Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Last Lap : Preparing for the Interview – By Artika Shukla IAS, Rank 4 CSE-2015



Last Lap : Preparing for the Interview – By Artika Shukla IAS, Rank 4 CSE-2015


Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” – Shel Silverstein


Hello friends, I am back again. Hope you have written your mains with considerable effort and integrity and that you come out with flying colours. May I please request you not to think of the results until they are announced and get busy preparing for the interview. You’ve paid the upsc to check your copies so let them do that job. 🙂

This write up is just a small piece of advice from someone who has gone through the exact stage you’re going through right now. This is in no way,shape or form a complete guide for preparation. Please go through this and pick and apply what you can,when you can.


1.Current Affairs.


The most important part in preparation. Follow the Hindu, the Indian express with regularity. Most questions asked in the interview can be answered reasonably well if you’ve been thorough with the newspapers in the last one year. Need to focus more on the last two-three months though. Go through all sections of the news- national, international, local(very important in case you belong to one of the states going for elections), agri, science, sports, entertainment.

In case of social issues of relevance,read a few good articles on the net,make a brief,succinct and unbiased opinion on the issue and try speaking it aloud with confidence. Make sure it’s crisp and does not exceed 2-3 sentences.

No need to read yojana,india today or frontline at this stage. Remember the idea is to remain brief but relevant and to the point.



Do not be biased. This point cannot be stressed enough. Whatever you say, make sure you have logical reasons supporting it. The interview is not a place to exhibit your prejudices or dogmatic thinking. Be open to new ideas or interjections by the board members. Try to be polite and accept your mistakes if pointed out. Please do not guess answers to factual questions. It is acceptable to say “Sorry Sir/Ma’am, I am unable to recall the answer to this.” and move on to the next question.

Trust me when I say, The panel does not wish to test your knowledge. It just wants to see if you can handle pressure or not.

So be calm and confident. Don’t buckle under pressure. State your points politely. The content does not matter much. 🙂



Another important area of preparation.

Prepare each and every word of this thoroughly. Interview marks decide your rank and more than half of the interview is based on your Daf.

Prepare the meaning of your name, your school, city and state. Any important historical events associated with any of them, upcoming events in your city, its history, culture and heritage, the running schemes, what can be done better, what needs updation, best practices observed if any. Stay relevant and try to have a critical perspective when preparing such points.

Hobbies form another important question area. So whatever you have mentioned as your hobby, try to gain expertise in it(both theoretical and practical)in these few weeks. I had mentioned Reading fiction as my hobby.. I was asked the name of my favourite book, favourite author, the man booker winners, why Indian authors don’t feature big on the international scene etc.

In my experience,questions on preferences in services or cadres are not being asked too frequently nowadays. However,you should prepare a reasonable,brief answer for your order of preferences in both the services as well as the cadre. Discuss it with friends,family and seniors and come up with a personal and honest reply.

Also, several coaching centres come up with some interview modules. You can go through them if you wish to. Last year, Insights came up with a pretty detailed and informative write up on interview preparation which I had followed. Its also advisable to go for two or three mock sessions before the final day.



Need to prepare this well. Revise basics,be up to date with recent developments. Use google alerts to stay updated on any recent development on particular topics. If your subject of graduation is not your optional, it is advisable to prepare an answer to the reason why. Also you need to brush up the basics of your graduation subject too.

Questions on optionals are usually fact based. If you know the answer, it’s great. However if you don’t, do not panic. They are asked only to test your resilience and ability to respond to pressure. You can have no answer to twenty of these questions in a row and still get 200+ marks. What you can’t get away with is not answering an opinion based question on the 21st instance.

So, be calm and handle such questions with confidence.


4.On the D day:

Get up on time and dress well. Read the morning newspaper. Try talking only to people who make you happy and motivated. Stay cheerful while waiting for your turn.

Once inside, remember half of your marks in this examination are decided on the basis of your presentation. So be polite, humble and reasonable while answering questions. Refuse to be angered or agitated easily. Always make eye contact and smile while answering.

Now with the little experience I have gained in the past 6 months, I would like to tell all of you that whenever you’re asked a situation based question, try to be empathetic in your response. Empathise with those in distress and then answer like a leader, not an aspirant. Cool logic seldom works in real life situations. So try to be humane and measured in your responses.

In the end, it’s not the things we have – the money we make or the popularity we gain – that defines us. It’s the unforgettable marks we leave on others’ lives that causes us to bloom in this service.

It’s leaving people a little bit better off that matters..

My dear friends, always remember this.

May god grant all your wishes. Wish you the very best in life!


Artika Shukla