Civil Services Interview – Preparation, Syllabus and Important Tips for 2021

Civil Services Interview – Preparation, Syllabus and Important Tips for 2021

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UPSC Civil Services Interview is the final and most crucial step of the exam as it is not merely a test of knowledge but a holistic test of aspirant’s personality. A high score in UPSC CSE interview can create a difference of more than 100 marks in just under 30 minutes. As this is the last round, this would give one, an unassailable lead in India’s toughest competition.

Though the final rank list is prepared after all the stages and by summing the UPSC mains marks and interview marks, very often we see that interview high-scorers top the final selection list too.

UPSC is considered the toughest exams conducted in India, and having a clear understanding of the syllabus and subjects helps you prepare your strategy in advance. So in this article, you will find the complete UPSC syllabus for the CSE conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to prepare your strategy accordingly. The CSE is widely known as one of the toughest and the most prestigious examinations in India.

To understand the UPSC exam pattern, one needs to understand the IAS and IPS syllabus. It will help you in eliminating wasteful efforts like reading unnecessary topics, and hence the strategy will keep you on track.

Note- For more details on 2021 interview schedules, visit- https://www.upsc.gov.in/exams-related-info/interview-schedule

UPSC CSE Prelims and Mains Syllabus for 2021

UPSC CSE released the official notification for the Civil Service Exam on 4th March 2021 along with the syllabus. The syllabus can be found at the UPSC official site – https://upsc.gov.in/ .

There is usually a typical UPSC syllabus pattern for services such as the IAS, Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Police Service (IPS), etc. The UPSC Prelims syllabus mainly focuses on general and societal awareness which is tested by objective-type (MCQ) questions. On the other hand, the UPSC Mains syllabus is much more comprehensive as this stage comprises of nine theory papers.

The CSE is conducted in three phases, such as:

  • Phase 1: CSE Preliminary exam (Objective Type)
  • Phase 2: CSE Main Exam (Descriptive Type)
  • Phase 3: CSE Personal Interview (Personality Test)

How to Prepare for Civil Services Interview

In the beginning, the interview panel will have a total of five members, who will spend approximately 5 minutes each candidate, the interview will consist around 30-40 questions in total. The questions will be primarily based – on your education, work, hobbies etc. and a little bit on Current Affairs and international relations.

The interview is conducted to uncover your real personality and identify whether you have the traits and qualities that can make you an excellent civil servant. The main objective is to identify if you are honest, trustworthy, analytical and have no regional, religious or caste biases. While it is essential to be candid and accurate, you should not expose your inherent biases. This is why preparation is needed.

Note: For 2021 UPSC Notification –https://www.upsc.gov.in/examinations/Civil%20Services%20%28Preliminary%29%20Examination%2C%202021

What you need to consider while preparing for the UPSC interview

  • Interview preparation for UPSC CSE is mainly considered a psychological training. The goal is to prepare yourself to reflect your core personality in a most cooperative manner.
  • You don’t always have to be diplomatic, just admit if you don’t know anything and the ability to say “I don’t know” with a smile when you don’t know the answer to a question, is perhaps the most essential part of psychological preparation.
  • You must be able to give concise and precise responses- ignore open-ended responses which leaves limited scope for supplementary queries.
  • Remember that you’re not an expert of everything, and even they don’t expect you to answer all the questions. The board members are more interested in your responses than the answers.
  • Each board member has 20-30 years of experience in their fields and can easily catch a liar. So be very honest and never feel wrong about any aspect of your personality.
  • Always take a little bit of time before responding as it shows you don’t make decisions in a rush. Don’t come across as somebody very hasty.
  • Take an extra minute to structure the answer in your mind and then accordingly respond.
  • The length of your interview doesn’t contribute anything in your marks its more about the qualitative nature of your interview that will determine the final grades.
  • Questions or queries for which you can’t only say I don’t know – Your opinion about some fundamental issues of your home state. Example- political situation, economic condition, society etc.
  • Expect questions on controversial subjects. For such a problem, give the board your opinion and don’t be diplomatic. There are always two sides of coins, and you need to consider both the aspects before forming a point of view, and the board only wants to check if you have an idea or not whether you have the presence of mind to analyse and come up with a conclusion.
  • Treat the interview board members with respect. Your attitude matters more than your aptitude while attending the interview as it will determine your success rate in the interview phase. Factual knowledge has already been tested in prelims and mains.
  •  So, while preparing for the interview, feel confident in your abilities as this will reduce the psychological pressure on you while in the conversation with board members – to perform exceedingly well at the interview. When you go to the interview without stress, you will undoubtedly do well in it.
  • Accept and understand your personality – Be self-aware. Be confident about the fact that you have been selected for the final phase- i.e. interview. This will reduce the pressure on you to act like somebody else.
  • Mind-set. In the first 5 minutes, let’s say commit a blunder, or you’re not able to answer three questions. This should not affect your performance in the rest of the interview. Don’t even waste 1 second on any of the previous questions you have answered. Stay in the present and stay positive at all times.
  • Maintain eye contact with the board members. Even if the question is only from one board member keep the other members also engaged through eye-contact. Especially the board chairperson.
  • How to approach a question? Example- what’s the problem with Indian judiciary. 1st acknowledge there is a problem. Talk about what you feel is the 1st main problem. Keep it very brief. Wait for the next question on the same topic, before you go to the second problem. Don’t start displaying your knowledge to impress the board.
  • Is English fluency essential? Not at all. The recruitment is not for an academic position in English at JNU.
  • You should never feel wrong about your background, whether rural or urban, rich or poor, education, job etc. All you need is the conviction that you will be an outstanding civil servant.
  • Always keep a slight smile on your face throughout the interview. But this smile shouldn’t turn into laughter even if the members laugh or crack jokes. Maintain a formal appearance at all times.
  • Never guess an answer. Always be honest about what you know and don’t know. If you think and there are supplementary questions based on what you imagined, you may be in trouble.
  • Confidence and positivity about your results and in your capacity to be an excellent civil servant is perhaps the most critical part of interview preparation. Remove the uncertainty in your mind about a low score in the Main Exam.

Note- For more details, visit- UPSC CSE Syllabus

A few more tips to consider

  • Always start early
  • Know your-self- by personal SWOT Analysis
  • Read your bio-data multiple times
  • Develop a positive attitude
  • Don’t take UPSC interview in a light spirit
  • Develop self-confidence
  • Don’t lie
  • Improve your communication skills
  • Get straight to the point
  • Don’t stop reading newspapers
  • Prepare well on your hobbies
  • Revise your optional subject
  • Be yourself
  • Take mock IAS interviews
  • Re-check your documents
  • Maintain a positive body language

Summary/Overview

UPSC CSE Interview is the final and most crucial step of the exam as it is not merely a test of knowledge but a holistic test of aspirant’s personality. A high score in UPSC CSE interview can create a difference of more than 100 marks in just under 30 minutes. As this is the last round, this would give one, an unassailable lead in India’s toughest competition.

UPSC is considered the toughest exams conducted in India, and having a clear understanding of the syllabus and subjects helps you prepare your strategy in advance. So in this article, you will find the complete UPSC syllabus for the CSE conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to prepare your strategy accordingly. The CSE is widely known as one of the toughest and the most prestigious examinations in India.

Areas covered in this article

  • How to prepare for UPSC Interview stage
  • Topics to consider for your interview preparation

Note: For more details, click- UPSC CSE Exam

This post was last updated on September 28th, 2021 at 02:43 pm

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