Appearing for the IAS exam is not a child's play. Instead, it is one of the most challenging civil service exams in which lakhs and lakhs of candidates appear each year. Unfortunately, only 0.2% of the total number succeed in qualifying all the three rounds of the UPSC exam and making it to securing a job. Since most candidates do not succeed, a few try hard the next time, while the remaining leave the journey right there and consider doing something else.
Before you begin preparing for the UPSC exam, it is essential to know the exam pattern. Once you know how the exam is conducted, it will be easier to handle things and prepare your timetable.
UPSC Exam Pattern
The UPSC exam has three rounds – The Prelims, the Mains, and the Interview round or the personality test. The Prelims consist of multiple-choice questions and can give you the ticket to moving on to the next round. In the UPSC Mains, all candidates are asked to choose an optional subject along with the other papers of the UPSC Mains.
When choosing the optional subject, the candidate has to be very careful. It is better to pick a subject on which the candidate has some knowledge. Finally, the UPSC interview round appears, which can only be attended by candidates who have successfully cracked the UPSC Mains. In the UPSC interview round, candidates have to appear in front of panelists where questions are asked. This needs special IAS interview preparation as this is the most challenging round. However, there is no looking back once a candidate can successfully make it through the interview round.
How to prepare for the IAS interview?
Often, you will come across IAS aspirants asking for some tips for IAS interview preparation. But, unfortunately, you ought to follow no such hard and fast rules for an IAS interview. This is because what works for you may not work for someone else. Moreover, everybody's capacity is different. Therefore, no two IAS aspirants can retain the same chapter or topic in a similar pattern. Hence, you have to figure out the techniques that you believe will help you in the long run.
Given below are some of the essential preparation tips for the IAS interview. There is no hard and fast rule for following any UPSC interview strategy. You can add some more strategies to the IAS interview preparation tips as given below:
1. First impression is the last impression
One of the fundamental points to be remembered here by all candidates is creating a great first impression. Try to create a first impression that lasts in the panelists' minds. For this, all UPSC aspirants are asked to dress in formals. Formal clothing includes a shirt, trousers, tie, and blazer for men while a suit or saree for women. Whatever formal clothes you wear, make sure they are correctly ironed. Besides, your hair should also be done appropriately.
2. Focus on body language
Every panelist or examiner pays attention to the body language as soon as you enter the room of the interview. This is similar for all types of interviews you face. One of the necessary criteria is to have a positive mindset. When you enter the interview room, make sure you do not have even a tinge of doubt on your face. Even if you are tense, that should not show on your face. The more tense you appear, the fishier the situation will be.
3. Have a calm mentality
The UPSC interview round is a complete grilling process. Here, all panelists check how capable you are as an IAS officer and whether you will handle the stress and cope with everything with a calm mind. So, the moment you enter the interview room, keep all your stress aside, take a deep breath and drink a glass of water if required. The posture in which you also sit matters as this can give you a positive vibe about the whole scenario.
4. Work on communication
To ace the UPSC interview, you have to be a good communicator in the first place. By being a good communicator, it means that you have to be prompt with your answers. The examiners do not have all day to sit with only one candidate. If you are not prepared with your answers, they will move on to the next candidate without wasting a single minute with you. To learn to communicate well, you can practice in front of the mirror. While answering, make sure you don't stutter or show any fidgeting attitude.
5. Learn to apply common sense
This is what makes the difference. The more the panelists see that you are applying your common sense while answering, the more convinced they are with you. This is one of the factors that can make your seat permanent as an IAS officer. To answer confidently and with common sense, first, you have to listen to the questions carefully. In the IAS interview, half of the answers lie in the question. Therefore, the more attentive you are to the questions, the better you can answer.
6. Pay attention to strengths and weaknesses
This is one tip that IAS candidates need to work on much before the interview. Every candidate has some positives and negatives. It is the responsibility of the IAS candidate to find out his positives and negatives to prepare better. Then, once you have already sorted the drawbacks, you can work on them and turn them into positives.
However, many IAS candidates fail to recognize their strengths and weaknesses. To help you with this, you have the IAS coaching centers where mock interviews are held. When you appear for these mock interviews, the mentors will automatically tell you your problem areas and how you can improve them.
Now that you know how to take IAS interview preparation, you can use the tips suggested here. If necessary, you can change some of them according to your timetable. Remember, there is no substitute for hard work. So, the more you work hard, the better you can perform.
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