Civil Services Interview : How to Speak Confidently

The UPSC Civil Services Exam (CSE) 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 determine 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 more details on the 2021 interview schedules, visit the official website:

Preparation Tips for the UPSC Civil Services Exam Personality Test

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

  • You don’t always have to be diplomatic, admit if you don’t know anything, and say “I don’t know” with a smile when you don’t know the answer to a question 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 on 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.
  • Your interview length doesn’t contribute anything in your marks; it’s more about your conversation’s qualitative nature 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 a coin, 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 analyze 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.
  • While preparing for the interview, feel confident in your abilities. 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. This will also reduce the pressure on you to act like somebody else.
  • Mind-set. In the first 5 to 10 minutes, let’s say you commit a blunder or not 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 engaged through eye contact, especially the board chairperson.
  • How to approach a question? Example- what’s the problem with the 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 candidates need is the conviction that they 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 your capacity to be an excellent civil servant is perhaps the most critical part of the interview preparation. Remove the uncertainty in your mind about a low score in the Main Exam.

A few more tips to help you prepare for speaking confidently in your UPSC Civil Services Exam Interview

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


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 the UPSC CSE interview can create a difference of more than 100 marks in just 30 minutes. As this is the last round, this would give one an unassailable lead in India’s toughest competition.

The interview preparation for UPSC Civil Services Exam is mainly considered a psychological training. The goal is to prepare yourself to reflect your core personality in a most cooperative manner.

Areas covered in this article

  • Tips for speaking confidently in UPSC Civil Services Exam Interview

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