Writing exams and facing an interview and especially one as daunting as the UPSC interview are two different ball games. You can be an intelligent, hardworking, determined person, who is confident when it comes to taking the civil services exams. But do you sweat profusely and panic at the mere thought of facing that board interview? Read on to get a few tips to calm your nerves before sitting across the UPSC board members.
Let us first analyse why intelligent and knowledgeable people get nervous before an interview. First of all, being nervous is a physiological reaction to a high stakes situation. The UPSC interview also known as the personality test is indeed a high stakes situation for all civil services aspirants. It is your dream and you get the feeling that you are so near to achieving it and what if something goes wrong at this last step. You have been preparing for months and possibly years for clearing the UPSC exams and the interview can be a make or break situation. This feeling coupled with the sure knowledge that the UPSC board members sitting across you are experienced professionals themselves can be intimidating even to a fairly confident person. Another reason for nervousness and anxiety before the interview is a lack of preparation. The antidote to that is only to be fully prepared. Click below to get an idea of the questions asked in the UPSC interviews.
But for those of you who feel confident about your knowledge and preparation levels, and still get sweaty palms and dry mouth thinking about the UPSC personality test, here are a few tips to tackle anxiety.
Generally, your heart rate shoots up when you are nervous and this can affect your thinking. It is important to have a clear head before answering questions so that your answers are coherent and make sense to the interviewers. So, lower your heartbeat by doing breathing exercises. Breathe in and breathe out slowly through your nose. Repeat this four to five times. This exercise automatically slows your heart rate.
Clear your voice
Being nervous can mean you lose voice clarity. Take time to clear your throat. Drink water if you need but not too much!
If you are constantly shaking your legs or feet while sitting and waiting for your turn for the interview, get up and walk around slowly but firmly. This will definitely calm you since walking helps use the unused muscles of your body. Energy not utilised in the body can cause anxiety in the mind. Additionally, walking is also a way to slow your breathing which as you saw earlier helps reduce nervousness.
Get there on time!
Make sure you arrive for your UPSC interview early. Make allowances for traffic and leave early from your residence. Reaching late is an unnecessary cause of stress. It is okay to wait and practice calming techniques in the meantime rather than rush in to give your interview looking haggard and stressed.
Avoid electronic media
Although some argue it is wise to indulge in going through your social media accounts or other online portals while you wait your turn, there is a flip side to it as well. They may provide a distraction from your present cause of anxiety, but there is also a risk of getting worked up seeing all those good luck messages from your friends and family. Also, you may come across a news article or event you have not heard of and start doubting your preparation itself. That is the last thing you need!
Project the right image
Interviews are all about impressions. The UPSC board is sitting there to assess your overall personality, your leadership skills, administrative capacity, crisis-handling panache and your interactive abilities. It is not just about what you say but how you say it. Your nervousness will be read as an inability to deal with the crunch. Avoid showing this by practising these simple techniques which will help you calm your tensions and project yourself as a self-assured and poised individual.
In a nutshell, follow these five golden rules before you face your interview panel.
- Clear your throat
- Arrive early
- No to electronic gadgets
These are simple and effective rules that will surely calm yourselves and prevent you from becoming a nervous wreck while you face your civil services personality test. Click below to read on how to prepare and ace the UPSC interview.