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  • UPSC Examination – Overview And Purpose Of Interview.

    A UPSC Civil Services interview lasts for about 30 minutes. The purpose of the interview is to check whether the candidate is suitable for a career in the civil services.Continue Reading UPSC Examination – Overview And Purpose Of Interview.

    That is, whether the candidate has the potential to demonstrate good administrative skills. The interview carries 275 marks out of the total 2025. The candidate’s score in the Mains examination does not play any role in deciding the course of the interview, though the marks of both Mains and Personality Test are considered for ranking.

    Many students have a misconception that the CSE interview is a knowledge test. It is not a knowledge test but a personality test. There is no one definite right or wrong answer. The interview panel just observes how a candidate approaches a question. The panel doesn’t check the knowledge of the candidates.

    Rather, it assesses a few personality traits of the candidates. Another misconception is that the panel awards marks subjectively. Candidates who score low marks usually have a tendency to blame the interview board or luck. The members of the panel are highly objective. I strongly believe that it is the candidate who decides the marks based on his/her performance/personality traits.

    The questions in the IAS Interview are more like a discussion between the UPSC board and the aspirant. Generally, an IAS interview lasts for about 20 minutes and aspirants face interview questions that cover a broad range of topics. Facing the UPSC IAS interview panel is a daunting task but armed with facts and information, a candidate with confidence and appropriate soft skills can surely ace the interview.

    • Candidates usually reach the venue with some time in hand, and the security in front of UPSC organizes them in a queue and does the preliminary verification (interview call letter and cross-checking the candidate’s name on their list). It is recommended to carry some government-issued identification.
    • After the security ushers the candidates inside the hallowed gates of the UPSC; they are required to check-in their bags and mobile phones. The candidates are then made to sit in an entrance hall where the actual verification of documents (education documents, caste certificates) takes place. Usually, it is a smooth process and the staff is polite and ready to help. There are also newspapers along with tea/water and biscuits for the candidates. Candidates are also handed out a questionnaire to fill (basic background info for UPSC’s research and analysis purposes).
    • Once the documents are submitted, the candidates are given the number of the panel and the sequence number of the order in which they will appear before the panel. For e.g. a candidate might be told he/she has to appear before the panel number 5, and for that panel, he/she will be going in as the 3rd individual for that session. They don’t disclose the name of the panel chairperson at that time and it is pointless to ask that.
    • The somewhat visibly nervous candidates are then escorted to a large circular hall in the centre of the building complex. Here, the candidates are grouped and seated based on their panel number (all the people scheduled to appear before the panel number 5 will sit in a group and so on). Also, this is where a few staff members will hand out forms for travel reimbursement for out-of-town candidates (they refund for train travel in 2nd class).
    • In one session, a panel takes the interview of 5-6 aspirants. So, initially, the hall is quite full (5-6 panels in all, hence 30-35 odd candidates sitting and waiting). Usually, an interview lasts for about 20 minutes, although there is no time limit as such and people have recounted experiences of being part of even 40-minute interview.
    • One by one, names are called and candidates make their way to their respective panels (after another security check where one has to leave any remaining documents/papers/pen). Usually, a staff member escorts one from here to the room of the panel chairperson.

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