INTERVIEW

Personality Test - as it is called.

# Importance of Personality Test

The importance of the last phase of the examination is well established. It is the Essay, Optional and Personality Test that eventually determines your rank as there is a lot of variation in marking for these unlike General Studies.

# Way to go about Personality Test

  • The Personality Test carries 275 marks. After the declaration of the mains result, rest assured, a poor mark in personality can throw you out of the result list. Average marking in personality test will keep you in the list but not with the desired rank. A good score in Personality Test coupled with good score in Mains is what one should aspire for. 
  • Personality Test is not just like any other interview. The sole purpose of the PT is to determine whether you are of sound mind or not and whether your personality type fits the job or not. For Civil Services, the interview board generally comprises Chairman of the board (one of the UPSC members) and 4 guest interviewers.
  •  Anything above 180 will be considered a good score in the interview, as per the current marking scheme.
  • No body actually knows what parameters they actually look for in the personality test, but as per my experience, I can point out to: 



  • Confidence is the key for personality test. No body can come up with very good answers in such a quick time. Usually the responses to questions asked are average. It is all about the way you answer it.
  • Interview in CSE is all about striking a good conversation. If the question asked is factual, then you must revert in few words. If the question is subjective in nature and asks about your opinion, then try giving in depth answer and try striking a conversation rather than keeping it to a Q&A session. 
  • One key rule to be kept in mind is: answer only what is asked. Never beat around the bush. Keep sentences small and be precise. 
  • The set of questions that are asked are different for everybody. The basic questions are generally from the DAF(Detailed Application Form) to begin the interview with. Some questions based on current affairs and Optional Papers might be repetitive. However, all interview are unique with different sets of questions.
  • Personality Test runs on EXPECTATION. The moment you enter and present yourself in front of the board, they quickly skim through your DAF present before them. And they form an Expectation. If you are able to meet that expectation, you get a good score. If you are not able to meet that expectation, you get average or below average score. You get a low score only when the board is "not happy" with your responses. For example: If you keep passing extreme comments or you answers series of questions in a very casual manner.

# How to Prepare ?

  • The preparation of interview begins with DAF. It is strongly advised that you prepare online notes for the interview as you would require regular editing of the answers.
  • I used OneNote for making notes.
  • Everything mentioned in the DAF requires detailed preparation. Thus you create sections out of your DAF and prepare notes and questions accordingly.
    Sections would include:
    1. Name
    2. School
    3. College - Undergrad
    4. College - Masters
    5. Place of Stay - 1
    6. Place of Stay - 2
    7. Home District
    8. Home State
    9. Optional Subject
    10. Graduation Subject
    11. Hobby 1
    12. Hobby 2
    The idea is that you need to go into detail of every aspect of your DAF. If you have stayed in more than one place, say for example, Delhi and Patna, then you need to create two sections in OneNote, for both the places.
  • Now for every section, you need to think of possible basic questions and you need to write answers in bullet point format. It is to ensure that your answers have consistency over time and you don't miss out on any well thought and prepared point.
    For example, I am sharing the screenshot of my notes based on my DAF. So on the left hand column, you can see all the sections that I had created out of my DAF. For every section, say my home state, BIHAR, I had created various sub topics such as History, Famous Personalities, Agriculture etc. and prepared notes accordingly.


  • There would be various events happening and thus following current affairs would be a tough task. So you can also prepare a section for Current Affairs where you write only the most important events instead of noting down everything in news.
  • The current affairs booklet by Vision IAS coupled with Newspaper editorials should be good enough source to follow the recent events. However, more focus should be on the news that are very recent to your interview date.
  • Questions would come from various topics, not necessarily from your Optional or Graduation subject. Primarily, Economics, Polity and IR would be the major asking area.
# Mock Interviews
  • It is very subjective on as to how many you should give. It differs from person to person.
  • The earlier you give, the better. Especially, in case it is your first UPSC interview.
  • There will never come the day when you would feel that you are fully prepared for the interview. But however, avoid going for mocks without even basic level of preparation.
    Confidence is the key for interview and sitting for mocks without preparation would bring down your confidence level unnecessarily.
  • Try giving at least 3 mock interviews to assess yourself. Do not take their feedback very seriously. Assess yourself. The purpose of the mock is to assess yourself. Whether you felt nervous or fumbled while speaking. Whether you took a lot of time in answering and it was not a very smooth conversation etc
  • Generally, people find difficulty in communication. It is because the earlier stages of prelims and mains solely focus on reading and not talking.  Thus, one needs to improve their speaking style. Choose a random topic or decided topic and try speaking in front of a mirror. A noticeable improvement will be seen in a matter of few days.
    For those who are preparing alone, you can also take help of various interview apps available in mobile stores where you can feed the questions on your own based on your DAF and then try answering them as the app asks you questions. 

# Interview Transcripts:
This is a PDF compilation of interview questions asked. It was done by some of the candidates for ForumIAS.

Interview Transcripts - CSE 2018

You can search for people with same home state or optional or college and have a look at the questions asked on those topic. 

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