Yes, an aspirant can give the UPSC interview in Hindi, English and various other Indian languages based on certain criteria/conditions laid down by the Commission. Before discussing this question, let’s go through the different stages of the UPSC Civil Services Examination.
UPSC exam is conducted in 3 phases. It starts with the preliminary examination, followed by the main examination and the personality test (interview). The preliminary exam is a screening test, whereas the main examination and the personality test determine the rank of the candidate in the merit list. Various phases of the Civil Service examination and the medium (language) of the examinations are given in the table below.
Phases of the Civil Services Examination and Medium (Language) of the Examination
|Phase||Name of the Examination||Medium (language) of Examination|
|Phase 1||Preliminary Exam||English and Hindi|
|Phase 2||Main Exam||English and Hindi (except for the literature of language papers)|
|Phase 3||Personality Test/Interview||English, Hindi, Indian Languages (As per the criteria/conditions laid down by the UPSC)|
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The personality test is conducted by a Board and carries 275 marks. The technique used in the interview is more of a “natural, though directed and purposive conversation”, which focuses on understanding the mental calibre of the candidate. Personality test is not a test of the general or specialised knowledge of the candidate. Through the personality test, the Board intends to know and understand if the candidates are aware of the new discoveries, modern currents of thought, events taking place in their state, country and the world i.e. those areas that would pique the interest of a well-educated person.
The purpose of the exam is to evaluate the social traits, intellectual qualities and candidate’s interest in current affairs.The main objective of the interview is“to assess the personal suitability of the candidate for a career in public service.” Therefore, candidates are judged on the basis of certain qualities and not merely the language medium during the personality test. Some of qualities that the Board looks for in a candidate are:
- Mental alertness
- Critical powers of assimilation
- Clear and logical exposition
- Balance of judgement
- Variety and depth of interest
- Ability for social cohesion and leadership
- Intellectual and moral integrity.
Therefore, candidates should not be apprehensive or feel diffident about the interview only because they are not fluent in a particular language. Language is not a barrier during the UPSC personality test. Candidates should focus on developing the qualities mentioned above along with developing their language skills (you need not be an expert!), so that they can understand the questions well and answer accordingly.
Can a candidate write the Civil Services Main Examination in English and take the interview in Hindi or any other Indian language?
Yes. A candidate who has written the Main examination in English can take the interview in Hindi or any other Indian language. The details are given below:
- Indian Language as the mediumfor the Main examination: Candidates who opt for the Indian Language medium for the Main examination, may choose either the same Indian Language or English or Hindi as the medium for the UPSC interview.
- English as the mediumfor the Main examination: Candidates who plan to write the Main exam in English, may choose either English or Hindi or any other Indian Language opted by them for the compulsory Indian Language Paper, as the medium for interview.
- However, those candidates, who are exempted from the compulsory Indian Language Paper, have to choose either English or Hindi as medium of Interview or Personality Test.
- Candidates should ensure that they indicate the preferred language medium for interview in the Detailed Application Form (DAF).
- The Paper A on Indian Language in the UPSC Main examination is not compulsory for candidates hailing from Meghalaya, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.