Much has been discussed and debated about the UPSC as one of the toughest competitive exams ever. It’s time we discussed the UPSC interview round, the third and most challenging stage of the UPSC gauntlet.
Also known as the Personality test, the interview round lasts approximately 30 minutes and assesses the candidate’s administrative potential in carrying out the civil duties. The UPSC interview is not a knowledge test, as most aspirants believe. There are no definite right or wrong answers in a UPSC interview, which makes it all the more challenging since it focuses on one’s personality traits.
Therefore, the interview’s success depends solely on your performance during the interview. This is one of the reasons why you will need to take as many mock interviews as possible before you face the real deal.
The Mock Interview & Its Indispensable Role In UPSC Final Interview Preparations
A UPSC mock interview is a practice interview prepared, conducted, and assessed by an expert panel. The purpose of the mock interview is to provide a simulated environment of the actual UPSC interview to help aspirants gauge the complexities involved.
Mock Interviews: Why Do You Need Them & How Many Should You Take?
As the final stage of the long and arduous UPSC journey, the UPSC interview, which carries 275 marks, is indeed the final game-changer. This interview is incredibly challenging because it is not based on a defined syllabus. Besides, the line of questions asked by the interview panel is often framed to assess how well you can deliver justifiable and reasonable answers under pressure.
The interview panellists, who are experts from diverse backgrounds, often ask questions from their domain, which can leave you flustered if you are not well-prepared.
However, practising with well-rounded mock interviews helps maintain a calm composure no matter how intimidating the environment is. It is crucial to instil the confidence to answer even the most tricky questions with flair. (Remember that this is an important trait that panellists will be looking out for.)
How many mock interviews will you need before your real interview? UPSC experts from IAS coaching centres in Chennai recommend at least three mock interviews to polish and refine your answering skills, confidence, personality, and critical thinking skills.
How Do You Benefit From Taking IAS Mock Interviews?
A well-structured mock interview delivers the following advantages to give you a competitive edge over hundreds of other aspirants. It:
- Prepares you to handle the pressure and handle yourself in a high-stress environment.
- Provides constructive criticism and feedback from the interview panel to help you work on your shortcomings.
- Improves your diction and body language and develops a confident and striking personality.
- Provides insights into the type of questions asked and answers expected during the actual interview.
- Refines your answering methodologies, use of terminologies, and communication skills.
- Helps deliver diplomatic, logical, and unbiased answers for complex issues and end the answer with suitable solutions for the issue.
- Prepares you to handle a barrage of unexpected, tough questions that may be thrown at you during the real interview.
The UPSC interview is the real deal-breaker, where your performance can either cut short your UPSC dreams or secure your selection. The interview has very little to do with your general knowledge. It is rather a complete assessment of traits like:
- Emotional quotient
- Intelligence quotient
- Mental calibre
- Sense of responsibility
- Strength of character
With so much at stake, it is not surprising that coaching institutes take mock interviews very seriously.
What Does a UPSC Mock Interview Entail?
A lot of effort goes into arranging mock interviews for UPSC aspirants. Here’s what it involves:
- An eminent interview panel
Reputed coaching institutes like Chinmaya Academy of Civil Services, Chennai, go the extra mile to rope in:
- Currently serving officers
- Ex-civil officers
- Eminent personalities
This gem-studded panel with highly experienced personalities from diverse fields will scrutinise your personality and your Detailed Application Form or DAF. Their job is to ensure that you demonstrate the right administrative traits in your actions to confidently address the actual UPSC board.
- A real-time environment
Many coaching institutes create an ambience that closely resembles the real UPSC interview. The result is a realistic experience that allows you to focus on the mock interview as you would in the real one.
- Valuable feedback
In a mock interview, the panel will question you on:
- Topics of national and international importance.
- Imaginary situations to assess logical reasoning.
- Your personality and interests.
- Your take on ethical standards.
- General knowledge.
The panel will assess your strengths and weaknesses based on your answers, body language, and overall performance. The final feedback will highlight your shortcomings to help you rectify them before the final interview. They will also guide you in refining your body language and communication skills if they are not up to the mark.
- Valuable guidance
Mock interviewers specialise in creating questions based on difficult situations you may face during your service. These questions allow you to develop the best possible solution or reasoning for your actions in the situation. For an aspirant, such discussions are enriching and allow you to see things from an administrator’s perspective.
Most mock interviews are recorded and kept for later use when you can view the entire interview at leisure and understand why and how the interviewers assessed your performance. Self-evaluate your mock interview and work on your pitfalls with expert guidance before D-day.
What You Need to Crack the Mock Interview
Firstly, take your mock interview seriously and never underestimate its importance. In addition, you must polish and refine the following qualities to make your mock interview worth the effort:
- Your overall personality.
- Communication skills.
- Body language and presentation skills.
- Confident attitude.
- Knowledge of current affairs and social issues.
- Logical and analytical reasoning.
- An open approach to a given situation.
- Balance of judgement.
- Leadership qualities.
- Non-biased outlook.
- Decision-making skills.
By now, you must be well aware of the importance of a mock UPSC interview. Here’s a quick list of tips to gear yourself to face one.
How to Prepare for a Mock Interview: 9 Tips to Hit The Jackpot
- Make a SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat) analysis of yourself. The results of this analysis will highlight areas that require extra effort.
- Gain a thorough insight about the DAF and prepare a detailed yet impressive biodata that will set the tone for your interview.
- Sharpen your communication skills and polish your use of terms, tone of voice, pronunciation, and diction to make yourself loud and clear.
- Train yourself to listen and analyse the question with clarity and to deliver a precise and relevant answer.
- Spruce up your answers with facts if the question calls for them. Remember that realistic, fact-based answers are more impactful.
- Maintain a positive and energetic attitude throughout the interview. Answer sincerely and to the point.
- Brush up on current affairs and the IAS syllabus to perform well in aptitude-based questions.
- Master the art of staying calm, using your presence of mind and your common sense during the interview.
- Come neatly and comfortably dressed in formal attire as you would for the real IAS interview.
Lastly, choose a reputed academy to help you in your UPSC journey. Chinmaya Academy for Civil Services, Chennai, offers offline and online courses for IAS aspirants. To know more about us, visit our website.