- A thorough listing of all the information filled by you in your Mains Application Form starting from your name (meaning of your name), hometown (history of the place, any claim to fame etc), school, college, university, state, hobbies, graduation and/or post graduation subjects (queries testing your conceptual understanding of basics), optional subjects etc. In short, be prepared on anything and everything that you have yourself mentioned in the application form.
- If this is going to be your first UPSC interview, then you must schedule 3 to 5 mock interviews with leading coaching institutes. But one must be careful to space these mocks over the time-period of 8-10 days that one has before one’s interview. Mock interviews are basically designed to find out your flaws so that you can work on them, but they can also backfire if one gets depressed and demotivated after giving mocks. So, plan your mocks properly and don’t waste too much time in running from one institute to another.
- Current Affairs is one area that is never out of focus in UPSC interviews and invariably few questions get asked in the interview, which generally flow from the information mentioned in your mains application form. Keep reading the newspaper (The Hindu ) and following the news (DD News preferably) for keeping abreast of the current developments and issues , both national and international, which have been occupying the general mind-space over the last few months or so. For this, generally all leading coaching institutes come out with their notes which can be referred.
- Finally, what makes the ultimate difference in getting a good score in UPSC interview is doing the little things right, being polite yet firm, not trying to bluff the Board members and instead acknowledging your ignorance if you don’t know the answer of a question. Not knowing is not a crime in interview situation but bluffing or beating about the bush will definitely be regarded as a negative.
Saturday, February 23, 2013
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Well for any first timer, the interview call letter of civil services brings immense joy and apprehension of what will happen in interview.What kind of questions will be asked and will I be able to answer those queries confidently and convincingly.
I have given interview twice in 2008 and 2009 and scored 180 and 159 in two contrasting experiences.So , first of all my heartiest congratulations to those who have got the interview calls.I would like to share certain points which i feel can help in getting a grip over the interview process.
First and foremost candidates should work on their Mains application form, which will be the first point of reference for the interview panel and from which the questions are most expected.Every single place, person, thing etc mentioned in the application form needs to be well prepared with background information.For instance I had done my education from northeast and many question were directed towards the problems facing North east. Also, I was quizzed on my hometown and why it was famous etc. So , the point is to be very well prepared with your bio-data. While the interview panel is not looking for people who know everything, but they are definitely impressed with candidates who show good understanding of themselves and their surroundings.
Another important point that I observed is being honest with the Board.Never try to bluff and take the Board for a ride ,because they are very experienced people and if your untruth is caught, you are going to be definitely out.So be honest , even if you are unable to answer a very simple question in the interview, say "i dont know" with a smile and that will have a much better impact than a mumbo-jumbo type answer.Not knowing is not a crime and they also don't expect the candidates to answer all their questions.
Keep your confidence going by being truthful and honest with your answers. Don't take extreme stands unless the Board is asking your opinion on issues like corruption, patriotism , constitution, democracy , secularism etc.
Its important to give few mock interviews to get a feel of the interview type situation, but don't let your performances in them to affect your morale. The mock interviews are designed to point your flaws and learn from them.
I would recommend taking mocks in any two from Vajiram, Sriram and Chanakya.Also few mocks from Samkalp would be handy for the candidates.
Final piece of advice from my end would be to take interview as a converstaion with a friend of your father, with whom you would be confident yet little formal while interacting and this is what is required in UPSC interview.
All the very best !!!
Monday, January 18, 2010
Dear readers , first of all my sincere apologies for not being able to update the blog as well as reply to the queries since a long time. I hope to update the blog more regularly and also answer the relevant queries as soon as possible. The idea still remains to provide guidance and share experiences of successful candidates with the newcomers to this exam. As far as I am concerned, I gave four attempts, wrote mains four times and appeared in interview twice.Fortunately (whom am i kidding ?) or unfortunately , I could not make the cut, but to compete with the best brains in the mother of all exams was and still remains a high. The knowledge as they say never goes waste, but once you are out of the UPSC race, you need to start from scratch and I am learning it the hard way. I am glad that in this endeavour to help the aspirants of this coveted exam, I have been helped by many of my friends who have contributed through their articles, answering queries and in innumerable other ways and I hope I will continue to receive their support in taking this endeavour further.
I would like to keep this article especially for interview related suggestions and tips.So one can post one's interview related queries in the comments section.
I appeared in interview twice and scored 180 and 159 and the most valuable advice I can give is "You don't have to know the answer to all the questions put to you but you must control your nerves and that is easier said then done". In fact I scored low second time and it was a disastrous performance only because i totally forgot to answer "I don't know" to any of the questions put to me by the panel. I attempted to answer all their questions and made a complete mess .I will be posting a detailed analysis of how things go wrong, for now its important that candidates expecting interview call should start to narrow down the areas from which they are most likely to be quizzed by the panel. There will always be stunners and sitters in interview situation , but its the moderately difficult questions which will determine how much or how less you score. Interview marks is a make or break for most candidates and subjectivity is very high in how the panel judges a candidate.More detailed posts will follow covering different aspects of interview process and what strategies I used and what my friend who scored high marks in interview followed.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
First of all I would like to convey my congratulations to all of you who have cleared the first hurdle (prelims).Those who have for some reason or the other faltered in this first stage should not not lose heart and instead analyze what went wrong and start preparations anew for next year's exam. Utilize the time that is available to make your next attempt the best one.
Coming back to those who have cleared this time and gearing up to write mains, with my experience of having written civil services (mains) four times I can say that these next two months are going to be absolutely critical in determining how u fare at the mains stage of this exam.The written exam carries 2000 out of a total of 2300 marks and a superlative performance here can take away much of the ambiguity associated with the interview stage.
The strategy that would pay dividend is one which suits the individual and not a one size fits all. If one feels comfortable with optionals then maybe general studies should be the focus area or vice-versa.One would do well to remember that one needs to prepare three papers (two optionals and general studies)and essay and adequate time should be given to all of them.
For current affairs, keep scanning the newspaper and make own notes for new terms(for eg. Af-Pak Policy)which can be potential 2 markers.Also one should start reading books that are available in the market for 2 markers.Reading few pages of different sections everyday before going to bed would be a good break from monotony of studying and also build your confidence.
Answer writing practice is critical to one's success in this stage and must be done for optional subjects to get an idea of how much time it takes to formulate and write an answer. Also one must practice answering GS previous years question papers to get a hang of whether one would be able to complete the paper in time or not. Do not write anything that is superfluous especially in GS as in doing so you will hardly gain any marks but will end up losing precious time that could have been utilized for answering other questions. Be precise and to the point in answering the questions. Even in optional subjects beating about the bush will pull down your score, so avoid it.
One request to all the readers and well-wishers of this blog : Please go through the archives and the comments section before posing your queries as 9 out of 10 times these are repetitive in nature. Also,note that this blog is a voluntary collaborative effort and unreasonable expectations like personal replies on emails simply cannot be met.For queries regarding selection of optionals, I have written a separate post and for queries on syllabus of optionals or scheme of exam please visit UPSC website (www.upsc.gov.in).Just out of curiosity, if you were a reader of this blog and have cleared prelims,please post your name and optionals in the comments section.All the very best to all of you !!!
Monday, June 29, 2009
Many readers of this blog have repeatedly requested that this effort should not just be limited to prelims and should also give some pointers on mains preparation. So here is a first hand account by my friend Umesh Agarwal , AIR-237, who has been a driving force behind this blog.
I (Umesh agarwal)could score only 309 in 2007 mains where average GS score was around 330 ,though I got the interview Call .While preparing for my 2008 attempt I met Mr Ajit Sinha of Expert Brains and he advised me to follow the guidelines as prescribed by their Experts.
I judiciously followed the guidelines as prescribed by their Experts keeping in mind the concept of bounded rationality and by the grace of god , I scored 172 in paper 1 and 173 in paper 2 i.e., 345 ( highest - 353 ) ,where average GS score in 2008 mains was around 285.
My strategy in a nutshell :
I studied from Spectrum and Class 12th NCERT and for 2-markers i referred 'Up to the mark' and 2-markers given in the test series.
I studied from the Vajiram ' Yellow Book and supplemented it from class 12th NCERT i.e., democracy at work.
National Issues and Social Issues
I referred last one year Yojna , one year chronicle and Vajiram 'class notes
I didn't prepare at all.
I referred one year chronicle and supplemented it with vajiram'class notes.
I referred India Year Book , Economic Survey,Uma Kapila ,and Vajiram class notes .
Science & Technology
I didn't study S&T and lost some marks in this section , hence i am unable to guide you for this section.
I studied from S K Manocha's book and I practiced it in the same way as I would have to appear in my Mains keeping the time and graph paper along with the question papers.
With warm regards
Umesh Agarwal (AIR -237)
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
The UPSC final results came on 4th May,2009 and many friends made it through to the coveted list, two of whom have contributed to this blog as well.Friends who have made it are Umesh, SB, Arun, Rohan,Nitu,Sandeep, Mashhood,Diwakar,Anish, Shankesh,Sharanappa,Pritam.My heartiest congratulations to all of them for getting through this mother of all exams. As for me, I did not make it to the final list of selected candidates.I am glad that I could pursue what interested me for so long and as long as I was competing I was in with a good chance.Now, I need to find new challenges in life and I am looking forward to the journey ahead.
Coming back to the purpose of this blog which is to help the newcomers in getting to understand the nature of prelims and sharing of experience by aspirants who have been successful in cracking the various stages of this exam.Since many of the queries by aspirants are of repetitive nature, it is not humanly possible to answer all of them , so my request would be to go through the various articles as well as the comments section before posting your query.
Another query which gets repeated quite often is regarding selection of optionals, I have written a separate post on it ,which can be referred.
I am thankful to Umesh and Saurabh for their continued support in keeping this blog alive and look forward to their cooperation in future too.
Friday, April 3, 2009
First of all my sincere apologies to all the readers of this blog (www.upsc-prelims.blogspot.com) for this inordinate delay in answering your queries. I had my interview scheduled on 23rd March (Afternoon Session)and was busy with interview related preparation.From now onwards I would try to be more regular in posting relevant articles and answering your queries relating to UPSC prelims examination.
Those who are appearing for UPSC Prelims in May 2009 should gear up and focus much more on their optional and current affairs portion of General Studies. Around this time various books for current affairs are available in the market,I personally found Spectrum's Current Affairs guide to be the best of the lot.Another thing that aspirants must do is to practice previous year UPSC question papers. This practice would be immensely useful and also build confidence level. One should always remember that there is no such thing as perfect preparation ,but one should strive for getting closer to perfection.It is very important to keep one's spirits high while the exam is approaching and do not fall into the trap of trying harder next year.Give your best this time only and god willing things will turn out right.