Published: 17th March 2017
Stressed about the civil services interview? Wondering if you can make it? These tips are just what you need to set your mind at ease
IRS officer and author Madhukar Kumar Bhagat, shares tips on how to crack the civil services interview
What the board usually endeavours to assess in the aspirants at a civil services interview, is her/his sincerity of purpose, clarity of thoughts and expression, balance of judgement, ability to reason, to think critically, analytically and wholistically, positiveness of approach, awareness and concern for socio-economic issues and problems, inter-alia other attributes.
But what is of utmost importance, is the ability to think coupled with an honest approach, sincerity of purpose and willingness to toil hard. But how to go about the preparation? Here are a few helpful and practical tips.
Begin your preparation early, preferably within a fortnight or a month of completion of the Main examination. Do not wait for the result of this examination to be out. If you could not do so in this window of time, then begin at the earliest opportunity. The first phase of preparation can be started with, a more purposive reading of newspapers and magazines.
The issues of national, international importance and even those of regional or local significance, often form the nucleus around which the interviews revolve. As such grasping them well is of utmost essence. However, the focus in interview is not on mere facts and figures, but more on issues, their appreciation and analysis. Such articles are often found in the editorial page of the newspapers, which must be perused properly and comprehended fully. To give a wider coverage to their preparation, aspirants must go through a couple of national dailies. (viz. The Times of India, The Hindu, The New Indian Express, The Hindustan Times etc.). Similarly one must read at least one good magazine (preferably The Frontline). Political gossip, page-3 news, sports trivia and other such frivolous news items do not add any value to the interview preparation and should be eschewed. It is advisable to collect the old issues or net archives of a monthly magazine (issues from October-November). In the previous issues identify the articles of national/international importance, those of enduring significance or issues which continue to be contemporaneous. Go through them and prepare brief notes on them.
Note-making should be very precise as well as concise. Once one has gone through the article, one must reflect on it and ask oneself, is it of relevance to me? If yes, then is it worth making a note or can I mentally summarise the essence of article and possibly remember it till the interview stage? Am I in agreement with what is stated in the article? If not, why? Always endeavour to analyse the view point expressed. Does the view point conform to logic and reasoning? Is it falling within the Constitutional and legal frame work. How is it for the larger good of our nation and its people? Thus, develop your own perspective. Identify what are the most important points which the article is emphasizing upon.