ts for candidates who will be appearing for the interview round.

Dos for IAS interview

  • Wear well-ironed formal clothes.

  • A suit with a tie is a good option, however, it should not be fancy like a three-piece suit. Stick to neutral, formal colours.

  • Wear polished formal shoes matching the dress.

  • Clean shaved with neatly combed hair.

  • If you wear spectacles, wear frameless ones, it looks sober.

  • Put on a little smiling face during the civil services interview.

  • Sit up straight and maintain a good posture.

  • Keep your hands on your knees.

  • Hide any tattoos that can be seen by the panel.

  • Make eye contact with all the members of the panel while answering questions during the IAS interview.

  • Listen more and speak only when asked.

  • Have a positive attitude while answering questions.

  • End all answers on a positive note with hope.

  • If you don't know the answer, just apologise and say that you will read or look into it.

  • Be soft-spoken and polite while answering the questions during the IAS interview.

Also read

Don'ts for IAS interview

  • Don't wear informal or mismatched clothing. Follow a formal, professional dress code.

  • Don't wear sports shoes.

  • Don't fold sleeves, or open the cuff buttons.

  • Don't wear flashy items like rings, necklaces, bracelets, or costly wristwatches.

  • Don't appear in the interview with coloured hair.

  • Don't be critical while answering questions.

  • Don't smile excessively, or laugh during the civil services interview.

  • Don't elaborate on the answers too much. Stick to the point. Speaking more on a topic will give the panel an opening to question you further and confuse you.

  • Don't speak about sections of which you are not well aware. This will be confusing and will run the risk of your disqualification from the IAS interview.

  • Don't use slangs and unprofessional language.

  • Avoid hand movements while answering questions during the IAS interview.

  • Don't fold your legs in front of the panel.

  • Don't try to answer the questions whose answers you don’t know. It is better to skip the question altogether than to give wrong answers.

  • That being said, don't skip too many successive questions. This may leave a bad impression on the panel taking the IAS interview.

  • Don't get offended when the panel in the IAS interview asks something personal related to your specific religion, gender, reservation, or political ideology. The civil services interview panel does not intend to insult you, they just want to assess your reaction to certain situations. For instance, they will observe if you react to their questions with aggression or with calmness.

  • Don’t carry mobile phones or any kind of paper or bags into the IAS interview room.

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How to Prepare for UPSC IAS Interview? Tips and Tricks

There are a few simple things a candidate can do to improve their performance and excel in the IAS interview stage. Apart from studying the academic portion, candidates must also follow the points mentioned below, so that they are ready to face the IAS interview confidently.

  • Read newspapers and magazines to stay up to date with current affairs to tackle the questions in the civil services interview.

  • Questions on current affairs will be related to the last 12 months. The panel in the IAS interview can also ask questions related to recent national/international events.

  • An important aspect of the IAS interview is punctuation and pronunciation skills. Candidates must work on punctuation skills.

  • Work on your communication skills to ace the IAS interview.

  • Be fluent in the language that the interview will be conducted in.

  • Practice maintaining the right posture and keeping a positive approach. The panel in the civil services interview will judge candidates on the basis of these things.

  • Talk to yourself in the language medium by standing for hours in front of the mirror. This is one of the best tips to excel in the IAS interview round.

  • Give and watch IAS mock interviews. These mock IAS interviews are conducted by many coaching institutions.

Also check

State PSC article links

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

1. Is the IAS interview difficult?

Yes, but remember one thing, you will know the answers to all the questions. So, don't worry and just carry on with your instincts.

2. How can I get good marks in the IAS interview?

Candidates can get good marks by answering all the questions and maintaining a well-mannered demeanour.

3. How can I introduce myself in the IAS interview?

Start with your name, family background, educational qualification, hometown, home state etc.

4. What kind of questions are asked in the IAS interview?

The questions are dynamic in nature and anything can be asked from the academic qualification of the candidates to the past background etc.

5. How many stages are there in the IAS exam?

There are 3 stages in the IAS exam - preliminary, mains and personality test.

6. What are the mistakes in the UPSC Interview?

Some common mistakes in the IAS interview are elaborating on answers too much, trying to attempt questions you do not know the answers to and skipping too many successive questions.


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Questions related to UPSC CSE

Have a question related to UPSC CSE ?

It's great that you are taking the initiative to pursue your dream of becoming an IAS officer, Bettaswamy. Many working professionals like you crack the UPSC exam every year.

Anxiety often stems from dwelling on uncertainties. Instead, focus on what you can control – your daily preparation. Break down your study plan into manageable chunks and celebrate small goals. Challenge negative thoughts with realistic and empowering self-talk. Instead of "what if I fail," tell yourself, "I am putting in the effort to succeed, and I am capable of learning from any outcome." Practice relaxation techniques like meditation, deep breathing, or yoga to calm your mind and reduce stress.

Plan your study schedule around your work commitments. Utilize pockets of time for revision and dedicate focused study time during evenings or weekends.

Plan your study schedule around your work commitments. Utilize pockets of time for revision and dedicate focused study time during evenings or weekends.

Connect with other UPSC aspirants or online forums for motivation and sharing strategies. Consider joining a coaching institute that caters to working professionals.

I hope it helps!


I assume you want to know the eligibility criteria to becoming an IAS. First of all, to become an IAS,  one has to clear UPSC CSE examiner. There are certain eligibility criteria for applying in this examination and they are as follows:

  • Bachelor's degree from any recognised college.
  • Age between 21-32; with some relaxation for reserved categories.
  • Citizen of India ora subject of Nepal/ Bhutan or Tibetan refugee who came to India, to permanently settle here before January 1, 1962, or People of Indian origin who migrated from Uganda, Burma, Pakistan, Zambia, the United Republic of Tanzania, Malawi, Sri Lanka, East African Countries of Kenya, Zaire, Ethiopia and Vietnam to permanently settle in India.

For more information, please visit the website by clicking on the link given below:

And other government jobs, the eligibility test is different for different jobs. It would have been if you could mention the government job you are interested in.

Hope this answers your query. Thank you

Dear aspirant !!

Hope you are doing good !

Yes it will be considered because Bachelor in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (BASLP) is a 4-year degree course . It is a multi-disciplinary profession with core subjects including speech pathology, language pathology, and audiology.

Hope it helps you ;

Thank you

Dear Aspirant !

Hope you are fine!

The main subjects for the UPSC Exam are Indian Politics, Indian Economy, International Relations, Science and Technology, Geography, History, Environment and Ecology, and related Current Affairs . There are 25 subjects and 23 literature optional that one can choose from in addition to this..

Thank you

Hello aspirant,

With the help of the IAS Answer Key 2024, applicants can estimate their potential score for the IAS preliminary exam, learn about the various IAS question types, gauge the exam's difficulty, and much more.

To get the answer key, you can visit our website by clicking on the link given below.

Thank you

Hope this information helps you.

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