Types Of Questions asked in UPSC Interview

types of questions asked in upsc interview civil services interview tips

When UPSC aspirants clear their prelims as well as mains, then the only level and the most crucial level left is the 275 marks Interview round. It might sound to you as nerve wracking as receiving results. This round can be a game changer and can give you your dream position. The two levels of written exams are just to test your knowledge and academic awareness related to a wide range of topics.

On the other hand, UPSC interview not only tests your perception but also your personality and temperament. Your Personality is a glimpse of your capabilities during a crisis situation. Thinking not only like a leader but coming out as a person with depth of thought process and candidly practical reasoning is given credit to. The Interview panel carefully scrutinizes your answers and the reasoning behind them to decide if you are suitable for civil services or not. However, one should understand that all questions asked in the Civil Services interview are not straight-forward.

Read: 10 Must Read UPSC Books for UPSC Prelims 2020

5 Out Of The Box Questions Asked In UPSC Interview


1. How can you drop an egg on a concrete floor without cracking? (This question aims at testing your mental alertness. You must hear the question carefully.)

Ans: You cannot crack a concrete floor with an egg. It is too hard.

2. What happened when wheel was invented?

Ans: It caused a revolution.

(As the question suggests that it doesn’t any obvious answer, candidate must take a chance of displaying his/her sense of humour)

3. You are driving along in your car on a wild, stormy night, it’s raining heavily, when suddenly you pass by a bus stop, and you see three people waiting for a bus: An old lady who looks as if she is about to die; an old friend who once saved your life and the perfect partner you have been dreaming about. Which one would you choose to offer a ride to, knowing very well that there could only be one passenger in your car?

Ans: The answer should be that the candidate must give his car to his good friend and drop the old lady to the hospital while the candidate waits at the bus stop with his perfect partner.

4. Can you lift an elephant with one hand?

Ans: It is not possible to find an elephant with one hand.

5: If it took eight men ten hours to build a wall, how long would it take four men to build it? 

Ans: It will take no time at all as the wall is build by those eight men already.

Read: How To Prepare For UPSC Along With Job?

Other General Questions Asked in Civil Services Interview

 Your personality test score will be decided on the basis of the parameters mentioned below-

  • Intellectual and moral integrity
  • Leadership skills
  • Clarity in thought and explanation
  • Critical powers of assimilation
  • Balance of judgment
  • Depth of interest
  • Mental alertness
  • Interest and knowledge of current affairs
  • Social traits
  • Problem solving ability

Thus, the other kinds of questions framed will be based on these.

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Common Questions About Your Background

  1. The UPSC Panel will ask questions mainly while skimming through your detailed application form. This is basically the first phase of the interview. Questions can be asked related to candidate’s birthplace, interests, recurring issues, what is the birthplace candidate comes from famous for? This to analyse if the candidate thinks as an Indian national or has a mindset secluded to his/her region.
  2. In the interview, Questions are also based upon your hobbies, interests, culture, academics, and work experience.
  3. Situation questions are a favourite as it puts the candidate under a sudden pressure to do quick analytical thinking. Sometimes these questions have to be answered reflecting your knowledge about the topic as well as showing your moral fiber. 
  4. Current affairs questions are slowly asked in a manner that you have to prove if you know about the matter and how you view it. You must know everything- from Abrogation of Article 370 to US-China trade disputes to Ban on e-cigarettes and your opinion on them. Board might ask you a question like what would you have done as a responsible representative of our nation for the Amazon Forest fire? 

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Other Probable Questions Asked

  • Why do you want to join the civil services?
  • You can make an impact on the society through social work then why you want to join Civil Services?
  • Why you want to join civil services and not (The profession you might have been in or the field of academics, eg- engineer)?
  • Explain why you chose IAS/IFS/IPS(etc.) as your first preference?
  • Why do you want to join civil service even though the salary is limited?
  • What is your ambition in life?
  • You have opted for arts subjects when you are an engineer. Why did you choose that subject?
  • What is special about your date of birth? Any important event took place that year?
  • What does your name mean? Any famous personality or god that is associated with that name?
  • Would you like to change your name?

Read: How To Choose The Best Optional Subject For UPSC Exam?

How To Handle The UPSC Interview Board?

Usually, the Civil Services Interview lasts for 30 minutes. If it is longer than that, then you have more chances of getting scores. It is not just a knowledge test. You must answer and no answer is wrong or right. One must also remember that the panel marks very objectively. The panel consists of the Chairman of the interview board and four other members. The Chairman of the board is always a UPSC member. The other four members are experts from various fields. The Interview panel is focused upon selecting candidates who possess the basic personality traits that a civil servant is expected to have. If they are politically neutral, patriotic, honest, broad-minded, sensitive, etc.

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Points To Be Remembered

  • Candidate must face the Interview panel confidently with a smile. One must have a good knowledge base which should be complimented by great conversational skills reflecting your personality traits in the correct manner.
  • Talk softly and intelligently. Do not fumble. You can explain something by just writing it on paper to Interview Panel. Have a calm composure. Stick to the point and keep your answers short. 
  • You must have good reflexes and positive attitude. 
  • Do not lie as the panel can look through you easily.
  • When answering a question, look in the center unless someone from either side asks you a direct question, look at that person, answer the question and look back at the first person.
  • Sit straight and do not throw your hands here and there or fidget while explaining something
  • Agree to difference in opinion but stand by yours with proper reasoning and justification.
  • Be candid enough to own up and tell board that you don’t know answers to a particular question.
  • While answering questions, don’t think in your mind how you answered the previous question.
  • Keep it short and simple. Don’t use technical jargons too much. 
  • Maintain eye contact with panel
  • Don’t cross your arms or nod excessively to agree to something. 


If you any doubts regarding UPSC Interview then do ask your doubts in the comment section below.


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