Thursday, April 21, 2016

IAS Interview a Test of Your Authentic Self

IAS Interview a Test of Your Authentic Self 

S. B. Singh

Interview test is the last leg of a long race towards IAS. After crossing two major hurdles namely, the prelims and main examination, a candidate sets himself up for the D-day (interview day)  which would finally determine whether he is going to be selected for the coveted Civil Services or not. It will also determine his rank and service he is allotted as per his rank in the merit list. In other words, if interview creates a sense of fear, it also offers the final opportunity to boost success chances in the civil services. In terms of marks, the interview carries 25 marks more than any single paper of the main examination ( each mains paper carries 250 marks while interview carries 275 marks).

As stated by Union Public Service Commission,  the purpose of the interview  is to ' assess the personal suitability of the candidate for a career in public service.'   It follows from this that the interview process is geared towards judging the personal suitability of the candidate for civil services. The process of interview which roughly lasts 25- 30 minutes, aims to judge the qualities like mental alertness, critical powers of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, balance of judgement,  variety and depth of interest, ability for social cohesion and leadership and intellectual and moral integrity.

These qualities, to be judged during the interview session, can not be understood as separate traits of personality. Rather, together, they present a sum total of qualities a candidate is expected to possess. When you are being interviewed, you are simultaneously being judged for your wide interests, leadership qualities, clarity of mind, a balanced approach etc.

Thus, contrary to the popular perception of interview being a question answer session, it is much more than that. In a setting which is formal but undirected one (undirected means a natural course is followed at the interview rather than a structured session), the interview session seeks to evaluate a candidate on the above given qualities. A proper understanding of what he is going to be tested for will make a candidate's preparation close to its needs.

IAS interview is NOT about (a) a mere question answer session (b) a test of knowledge or  plethora of information(c) a deliberate attempt to pin you down by difficult questions (d) having extraordinary expectations from you.

IAS interview is about (a) judging your authentic self (b) an interactive, friendly session (c) extracting your opinion and stand on vital issues (d) exploring the quality of honesty, integrity, commitment, leadership etc  and (e) testing you  more on where you know rather than where you do not know.

It should be fairly clear  from the above that the character of the interview is an engaging conversation with the board on a host of issues in  a positive setting where you are  encouraged to express yourself naturally without fear or pressure. This description of the attitude of board should dispel your fears about facing the board.  For most of the candidates, it is a frightening scenario to face the board and an unknown fear descends on them just before entering the venue of the interview. The reality is quite to the contrary. The board is usually very friendly and encouraging. If they find that you are not able to answer questions from one area, they will ask you different questions from those areas where you are supposed to be strong. In other words, they will provide you full opportunity to bring the best in you during the session.

Composition of the Board- There are 8-9 separate UPSC interview boards. Each board consists of a chairman and four members. The chairman is a UPSC member. The other four members are external members invited by UPSC. They are bureaucrats, academicians, scientists, armed forces officers etc. They all are very experienced, seasoned persons with wide exposure in public life. This gives them the ability to frame very diverse questions and evaluate your responses accurately. It should be noted that there is no professional psychologist sitting among the members.

The beginning of the interview- As you enter the board and occupy your place after greeting the board members, the chairman will initiate your interview by asking a few questions. Usually he begins with reading your bio data and asking questions relating to information provided by you in your bio data. He may also ask other questions or else, he will prompt other members to ask questions. This is how the interview gets to a start  and in the next 30 minutes, you will be engaged in a conversation during which questions, counter questions, opinions, counter opinions are exchanged between you and the board. You may also experience some lighter moments during the session to keep you at ease.

Preparing for the interview- Though in a strict sense, no specific preparation for the interview is required because it is a personality test and what you have accumulated and assimilated through your learnings,  experiences, exposures so far  in life will be judged during the interview. Yet, some amount of grooming for the interview is definitely required.  The ingredients of interview preparation are:

 1. Learning manners and etiquettes of interview: (a)Be polite and respectful (b)Greet the members with warmth(c)Wear a decent, sober dress which is formal and suits the weather No fanciful accessories on your body(d)Do not interrupt a member while he/ she is asking a question or explaining a point(e)An agreeable voice with the right pitch (f)No frequent hand movement or neck movement while you are responding(g)A body language which transmits self-confidence, resolve, determination under the frame of humility.

2. Covering up your bio data i.e. DAF (Detailed Application Form) : You have provided a wide range of information in your DAF which is before each member of the board. This  contains information furnished by you relating to your educational, family, professional background, your state, your hobbies, your achievements, your present occupations, your choice of service, cadre preference etc. A thorough preparation is required on each aspect of the information you have provided in DAF. For example, they may ask you to justify your preference of jobs.  Or say, about the choices of states as your cadre. You must have a convincing answer about all these. You will have to defend all that you have mentioned in your DAF because you cannot retract on  facts supplied by yourself. So I recommend a serious thought on all aspects of DAF before entering the board.

3. Covering expected current issues : There is no way to anticipate what among the current topics they will be framing questions on, however, it is wise to cover recent current affairs and form your considered opinion on it. For example, some likely current issues  could be:  Yoga and its role in health and India' image building as a soft power, smart cities,  sedition law, student politics in universities, intolerance incidents, crisis in Arunachal Pradesh, Zika virus, India's current issues with its neighbours etc. These type of recent topics must be thoroughly covered. Apart from knowing about these topics, you need to take a stand  or form a firm opinion on these issues.

4. Covering your own state: The state to which you belong may be a likely area of discussion  during the interview. You should be fairly aware about the history, culture, society, economy, industries of the state. Also, you should have a critical knowledge of recent developments going on in your state e.g. some policies like reservation, attracting investments, transforming agriculture etc. India Year Book covers briefly about every state. You may refer to it for some basic knowledge. Then, you should visit the state website for gathering current information on your state. 

5. Defending your hobbies: Almost every candidate mentions one or more hobbies in the DAF. It needs to be defended and justified by showing adequate knowledge about it to the board. They will watch you for your earnestness with which you have nurtured your mentioned hobby. However, there is no need to become an academic master of your hobbies. You should just be able to prove that your hobbies are genuine and you have tried to pursue them in your real life as much as possible.

6. Governance issues: Since you are being tested for a job in civil services, some questions on emerging issues of governance are quite natural to be asked. This will include questions on present governance patterns as well as situational questions like: if you are the DM or SP or PM or something then what will you do in a particular situation. So practice on some situational questions and articulate your stand on them.

Some important tips

*Present your normal, authentic self before the board:  You are supposed to carry your true self before the board. No need to wear a mask in order to appear what you are not. They are not expecting you to be an extraordinary person with extraordinary capabilities. All the board is looking for is your commitment to certain values, certain personality traits and how suitable you will be for a job offered to you in the civil services. You should therefore never project what you really are not .There should be no gap between your 'appearance' and 'reality'.

*Be realistic and honest before the board: The board is looking for these two prime qualities in you. Therefore, you must depict a sense of realism so that you are assessed by the board as a performer and not just a dreamer. Honesty is the best policy before the board. If you try to bluff, they are bound to catch it and punish you heavily for bluffing. It is very common that when a candidate is asked why he wants to join civil services, he replies in terms of being patriotic and doing great things for the society and nation. Such superlatives should be avoided. It is better to accept the fact that the job security, status, prestige attracts you to the civil services. You can, however, add further that civil services offer challenges and a dynamic career and you like  diverse job challenges which makes civil services your choice.

*Do not rely on myths built around IAS interview:  I would like to caution the interview aspirants to guard themselves against many myths surrounding the interview manufactured by ill informed mentors who have no clue about the actual process of the interview. A large number of self- appointed experts are in the market to distort your vision and confuse your mind about the interview. Take only reliable, expert advice from people of high standing.

*Practice before mirror:  For few days before the interview, stand up before a mirror in your room for 10-20 minutes and read from a newspaper. This will help you have a better command over your articulation. You may record your own conversation for self analysis.

(The author is  an academician and  a  civil services expert. He can be reached at his email: sb_singh2003@yahoo.com)

source : http://employmentnews.gov.in/NewEmp/MoreContentNew.aspx?n=InDepthJobs&k=34

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

www.civilsdaily.com - useful website for civil service aspirants

Dear All,

At www.civilsdaily.com   all news are available date-wise and month-wise and you just need to click on the date to revise news. This is very beneficial for aspirants from places with low newspaper connectivity and for students with less time for daily news. CD's Guide to IAS Prep: From Aspirant to IAS Officer is an excellent source for beginners. Try this site once. All the best

Note : We do not endorse or recommend any commercial products/ services of www.civilsdaily.com and this is purely for academic purpose.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Age limit for entry into various entry schemes in Army


STATEMENT REFERRED TO IN REPLY TO PARTS (a) TO (c) OF LOK SABHA UNSTARRED QUESTION NO. 2423 FOR ANSWER ON 11.3.2016
(a) In Army (excluding Army Medical Corps, Army Dental Corps and Military Nursing Service), as on 01.07.2015, against the authorized strength of 49,631 officers, held strength of officers was 40,525 with a shortage of 9,106 officers.
(b) Age limit for entry into various entry schemes in Army is as under:
S. No.Entry schemeAge limit
(i)National Defence Academy16½ to 19½ years
(ii)Combined Defence Services19 to 22 years
(iii)Technical Graduate Course Entry20 to 27 years
(iv)National Cadet Corps Special Entry
[Short Service Commission (Non Technical)]
19 to 25 years
(v)University Entry Scheme18 to 24 years (pre-final year)
19 to 25 years (final year)
(vi)Short Service Commission (Non Technical)19 to 25 years
(vii)Short Service Commission (Technical)20 to 27 years
(viii)10 + 2 (Technical Entry Scheme)16½ to 19½ years
(ix)Army Cadet College (from Other Ranks)20 to 27 years
(x)Special Commissioned Officers (from Other Ranks).28 to 35 years.
(c) Presently, there is no proposal to lower the age limit for entry of officers in Indian Army.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

ITCSA free mock interviews for Mains-2015 qualified aspirants

Dear All,


ITCSA is planning to conduct mock interviews for the Civil service Mains qualified aspirants on 06/03/2016 from 10 am to 5pm at First Floor, Sudhir Tapani Towers, Above PNB, Opp. Telugu Academy, Old MLA quarters road, Himayat Nagar, Hyderabad, Telangana, India-500029. All the interested candidates are requested to forward their DAF to itcsa2006@gmail.com and contact Dr.C.N.Reddy on Ph.9000803050 for reserving the time slots. 



--
With best wishes
ITCSA

How to read English Newspaper ? by Ravi Kiran Edara, IRS

How to read English Newspaper?

- Ravi Kiran Edara, IRS

1.   Useful articles on 'How to read Newspaper' available at below web links: https://thesupermanreturns.wordpress.com/2014/07/04/how-to-read-newspapers/          http://mrunal.org/2012/06/current-affairs-ias.html#221

2.   Focus on first page headlines, National and World news, editorial and Op-ed/perspective pages

3.   Concentrate on 'HOW' it is said rather than 'WHAT' is said.

4.   Take help of Oxford Advanced Learners' Dictionary which emphasises on 'USAGE' of words with example sentences. Initially, one may also refer to Sankaranarayana English to Telugu/English dictionary (e.g., Vikram Publishers etc.)

5.    Make notes with 'PHRASES' & 'SENTENCES' and not mere 'WORDS' (See examples below). Revise the notes regularly every week.

 

'Get smart on diesel cars'  (The Hindu, Editorial, 15-12-2015)

              The National Green Tribunal's decision to bar the registration of new and old diesel vehicles in Delhi till its next hearing on January 6 comes as a blow — though a temporary one for now — to passenger vehicle manufacturers. Automobile-makers have, in recent years, been building and scaling up their production capacities for diesel cars, driven by the surge in demand for diesel-powered vehicles as the fuel was subsidised and far cheaper than petrol. The differential between petrol and diesel prices has narrowed substantially since the government commenced the deregulation of diesel pricing in 2013...SUVs, that are ubiquitous status symbols in the National Capital Region and beyond, now constitute 50 per cent of the auto industry's passenger car sales. That vehicular exhaust from diesel cars, SUVs and freight trucks has been identified as one of the major contributors to the alarming levels of particulate matter in Delhi's atmosphere is well-established. The tribunal has asked the Delhi and Central governments to decide whether a more permanent injunction prohibiting the registration of diesel vehicles in the NCR would be advisable...

               Industry has reacted predictably, terming the move as unfair and discriminatory, and calling for a more holistic solution, ... to meet the more stringent BS-V (Bharat Stage-V) standards due in 2019, they suggest fleet modernisation to replace the older commercial transport vehicles, ... By way of comparison, the U.S. has decided to curb emissions from vehicles by moving towards higher fuel efficiency standards ...governments aren't capable of enforcing such norms efficiently. In the backdrop of the latest climate change commitments and the toxic air that hangs over Delhi, it could be an opportune moment for Indian policymakers to use the tools of behavioural economics to alter people's commuting preferences.  

 

 

Letters to the Editor

(for the article 'Never-ending Commercial Breaks' by Edara Gopi Chand                                     published in The Hindu editorial page on 5-4-2013)

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/neverending-commercial-breaks/article4581532.ece

 

Great job Hindu in publishing this insightful analysis on thus controversial topic! When your rival media houses with vested interests are chickening out to even talk about this or present only one side of the coin, it is bold on you to present the consumer interest point of view! It goes to prove that The Hindu doesn't hesitate to call spade a spade! The self regulation mechanism has not worked and has not prevented unscrupulous channels taking consumers for a ride. It is such a pain to watch the prime time news programs, because of endless dose of advertisements! Somebody has to bell the cat!

 

It's really great to read this article. Television channels allow advertisements to such an extent that they have become eyesore to the viewers.   

Indian TV viewing experience is lousy and pathetic. Loud mouth anchors shouting as if the earth will end in few seconds. Cricket matches are telecasted between the advertisements not the other way round. 

 

Thanks to the writer for lucidly analysing the issue. Because of these commercials the cost of all items of daily use from paste to pickle has gone high. Definitely the ad time in TV channels need to be curtailed. 

 

TRAI, hoisting broadcasters' on their own petard and recommending revised regulation on the limitation of advertisements on television channels to 12 minutes per clock hour, has brought the concerns of the viewers to the fore. One, as a viewer, becomes piqued by incessant number of advertisements which gnaws one's watching experience. Let us take the example of IPL, the sheer volition with which the broadcast is done, with abrupt advertisements floating, just makes the whole experience mundane and makes one pugnacious. One, as a viewer, has no choice but to sit there as a lame ducks and resort oneself to what has been shown on TV. One is thankful to the author "EDARA GOPI CHAND" for raising this issue which was lurking inside many peoples' hearts.

*****

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

SSC-CGL free mock interviews conducted by ITCSA

Dear All,

Staff Selection Commission has announced the mains examination results of much awaited Combined Graduate Level (CGL) Exam 2015 and interviews are scheduled from the end of Feb.2016. Hence ITCSA has conducted mock inteviews for the mains qualified aspirants on 20 & 21 Feb.@ Hyderabad. The following ITCSA members have attended the session and guided the aspirants..

RAMANA REDDY  IRPS
JOSEPH GOUDA  IRS
VIGANAN  IRS
BALRAM NAIK  IRS
SUNIL REDDY IFoS
SANGEETHA  IDAS
MUSHARAFF  IAS   and  CN Reddy, educational psychologist 


Thursday, February 18, 2016

Videos, tips and Books to start UPSC Prelims & Mains preparation from Mrunal

7 Days Duty TM: How to read the Hindu Newspaper for UPSC Prelim cum Mains preparation?


  1. Prologue
  2. DIY-P1: Beginning the Prelim cum Mains preparation
  3. DIY-P2: Approaching Science Tech, IT, Space, Defense
  4. DIY-P3: Approaching Environment, Agriculture, Geography, Economy & Polity
  5. DIY-P4: Approaching History, Culture, IR/Diplomacy
  6. DIY-P5: theHindu Reading from Frontpage to Editorial
  7. DIY-P6: theHindu: Reading from Economy to theEnd
  8. Recommended books to kick start UPSC prep

Prologue

  • Here starts my first lecture for the new year and new prelims- brief analysis of last year's prelim-GS paper and how to read thehindu newspaper for UPSC?
  • Often candidates outside Delhi, underestimate and neglect thehindu for preparation of their general studies and thereby hurting their own chances of getting good ranks in civil services exam.
  • PowerPoint available at http://Mrunal.org/download

DIY-P1: Beginning the Prelim cum Mains preparation

analysis of last UPSC prelim paper

  • the difference between a UPSC lover and a UPSC killer
  • the syllabus and analysis of general studies for preliminary and Mains examination
  • how to approach science and technology for prelims cum Mains preparation
  • overview of the MCQ asked from public health topic in UPSC 2015 preliminary exam
  • how to cover the public health, pharmacy and medicine related News from the Hindu, for UPSC prelims and Mains

Youtube Link: https://youtu.be/bJ87N_ZpFCo

DIY-P2: Approaching Science Tech, IT, Space, Defense

science tech for general studies

  • within science and technology topic, how to approach information technology (IT), space and defense, agriculture inherently related topics from the Hindu newspaper
  • how to prepare ISRO related topics for UPSC prelims, mains and interview
  • how to meticulously prepare the defense innovation and joint exercises
  • how to prepare the theoretical portion of science and technology from NCERTs and general studies manuals.

Youtube Link: https://youtu.be/d1P5RAn3JpM

DIY-P3: Approaching Environment, Agriculture, Geography, Economy & Polity

environment and biodiversity for UPSC prelims

  • Environment & Biodiversity: five subtypes of MCQ asked in UPSC 2015 Prelims
  • Relevance of the Hindu newspaper preparation of environment for prelims and Mains
  • Why read India yearbook?
  • Why read NIOS and NCERTs for wildlife, flora, fauna and pollution related MCQs in UPSC prelims?
  • How to approach physical, Indian and world geography for Prelims and Mains? How to cultivate map reading skills?
  • How to approach economy, banking, finance for prelims, mains and interview?
  • How to approach Indian polity and Constitution? Relevance of M. Laxmikanth, India yearbook, the Hindu newspaper and Prsindia.org

Youtube Link: https://youtu.be/d5jaw2EyfI8

DIY-P4: Approaching History, Culture, IR/Diplomacy

international relations diplomacy and diaspora for general studies paper2

  • how to prepare Indian culture, ancient and mediaeval and modern India and world history?
  • Importance of NIOS, Tamilnadu textbooks, Spectrum and Bipan Chandra.
  • Why old NCERTs are not relevant except for World history?
  • Analysis of MCQs asked from history and culture topic in UPSC 2015
  • Approaching international relations (IR), diplomacy and diaspora topics for Mains. Analysis of the IR/grouping questions asked in Prelims-2015.

Youtube Link: https://youtu.be/a839lzLqiTs

DIY-P5: the Hindu Reading from Frontpage to Editorial

how to read the hindu

  • Why read thehindu newspaper for UPSC civil services IAS/IPS exam?
  • Understanding the PMIF framework: Prelims, mains, interview or fodder?
  • How to analyse the news on frontpage from prelims, mains and interview perspective?
  • How to fasttrack page 2 to 7 which are littered with coaching ads and Delhi crime?
  • How to fast track page 8 to 9 where hardly few centimeters of space is given to "The NATION"!
  • Why read the columns, letters to editors and the editorials, and how to make notes out of them?
  • Sample editorial – "All in the spirit of equality"- how to digest it for UPSC prelims, mains and interview perspective.
  • How to eliminate useless news from the perspective pages i.e. page 11 and 12.

Youtube Link: https://youtu.be/iw9RRWjZ_eE

DIY-P6: theHindu: Reading from Economy to the End

how to read hindu newspaper for current affairs

  • How to read the economy, banking, finance pages in thehindu newspaper for UPSC point of view.
  • Why it is useless to follow day to day sharemarket and IRDA-RBI-SEBI notifications?
  • Why read the open page in Tuesday edition?
  • Why ignore sports pages, except during high profile mains / interview related news?
  • Sample news: Lodha Committee- how to prepare it for prelims, mains and interview.
  • Why should we read last page about "Life"?
  • How to follow the PIN- persons in news, dead in news, places in news, books, authors, awards and diaspora news in the hindu?
  • Why Government advertisements are important?
  • Why should we read the speeches of president and vice president?
  • Few tips on magazines, notes making, time management, repeated failures and career backups

Youtube Link: https://youtu.be/Ii-kDrIo8dM

Recommended books to kick start UPSC prep


RelevanceSubjectTitleHindiEnglishKindle
Pre+MainsCultureMs. Ishani Pandya (AIR-502  | ICLS) Lecture & PowerpointsFree
Pre+MainsGS TheoryNIOS, NCERT, IGNOU & Tamilnadu State BooksFree
Pre+MainsEconomyMrunal's Lecture & Powerpoints – Budget and Economic surveyFree
MainsEconomyGSM3: Food Processing IndustryFree
PreGeneralLast 21 Years CSAT Prelims Paperset by Disha PublicationBuyBuyBuy
Pre+MainsCurrent AffairsTheHindu, Frontline, Yojana Magazine, prsindia.org, idsa.in
Pre+MainsGeographyMs. Rajtanil Solanki (AIR-367 | IRS) lectures & PowerpointsFree
MainsGeographyGSM1: Factors affecting location of IndustriesFree
Pre+MainsGeographySchool Atlas-Orient BlackswanBuy
PreHistoryLucent GK (for Ancient, Medieval, Modern)BuyBuy
Pre+MainsHistoryA Brief History of Modern India by Rajiv Ahir (Spectrum Publication)BuyBuy
Pre+MainsHistoryBipan Chandra: India's struggle for independenceBuyBuy
MainsHistoryBipan Chandra: India since independenceBuyBuy
Pre+MainsPolityIndia 2016 (Yearbook)BuyBuy
Pre+MainsPolityIndian Polity by M.LaxmikanthBuyBuy
PrelimsPolityLaxmikanth's Objective Polity MCQs for PracticeBuy
MainsPolityGSM3: Land ReformsFree
MainsEthicsGS4: Articles and Lecture Videos @Mrunal.orgFree