Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Types of questions asked during the IAS interview

Hi friends ,

The word 'Interview' is a nightmare for many students. But in my view, it is easier than Prelims and Mains if you know what is expected out of you in UPSC Interview.  You don't need to be good in English to score high marks. You don't need to remember all facts and figures to score high marks. In Civil Service Interview, a candidate is given marks for his/her personality traits and not for his/her knowledge. 

I have attached a video clip of Mr.Arun Raj who got All India 34th rank in his first attempt at the age of 22 years and got into IAS this year.


( Arun Raj's interview is a video clip of what he had in 'Officers IAS Academy' this year which was recorded few days before his actual interview )
Candidate: Arun Raj
All India Rank 34 in 2015
Age 22
First attempt

I have also put the interview transcript of Ms.Dhivya Loganathan  who got into IAS this year.
(Note: Dhivya's interview is a transcript of what she faced in UPSC interview board this year. )
Candidate: Ms.Dhivya Loganathan
Service Allotted: IAS in 2015 batch
Board : Shri.D.K.Dhewan

I entered the room.Wished all the members starting with the chairman.Kept standing for few seconds until the chairman asked me to sit afterwhich I said ‘thank you sir’ and took my seat.
Chairman : Hello, Dhivya. I have come across many with their name as Divya.But for the first time I see ‘h’ in Dhivya.. Why you are called as Dhivya instead of Divya? Is there  any special reason behind this or was it just like that from the beginning?
Me : Sir, My mother was insistent that my name had a sanskrit tone to it .So she added ‘h’ for the pronunciation sake.
Chairman : I was seeing your course. What is it?? How it is similar to M.B.B.S?
Me : Sir,the course is very much modelled on the lines of M.B.B.S with respect to the syllabus and pedagogy. But unfortunately the medical council of India is yet to recognize as independent practitioners (Chairman interrupts and says ‘yeah that was what I was about to ask’).
So,we work for the registered physician and do all that a regular M.B.B.S candidate does but for and in the name of a  senior physician or surgeon.
Chairman : so u were under a surgeon in Apollo and fortis?
Me : Yes sir, I was under Dr.K.M.Mishra in Fortis and under Dr.Nevielle Solomon in Apollo
Chairman :so now from surgery you have moved to IOFS?
Me : No sir,I am in IRAS now Resources and Information. the time of filling the mains application form my service was not finalised
Chairman :oh from surgery to IOFS to IRAS
Me: No sir I didn’t join IOFS .I directly joined IRAS.
Chairman :You see Dhivya, you are a very skilled person in a very noble profession.Are you happy with the acounts service .Your first prefernce is IAS and now that you are in accounts service are you happy?
Me : Sir based on my 3 months experience with railways I am so far very happy .
Chairman :oh then good. Because what happens is when you settle down with something less than what had you aimed and especially in your case when you were already in a very noble profession like cardiac surgery to go back to you will feel frustrated after few Page on years.so I would sugggest you to make sure you are happy with your job.
Me : Ok sir.
Chairman : Do you know about the U.K.elections? what were the significant features of that election?Who won it? How is it going to be important??
Me : Sir,the conservative party won the elections and Mr.David Cameroon made a comeback as the Prime minister. The polls predicted a hung parliament but the conservatives won decisively.The Scotland national party also registered significant gains especially after losing the referendum last year. Finally, the nature of relationship of UK with the European Union is also expected to undergo a change with the conservatives in power.
Chairman : How does  the  gains made by Scotland national party affect UK?
Me : Sir,the demand for more autonomy for Scotland will intensify.
Chairman :What is the full form of UK?
Me : United kingdom
Chairman :Why is it called United kingdom?
Me : Sir, it has province like Scotland,Wales under it
Chairman :How many provinces are there under UK? What are they?
Me : Sir,there are 4.. only Scotland and wales I was able to recollect.
Chairman :Can you draw the map of UK? Chairman and others were smiling openly when he was asking this . I too smiled and said sorry sir I don’t know.
Chairman : Do you know the leader of Scotland national party?
Me : Sorry sir,I do not know.
Chairman : What are the three main areas David Cameroon set as his priorities?
Me : sir, the first task is strengthening the economy. Next is to decide the relationship with European Union and third one I do not know sir.
Chairman said ok and asked the first member to proceed
M1 : Who was the first one to perform open heart surgery in India? Chairman interrupts and asks who was the first one to perform heart transplant in the world?
Me : Sir,Christian Bernard performed the first heart transplant. I do not know who performed first open heart surgery in our country.
M1: He is from your state and they performed in your state . It was Dr.Venugopal in CMC,Vellore
M1: How much does India spend on health?
Me : sir around 1.04% of our GDP
Chairman interrupts to say isn’t it too less to which I nodded yes sir and this year the expenditure on health has further been reduced to which he said yes.
Chairman : But the states also spend on health.. How much approximately? Do you know?
Me : Sir,around 4% .
Chairman : Yeah, it varies from state to state. some spend even higher than that.
M1 : since you are from medical background with sociology as optional I want to ask you how do you interpret the current trend of cardiovascular diseases? Is it a urban or rural phenomenon?Is it more among males or females? In which age group is this more prominent. Young or old?
Me : Sir,cardiovascular diseases are more prominent in urban sections due to unhealthy lifestyle habits.But recent surveys have found that cardiac diseases are not just urban or rich-class phenomenon.Its prevalence is significant among the poor and the rural sections too but they are unreported.
Cardiac diseases are more common among men as females until their late 40s have natural immunity against deposition of fat in their arteries due to estrogen production. Heart diseases are common in th 45-60 age group but this again is changing as many in their early 30s also develop cardiovascular diseases.
M1 : Yeah but we can generally conclude heart diseases are overwhelmingly urban than rural, more among men than women and the risk increases with age. Isn’t it?
Me: Yes sir.
M1 : India fares very poorly on many health indicators such as MMR,IMR. What do you think as the main reason behind this?
Me: sir, the main reason is our inadequate public health care infrastructure.We lack in all the three main criteria of a strong public health care system , that is, availability of quality health care,accessibility and finally affordability.
You know leeches were used in surgeries once .. what purpose did it serve?
Me :Mam, it was said leech suck the blood and was mainly used to remove the bad blood..
M2 : In ancient India what were the surgical techniques used
M2 : In medieval India,surgeries were performed predominantly in which part of India.. can you name some of the surgeries and who performed them.?
ME: after 20-25 seconds pause , I answered rhinoplasty was performed in india by Sushrudh.
She said yeah you are right.
M2: What was the contribution of Sigmund Freud to medicine?To which field he contributed
Me : neurology mam. He studied EEG waves in great detail.
M2 : Freud is famously called as??
Me: Father of psychology I said .. madam corrected it as father of psychoanalysis.
M2: Do u know carl justav jung?
Me : No mam, I do not know.
M2 : are you aware of what archetypes are? You do not know right?
Me: yes mam I do not know.
M2 : Freud and carl were performing hypnosis  and this sort of medical intervention was severely criticised.. do you know why? (In actual, it was a lenghty question with too many jargons .I am not even able to recollect !!)
Me : Mam , I am not sure about that but however hypnosis as a technique is criticized because of its intrusion in to the private space of individuals beyond their state of awareness.
M2 : No no.. it is mainly because the manner in which the doctor or psychologist intervenes (not able to recollect)
M2:Some books are to be tasted ,, some are to be swallowed and some are to be digested.
 Give me the examples of book you have read in each category.
Me: mam, I would place “you can win” by shiv kera in the category of books that can be tasted,Under the books that can be swallowed I would place “India from midnight to millenium” by Shashi tharoor and under the books that should be digested I would place “development as freedom” by Amartya sen.
M2 : OK.
M3 : See , I have seen a man who was perfectly fine till 7 am and dies by 12 noon out of sudden heart attack. Is it actually true??
Me: Yes sir, It is very much possible.
M3 : Do you know what is RIGHT TO MEDICINE?
Me : NO sir, I do not know . I am only aware about the RIGHT TO HEALTH Sir
M3 : Yes yes the right to health.. ( chairman interrupts and asks)
Chairman : Is the right to health guaranteed under constitution, is it implied or clear cut?
Me: I said it is clear cut sir under article 21.
Chairman and M3 : so what is article 21?
Me: the right to life and personal liberty sir..
Chairman :So it is right to life .. rest must be  implied.ok..
M3 : What do you think are the reasons for increase in the cancer ?
Me : (as I started saying he started counting) Sir, changes in the lifestyle , the food habits, smoking,use of tobacco that increases the risk of oral and lung cancer,alcohol consumption that increases the risk of liver cancer. Then changes in the environment –pollution,harmful radiation.
M3 : ok
M4 : what is your state animal?
Me: goat ( it was nilgiri thar!!)
M4 : what is your state bird?
Me : sorry sir I do not know
M4 : OK I will change the topic.  What you understand by rule of law?
Me :Sir, rule of law means no one is above law and that the law of the land is supreme over and above every individual.
M4: Yes,the law of the land is supreme.
You see recently the salman khan case and then the disproportionate assets case. Do you think the judiciary has been acting correctly?

Me: sir, as long as the due process was followed the judiciary is in its whole right can decide and dispose the case.

M4: What is the due process of filing an appeal?
Me: sorry sir I do not know.
M4: see the due process was not followed,Salman khan was given the bail even before the process of filing the appeal was completed .Now if we were to believe this to be true , now tell me what does it reflect about the judiciary.
Me: sir,if that being the case, it gives rise to serious doubts in the minds of ordinary citizens especially the poor as to how will they get justice especially when the compliant is against some bigwigs such as filmstars or politicians.
M4: Yes.
Chairman : ok Dhivya . one last question before you go.
You know Khemka?
Me : yes sir. Mr.Ashok kemka , he is a civil servant.
Chairman :Yeah, but what is he?
Me : he is an IAS Officer.
Chairman : Yeah, you know what happened to him right.. altough not the full details but you must be having a general overview , an idea of what is happening to him Resources and Information. many transfers ,often being  shifted to different departments.Should you find yourself in such a position what will you do? Will you sustain or??
Me : Sir my primary commitment is towards the public and the welfare of the nation at large.Come what may I will stubbornly do my duty aimed towards public welfare and national interest.
Chairman :there will be so many side effects if you try to do your duty?? Are you up for the challenge?
Me: yes sir,, I understand there may be many challenges and I will discharge my responsibilities honestly come what may sir.
Chairman :But you see politicians are your masters..what will you do when the order is from your political boss in writing.There is a written order but you think it is not right .What will you do?
Me : sir, in such a case, I would register my reservations against such a order in writing and forward to him and wait for the response. If he insists I would take up the matter to my administrative superior in writing.
Chairman :What if your administrative superior also says ‘do it’
Me: sir I would again file my opinions and reservations in writing. ( everyone started smiling ) If the order is in direct contravention of the law I should not be executing it and ( the chairman says it’s a very difficult situation Dhivya and smiles)
Chairman : ok Dhivya. You may go.. thank you.
Me: Thank you sir.

Common mistakes committed during Interview preparation

Hi friends,
The interview is the third and final leg of UPSC exam. The total marks allotted to interview are 275, however, it plays a crucial role in determining the service you get .Hence ,interview preparation should be done cautiously.Your interview preparation should start in the month of January ,a month after writing the mains .
6 Common mistakes committed during the interview preparation:
  1. Wait for the Mains results and then decide to prepare for the interview .
  2. Spend most of the time only on reading and trying to know all under the sun .Please remember ,the  knowledge of the candidate has already been tested in the Mains Exam. The final test is "ABOUT YOUR PERSONALITY AND NOT KNOWLEDGE ." Hence ,gathering information alone wont suffice.
  3. Taking a regional/religious stand (hard core ) in the interview .The requirements of UPSC are to select a candidate who is balanced and neutral.
  4. Trying to focus too much on language skills .UPSC expects a person who is balanced,neutral,empathetic and adheres to constitutional values .As long as you can communicate it to them ,language is not a problem.
  5. Trying to fake or lie to the interview board .
  6. Not preparing for the interview.This is the biggest mistake candidates commit,considering it is just out of 275 marks and Mains were for 1750 marks .To become a topper ,the interview marks are very crucial.
Source for asking questions in the interview board:
  1. Current Affairs
  2. DAF
For further guidance through telephone or  mail , please drop me  a mail to jebasingh.israel@gmail.com
I will be more than happy to help you in your preparation,so that you get the best marks and your name appears on the final list.