IFS/IFoS – Personality Test – An Overview

Most of us have been told that the final stage is not an interview, but your personality test, which to some extent is true also. And it is also true that , personality can’t be altered in 2,3 weeks or months. So its important to remain calm and confident with your own personality. There are some basic check list that are needed to be followed in order to ensure a good PT, So that at least if not excellent then at least average marks can be secured in final hurdle.

Let me tell you it is the most misunderstood, least prepared for, least guided/misguided and often the most mishandled and mismanaged process. But when rightly handled, it is surely the easiest and the most rewarding experience. So start the preparation early

 It has a great scoring potential. Process of just 25 to 35 minutes and marks scored has a wide range: 140 to 220. It is the last chance to maximize total score. Even if score in the Written Examination is near the cut-off, you can score very high and be in the selection list.

In its notification UPSC has give following guidelines for PT.

  1. The candidate  will  be  interviewed by a Board of competent and unbiased  observers  who  will  have before  them  a  record  of  his/her career. The object of the Interview is to assess the personal suitability of the  candidate  for  the    The candidate will be expected to have taken an intelligent interest not only in  his/her  subjects  of  academic study but also in events which are happening  around  him/her  both within and outside his/her own state or country, as well as in modem cur- rents  of  thoughts  and  in  new  discoveries  which  should  rouse  the curiosity of well educated youth.
  2. The technique of the interview is not that of  a  strict  cross  examination, but  of  a  natural,  though  directed and purposive conversation, intended to reveal mental qualities of the candidate.  The Board will pay special attention to assessing the intellectual  curiosity,  critical  powers  of observation  and  assimilation,  balance  of  judgment  and  alertness  of mind,  initiative,  tact,  capacity  for leadership;  the  ability  for  social cohesion,  mental  and  physical energy  and  powers  of  practical application;  integrity  of  character; and  other  qualities  such  as  topographical  sense,  love  for  out-door life  and  the  desire  to  explore unknown and out of way places

 Some Basic Checklist for a good PT

  1. Fill your DAF properly ,otherwise it might be biggest challenge to deal with this potential bomb ,during PT
  2. Prepare your DAF very well.
  3. Know yourself fully.
  4. Prepare current events in detail.
  5. Have Mock interviews.
  6. During PT if you don’t know any answer ,just politely say no, rather than making hifi claims.
  7. Respect Board and Board members.
  8. Remain enthusiastic and cheerful.
  9. Read newspapers regularly.
  10. Dress in a professional manner (since PT happens in jan/feb men can wear suit).
  11. Don’t evaluate yourself during the interview itself.

Documents that should be brought in for IFS/IFOS Interview

It is  advised to all the candidates to please re-check the document requirements on the official UPSC website each year.

Candidates are advised to bring the following documents for IFS/IFOS to UPSC Dholpur House.

  1. Matriculation or equivalent certificate in original to verify the Name and Date of Birth.
  2. Self-attested photo-copy of Matriculation or equivalent certificate in original to verify the Name and Date of Birth.
  3. Degree certificate in original to prove education qualification (If original degree certificates are not issued, carry provisional certificates and/or mark-sheets).
  4. Self-attested photo-copy of Degree certificate in original to prove education qualification (If original degree certificates are not issued, carry provisional certificates and/or mark-sheets).
  5. Self-attested photo-copy of Degree in original.
  6. Mark-sheets of Degree in original (UPSC staff may not always ask, but carry along with you.)
  7. 2 passport size photographs that are taken recently. Self-attest one of them.
  8. E-summon letter print-out.

Additional documents (case by case basis)

  1. Caste/Tribe Certificate in original plus copy.
  2. Physical Disabilities Certificate in original plus copy. Also DWE certificate for PH-1(LDCP).
  3. Certificates in support of age relaxation for corresponding categories.
  4. PG degree/higher education certificates and mark-sheets.
  5. TA form – two copies plus proof of journey (for outstation candidates).
  6. Affidavit (in case of minor name discrepancies).

Documents that need to be sent to MoEF

A copy of the attestation form duly filled plus 5 copies of the same, each signed in. Don’t forget to affix a signed passport size copy of a recent photograph on the same.

Some other Useful Information

  • You cannot wear a watch inside the UPSC interview hall.
  • Better to keep mobile phones outside the UPSC premises.
  • You will normally(but not every time) get newspapers inside the UPSC hall.
  • The office staff will verify your original documents and give it back on the same day itself, often before your interview starts.
  • You don’t need to come up with certificates of extra-curricular achievements to UPSC hall. For last few years, candidates are allowed to enter UPSC interview room without any documents.
  • There are ample facilities for toilets and drinking water inside UPSC premises and there is no need to worry about those issues.

Interview of one of the IFS ,2015 Topper

Board -Alka Sirohi Ma’m

 My board had five members, all were fifty plus in age. They were sitting around a rectangular table and I was provided the seat against the chairman. This is usual habit that members read your profile before you enter the room so they have an overall idea about your hobby, academic records, employment experience, family background etc.

Some details from Detailed Application Form submitted to commission: I did B.Tech in Aerospace Engineering (2008-2012) and  masters from IISc, Bangalore in Designs (2012-2014). I am from a village in Hanumangarh district of Rajasthan. Played handball at North Zone level and was drawing scholarship from MHRD during last two years. Hobby is blogging and reading books.

Wished them good morning and was standing near the chair, chairman told me to sit.

Ch: P, I was just looking at your credentials and you are an aerospace engineer then what are you doing here.

Me: Ma’m, planning to join IFS.

Ch: Oh good good. What is the difference between Aerospace and Avionics, are they same?

Me: I told them the difference and the subjects which are taught in both the streams.

Ch: Can you tell me what are the use of Aerospace in wildlife and forest conservation.

Me: I explained various uses like Forest surveying with the help of remote sensing, checking the poaching by drones, during forest fires, tracking the movements of animals etc.

Ch: Are there any negative effect on animals by using drones.

Me: Yes ma’m, there are various studies which shows that because of noise pollution by drones the animals are getting disturbed.

(Chairman told another member to ask questions, who was a lady)

M1: Can you tell me the role of Anganvadi kendra in villages?

Me: They are useful for proving nutritional support to children and pre school education.

M1: Upto what age of children are provided with education in the kendras?

Me: I am sorry mam, I don’t know.

M1: 6 year old.

Me: Thank you.

M1: There is this scheme for children for overall development. What is it?

Me: Ma’m, Integrated Child Development Scheme also known as ICDS.

M1: Can you tell me its components.

Me: Nutritional component, Health component…(She interrupted)

M1: What is there in health component?

Me: Ma’m, various types of vaccination (she interrupted)

M1: For example ?

Me: Vaccination for Polio, Diphtheria, Whooping cough, Tetanus etc.

M1: Who are ASHA workers and their role?

Me: Ma’m, ASHA workers also called as Accredited social health activists. They are women of same village, who acts as health worker and move from house to house providing information about child care and nutrition. The special role is in ‘institutional delivery’ and on these bases they get incentives.

M1: What do you mean by institutional delivery ?

Me: Ma’m, where delivery takes place in a hospital rather than in homes.

M1: Yes. Do you think institutional deliveries are increasing?

Me: Yes mam.

M1: How can you say so.

Me: Ma’m as government is increasing the number of facilities and primary health centres. It can also be seen as Maternal Mortality Rate is reducing.

M2: What are the different type of remote sensing?

Me: Sir, there are two major types, active remote sensing and passive remote sensing. (I explained the difference)

M2: There are two type of forests, one is dense and another one is open. Which type of remote sensing will you use for both cases.

Me: Sir, it will be better if we will use active remote sensing for both types as it will work in night time also.

M2: But then what about the resolution in both cases?

Me:( I was clueless what was he saying) Sir, I am sorry but I never studied remote sensing.

M2: Ok. What are coral reefs?

Me: Sir, they are carbonate materials secreted by organisms called as coral polyps.

M2: What are different types of reefs?

Me: There are three major types; fringe reef, barrier reef and atolls.

M2: Are they under the water or above the water surface.

Me: Sir they are present upto the depth of 200 feet and some are present above water surface also for example in case of various coral islands like Lakshadweep islands.

M3: P, as you are from Aerospace, you must have studied aircraft performance. (I was so terrified at his statement. But he didn’t ask anything difficult)

Me: Yes Sir.

M3: Who discovered aircraft.

Me: Wright brothers.

M3: There are aeroplanes which fly faster than the speed of sound. What are they called as?

Me: Sir, Supersonic aircrafts.

M3: Yes, And what is their speed.

Me: Sir, at sea level the speed is around 320 meter per second also called as Mach 1.

M3: Yes, very good. As you are from Rajasthan, can you tell me what are the effects of green revolution on desertification. Are the deserts reduced.

Me: No sir, deserts are not reduced. Rather they are increased in districts like Jaisalmer, Bikaner, Jodhpur and Barmer. But yes deserts in Hanumangarh and Ganganagar districts have reduced due to green revolution and Indira gandhi canal project.

M3: Do deserts effect climate change?

Me: Yes Sir, they do. As because of desertification, albedo changes and hence various climate cycles.

M3: What are the trees found in your locality.

Me: I named few trees.

M3: There is this community in Rajasthan which considers trees as very important. Which community it is and which is the tree?

Me: Sir, Bishnoi community and tree is Khejri.

M3: Yes, very good.

Chairman: P, what is the difference between Discovery and Invention?

Me: Can I take one minute ma’m.

Ch: Yes, take your time.

Me: After thinking for few seconds, Ma’m as I understand Discovery is something which is already in existence and we find it again, for example columbus discovered America. Inventions is like developing a new product, process or mechanism. (This is the best answer I could figure out in those tensed moments)

Ch: So when Sir asked you who discovered Aeroplane, you answered Wright brothers (Oh my god !!!). Do you know there are texts in which some aeroplanes are mentioned.

Me: Yes ma’m, they are mentioned in Garud Puran and Ramayan. When Ravan captured Sita and took her to the Lanka, he used that aircraft.

Ch: What was the name of that aircraft.

Me: After thinking. I am sorry ma’m, currently I am unable to recall. (I told her with a smile)

Ch: Pushpak Vimaan. Vibhishan gave same aircraft to Ram when he returned back to Ayodhya.

Me: Yes ma’m.

Ch: What are Mangrove forests.

Me: I defined the mangrove forests and discussed few things about their location, roots etc.

Ch: P, how is energy in sun is produced.

Me: Ma’m, it is produced by thermonuclear reaction also called as fusion reaction.

Ch: What is the difference between fusion and fission.

Me: I explained the difference and told that how two hydrogens make one helium in case of fusion and how one atom splits in case of fission.

Ch: Don’t you think Sun’s energy is due to fission.

Me: No ma’m It is fusion, here two hydrogen makes one helium.

Ch: Yes, that is true but that is called as fission only.

Me: (I thought for a second and was damn sure that it is fusion reaction in sun…. but the atmosphere became so tensed as she told it with full confidence ) No ma’m it is fusion only.

Ch: Are you sure.

Me: Yes ma’m. (with a smile)

Ch: Ok leave it, if you are so adamant but I still think otherwise. Ok P here is a numerical for you. Sun’s light takes 8 minute to reach earth, can you calculate the distance between earth and sun ?

Me: Yes ma’m, it can be calculated as the speed of light is standard value.

Ch: Give me the final answer.

Me: I took the pencil and paper. Calculated the values as speed of light which is ‘c’ is 3X10^8 meter per second and it takes 480 seconds. So my final answer came to 144X10^9 meters. I gave the paper to chairman.

Ch: Good. The exact answer is 149 million kilometer but doesnt matter as you have rounded it off. (She was happy as I think the real reason for the debate and numerical is to check my confidence and calmness).

Ch: (She had my picture in her hand, she checked my biodata once again and murmured-“oh you did masters from Indian Institute of Science”) P, how old is this pic of yours.

Me: Ma’m, 1 year old.

Ch: And you changed so much. What happened.

Me: Ma’m, I think because of stress due to study. (All smiled)

Ch: Oh, due to study. But let me tell you once you will join civil service the stress will further increase. (All laughed). Your interview is over.

Me: Stood there and tanked all members individually. Left the room

Vipul Pandey


IFS/IFOS walking & medical test

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