Tricky Questions Asked in UPSC CSE Interviews & How Aspirants Answered Them


UPSC interviews are popular for their level of difficulty and trickiness. But what if some questions are so unconventional that you have to take a moment or two to even process them? Such questions also find a seat here.

UPSC interviewees have shared some of the most unconventional questions they encountered during the session, which is cracking up the readers on Quora.

Tanya Agarwal from New Delhi who had her interview in 2020, was asked, “Tell me a good thing about ‘snooping’.” She skillfully began answering the question, “Back in school, my mother would snoop [on] me to check whether I am studying well. I believe her intentions behind snooping were only for my good!” and tied this answer with discourse on state surveillance and the balance between national security and individual privacy.

UPSC expert and educationist Atul Roy, who appeared for the interview in 2013, was asked, “I see that your hobby is rock climbing. So when you go to a rock, what do you see in it?” Atul went on to say that he looks at the folds first and explained them one by one. He feels such questions are asked not to get a perfect answer, but to test the presence of mind, application and ability to think on one’s feet.

Akash Patel, an IPS officer from Delhi, was asked if he knew anything about the origin of ties, as he was wearing one at the time. He admitted he knew nothing about them. “Right after this, I was asked, ‘About that, why are you wearing a tie? It’s so hot outside.’ I couldn’t control my smile again and explained that as today was an important and formal occasion for me, I wanted to dress accordingly. [The interviewer] seemed satisfied,” wrote Akash on Quora.

In 2018, Akash appeared for the interview again for the role of an IRS officer. He said that this time, he was underprepared and didn’t even feel like wearing a tie. “Why are you not wearing a tie? [The] whole world except you is wearing one,” he was asked. Akash went on to say that he is not very comfortable about wearing one, as his attention would keep going back to his throat, where the tie has been knotted. Akash passed the interview with 201/300 marks. “Don’t fret. Be calm and composed. Tie or no tie, suit or no suit, sky blue or any other color shirt- these things don’t matter at all,” is his advice to UPSC aspirants.

Some of the other commonly shared trick UPSC interview questions are sampled below:

  • What will you do if I run away with your sister?
  • What if one morning you woke up and found that you were pregnant?
  • Twins (Adarsh and Anupam) were born in May, but their birthday is in June. How’s this possible?
  • Jamie looked at his reflection on the window mirror of the 45th floor. Driven by an irrational impulse, he made a leap through the window on the other side. Yet, Jamie did not encounter even a single bruise. How can this be possible if he neither landed on a soft surface nor used a parachute?
  • The peacock is a bird that does not lay eggs. How do they get baby peacocks?
  • How can you drop a raw egg onto a concrete floor without cracking it?

Aspirants opine that the point of these questions is to see how one stays vigilant and comfortable with answering lighter questions. Staying cool and focused attracts the interviewer, whether in UPSC or any other field, they add.



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