This stage of the UPSC exam is focused on the directed cross examination of a candidate in a high-pressure setting. The candidates are tested for their mental sharpness, their strain of logic and their ability to articulate themselves and express their logic. They are also expected to analyze issues and defend their perspectives. The test will also attempt to view their intellectual and moral aptitude. 

The purpose of the interview is to check whether the candidate displays the qualities required for taking up a position in the covenanted civil services.