The Interview process at UPSC

Those going for the interview (the first timers) have numerous questions about what all (and in what sequence) happens on the day of interview. This post attempts to give a step-by-step description of all the interview related formalities.


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You have to report at the time given in front of the UPSC gate (shown in the picture). The candidates have to wait outside until the checking/verification process starts.

Suggestion : Please bring an identification proof (mains admit card/ voter ID/ Aadhar card/ PAN card etc – any one item will do) in addition to the documents called for.

After verification you will be allowed to enter the UPSC gate. After the entry at the gate, you will be guided to enter the building from a specific entry point.

Submitting your mobile

You will have to submit your mobile in an envelope (which will be given to you). Write your name and roll number on the envelope, switch off the mobile and submit it to the concerned person. They will give you a token.
Suggestion: It’s better not to take a mobile with you.

Getting your table number

You will then be given a table number (like 1, 2, 3….13, 14 etc). This is the table where you have to sit.

Entry into the circular hall

After getting your table number, you will be guided in a circular hall which will have many tables, with chairs around them. Find your table and get seated there. Various newspapers will be kept there and you may read them if you want.

Group of 6

Along with you 5 other people will be seated there. In last few years UPSC has been taking interviews in groups of 6. However, if number of candidates is more, there may be a group of 7. This group means that all 6 (or 7) of you will be interviewed by one particular board in that session ( of course one by one).

Forms fill up

An attendant will come and hand you some forms that are to be filled. Fill all these slowly, carefully and without any hurry. You will also know the sequence in which the 6 (or 7) of you will be interviewed. You will also be given a paper that will contain details about your medical test. This is to be kept with yourself. A sheet containing some user id and password will also be given. This will be used only if you qualify finally.

Certificate Verification

You will have to submit the required certificates in original along with a photocopy of each to the attendant. He/She will examine it carefully. These will then be taken to the senior staffs sitting at the centre of the hall. After verification, it will be returned to you (only the original, the photocopy will be kept). All this may take about half an hour to 45 minutes.

TA bill, Questionnaire and Attestation form

You may submit your Travelling Allowance form (if you are non-Delhi candidate) to the staff sitting at the centre. They will themselves ask. One person will come and collect the questionnaire. The attestation form that is given is to be submitted to the DoPT and not UPSC. So, you may not bring it with you for the interview. Further, you may submit the attestation form even after result.

What if you don’t have original certificate

Many candidates don’t have original certificate or there might be some doubts regarding the certificate they possess. In all these cases, you will be given an undertaking form to be filled up. That undertaking form will contain a legal declaration that if you don’t submit your certificates within 15 days, your candidature will be cancelled. Now PLEASE DON’T PANICK at this. Your candidature will not be cancelled even if you don’t submit your certificates within 15 days. Let me make it very clear that you will be allowed to take the interview and your results will not get affected due to this. Only thing is your candidature will be declared as provisional. You can then later submit the proper certificate. UPSC is lenient in everything except giving marks.

Announcement of the Board

A person will walk to each of the table and announce the name of the chairman, whose board will be taking their interview.

Suggestion – Do not go with any pre-formed opinion about any board. It’s not in your control which board you get, so better stop thinking about it.

All this will take about 75 minutes. The interview starts after this. A person will come to your table, and ask for the first candidate (by name) and he/she will be taken for the interview.

Going for the interview

You will be thoroughly checked. Pens, pencils, watches etc are not allowed. The person who had called you will guide you through the way. In case you want to go to washroom, you still can. You will be made to wait outside the room of the chairman. His/her name will be on the name plate.

PLEASE NOTE – You do not have to enter by yourself. A bell will ring. The attendant will open the door for you. You must ask for the permission to come in, and only then enter. The time that you have to wait outside may vary depending on the time taken by the person whose interview is currently going (if you are not the first person)

Inside the interview room

Different rooms have different setup for the table. In some rooms, you just need to walk straight and sit at your chair. In some, you need to walk around half the table to go to your chair. You will sit facing the chairman. Two members will be adjacent to the chairman. Two others will be adjacent to you. In some rooms, the two members adjacent to the candidate might be very close to him/her. They can see your legs/hands/fingers etc.

The Interview

This post is not about the interview, but the process and formalities associated with it. So we leave this.

After the interview

You will go back to the circular hall, collect your belongings from your table and walk out. You are not allowed to talk to other group members. You may then collect your TA and mobile and walk outside the UPSC gate. (Those having interview in the morning session might have to wait till 12 noon to get their TA)

Next day medical

You will have your medical check up the next day (provided it’s not a public holiday). If your interview is on Friday, you will have your medical on Monday. The medical is another long formal process where you will have to fill up forms, paste photographs etc. It can go till 4 pm in the evening. Different hospitals have different process. Some may take too many tests, some only few. Eyes, ears, bones, blood pressure, blood, urine, genitals etc may be examined.

However, it won’t be boring as there will be other candidates (who have given interview with you). So, you can gossip with them. In a way, it will also be fun.

We hope this article settles most of your doubts. If you still have any question related to the interview process, put it in the comment box. All the best for interview.

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