UPSC CSE: IAS Officers Share Key Tips to Ace the Personality Test


Wondering how to do well in UPSC CSE interviews? IAS officers share golden tips to help you ace the personality test.

Imagine standing at the precipice of a dream, your hard work and perseverance paving the way to the final frontier — the UPSC Civil Services Examination. After tackling the prelims and mains, the ultimate challenge lies in the make-or-break UPSC interview.

This pivotal phase determines your coveted rank, where each additional mark can tip the scales in your favour, propelling you towards the cherished title of an IAS officer.

Here are 10 invaluable insights shared by seasoned IAS officers, unlocking the secrets to mastering the formidable UPSC personality test.

1. Be yourself

Retired IAS officer Ramesh Kumar Khanna advises aspirants to participate in mock IAS interviews with experienced civil servants to gain practice and check the extent of your preparation.

“But keep your personality intact, and be yourself. You must also focus on your attitude and confidence level,” he writes in Quora.

He also advises aspirants to be aware of socio-economic problems and happenings of national and global importance.

IAS Apala Mishra secured highest marks in the interview round.
IAS Apala Mishra secured the highest marks in the interview round.

2. Know your DAF

IAS officer Apala Mishra, who secured AIR 9 in UPSC CSE and got the highest marks in the interview round, says that one of the most important things to remember for the personality round is the DAF (Detailed Application Form).

She says, “Ensure that you put in only those attributes and strengths that you wish to highlight in the DAF. Do not put down any achievements or hobbies that you cannot explain. The interviewers are likely to see through it. Revise whatever you have mentioned and have answers to everything you put down.”

3. Don’t go unprepared

Dr Apala says that one of the biggest myths is that you don’t need to prepare for the interview round as it will only test your personality.

“However, we need to understand that knowledge, too, forms the basis of our personality. It requires equal amounts of work that one puts in at the prelims and mains stage,” she adds.

4. Focus on what you know

Jitin Yadav, a 2016-batch IAS officer, says that having confidence in what you already know is more important than worrying about what you don’t know.

“Do not feel underconfident imagining how much you do not know. Focus on gaining confidence from how much you already know. If you are a serious aspirant, then that is more than enough,” he says.

5. Learn to be a good listener

Jitin advises aspirants to be good listeners and take a pause before replying to a question. “Some aspirants start framing their answers before the question is finished. Never do that, we end up giving incomplete answers,” he adds.

Jitin points out that your ability to bounce back is tested in the personality test. “Too many factual questions might be asked, and it is completely normal if not all can be answered,” he says.

6. Be careful while responding to questions

“Interview is not a knowledge test, which has already been tested in the mains. Interview checks your personality traits via indirect methods; your response to questions will give them hints to assess your traits,” says Jitin.

7. Keep your dress code simple

Even though aspirants worry about what to wear during the personality test, IAS Jitin says that what you choose to wear does matter while appearing for an interview.

“Many questions may come up regarding the brand or design. In my opinion, it’s better to keep the outfit as simple as possible,” he adds.

8. Keep a check on your behaviour

Jitin says that aspirants should never interrupt the board members, but instead, be open to being interrupted by them.

“Also, answer one question at a time. Never mix the previous question with the new one,” he adds.

9. Learn to manage anxiety

Jitin says that an optimum amount of nervousness is actually good for the personality test. “If anxiety is in extremes — either too high or too low — only then it’s a concern,” he adds.

He suggests aspirants study Yerkes-Dodson Law, which explains how performance increases with physiological or mental arousal, but only up to a point.

10. Don’t be desperate

Jitin emphasises that during the personality test, it’s crucial to prioritise professional conduct over emotional reactions. “Never show you are too desperate for getting selected,” he says.

Edited by Pranita Bhat





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