[UPSC Interview Preparation] Basic approach and framework by Anoop Shetty (Topper of IAS and IFoS exam)

[UPSC Interview Preparation] Basic approach and framework by Anoop Shetty (Topper of IAS and IFoS exam)

This is a guest article written by Mr. ANOOP SHETTY, who secured 3rd rank in Indian Forest Service exam and 140th rank in Civil Service Exam (He cleared both exams in 2012 and that too without coaching.)

  1. About yourself
  2. About your College
  3. About your place
  4. About your hobbies
  5. Opinion Based Questions
  6. General Advice:
  7. My IFoS Interview
  8. My Civil Services Interview (2012)

Dear readers, Here is a list of Basic framework of what question should be prepared. This post is based on my personal experience and information collected from friends and seniors.

About yourself

  1. What is your roll number?
  2. Tell me about yourself?
  3. What is your height/weight/age etc.?(these are trying to make you fumble….keep cool)
  4. What is the meaning of your name or surname?
  5. Famous persons having same birthday or year
  6. Why you want to join civil services?
  7. Why your first preference is IAS or IPS or IFS?

About your College

  1. Refresh your knowledge about the branch of your graduation. Also update your awareness about recent developments in your branch.
  2. Collect information about the university/institute where you are graduated from?
  3. Collect information about UPSC members, their service and cadre
  4. You can also expect some questions regarding your optional subject
  5. Why you have chosen this optional?
  6. Why you want join even after higher education. Don’t you think you should contribute in your field of specialization? (If you have done post graduation or Ph.D.)
  7. Why don’t you continue in research? (If you are from science background)

About your place

Collect complete information about your home state or state of residence, in following sectors:

  1. History
  2. Politics
  3. Culture
  4. Tourism
  5. General statistics (census 2011)
  6. Recent developments and current affairs
  7. Personalities
  8. Development
  9. Social problems

Here are some example questions:

  1. What is special about your place? (village/city/district/state)
  2. Tourist or historical places around your native place?
  3. Tell me five positives and negatives about your place? (native place/district/state/place of graduation)
  4. What are the major problems in your district/state?
  5. Historical importance of your native place/any place in your city?
  6. General statistics about your district/state? – population, population density, literacy, economic importance, health etc.
  7. Famous personalities of your state and district? (in the field of art, literature, sports, social workers and leaders)
  8. List chief ministers of different states? (Especially North Eastern states)

About your hobbies

Collect complete information about your hobbies…

  • Personalities associated with the hobby
  • Importance of your hobby
  • Information about it in historical perspective
  • Your activities related your hobby
  • Benefits of your hobby
  • Sometimes there will be some unexpected questions regarding your sports interests. They may say “Oh! You play volleyball, then I’ll ask about basketball/cricket”. A sweet smile is sufficient to deal with such questions.

For example if your hobby is ‘reading books’:

  1. Which kind of books you read, fiction/non-fiction?
  2. Name of the last book you read? Who is the author of that book? What that book is about? How is that book? Name other books of the same author?
  3. Who is your favourite writer? Why?
  4. Who won Nobel (literature), Man Booker, DSC prize, Jnanpith award this year?
  5. Which sports/games you play?

For example if your answer is volleyball

  1. National and international events in volleyball
  2. Who won Olympics, world cup etc
  3. Different rules and regulations of volleyball
  4. Specifications regarding court size, net width and length etc.
  5. Which is your favourite position in volleyball
  6. Captain of Indian team
  7. Top players of Indian team
  8. Who is your favourite player? Why?
  9. Recent developments in volleyball

Opinion Based Questions

Build your opinion about different issues of national importance: some of the general issues are listed below:

  1. Multi-party system vs. Two party system
  2. Prime ministerial system vs. presidential system
  3. Coalition politics- arguments for and against
  4. Regional parties and their importance
  5. Naxalism and Indian policy towards naxal control. What need to be done?
  6. Rivers, river water sharing, river linking, river tribunals etc.
  7. Basic concepts of statistics and their applications- mean, median, mode, AM, GM, HM, Standard deviation, coefficient of variation
  8. Geography of your home state and district.
  9. Euthanasia/mercy killing
  10. Honour killing and Khaps
  11. Tribal issues and tribal development
  12. Recent legislations and new policies
  13. Politics of your home state
  14. Water conservation and water harvesting with special focus to your state
  15. Juvenile and juvenile justice
  16. Capital punishment/ death penalty- arguments for and against and other related issues
  17. Important wars of India- e.g. Buxar, Panipat, Plassey, Anglo-mysore, Anglo-Nepal, Anglo-Afghan, Indo-Pak, Indo-China etc.
  18. Acts passed before independence- regulating acts, 1909 Act, 1919 Act, 1935 Act etc.
  19. Concept of Left, right and centre.
  20. Communism, Socialism, Capitalism
  21. Maoism, Marxism, Leninism
  22. Communalism
  23. Israel-Palestine problem. India’s relation with Israel
  24. Indo-China relations
  25. Indo-Pak relations
  26. Indo-US relations
  27. Indo-Russia relations
  28. Recent international developments
  29. Development vs. environment.
  30. How to balance development and environmental protection
  31. Sustainable development
  32. Demand for new states: pros and cons
  33. Small state vs. large state
  34. Terrorism and measures to control terrorism in india
  35. Poverty: causes for poverty, its estimation, measures to be taken
  36. Corruption: Causes, measures to control corruption
  37. Biodiversity and its conservation
  38. Mining, mining in forests, illegal mining and related issues
  39. AFSPA: arguments for and against
  40. Public-private-partnership: pros and cons.
  41. Rural problems and rural development
  42. Food security and related issues
  43. Direct cash transfer: Pros and cons
  44. What is lacking in sports administration in India?
  45. Police reforms
  46. Indian intelligence
  47. FDI, inflation, import-export etc.
  48. Agricultural credit and Agricultural insurance
  49. Web regulation, social media- pros and cons, IT act, etc.
  50. Famous writers and theatre personalities of your state
  51. Pardoning power of president and its importance
  52. Protection and promotion of regional languages
  53. Environmental issues
  54. Recent central govt. programmes/schemes, bills, ordinances, acts, policies etc.

General Advice:

  1. Do not try to bluff them. Be straight and humble.
  2. If you are not sure about the answer then tell them that “this is the answer….but I’m not sure”. If you don’t know the answer, but you are guessing then tell them that it’s a guess or ask for their permission to guess.
  3. Whatever you say, say it confidently. Do not lie. Even if you lie, do it confidently.
  4. Smiling face is always desirable (it indicates you are not nervous)
  5. Do not talk negative. Be optimistic. Show that you have constructive thinking.
  6. Do not get excited. Keep calm. Do not lose your patience.
  7. Interview should not be taken as a question-answer session. It is a friendly conversation and healthy discussion.

My IFoS Interview

  1. Interview score: 205/300
  2. Board: IMG Khan
  3. Background:  B.Sc. (Agriculture), M.Sc. (Agriculture) and pursuing Ph.D. Belongs to Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka.
  4. Duration: 20-25 minutes

Chairman:

  1. Many Agricultural graduates are coming into IFS and civil services. Don’t you think they should continue in their field and contribute to the research in agriculture?
  2. Don’t you think you are wasting your degree by coming into IFS?
  3. You have studied in both south India and North India. Tell me what is the difference between North Indian and south Indian agriculture?
  4. What about the difference between North and South in terms of water availability?
  5. You know forests are destroyed and converted into agricultural land. What should be done?
  6. There are large plantations of trees in your area. But only one type trees are planted in a large area. Do you think it’s good? Why?
  7. Why you want to join IFS?

Member 1:

  1. What would you do if you become IFS?
  2. Why some sections of society are left out? Why they are not in the mainstream? What should be done?
  3. What is Right to Education?

Member 2:

  1. Why some tribal groups (“Medhis” –it was probably ‘Siddhis”) nearby Dharwad area are roaming on the roads. Why their lives are affected?
  2. Which was the first vegetable to be domesticated?
  3. Name the crop which was first to be domesticated? Where it was first domesticated?

Member 3:

All questions were based on hobbies

  1. What was the last book you read? ANS: ‘Pax Indica by Shashi Tharoor
  2. How is Shashi Tharoor as a writer?
  3. Are you on Twitter?
  4. What is this “Yakshagana” (My Hobby)
  5. Tell me other outdoor activity you do other than Volleyball and athletics?
  6. For outdoor photography you have to walk a lot. Are you interested in trekking?
  7. Have you trekked all around Dakshina Kannada?
  8. Have you been to Agumbe? ANS: ‘No’
  9. Have you heard about Agumbe?
  10. What’s special about it?

Member 4:

  1. What were you doing after 2009? ANS: Ph.D.
  2. What’s your research area in Ph.D.?
  3. Tell me about your research findings till now?
  4. When are you completing your Ph.D.?
  5. You are getting ICAR-SRF. How much do you get?

My Civil Services Interview (2012)

  1. Interview score: 190
  2. Board: IMG Khan
  3. Service Preference:  IPS-IAS-IFS
  4. Background:  B.Sc. (Agriculture), M.Sc. (Agriculture) and pursuing Ph.D. Belongs to Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka.
  5. Duration: 25-30 minutes

Chairman:

  1. Are you doing Ph.D.?
  2. When are you completing Ph.D.?
  3. What’s your research topic?
  4.  So you are working on tomato breeding. In Europe they grow tomatoes in polyhouse and transport from Spain to UK n’ all. We produce large quantity of tomato, why can’t we export to Europe?
  5. Is there any GM variety in Tomato in India?
  6. Relation between GM crop and organic farming?
  7. Are we producing tomatoes organically?
  8. Do you recommend organic farming in India?
  9. You have mentioned your mother tongue as ‘Tulu’. Where it is spoken?
  10. Whether ‘Tulu’ has script?
  11. India has huge diversity in languages? What needs to be done to promote regional and neglected languages?
  12. There was news about a language which is spoken by only one person. Do you know the region where that language is spoken?
  13. Which schedule of the constitution has provision for languages?

Member 1:

  1. Name some of the recent varieties released by UAS, Dharwad (Univ. where I graduated from)?
  2. You know red chillies. Do you know long chilli variety introduced from Brazil?
  3. Why ‘Kisan Mela’ is required? Don’t you think it’s a waste?

Member 2:

  1. (He read some statistics from a survey made by India Today regarding corruption in India) So, how to control corruption? Tell me in points.
  2. Tell me what is the basic thing in controlling corruption?
  3. In 1960’s Secretary for John F. Kennedy has told ‘China is the biggest threat to the World’? Though Russia was the biggest threat to USA at that time, what may be the reason that made him to say that?
  4. Tell me why many are against Israel? Tell me in historical perspective?
  5. Why China is ahead of India in grabbing opportunities around the world? E.g. In Srilanka, Maldives, Africa. Why are we lagging behind?

Member 3:

  1. (He read some statistics regarding income disparity explaining percentage of millionaires and poor in India)  Why this income disparity exists in India?
  2. Which country has highest population?
  3. So China does not have such disparity despite having highest population. Why India has such income disparity?

Member 4:

  1. What is lacking in sports administration?
  2. (Based on my answer) So you are saying we are not doing well?
  3. Which sports you play?
  4. You know recently IOC has decided to drop boxing from Olympics. What do you think about that? (I corrected it as wrestling. He nodded)
  5. Do you know about housing problem in police service?
  6. Have you ever had an encounter with Karnataka police? (Everybody laughs at the use of word ‘encounter’)

At the end chairman says ‘thank you anoop’. I thanked everyone and started walking towards the door. Then chairman stopped me and said, “We have not asked you why you gave IPS as first preference. It’s up to you to think and decide”. Everyone started laughing. I too smiled and walked out.

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