Tips For IAS

1. Be very particular about the subject you choose for prelims, as you will be appearing for an objective type of paper. History, maths, geography may prove to be very scoring. Choose subjects which have availability of books, reading material and guidance. In recent years engineering subjects like civil and electrical can be chosen, giving BEs and IITians an edge (yes! even here they are giving the BAs and BScs a tough fight!) 
2. G.K. will definitely pay in your prelims. Reading newspapers, watching TV news and of course quiz shows like KBC is a must. 
3. If you have been lucky enough to reach the interview stage book knowledge may not be the only thing you need. Your mental alertness will count as they ask you questions like “How many steps did you walk up to reach here?” or “ What is the colour of the wall behind you ?” - So be prepared. 
4. Enhance your personality because it will definitely be one of the criteria for selection. For IPS physical wellbeing is of great importance, you should be medically fit. 
5. Improve your communication skills. IFS aspirants must be proficient in at least one foreign language. So go ahead, have your say in this political mess of our country and try to make it a better place. 
IAS Papers : Five Tips On Studying For Exams
Five tips on how to study for tests so you can improve your performance on them:
1. Take frequent short breaks. 
It’s been shown that your memory will remember more at the beginning and at the end of your study sessions than it will in the middle of those sections. Therefore, it makes sense to keep your study periods to a short time frame, say 20-30 minutes at most, take a 5-minute break, then come back and study another 20-30 minutes. This way, your mind will be sharper and you’ll be more focused on what you’re studying. 
2. Space out your studying so that your long-term memory retains it. 
Another reason to not wait until the night before the exam to study is because the information will stay in your long-term memory. If you wait until the night before the exam, the information will only be in your short-term memory, where it is more likely to be forgotten. 
3. Don’t try to memorize everything; make sure you understand the material well.
Understanding the material is key to doing well on college exams because often these exams will ask you to demonstrate your understanding of that material by applying it to a situation. Your study material may have presented a sample case for you to help you prepare, but if you didn’t understand the process of how you came to the right answer, chances are, you won’t be able to demonstrate the ability to answer the question on the exam, which will likely lead you to doing poorly on the exam. 
4. Listen to relaxing music to ease the boredom of studying. 
Listening to relaxing music like classical or jazz can help to relieve some of the boredom of studying. Sitting for extended periods of time, even with short breaks, can cause the mind to dull a bit over time; playing relaxing music can help to revitalize yourself to refocus on the material and study it better. 
5. Don’t study later than the time you usually go to sleep. 
It is suggested that you don’t stay up past the time you usually go to sleep, as you may be tempted to fall asleep, being that your body is used to going to sleep at a certain time. That is why studying in the afternoon or early evening would be better. If you are a morning person, wake up at your usual time or even a bit earlier and study then, rather than staying up past your bedtime to study. 
This is another reason why you shouldn’t wait until the night before the exam to do all of your studying, as you will likely need a few hours to study in order to cover all the material if you haven’t been studying it throughout the course. 
Tips For Success In CSE:
With the number of vacancies dwindling each year and the competition getting tougher, with the number of aspirants increasing each year, one must consider all the pros and cons before jumping into the fray. One should preferably have an alternative job, which gives one the confidence and makes a wholehearted effort possible. 
Selection of Subject:
The first and foremost thing to decide while aspiring for Civil Services is the judicious choice of subjects for the Preliminary and the Mains examinations. The selection of subjects should be done most carefully, if it goes wrong, everything will go wrong. 
Normally students have the advantage of selecting one of the optionals, which they are familiar with, or have at least studied till graduate level. If you are not comfortable with the subject, you should not select the subject as an optional. 
Example: One who studied Medicine in his/her graduation may have to refer many books for one topic. On such occasions it is better to take a subject of one's interest. 
The aspirants should opt for a subject of their interest - technical subjects like engineering, medicine, veterinary sciences. Students from science background may find it difficult to understanding economics and vice-versa. Agriculture or Veterinary Sciences will be opted by the students who have studied it at their college level. Hence, the competition is among the people who have opted for the same subject. One should top in his/her subject to succeed in the examination. 
One should analyse the syllabus of previous years and the question papers. The comfort levels with the subject opted for and the past trends should be analysed. While going through the questions of previous years, one can judge himself/herself about the knowledge base and comfort level with the subject. After a detailed analysis one should decide the subject for the first optional. One can get some feedback/advice from seniors and fellow students who are well versed in the subject. To avoid confusion at advanced stages of the examination, one should have some consultation with experienced/senior colleagues. They can guide you better than any coaching class. 
Preparation for General studies can be done hand in hand, along with the preparation for optional papers. Good mix of study hours for General Studies and the Optionals makes studies enjoyable and it becomes easy to sustain the momentum for longer hours, without boredom setting in and without losing interest and enthusiasm. The most important aspect for the preparation for GS (Prelims) is to identify the loopholes and plug them urgently. But remember one thing; never sacrifice the time of optional for General Studies. Because each question in optional carries 2.5 marks and in total it carries 300 marks. More importantly, input-output ratio in optional is much better than that in General Studies. 
Always go in for a planned and systematic study. Work out your own study schedules in a manner suited to your style and stick to it. 
One should read a leading daily regularly and also a magazine that will give an insight into the writing skills and observe how facts are presented clearly and succinctly. Also watch news & current affairs programmes on a good TV channel. The latest trend has been a shift towards the current issues; hence a thorough awareness of recent happenings is mandatory. In-depth knowledge of such events is most important, as the questions will test the knowledge of details of any given event/happening. 
First one should cover the entire syllabus and then one month preceding the Mains, practice with the help of question papers of previous years. Sometimes students may end up studying topics, which are connected to the syllabus, but are practically irrelevant from your preparation point of view. For this, one should always keep a copy of the syllabus handy and keep referring to it time and again to reassess the direction of the preparation. One should also keep question papers of the previous years. Compare them and see what types of questions are repeated every year. 
Try to attempt question papers of previous years and General studies papers. This will expose your weaknesses and give you an idea about the extent of your preparation, your knowledge base, your speed and accuracy. 
General preparation can be broadly classified as long-term or short-term depending on the available time for preparation. Preparation for Mains examination should begin soon after the Prelims are over, without waiting for the result, as it involves wastage of time. 
The generally accepted strategy for CSE is that one must have studied the entire syllabus for the Mains before the Prelims or at least before the result is out. After the Prelims results are announced, all three subjects - two optionals and General Studies should be divided equally in three quarters to revise the subjects. If the subject is not revised, it is as good as not read because preparation is a continuous process. One might have covered the syllabus long back, but memory detoriates with time 
One should read/study daily 10-12 hours per day. Some people say that used to read 18-20 hours. However, don't go by the claims of other persons who say that have studied for more than 18 hours a day. It is humanly impossible. Each person knows one's own capacity, so one should prepare the timetable accordingly and follow the same for the whole period of preparation. The execution of the timetable is of crucial importance. 
One should be dedicated and have faith in one's own capabilities and in the Almighty. Do not get depressed if you are unable to achieve the targets. Remember, it is your preparation; you are the one who will appear in the examination. You know yourself better than anyone else. Quality of hours put in is more important than quantity of hours. Your time and energies should be used in an efficient and effective manner. 
During the entire period of the examination, take a light diet. One should maintain good health during the preparation and also maintain a hobby, which relaxes you during your preparation. Take adequate amount of sleep, as both - body and mind require it. It is always better to study when the body and mind are fresh. This helps in easy grasping of things as well as in retaining them. 
To save time during revision, aspirants may mark/highlight important points during their first or second reading. The aim of the first reading is to reduce the study material to half by eliminating unnecessary points. The second reading is to make it more concise, so that you can revise the entire syllabus within two days before the examination. 
Information from any source of relevance to your goal should be welcomed, as long as it is from a standard source. Discuss with your friends, talk to them and listen to their views. This will expand your knowledge base and also expose you to different views. (But while discussing be careful and don't waste time on unnecessary details). You should have a guided discussion. It is important to peak at the time of the examination. So, channelise your preparations in such a manner that you don't burn yourself out before the examination commences. 
Those who still have two-three years of time left for becoming eligible to appear for Civil Services must begin the preparation for the examination in the right earnest - right now. 
Once you decide that you wish to be a civil servant, as your career has to follow certain steps to be abreast with the latest trends and be ready in the first attempt itself. 
If you are schooling:
  • Read your school textbooks thoroughly. This is the building block of your general knowledge base. 
  • Read one national newspaper regularly. 
  • Watch one TV news regularly. 
  • Follow discussions/debates on one TV channel regularly. 
  • Read one national news magazine. 
  • If possible, read one competitive examination magazine also. 
  • Discuss news items with family members and friends that will confidence and different points of view. 
  • Be alert to learn new things. 
  • Keep an open mind to learn what is happening around you. 
At college stage:
If you decide to make civil services a career at college stage, try to follow these things: 
  • Learn your subject thoroughly. 
  • Read NCERT books very carefully as they are little encyclopedias and also comprehend them carefully. 
  • Study India yearbook published by Publication Division, Ministry of I&B. This will give you the base and a bird's eye view about India. 
  • Read one national newspaper and a magazine thoroughly.
  • Watch TV news (one prime time bulletin which covers major national and international news every day). TV channels give an overall news/views scenario on their prime time slots.
  • Listening to morning news bulletins/analysis of All India Radio is a must. They provide invaluable background information and a balanced opinion on major issues. Evening news bulletins of AIR give an overview of the prominent news stories of the day.
  • Follow one competitive examination magazine regularly. That will give you the latest trends about civil services and other competitive examinations and also give you important information in capsule form.
  • Discussions on current affairs on standard TV channel should be followed by a student to learn "how the arguments take place and how arguments are built up".
  • Discuss things/news items with your friends and family members that will give confidence of taking a stand against any issue.
  • Once you enter 3rd year of your preparation, you can go through the question papers of the previous years of CSE. Students in the first year also can go through these papers, but it would be difficult for a person to understand all the questions because he/she might have not studied the entire syllabi.
  • Normally four questions from the syllabus are asked which are of PG level if the subject is from the Arts or Science stream. So one should go through the syllabus first, then decide about taking the questions for the test.
  • In the first step itself, if you take the question paper and if you don't know most of the questions, it will deject you. There is nothing to get dejected at this stage.
  • If you complete your one optional at the college level itself, it will be easy for you to crack the Civil Services in the first attempt itself. If you clear the exam before the age of 23 that will make you eligible to become Secretary to Government of India/ Chief Secretary of a State - and even go up to the rank of Cabinet Secretary. 
Tips For Preliminary Examination:
  • The choice of optional should be done with due care and caution. While knowledge in the subject is of crucial importance, interest in the subject is also an important consideration. The reason being that the interest in the subject should be enough to last a few years of preparation.
  • The aptitude and proficiency of a particular candidate in a given subject plays an important role in arriving at a decision to select an optional subject.
  • Since some subjects are more scoring than others, candidates opt for such subjects. But one thing should be kept in mind is one’s aptitude and interest towards subject.
  • Don’t choose an entirely new subject in which you will have to work very hard.
  • If the subject selected for preliminary is opted for, in the Mains examination also, it will be very useful and solves a lot of labour and time. The preparations done for the Preliminaries would assist the candidates in getting a good grasp over the subject; otherwise the effort put in would go waste after the Prelims.
  • Books for Preliminary examination are available in plenty in common for popular subjects, but in case of specialized optional like Agriculture, Engineering, Mathematics etc one has to look carefully for good books which cover all parts of the syllabus.
  • One should select standard, prescribed books for the preparation.
  • A detailed study of good textbooks and whole syllabus only give good input and a decent chance to answer maximum questions to score high. It is better to consult various books on different aspects, as it is very rare that one single book covers the entire syllabus in its totality.
  • After reading/understanding the basic concepts, it is desirable to have sufficient or a good question bank on the subject concerned may assist the students a great deal.
  • Questions asked in the Preliminary examination for previous 10 years are available in the market. As a first step, one should sort out the questions of the optional, according to the syllabus topics. This will give an insight into the nature of questions, important areas, and twists in the questions etc. Once the basic strategy is formed, it will be easier to study the subjects according to the nature of questions asked in UPSC.
  • The optional subject should be studied extensively (Optional: General Studies= 75:25).
  • A four-month exclusive preparation for Preliminary examination is a must.
  • For the optional subject, the whole syllabus should be thoroughly studied and should be revised and mastered. (Remember no topic in optional should be left as optional) :One question carries 2.5 marks.
  • One should aim at scoring 95-110/120 (optional subject), 95-105/150 (General Studies). (Score varies per subject & per category).
  • Optional subjects carry more marks (total of 300) as compared to General Studies (150). The area/syllabus of the optional subject is also limited. Though there is a prescribed syllabus, there is no limit. It is vast.
  • As the question paper is objective in nature, it would not be advisable to confine the studies only to the multiple choice objective type questions. Practice with question banks available in the market.
  • One should read the entire syllabus by covering each and every aspect. This provides a candidate with loads of self-confidence and knowledge to answer the questions correctly.
  • This practice would perfect the art of answering the questions correctly and rapidly. This will also help the candidates to properly understand the questions asked in various forms.
  • A candidate doing well in the optional paper is expected to fare well in the examination.
  • Practice of correctly marking the answer sheets by using minimum possible time will go a long way in helping you succeed. It helps to assess one’s progress in that particular subject.
  • As the questions in the Preliminary examination are objective in nature, intelligent guesswork may be used to answer questions when you don’t know the precise answer. While solving the paper you may take three rounds. In the first round solve the easy questions. In the second round may be taken up statement and reason. The third round can have the tough questions where the intelligent guesswork may be applied. If you don’t even know some questions, you should answer the same code to all. Mark “A” or “B” or “C” or “D” to all blank where you don’t have any clue at all.
  • Importance of General Studies also cannot be undermined. 
Tips For General Studies:
  • Read newspapers and magazines carefully, which will expand your knowledge base and give good command and writing skill. 
  • Preparation for General studies should be done hand in hand while preparing for optional papers. 
  • NCERT books should be studied carefully and newspapers like The Hindu and magazines such as Frontline. 
  • Trend nowadays has shifted more towards current issues, hence a thorough awareness of recent events/happenings is mandatory.
  • In the Prelims, though the General Studies carries only 150 marks, all the candidates are required to solve the same questions, hence, this paper assumes enormous importance, as anyone spoiling this paper cannot have any chance of qualifying for the Mains stage of the examination.
  • Other than the syllabus given, questions on planning, budgeting, developmental programmes, latest issues of political and constitutional importance, Panchayati Raj, electoral reforms, natural resources, culture, growth of nationalism, committees, commissions etc can be expected almost every year.
  • Emphasis is normally placed on the general aspects of the subjects, which every educated person aspiring to join the civil services is expected to know.
  • The General Studies paper needs special and thorough preparations and does not need to be over-emphasised.
  • In General Studies, other than current affairs, each and every aspect is covered in our school syllabi. Whatever one has studied upto Class XII is only asked in General Studies. The only thing which is different is that it has an application but the basic is from our school textbook only. A good, bright student who understood the basic concepts during his/her school studies will definitely be strong in General Studies too.
  • Those who would like to appear for Civil Services should have a strong base, which will make them easy to follow the subjects.
  • Exhaustive study of each subject and every aspect of the General Studies is essential.
  • An important point is efficient time management and proper planning. The time available with the candidates for preparations is limited and hence has to be intelligently utilized. 
Tips For Mains:
  • Preparations for Mains examination should be done intensively. 
  • It always helps if the choice of the optionals for the Prelims examination is one of the subjects chosen for the Mains.
  • After analysis/taking the decision on the options, one should sort out the Main question papers according to the syllabus topics of the Mains examination. If one analyses these questions, after sometime the questions are repeated in one form or the other. This will give you time to prepare a standard answer to the question papers of the previous years. This will also make your task easy at the Mains examination.
  • Questions asked are of the Masters level examination. Sometimes the questions are ‘conceptual’ in nature, aimed at testing the comprehension levels of the basic concepts. So, if you don’t have a basic grounding in the basic concepts, it would be advisable to start from simple books.
  • The right choice of reading material is important and crucial. You should not read all types of books as told by others. Get a list of standard textbooks from the successful candidates, or other sources and also select proper notes for studying.
  • One should always target for Mains even while preparing for Preliminary examination. This is because there is much in common ground for study and there is little time for preparation for the Main examination after the results of the Prelims examination are announced.
  • While studying for the optional subjects, keep in mind that there is no scope for selective studies in CSE. The whole syllabus must be completely and thoroughly covered. Equal stress and weightage should be given to both the optionals. Remember – in the ultimate analysis both subjects carry exactly the same amount of maximum marks.
  • For subjects like Mathematics and Statistics and Geography maps etc, practice is very important. One should also practice other subjects and should not treat the same examination, as an “experience gathering” exercise to get a chance for writing mains is a great thing, which one may not get again. Hence, you should go through the unsolved papers of the previous papers and solve them to stimulate the atmosphere of the examination. Stick to the time frame (roughly 1 minute for 2 marks. Speed is the very essence of this examination. Hence, time management assumes crucial importance.
  • Writing skills (packaging) matter a lot in the Civil Services. Most of the candidates appearing for the Mains examination have a lot of knowledge, but lack writing skills. They are not able to present all the information/knowledge in a coherent and logical manner, as expected by the examiner. It is not only what you write, that is important, but also how you write what you write.
  • For developing the writing skills, one should keep writing model answers while preparing for the Mains examination. This would help the candidate to “get into the groove” of writing under time pressure in the Mains examination. The attitude should never be “I will directly write in the examination”.
  • Develop and follow your own style of writing. Try not to be repetitive and maintain a flow in the style of your writing. Never try to imitate others in the style of writing.
  • Sequential and systematic style of answering comes after a lot of practice and analysis of standard answers. Try to stimulate the actual examination hours to judge your performance and to plug any loopholes.
  • Strictly adhere to the word limit as prescribed at the end of the question to the extent possible. Try not to exceed the word limit, as far as possible. Sticking to the word limit that will save time. Besides, the number of marks you achieve are not going to increase even if you exceed the word limit.
  • Revision of subjects is very important because “anything you could not revise prior to the examination is as good as not having prepared at all”. The reason is that you have been preparing for months or years together. It is a human tendency to forget something after some time. Hence, revision is a must.
  • Write it legibly as it will simplify the evaluator’s task and he can read the answers easily.
  • Highlight/underline the important points, which you feel, are important.
  • If the write up is in essay form, write in paragraphs. A new point should start with a new paragraph.
  • If the question needs answer in point form, give it a bullet format.
  • Keep sufficient space between two lines.
  • Try to maintain uniformity in your write-ups throughout the paper. Some students write well in the initial papers. Under time pressure, the script goes from bad to worse in the later stages of the answer sheets and gets bad treatment. This may irritate the evaluator.
  • Don’t count words after every answer. If you have practiced well, you can count “how many words do you write in a line and how many lines in a single page and the total words per question”.
  • Give space and divide it by a dividing line between two questions.
  • One should target 1200-1250/2000 marks in the Mains. The main cut off also varies from year to year. 
Tips For Writing An Essay:
  • One is required to write an essay for three hours duration. This length of duration is enough. There is no standard word limit for writing an essay. 
  • Remember to divide an essay into three parts – (i) Introduction (ii) Main body and (iii) Conclusion.
  • The choice of topic on which the essay is to be written after careful thought. While selecting a topic, the knowledge base of the topic – i.e how much you know about the subject is of crucial importance. If you have data or statistics at your fingertips to back some statements, all the more better.
  • The introduction is of crucial importance. Remember – well begun is half done. This applies to an essay all the more. One could begin with a saying or a quotation. Quotations make the essay interesting to read.
  • If you cannot mentally arrange the points to be covered in the essay, jot down the points on a rough sheet of paper. Try to expand one point in its entirety in one paragraph and then move on to the next point. Do not keep returning back to one point after you have started another point. It makes the essay repetitive and boring to read. If possible, try to maintain a link between the points by a connecting sentence at the end of the paragraph covering a given point.
  • Keep your sentences short. Longer sentences not only lead to complex sentences, but also point to complexity in thought process. Use minimum number of conjunctions. Finish off a sentence as quickly as possible and start a new sentence.
  • In an essay, try to point out the problem areas and also suggest solutions to solve them.
  • Conclusion is as important as an introduction. It gives an insight into your analyzing powers. Try to give a brief overview in the form of a gist of the essay in the conclusion 
Tips For Personality Test:
  • The interview is nowadays known as a Personality Test. The reason being that it is not a test of knowledge, but of the overall personality of the candidate/aspirant.
  • Interview is more of a psychological test that is just content-based. Along with good communicative skills and self-confidence, good knowledge base no doubt gives you an upper hand. However, it has to be borne in mind that nearly all the aspirants/candidates in the Personality Test start more or less as equals in the sphere of knowledge base.
  • The most important thing to know about an interview is that it is not always a question-answer session and that the Board members are looking for different aspects of one’s personality.
  • One is not expected to know everything under the sun. If you do not know the answer to a particular question, do not hesitate to say – I don’t know, Sir/Ma’m. However, even “I don’t know Sir/Ma’m” should be said confidently and with a reasonable amount of cheerfulness. Remember – your knowledge levels have been thoroughly checked during the earlier stages of the CSE – viz Prelims and Mains.
  • Always remember that the interview is not a cross examination, but a natural, purposeful conversation.
  • Personality is a life-long asset and a thing, which evolves and changes every day.
  • Preparation
  • Keep a photocopy of the form filled for the Mains examination handy. Most of the initial questions – viz the meaning of your name, educational background, professional experience, hobbies etc will be based on this form only. Try to prepare on your bio-data; roughly 70% questions are based on bio-data, 20% questions are based on your subject and 10% are based on current affairs.
  • Aspirants to CSE should take an intelligent interest not only in areas of their specialization, but also in what is happening around them – both within and outside the country.
  • Be well informed about your interests and hobbies as there will be a few questions probing your levels of knowledge as regards your hobbies and interests.
  • Prepare thoroughly about your hometown & home state. If you hail from a place of historical importance or tourist interest, prepare well on it.
  • Know yourself. Prepare brief answers to choice of your subjects, family background, meaning of your name. You should try to take the lead by answering questions based on your bio-data.
  • One of the secrets of success is to prepare for the Personality Test along with the written test.
  • If a person gives the impression of being a bookworm, the chances of his/her selection are reduced. The candidate must exhibit an all-round personality, which indicates that the aspirant possesses a complete personality. 
Mock / Practice:
  • One should form a group of 4-5 people, as the preparation for Personality Test cannot be done in isolation. Try holding as many mock interviews as possible.
  • No training institute can develop/transform your personality in a few days. However, some of the tips may help in ironing out some weaknesses/grey areas and can provide an avenue for a well-planned preparation and group discussions.
  • Take mock interviews. In the mock interview, ask your friends to grill you so that you can face pressure from the Board easily.
  • Discuss a lot with your friends. This not only helps in you assimilating different points of view, but also enhances knowledge levels. 
Dressing Up:
  • Dress sense is of crucial importance. The choice of dress should be according to the weather conditions. Try not to wear newly stitched clothes, as they might make you uneasy. Light colours should be preferred. White colour is a good choice.
  • Wear comfortable clothes. Men need to wear light coloured shirt and a dark trouser with a tie (if weather permits). Women appear best in a saree or salwar/kameez.
  • Pay attention to the details, ironed dress, polished shoes, hair accessories, trimmed nails etc. Polish your footwear meticulously. Use convenient footwear like black or brown leather shoes.
  • Women candidates should take care to avoid the hair falling over the face as it could annoy both – you and the interviewer.
  • Do not wear anything that connects you with a religious or political group.
  • Do not use heavy perfume/deodorants.
  • In case you have a running nose or have caught a cold, carry a handkerchief, or sufficient stock of tissue paper. Tissue paper is preferable.
  • Some candidates take medicine to relax on the previous night of the interview; this should be avoided as the effect of medicine may decrease your alertness during the interview.
  • What and how you eat is also important. Have a light meal on the day of the Personality Test. Do not go for the interview on an empty stomach. However, also avoid over-eating, or having a heavy meal.
  • First impression is often the best impression. So create a positive, good impression within the first few minutes of the interview. 
  • Arrive 20-30 minutes early. Prepare a route map and arrive well in time. This will give you enough time to relax
  • While waiting for your turn in the waiting area, read a newspaper or a magazine and try to remain focused without thinking too much of what will happen in the interview. Try not to presuppose situations.
  • Do not get nervous when you are waiting for your turn for the Personality Test. When waiting for your turn, try relaxing with closed eyes and practice deep breathing. It really relaxes you. Do not try to pre-suppose situations in the Personality Test.
  • Take a final, deep breath before entering the boardroom.
  • Do not forget to knock at the door before entering, as it indicates basic courtesy.
  • On entering the room, greet all the members cordially and do not sit down on the seat without being asked to.
  • If there is a lady member in the interview board, greet her first.
  • Be conscious of your body language when you are seated.
  • Men should keep the feet flat on the floor during the interview, knees at waist level, and hands on your thighs and place your elbows on the armchair. Avoid locking hands.
  • Women, cross your ankles or legs, but keep the bottom leg straight down and do not swing it over the top leg and keep your elbows positioned on the arms of the chair.
  • When the Board members thank you at the end of the Personality test, do not forget to thank the members one last time and keep your body posture straight at the time of leaving the room.
  • Remember that interview is a two-way process.
  • Be cool. Be yourself during the Interview.
  • Your aim should be to make the board members feel comfortable in your presence.
  • Be truthful, transparent and Predictable.
  • The object of the interview is to assess the suitability of the aspirant/candidate for a career in public service.
  • Most of the questions posed in the Personality Test are opinion-based.
  • Don’t expect any expression on the faces of board members, even if your answer is very good. 
During Interview:
  • In a personality test, what is of importance is how you say what you say. It is the style of presentation that matters. 
  • Your personality is, on an average, assessed in 25-30 minutes, it is your responsibility to bring out your very best in front of the board.
  • Be attentive and listen to each question carefully. Try not to jump into an answer before the complete question has been posed as you will end up wasting time on answering a question that you were not actually asked. If you are not sure of what was asked, you can always politely seek a clarification.
  • Do not try to answer the question as soon as it is posed. Think over the question, take your time and organize the broad outline of the answer before airing it. Pause a while before answering, even if you know the answer.
  • At times, you will be given situations wherein you will be required to take a decision. In such situations, the board is testing your ability to comprehend issues and use reason and good judgment logically, precisely and arrive at a balanced decision.
  • Your replies should be crisp and to the point. Do not beat around the bush.
  • Maintain a gentle smile off and on during the Personality Test without overdoing it. It displays a sense of ease and confidence. Wherever possible use your sense of humour judiciously. 
General Do’s and Don’ts for the personality test:
  • The board members are usually very senior and learned people, so give utmost respect to the board. 
  • Don’t go by any stories/rumours spread by others. Avoid unnecessary details. 
  • Don’t ask the previous candidate about his/her interview. 
  • The board has no biases towards anyone. 
  • Never make any sweeping statements/generalized descriptions. 
  • Accept your mistakes boldly. 
  • Speak honestly, truthfully and modestly. 
  • Do not give a hasty reply. 
  • Answer in an orderly and logical fashion and always maintain eye contact with the Board members while answering. 
  • Be polite and courteous. 
  • Don’t try to be too argumentative. 
  • Be consistent in your views. Don’t change your views just because the Board differs in its opinion from your opinion.
  • Never make an attempt to present a made-up appearance or politically correct answers.
  • If you are taking an extreme view, you should also be able to justify the same.
  • Take tea or coffee, if any member offers the same to you. This will show you are relaxed and it will also help in lightening and relaxing further proceedings and give them an informal touch.
  • Avoid chewing gums and other munching items as it gives a negative and a careless image.
  • Try holding mock interviews in front of a mirror. Look out for unwarranted actions/emotions and try to rectify any shortcomings. If possible record your own answers and play them again for finding out errors.
  • Don’t criticize any government policies or even individuals.
  • Take a good night’s sleep. A good, sound sleep will keep you refreshed, cheerful and relaxed. Otherwise you will have a fuzzy head and you will betray a confused personality. You will neither be able to grasp questions correctly, nor be able to think clearly.
  • Do not speak rapidly. Speak slowly and clearly so that the Board members grasp what you are saying and do not have to interrupt you or ask you to repeat your views.
  • The Board will check you for certain traits – such as honest and integrity, logical exposition, balance of opinion, leadership skills, mental alertness, variety and depth of interest, social cohesion, moral integrity, acumen, your response to a peculiar situation, your views on varied topics.
  • At times, the Board members might pile pressure upon you. Do not panic – it is a strategy aimed at gauging the point till which you can maintain your cool under pressure and can think originally even in pressure cooker situations. Try to resemble tealeaves – show your true colours when in hot waters.
  • Form your views on a subjects in a logical and rational manner supported by data whenever necessary.
  • To be in touch with the latest happenings/events – nationally and internationally, candidates should read magazines and newspapers (at least two for interview), watch current affairs-based television programmes.
  • Assume that all questions are asked with a good reason and answer them accordingly.
  • Keep a file/folder to keep your certificates and documents in an organized manner. They are verified before you enter the interview room. (You don’t have to carry file/folder inside board room)