While clearing the UPSC CSE prelims and mains is challenging, aspirants also struggle to prepare for the interview stage, which tests speaking skills as well as critical thinking.

Based on their own experiences, five IAS officers from different batches share tips to crack the interview.

Hear your answers: While some aspirants prefer standing before a mirror and answering for practice, Dr Apala Mishra says that recording herself and playing it back helped.

The 2020 batch IAS officer, Apala secured the highest-ever marks in the personality round with a score of 215. She says, “I would discuss various topics with my parents over dinner. This helped overcome my introverted nature.”

Brush up on current affairs: Puducherry’s Dr Vaithinathan, who secured an AIR 37 in the 2015 examination, advises aspirants to regularly read the newspaper to remain updated about all that is happening around the world.

Know your Detail Application Form (DAF) well: A 2015 batch IAS officer, Dhivya Loganathan says, “The members of the interview panel know nothing about you other than what you have mentioned in your DAF.”

“You should work around your DAF and that in my opinion is your ticket to the finale. You must know everything mentioned in that thoroughly,” she says.

Keep your dress code simple: A 2016 batch IAS officer Jitin Yadav says, “What you choose to wear is also important in an interview. Many questions may come up regarding the brand or design. It is better to keep the outfit as simple as possible.”

Listening is greater than speaking: He advises aspirants to be good listeners and take a pause of a few seconds before replying to an answer.

Do not lose temper:  Saurabh Jassal who secured an AIR 404 in the 2017 examination says, “There might be questions to test your level of reaction.”

“Remember to never lose your temper or control over your thoughts while answering. Also, saying you do not know something is an absolutely reasonable thing to do,” he says.