4 Types of Questions from DAF

How to prepare for the UPSC Interview when there is no syllabus.

Table of contents

This post will look at the 4 basic types of questions that you can be asked from your DAF.

First, some basics.

The Basics

DAF is your detailed application form that is filled in 2 parts.

DAF I is filled when you clear Prelims.
DAF II is filled when you clear Mains.

What does DAF I contain?

DAF I contains your basic information:

  • Current address, home state
  • Parent's home states
  • Education
  • Income level of parents
  • Reservation status


What does DAF II contain?

DAF I contains more information about you like

  • Post graduate degree (if any)
  • Work experience (if any)
  • Your interests and hobbies
  • Service preferences
  • Cadre preferences

These are only asked from people who have made it to the final stage, personality test, of the exam.

Coming to the 4 Types of Questions.

Location Based Questions

DAF contains:

  • The cities you've lived in.
  • Home states - yours and your parents'.

How to prepare for them:

Start from the basics. Read the wiki pages for these cities and states. Read the official websites. Get your facts right.

What's the idea here?

You should be aware of basics. Things like:

  • Demographics
  • Major social issues
  • Major sources of income
  • Major infra successes or problems.

Ex: Gurgaon is flooded every year during monsoon. Indore has been declared the cleanest city 6 years in a row.

Now in these areas your focus should not be on repeating facts but sharing analysis derived from the facts that you’ve read and the reality that you’ve seen on the ground. Connect the dots and you will be rewarded with high scores in the Personality Test.

Education Based

Deals primarily with your college (& post-grad if you have it) degree. Schooling is also mentioned in the DAF but that's not as important.

You need to have a grasp of the fundamentals. Don't mug up formulas and theories. In case you are asked some formulas you can simply say, " sir/ma'am, I don't remember it at the moment."

But if you miss basic questions that will cost you.

Ex: As a civil engineer, I can be asked what is a shear wall. But no need for any formulas to calculate loads.

Interests Based

In your DAF you fill your prizes, participation in sports/NCC etc, positions of leadership & hobbies.

Taken from DAF II for UPSC CSE 2022.

This gives the board the largest area to ask questions. And this should be your strongest area. Your aim should be to move the conversation here. If you’ve filled this section honestly, you shouldn't have problems answering questions.

In case you’re still asked a question that you don't know, be comfortable with saying so.

You're not expected to know everything. Just expected to be aware of your blind spots.

For example: I wrote playing chess as a hobby in both my interviews (CSE 2017 and CSE 2018). But if I’m asked to comment about the 6th game of the 1960 World Chess Championship match, then I can simply say "I don’t know about it. I only play online chess in my free time."

HR Type Questions

You will be asked questions like:

  1. Tell us about yourself.
  2. What is the meaning of your name?
  3. Why do you want to join civil services?
  4. Why did you not pursue a career in your degree area?
  5. What would you do if posted as an IAS in your home state?

This is at once the simplest and the hardest part of the entire interview process.

Simple because you know that these are high-probability questions. Hard because you need to know yourself to answer these well. How you answer these determines if you’re scoring <160 or 180+.

The chances of you being asked HR-type questions at the start are high. As these questions serve as ice-breakers for the conversation.

Make sure you are clear about the things that you want to talk about here.

Bonus category

Current affairs based on your DAF.

If there has been recent news related to the above 4 categories, then these CA are more relevant for you than others.

Ex: if a new kind of bridge has been constructed recently, or if one has collapsed as a Civil Engineer, I should be aware of it.

That's all for today folks.

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