Mastering the UPSC CSE Interview 2023: Essential Tips and Pitfalls to Avoid


Preparing for Success in the UPSC Civil Services Examination (CSE) 2023 Interview Round

The interview serves as the concluding stage of the UPSC Civil Services Examinations (CSE). While the Mains examination holds a total of 1750 marks, the interview stage carries a weightage of 275 marks, making it a significant contributor to the overall score of 2025 marks.

The primary objective of the interview is to evaluate the candidate’s suitability for a career in public service. In addition to assessing the candidate’s intellectual capabilities, the interview board also examines their social qualities and engagement with current affairs. According to the UPSC itself, the interview board assesses a range of qualities, including the candidate’s mental acuity, ability to assimilate information critically, clear and logical communication, sound judgment, diverse and profound interests, capacity for social integration and leadership, as well as intellectual and moral integrity.

It’s important to note that the interview board does not aim to test the candidate’s factual knowledge extensively, as this has already been assessed in the Mains examination. Below, Syed Waquar Raza, an IPS officer, provides valuable tips to help you prepare effectively for the UPSC CSE interview in 2023.

Complete Your Comprehensive Application Form

Your Detailed Application Form (DAF) is a crucial document containing your personal and educational details, interests, service and cadre preferences, and more. It’s essential to be meticulous when completing your DAF, a step you undertake before the Mains examination.

Keep in mind that each member of the interview board will have a copy of your DAF, and they may ask questions tailored to your specific information.

For instance, if you have listed Siliguri as your address in the DAF, you should be well-prepared to discuss topics related to the region, such as its historical background, prominent places and figures, challenges facing the tea industry, potential solutions, the Siliguri corridor, and more. These subjects could feature prominently during the interview. Additionally, it’s advisable to refresh your knowledge in your field of graduation or post-graduation.

Staying Informed About Current Affairs and News

Keep in mind that a substantial portion of the interview questions will pertain to current events and news. To prepare effectively, it’s essential to diligently follow at least two daily newspapers following the Mains examination.

Engage with in-depth articles concerning ongoing political developments, India’s foreign relations, the latest advancements in science and technology, social concerns, and various other current events and news.

Fostering a Positive Mindset

Maintain a Positive Outlook throughout your preparation and during the interview. Instead of laying blame on the ‘system’ or expressing pessimism about challenging issues, it is more constructive to recognize the difficulties while also proposing solutions and innovations to enhance the situation and the ‘system’. Your capacity to approach complex situations or questions with innovation and problem-solving will be duly noted by the interview board members.

Objective Reasoning and Ethical Integrity

Your responses during the interview will reflect your natural thought process and may reveal any biases in your thinking. Thus, it is essential to genuinely cultivate a rational and unbiased thought process right from the inception of your preparation.

Exercise caution to avoid exhibiting bias in favor of or against any political party, community, ideology, and so on. Keep in mind the values enshrined in the Preamble to the Constitution of India and refrain from criticizing any provision of the Constitution.

Failing in this regard could lead to a cascade of follow-up questions, potentially exposing significant flaws in your thought process. Avoid making derogatory remarks about any service or cadre.

Dress Etiquette and Positive Demeanor

Dressing appropriately for the interview is essential. For men, this entails wearing a well-fitted suit, complete with a shirt, tie, formal leather shoes, and a belt. For women, a sari or salwar-kameez is suitable attire. Keep in mind that makeup and jewelry should be tasteful and not overly extravagant.

Furthermore, it is crucial to exhibit a courteous and respectful demeanor throughout the interview. If you are uncertain about an answer, it’s best to admit it politely. There is no need to fabricate information or make guesses since inaccuracies or conjectures are likely to be discerned by the experienced board members, potentially leading to follow-up questions.

Practice Interviews

After the interview schedule is announced, make an effort to participate in numerous practice interviews. These mock interviews serve to acclimatize you to the stress levels experienced during the actual interview and offer valuable insights into areas where you may need enhancement.

Reviewing the video recording of your mock interview will aid in recognizing your errors and provide the opportunity to rectify them well in advance.

Restful Sleep and Day-of Preparation

Prepare your attire, documents, and other essentials in advance, the day before your interview. A good night’s sleep is crucial. On the interview day, thoroughly review the day’s newspapers and double-check all required verification documents. Ensure you plan to arrive at the venue at least one hour before your scheduled time, accounting for potential traffic delays.

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