IAS Interview Guide: Exam Pattern 2021 With Tips & Tricks

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IAS Interview

The Civil Services Examination, commonly known as IAS exam is conducted every year by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). The main goal of this examination is to fill the seats of various prestigious positions in the highest paying government jobs in India. IAS exam is said to have an intense syllabus that is equally challenging and eye-opening. Students take years to crack the whole exam which comprises of Prelims, Mains and Final Interview or Personality Test. In this blog, we will take brief into the IAS Exam pattern and majorly cover the tips and tricks to crack the IAS Interview.

IAS Exam Pattern 2021

Although we are here to talk about the IAS Interview round, increasing the knowledge of fellow students has always been the top priority. The Prelims exam date is in May 2021. Look at the exam pattern of the IAS Prelims round:

Paper Type No. Of Questions Marks Duration Negative Marks
General Studies 1 Objective Type 100 Questions 200 Marks 2 Hours  Yes
General Studies 2 (CSAT) Objective Type 80 Questions 200 Marks 2 Hours Yes

Exam Pattern for Mains

So, once you have cleared the Prelims, the next stage is the Mains exam. This is a little tough and different as compared to its predecessor, but to reach to the IAS Interview, you have to clear it too. What all is included in IAS Mains?

Mains has 9 papers, not to be alarmed or anything, the students get 5-7 days to clear them. Just like school, but, a little tough. 

But how to know if you have cleared the Prelims?

UPSC asks a stipulated mark for General Studies 1 and 33% in General Studies 2. Then only you would be eligible for the Mains round and then the IAS Interview. 

Some more details for Mains:

Paper Subject Duration (in hours) Total Marks
Paper A Compulsory Indian Language 300
Paper B English 300 
Paper 1 Essay 250
Paper 2 General Studies 1 250
Paper 3 General Studies 2 3 250 
Paper 4 General Studies 3 250 
Paper 5 General studies 4 250 
Paper 6 Optional 1 250 
Paper 7 Optional 2 250 

You can try your luck and prepare well for the exams by going through some mock tests and some previous years’ question papers. You can click here.

IAS Interview Questions

There are several different types of questions that you can be asked during an IAS Interview. It doesn’t always depend on the questions you went on to prepare. IAS Interviews are known as some of the scariest for a reason. They are extremely unpredictable. You might be asked a lot of questions on different topics, different questions on the same topic, just a few questions or maybe follow-up questions on the first question. You can never know what is going on in the mind of the interviewers. But don’t worry, you can also go prepared the best you can. So, here are some questions that can be asked in the IAS Interview. 

Introduction Questions

  • Tell us about yourself
  • Where is your hometown
  • Tell us about your family
  • What does your name mean?

These questions are fairly easy to answer as it is only about your own life. However, there are chances that you may be asked follow up questions related to these questions. For example, if you mention your hometown as X, you might be asked ‘What is most famous about your hometown?’ as a follow-up question.

  • What did you study in graduate school and why?
  • Which is your favorite subject and least favorite subject?
  • Why did you choose the school that you chose?
  • Where will you place yourself in the academic ranking of students from best to poor?
  • What job did you pursue after graduation?
  • Why did you shift from your job to pursuing UPSC?
  • What was your key role in your previous organization?

When you move past the introduction, there might be questions related to your education and work experience. You must be well aware of all the decisions you have taken. You do not need to sound the smartest in the room, obviously you are not in the front of the panel! But you do need to be confident and accepting of whatever you have done in your career.

Current Affairs and Hobbies

  • What is today’s headline?
  • List the most important events that took place in the last one month in your country/ state/ city
  • What are your hobbies?
  • How do you take time out for your hobby?
  • Why did you not choose to pursue that hobby as a career? 

These questions are the ones that students fear the most. Reasoning being, there will be a lot that you may or may not know. This completely depends on the panel if they wish to ask you these questions. Be very prepared, read a lot of news and be aware of things related to your hobbies. 

Optional Subject

  • Why did you choose this subject?
  • Why did you not choose your graduation subject as the optional subject?
  • What is the meaning of *any word in this subject*?

You must be sure of the subject you are choosing and be aware of all the details regarding it. There can be any question, from easy to tough. But your answer to these will impact the result heavily. 

Most Brilliant IAS Questions with Answers

Here are some of the most interesting questions and their answers for your IAS preparation. Most of these have pretty simple answers but tricky to the mind. All you need is common sense and presence of mind. 

  1. A killer was sentenced to death and was shown three rooms. 
    The first room is on fire
    Second has guns with a killer
    The third is a Tiger who had not eaten for three years.
    What should he choose?

    A: Tiger, because if he has not eaten for three years, he is dead.
  1. Twins were born in April but their birthday is in August. How’s this possible?
    A: April is the town where they were born  (This is a simple grammar-related question.) 
  1.  How to write 23 using only 2?
    A: 22+ 2/2
  1. What are both sauce and a dance? 
    A . Salsa
  1. Why is it easy to weigh a fish?
    A. Because it has its own scales

IAS Interview Round

This is the final stage before the results are declared. Known as the Personal Interview round or the Personality test, the preparation strategies for this round is so much different than the interview round.

Some students feel relaxed after the written test but more than 60% of students are more threatened by the IAS interview round as they think that speaking is not their forte. But, here we are to help those students to get over their fears with these tips and tricks.

1Let us understand the composition of the UPSC board. The IAS interview is conducted by the UPSC board to assess the candidates’ suitability for the job in civil services. The board always consists of the most competent and least biased individuals who have a record of the candidate’s career in their hand, first time for that day.

2What are the qualities the board looks for? Every year UPSC screens candidates for selection in the IAS. Being one of the toughest exams in India, Civil Services Examinations requires rigours training and preparation.

Officers must follow certain norms and rules to ensure the highest standards of quality in governmental activities and decision making that cannot be negotiated with anything else. Besides this, below listed are some of the essential qualities that an IAS aspirant must possess.

  • Mental Alertness 
  • Critical Thinking
  • Political Knowledge
  • Good Ideas
  • Opinionated but not Eggheaded
  • Clear sense of judgement
  • Proper Balance of Life and Work
  • Depth of Interest
  • Physical and Mental Fitness

Sure-shot Tips for the IAS Interview Round

If you have got all these then you are good to go, if not, follow these tips that we have listed down for you to crack your IAS Interview.

The First Impression

  • It is said that “first impressions are the last impressions.” Don’t worry, it is not entirely true, if you meet someone for longer than 5 minutes, the first impression doesn’t matter. The middle impression matters the most, how you present yourself when talked to and how you behave. Not how you came in will imprint the interviewer’s minds. 
  • You had their curiosity, now you have their attention. Try to make it to their “undivided attention”

What can you do to make a good impression?

  • Greet them when you come in, as per their genders, don’t greet unanimously. 
  • Ask before you sit down, behave like a gentleman or woman. Ask for permissions and sit straight but a little leaned. 
  • Always have a smile on your face but that smile which doesn’t make you look like a baboon. 

Body Language

Your language doesn’t matter, meaning it doesn’t matter if you are speaking Hindi or English. But it matters what your body is speaking. 

What can you do to ensure a great outcome of the IAS Interview?

  • Sit straight and don’t fidget unnecessarily, they are trained professionals and can sense uneasiness.
  • Lean a bit towards them as to show attentiveness.
  • Don’t cross your hands or legs as long as the interview goes on. Be alert and not relaxed.
  • Don’t linger on the desk, keep your hands in your lap and when necessary, use them in the air to make a point. 
  • Maintain a poker face in difficult circumstances, meaning don’t let your fears or predicaments be shown on your face.
  • Keep a good and healthy smile.

Attitude and Behavior in Check

“Keep your attitude at the door when you come into my office”. Works here too. A great saying and works everywhere. Don’t come in with your preconceived notions or ideologies or your egoistic assumptions. Come in, greet them, close the gate without your back turned towards them and be polite as much as you can.

It all depends on how bad you want it. Some tips to follow as written in the body language one. Your body language showcases your attitude and calmness. Work on it because we know most of the people here fail to work out their emotions and be professional. 

Communicate Properly

Communication consists of your ideas, your thinking, your upbringing, your mind-set and the concreteness of your mind. People lack the skill of communication the most. Being fluent, full of thoughts and presentable, it all comes under communication. 

What can you do to improve your communication skills for the IAS Interview?

  • Speak in front of a mirror on a daily basis
  • Read newspapers (already do when preparing for IAS interview and exam) aloud
  • When in IAS interview, use your hands to showcase the depth of your thoughts
  • Be presentable with your ideas, do due diligence
  • Speak correctly and fluently, do not hesitate or fidget.
  • Just remember, a simple but full of common sense answer is usually the way to approach a difficult question. 
  • A good sense of humour and the ability to take a joke goes a long way.

Reach out to Seniors for the IAS Interview Round

“It never harms to ask your seniors or advisors for some help”. Mock tests help to prepare for the written exams but not a whole lot of manuscripts are available to ace the IAS interview round. So, read personality development books or reach out to your seniors, your guides or some experienced person in the field of Business or Military too. 

Create a Last Good Impression

Follow the same steps you used when you came in. What else can you do to make a long-lasting last impression?

  • End at a great note with a great line or your greatest thought. A line from your favourite writer or author or any civil servant goes a long way.
  • Get up without showing your back, greet them the traditional Indian way, and shake their hands.
  • Take two steps back with still facing them, then turn back and go towards the door.
  • When shutting the door back, still turn to them and give them a smile, don’t show your back. No, you won’t seem desperate just don’t give out a creepy smile. 

You need to understand that during your UPSC IAS Interview, the interviewer will throw strange and uneasy questions at you but you shouldn’t lose your calm or even let them see it. If you are eyeing an exam which you want to prepare for, Leverage Edu can be your go-to exam buddy. Our experts are there to provide you with the tested and strategies to ace any exam. To know more, book your 30-minute free counselling session with us now.

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