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How to Prepare for DAF (Detailed Application Form) by IAS Jitin Yadav

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has announced dates for the Personality Test (PT), commonly known as the interview, for candidates declared successful in the Civil Service Mains Exam. The PT or UPSC interview is scheduled to begin in the first week of April.

While talking to, Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Jitin Yadav said revising current affairs as well as optional subjects is an important part of the interview preparation process, candidates should also thoroughly prepare their answers filled in both Detailed Application Form (DAF ) I and II. Yadav said the information filled in both DAFs should be well thought out as they could form a basis for the questions that can be posed by the interview panel.

“Most of your interview time is spent is discussing the information you provided in the DAFs. The interview panel assumes that you took a conscious decision to divulge your personal information in the DAF and hence expects you to defend, analysis, and elaborate on every piece of information provided,” said Yadav.

How to prepare DAF I for UPSC Civil Services interview

Yadav said DAF I is a comparatively less focused area during the interview process unless someone has scored extremely low marks in their board exams or graduation.

“The panel can ask questions on your academic background, therefore, it is important to prepare your graduation subject thoroughly. If your interview is scheduled in the initial days of the two-month interview schedule, then it is wiser to briefly read basic concepts of your graduation subjects. On the contrary, if your interview date lies somewhere between or towards the end of the schedule, I’ll suggest you utilize this time in preparing your graduation subject,” he explained.

“If you’re employed at the time of the interview, or were previously employed but resigned, then be prepared to face questions on your job role and responsibilities, history of your organisation, reasons for leaving among others. These questions should be addressed with logic-based definitive answers,” he said.

Apart from academics, he also stressed the importance of knowing the historical and geographical facts of one’s hometown and state. “It is important to keep oneself abreast with the current as well as past events of the home state. Further, if you have studied in cities other than your hometown or outside your state, then you may be asked about the reasons of shift and whereabouts of the city,” he added.

Being truthful about hobbies and achievements

One of the seemingly easiest yet tricky sections to prepare in the DAF is hobbies and achievements. The key to comfortably answering questions from this section is to be honest while writing your interests in the DAF, said Yadav.

“Hobbies is one of the sections where some candidates quote their aspirations and interests as hobbies which usually lands them in trouble. It is important to stay honest with yourself and the panel while filling up DAF. Only write about those hobbies you’re deeply interested in. Filling the DAF honestly can actually fetch you questions from areas you are most comfortable with,” he highlighted.

“If playing cricket is your hobby, the panel will expect you to know the basic rules of the sport, like no-ball, LBW, the color of the balls among others. They might also ask questions on team and player rankings, records. However, if you do not know an answer, be upfront about it. It’s your hobby because you pursue it in your free time. Therefore, you are not supposed to be an expert in it,” he added.

Sharing an experience with his encounter with a UPSC aspirant, Yadav said, “One of the aspirants I interacted with had specified gardening as his hobby in the DAF. Coincidently, one of the interview panel members shared the same interest and hence took him out to the garden area to test his knowledge about plans. Therefore, whatever you mention in the DAF should be well prepared to be defended in the interview.”

How to justify service and cadre preferences

This is another crucial section to prepare for the interview. The panel checks whether a candidate has an Indian or regional mindset through the cadre preferences made by them, said Yadav.

“While answering the cadre-related questions, candidates must be politically neutral and patriotic. The good answers to justify the preferences is proximity to the home state, addressing the social issues in a state you want to work upon or simply specifying that since the section was mandatory, you had to mark choices,” the IAS officer explained.

Meanwhile, for service preferences candidates at times make some unusual preferences—for example, opting for the Indian Police Service (IPS) over IAS or Indian Revenue Service (IRS) over IPS—and may be asked for a reason behind the option. One must have a suitable explanation to justify their preference, according to Yadav.

On the next day of the interview, a medical examination is conducted and candidates have a flat foot, vision-related problems like color blindness, etc., then they are rejected for certain services like IPS, IRTS etc. Therefore, one must read the service eligibility conditions carefully to defend their choices.

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