Various Types of Questions asked in UPSC CSE Interview

Various Types of Questions asked in UPSC CSE Interview

The Interview Round forms the third and final leg of the UPSC Civil Services Examination Selection Process. The summon letter specifies that “it’s not a test of knowledge, but a test of personality”. Hence, this round is the last attempt to assess the aspirants, this time on the bases of their personality during a face-to-face interview. In this article, we will talk about UPSC CSE Interview Questions which are generally asked and their various types.

Usually, a board of 5 panel members will be directing questions towards a candidate in a face to face session with him/ her,  simultaneously. These members come from different walks of life and are experienced persons. Please be advised that UPSC CSE Interview Experience is regarded as one of the most ‘grilling’ ones.


AIM/ Objective of UPSC CSE Interview

The main motive of the ‘Personality Test’ is  to weigh qualities like attitude, character, presence of mind, confidence, communication and values etc in a particular candidate.

According to the Kothari Committee of the Union Public Service Commission, a UPSC CSE Interview must be assessed for the following attributes in him: “clarity of expression, grasp of narrative and argument, reasoning ability, appreciation of different points of view, awareness and concern for socio-economic problems, ranges and depth of interests and personal attributes relevant to interaction with people.”

They want to see how do you put to work what you have studies for your prelims and mains, and how well you make it your strength.

What Type of Questions are asked in an UPSC CSE Interview?

To be very specific, the panel can ask you ‘any’ question during the interview. It can be personal, professional, academic, technical or even general.

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While you might think this information as being vague, we took pains of categorising the most likely type of questions that you might be asked during the CSE interview on the basis of interviews taken in the past.


UPSC CSE Interview Category I: Biodata Based/ Personality Based Questions

In the process of knowing you better to access you, the board will scrutinise your bio-data at first. Hence, most initial questions are based on your DAF. You can estimate the directions of the question on the basis of things you have specified in your bio-data.

Things like hobbies  academic background, job experience (if any) can be conversation starters. Following this can be a question about your decision to choose Indian Civil Services as a career.

1. What is Bareilly famous for?
2. What is the meaning of your name?
3. You must have waited outside for five around minutes. What were you thinking while waiting outside?



Which NGO did you work with in college and why?
5. You mentioned that you are a linguist. Why did you learn so many languages?
6. Why do you sing only contemporary songs? Are traditional songs bad?
7. Tell us about your extra-curricular activities.
8. Mention any 2 famous alumni from your school.
9. Which school are you from? Who founded it?


10. Which Indian Prime Minister got elected after fighting the elections from your constituency.
11. What are your biggest strengths?
12. What are your weaknesses?
13. Do you watch movies. Which  ones?
14. How should your name be pronounced? What is the meaning of your name?
Any specific god has this name?
15. You started a community project? What was the project? Did you registered it or was it just for fun, a part time thing?
16. Name 3 books that have inspired you?
17. Why do you want to join civil services even though the Salary is limited and will be less than what you can make from your present or future job?
18. Explain why you chose IAS as your first preference?
19. So, you are from Tamil Nadu. Why do you people are always in agitation mode?
20. Why you want to join civil services and not Politics?

UPSC CSE Interview Category II: General Knowledge/ Graduation Subject and IQ Based Questions

Current affairs are the most picked topics of discussion by the board, especially if they are somehow related to area of your origin, community, subject, region and likewise. Topics that originate from your graduation subjects or optional subjects in CSE are also main areas from where questions are asked.

With these type of questions, the board tries to analyze how much of your study do you retain with you and also how well informed are you of your surroundings.

1. What was the origin of the Syrian crisis?What is the situation in Syria now?Whose side is Syria on?
2. Do you know the yemen crisis? What is Pakistan’s stand on it?
3. Draw the location of Leeds on the map of UK.What was Leeds famous for?
4. What special institutions are there is Brussels?You’ve written research papers, what is this GEWE RC?
5. How many wars has India fought since independence? Name them with years.
6. What was Shimla agreement?
7. Why are the poor in San francisco not so poor?
8. Tell me about Article 32. Supreme Court’s role in it.
9. Do you like to take a walk in the park in the evenings?. Did you ever notice  group of mosquitoes over your head ?  Why is that so?
10. What is meant by Avionics?
11. What is an ILS?
12. What is gyro?
13. What is the capital of Ukraine? Of Crimea?
14. What is quantum physics? Who is the profounder of quantum physics?
15. What are the issues going on with European Union?
16. What is sovereign debt crisis? What is Germany demanding from PIGS countries and why is their resistance? Why salaries and pensions especially being targeted by Germany?
17. What is JNNURM?
18. What is Corporate social responsibility?
19. Compare the nutrient contents of apple and milk.
20. What is NGT and what are its recent orders?

UPSC CSE Interview Category III: Opinion Based Questions

It is an important aspect of any interview to access what a candidate perceives of a giving topic, his views and opinions would matter in framing policies of the administration in future. Hence, opinion based questions try to get grasp of a candidate’s point of view.

1. Of all the Naxalite problems in the affected areas, which has emerged as the major driving force for the tribes?
2. What in your opinion is the main impediment in the growth of North eastern regions of the country?
3. What is NJAC and what are the issues related with it in your view?
4. You think PRIs haven’t worked in all of India? Which is more successful ?…PRI or ULB?
5. What judgment do you anticipate? (Salman Khan Verdict)
6. Do you think alternative employment should be given to slum dwellers  so that they don’t migrate?
7. Have you seen Dharavi? Why can’t that situation be improved even after so much of work?
8. How will you control slum development in a new city (smart one)?
9. Compare the urban devt in Bareilly, Noida and delhi.
10. What was Indira Awaas yojana? Is it working?
11. Is there too much of democracy in India? Have you read argumentative Indian’?
12. How is the smart city plan going to roll out?
13. Have you heard about 73rd and 74th amendments?Do you think they are successful?
14. What are your views on reforms in railways and need of regulatory body?
15. Do you support the phrase ‘survival of the fittest’, with reference to the Indian society?
16. Role of women self help groups in India.
17. What do you think about the current Indian political scenario?
18. What is  the Theme of that painting? *pointing at the wall*
19. What are your views on Lokpal bill? It’s role in curtailing corruption.
20. What is the solution for the fishermen issue in Tamil Nadu?

UPSC CSE Interview Category IV: Stress Questions

Panel wants to make sure that the selected candidates have the ability to act under stress and to handle difficult situations. Hence, among all other questions can be some situational questions and are also known as stress questions.

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These questions are hypothetical by nature and are framed to access your mindset and thinking process.

1. How much voltage and current flows in a typical lightning strike during a thunderstorm?
2. A patient calls you at 1 a.m with acute pain in lower teeth. How do you treat the patient without seeing him or the oral cavity ?What are anti-inflammatory drugs? Antibiotics?
3. 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??
4. You have heard of Ashok Khemka? You know what happened to him right? So many transfers ,often being  shifted to different departments.Should you find yourself in such a position what will you do? Will you sustain or??
5. (As a civil servant)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?


6. Should you be selected, how do you create better community assets?
7. Your are District Collector, there is a calamity( floods) all  crops are destroyed and there are no official records about cropping  pattern in our office? You have to start from scratch. What are the steps  you will take?
8. How will you finance the crop losses? Tell about National Calamity  fund? National contingency fund? Differences? Who gives funds?
9. What will you do if children abandon their parents and send to old age homes? What is the age of your parents?
10. As a DM of Varanasi what steps will you take to handle-
A) the lack of sanitation
B) the touts/thugs faced by tourists
C) the street vendors encroaching narrow roads to temples and ghats

Now that you know about UPSC CSE Interview Questions, here are a few preparation tips on how to answer them efficiently.

  • All aspirants need to work up their communication skill for an effective interaction with the panel.
  • Right pronunciation is always impressive.
  • You should be well-versed at answering all question on the basis of your biodata and should be willing to discuss any aspect of it that jury wishes to discuss further.
  • Positive attitude goes a long way in easing out the stress of the interview session.
  • An alert mind, prompt answer and quick reflexes show the presence of mind in a candidate.
  • A positive body language is a must.
  • Clarity of thought and confidence come handy for making impressions.
  • Never try to bluff or be exaggerative.
  • Dress simple and neat.

You may also read the following articles on How to Prepare for Indian History, Polity, Economy, Ecology, Geography and Science and Technology.

Let us know if you have any doubts or queries in the comments section below. All the Best for UPSC Civil Services Examination 2016.

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