How to Prepare Decision Making for Civil Services Prelims


It can be regarded as the mental processes resulting in the relation of a course of action among several alternative scenarios.

UPSC has not applied negative marking to the questions of decision making because decision making is based on individual logical & verbal ability and can vary from person to person. Thus attempting them is the safest part in paper but proper understanding of the question is must.

Decision Making Process

  1. Objectives must be established first and placed in order of preference.
  2. Alternative actions must be developed.
  3. The alternative that is able to achieve all the objectives is the tentative decision.
  4. The tentative decision is evaluated for more possible consequences.

Decision making steps:

1st Step : Outline your goal and outcome.

2nd Step : Gather data. This will help the decision makers having actual evidence to help them come up with a solution.

3rd Step : Brainstorm to develop alternatives. Coming up with more than one solution enables you to see which one can actually work.

4th Step : List pros and cons of each alternative, with the help of which, you can eliminate the solutions that have more cons than pros, making your decision easier.

5th Step : Make the decision by picking the one that has many pros, and the one that everyone can agree with.

6th Step : Immediately take action. Once the decision is picked, you should implement it right away.

7th Step : Learn from and reflect on the decision making. This step allows you to gauge where you were right or wrong while implementing the decision.

Sample Questions

  1. You have been asked to give an explanation for not attending an important official meeting. Your immediate boss who has not informed you about the meeing is noe putting pressure on you not top place an allegation against him/her. You would…

(a) Send a written reply explaining the fact.

(b) Seek an appointment with the top boss to explain the situation.

(c) Admit your fault to save the situation.

(d) Put the responsibility on the coordinator of the meeting for not informing.

  1. A local thug (bad element) has started illegal construction on your vacant plot. He has refused your request to vacate and threatened you of dire consequences in case you do not sell the property at a cheap price to him. You would…

(a) Sell the property at a cheap price to him.

(b) Go to the police for necessary action.

(c) Ask for help from your neighbours.

(d) Negotiate with the goon to get a higher price.

  1. You have to accomplish a very important task for your Headquarters within the next two days. Suddenly you meet with an accident. Your office insists that you complete the task. You would….

(1) Ask for an extension of deadline.

(2) Inform Headquarters of your inability to finish on time.

(3) Suggest alternate person to Headquarters who may to the needful.

(4) Stay away till you recover.

Previous Year Questions

  1. A person lives in a far off village which is almost two hours by bus. The villager’s neighbour is a very powerful landlord who is trying to occupy the poor villager’s land by force. You are the District Magistrate and busy in a meeting called by a local Minister. The villager has come all the way, by bus and on foot, to see you and give an application seeking protection from the powerful landlord. The villager keeps on waiting outside the meeting hall for an hour. You come out of the meeting and are rushing to another meeting. The villager follows you to submit his application. What would you do?
  2. a) Tell him to wait for another two hours till you come back from your next meeting.
  3. b) Tell him that the matter is actually to be dealt by a junior officer and that he should give the application to him.
  4. c) Call one of your senior subordinate officers and ask him to solve the villager’s problem.
  5. d) Quickly take the application from him, ask him a few relevant questions regarding his problem and then proceed to the meeting.
  6. There is a shortage of sugar in your District where you are the District Magistrate. The Government has ordered that only a maximum amount of 30 kg sugar is to be released for wedding celebrations. A son of your close friend is getting married and your friend requests you to release at least 50 kg sugar for his son’s wedding. He expresses annoyance when you tell him about the Government’s restrictions on this matter. He feels that since you are the District Magistrate you can release any amount. You do not want to spoil your friendship with him. In such circumstances, how would you deal with the situation?
  7. a) Release the extra amount of sugar which your friend has requested for
  8. b) Refuse your friend the extra amount and strictly follow the rules.
  9. c) Show your friend the copy of the Government instructions and then persuade him to accept the lower amount as prescribed in the rules.
  10. d) Advise him to directly apply to the allotting authority and inform him that you do not interfere in this matter.
  11. You are in-charge of implementing the Family Planning programme in an area where there is a strong opposition to the present policy. You want to convince the residents of the need for keeping small families. What would be the best way of communicating this message?
  12. a) By logically explaining to the residents the need for family planning to improve the health and living standards.
  13. b) By encouraging late marriages and proper spacing of children.
  14. c) By offering incentives for adopting family planning devices.
  15. d) By asking people who have been sterilized or are using contraceptives to directly talk to the residents.


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