How to Solve Decision Making Questions in UPSC CSAT Paper

The Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) or the General Studies Paper-II is one of the two papers of the UPSC civil services prelims exam. It is only a qualifying paper in which you have to score a minimum of 33%. As per the CSAT Syllabus, decision making is one of the four important segments. Know how to solve decision making questions in UPSC CSAT paper.

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Decision-Making for UPSC CSAT

Even then, a lot of IAS aspirants fear this paper especially if they are from a non-maths or non-science/engineering academic background. Although out of a total of 200 marks you only have to score at least 66, when you consider the fact that you will be penalized with negative marks for wrong answers, it can be safely said that proper planned preparation is needed even for the CSAT paper.

The CSAT generally consists of four types of questions:

  1. Maths
  2. Logical reasoning
  3. Comprehension
  4. Decision making

Information about decision making questions:

  • As a civil servant, you are expected to make quick and rational decisions that benefit the maximum. You should not buckle under political pressure and should discharge your duty fearlessly and honestly. The decision making questions test the same qualities. They put you in certain situations and ask you to solve a problem.
  • Preparing for the decision making questions would also keep you in good stead for the General Studies Paper IV (ethics paper) in the UPSC civil services mains exam.
  • These questions assess your abilities as an administrator.
  • There is no negative marking for decision making questions.
  • The official answer key gives two possible correct answers to these questions.

Decision making questions and answers for UPSC

Take a look at the following decision making questions from UPSC Prelims exam 2012:

Q) You are handling a time-bound project. During the project review meeting, you find that the project is likely to get delayed due to lack of cooperation of the team members. You would…

(a) Warn the team members for their non-cooperation.

(b) Look into reasons for non-cooperation.

(c) Ask for the replacement of team members.

(d) Ask for an extension of time citing reasons.

Answer: (b)

Q) You are competing with your batch-mate for the prestigious award to be decided based on an oral presentation. You have been asked by the committee to finish on time. Your friend, however, is allowed more than the stipulated time period.

a) Lodge a complaint to chairperson against the discrimination.

b) Not listen to any justification from the committee

c) Ask for withdrawal of your name

d) Protest and leave the place

Answer: (a)

The next question is taken from the 2013 UPSC Prelims CSAT GS paper II:

Q) You are handling a priority project and have been meeting all the deadlines and are therefore planning your leave during the project. Your immediate boss does not grant your leave citing the urgency of the project. You would…

1) Proceed on leave without waiting for the sanction.

2) Pretend to be sick and take leave.

3) Approach higher authority to reconsider the leave application.

4) Tell the boss that it is not justified.

Answer: (3)

Strategy to solve decision making questions for UPSC exam:

  • Decision-making problems can be solved by a five-step approach:-
  1. Find the issue in the question
  2. Find the possible solutions
  3. Exclude the bad solutions
  4. Choose the best solution
  5. Take the final choice
  • Eliminate choices that involve giving/taking bribes, showing arrogance, dishonesty, getting intimidated, ignoring wrong-doings, insubordination, biasness, impractical choices, short-term oriented, etc.
  • Always choose answers which portray you as upright, honest, practical, humane, efficient, taking action-type of an officer, etc.
  • Since there are two possible answers to these questions, you just need to figure out the two worst choices and pick any one of the two remaining choices.

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