[UPSC Interview Prep.] Roleplaying & Situation Reaction Test (SRT): Common Mistakes & 40 Mock Questions

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UPSC Paperset
  1. Prologue
  2. Who is the best NSA? IAS/IPS/IFS
  3. Don’t presume a person’s character
  4. Whom will you Clone?
  5. Power in one hand = wrong
  6. Don’t jump to “good” conclusions
  7. Convincing Minister
  8. Will you resign/seek transfer in adverse situation?
  9. Avoid Student leader mindset
  10. Don’t say “no” to crazy ideas
  11. Stopping Liquor menace through secret drug in PDS?
  12. Flag Hoisting @University
  13. Sensitizing lower staff
  14. Places to show?
  15. Be aware of Jurisdiction
  16. Urban Governance related SRTs
  17. You don’t have to tilt/agree to every visitor
  18. Social media campaigning requires more planning
  19. Surrender doesn’t mean immunity
  20. Witch hunting
  21. Efficiency is not same as money saving
  22. Mistakes in Roleplaying/SRT Qs
  23. 40 Mock Interview Questions: SRT

Prologue

  • Each year in March-April, I find “seasonal employment” as mock interview panelist. So, based on those daily wage-misadventures, this article series will cover how to approach UPSC interviews. Same should also help for CAPF, State services, staff selection (SSC) and Bank interviews as well.
  • First part: Role playing and SRT (Situation reaction test) type questions.
  • Earlier, such questions were confined to SSB/CDS, but nowadays in IAS/IPS interviews, they’re becoming prominent.

Who is the best NSA? IAS/IPS/IFS

SRT Roleyplaying Interview Qs

Don’t presume IAS good for every department, IPS good for all security matters and so on…

Question: You’re PM of India, there are three officers- IAS, IPS and IFS. Whom will you select as National security advisor?
Whenever I asked this question to any candidate who has given IPS as first preference, they’ll immediately jump saying “sir I’ll select the IPS because he is more “aware” of security challenge. Our present NSA Mr.(*) Ajit Dowal is an IPS officer and he is meticulously handling both internal and external threats.”

(*Tip– whenever speaking name of a public figure, try to use appropriate prefixes like Mr/Shri/Dr/Hon’ble CJI-President-VP-PM etc.)

Counter question: Brajesh Mishra and Shivshankar Menon were from Indian Foreign services (IFS), so do you think it was a mistake to select them as NSA? (Panelist can take liberty of not addressing public figures with Mr/Mrs/Dr. etc. because he is ‘boss’ like that).

Then candidate would then fumble to justify that he’s not saying they did bad job, but IPS will be better.
Sometimes panel will also grill them that on similar logic- you’re an engineer then you should only give Indian Engineering service (IES) exam, why are you trying for civil services exam!?
Right approach:

Sir(*), First, I’ll check career record of each of these officers (IAS, IPS, IFS), I’ll consult with cabinet Secretary and other officers. I’ll interview them and then decide. Posts such as NSA, NITI-Ayog Secretary etc. require a man of impeccable integrity, wide experience in variety of postings. Networking & amicable relations with other experts and coordination skills. Such talents are not confined to a single service. He could be from any service/graduation background.

(*Tip: Advisable to open any answer with sir/ma’am. Never start with “no sir or but sir”….always start with “sir or yes sir”.)

Homework questions

  1. Often work of IFS involves wining and dining? So how exactly can you discuss the issues of national and strategic importance in such events?
  2. Give name of Name the best diplomats in Mahabharat (Krisha) and Ramayan (Angad).

Let’s try another question with similar theme:

Don’t presume a person’s character

Q.You’re in UPSC board. M.K.Gandhi comes as candidate for interview. Will you select him?

wrong approachright approach
  • I’ll not select him because he’s better as ‘leader’ than a ‘bureaucrat’ OR because he was an ‘idealist’ unfit for today’s bureaucratic setup.
  • Reason: when Gandhi comes for UPSC – he’d be young. so you *cannot* know this is “the” mahatma Gandhi. Those UPSC panelists who selected Kejriwal in IRS, they wouldn’t have known he’ll later on become an activist turned politician!
  • I’ll interview him, if he has officer like qualities better than others, I’ll give him good marks.
  • Follow-up: do you think he’ll get selected?
  • Ans. probably yes, he’ll get selected. Because (1) he was a studious person who became Barrister from UK, so he’d have good score in written(Mains) stage. (2) He served as officer in ambulance corps in Boer/Zulu wars and won medals for service. so yes he had officer like qualities. so good score in interview as well. Combine two score, he’ll get a selection, I think.

Whom will you Clone?

Q. If you could clone a person, whom would you select?

UnsafeSafe
  • avoid religious figures and national leaders.
  • Because if you say “X” then panel will always grill you about some disputable historic fact Or opinion of said leader.
  • For example I will clone Emperor Ashok. Counter: but new Ashok may not become humanist until he has killed millions!
  • Sir, I would like to clone scientists such as Newton, Einstein so they can continue unfinished research for benefit of humanity.
Gandhi thrown out of Train

If cloned person doesn’t go through same life changing events, he may not rise to same career

  • Secondly, you must keep in mind, a cloned person will look identical to the original person but he will not be identically to the original person.
  • For example, if Gandhi was not thrown out of The train in Africa, he would have become famous lawyer but may not have joined Struggle against colonial powers. So circumstances will decide how The new person will Live his life.

Q.If you could clone yourself, And had a full freedom to decide his memory, skill set? how would you like to use that new person? OR If there is a parallel Earth in the universe, there must be a person like you. Describe his life.
In all such question, you alter-person should be portrayed in some administrative or managerial position.

Power in one hand = wrong

Question: In Iran, they’ve a “supreme leader”. Same way, if we make you to the supreme leader of India- full power to do anything under the sun, then tell me three “out of box” reforms you will do in the Constitution?

Wrong approachRight approach
  1. GST
  2. women reservation
  3. Right to food or xyz.
  1. Xyz reform
  2. Xyz reform
  3. Third reform: “I’ll abolish the post of supreme leader”- so in future no one else can misuse such extreme power OR I will put effective checks and balances on this post.

Don’t jump to “good” conclusions

Question: Justice Katju says don’t judge person on his past. So, If a criminal is released from jail yesterday and today he’s competing for ward elections, will you vote him?

Wrong approachRight approach
  • Yes, I will vote for him if he genuinely wants to work for people.
  • Counter-question: how’ll you know? He’s just out of prison!
  • You should first consider profile of other candidates without criminal past.
  • If None of them is suitable then consider this man.
  • You can also do NOTA, if none suitable.
  • follow-up qs: in what circumstances a convicted person can’t run for elections? what declaration do you have to mention in the nomination form?

Convincing Minister

Question: Guj. Government got 4 extensions and not yet implementing NFSA. (National food security act). Critiques say, state government wants to launch it by next assembly election in 2017 to get maximum media/vote-banks. If you are the Secretary in minister of food and civil supplies, and your minister is ordering you to delay, what will you do?
Wrong answer: I’ll argue* to him to implement it sooner. But if he’s not convinced, then I’ll proceed as per instruction, after all policy-making is his prerogative.

*Tip: choice of word is wrong “argue” – you’ve to say “I’ll try to convenience him”.

Secondly, imagination is missing- you’re just giving one-line standard answer. You should be more elaborate and eloquent.
Right answer:

  • Sir, I’ll try to show the Hon’ble minister the data of the eligible population of Gujarat under NFSA and try to convince him that if we start implementation from today itself, then by 2017, ground level penetration will be seen and we’ll earn good will and good PR coverage.
  • if we delay till election, then actual implementation will be delayed since district staff will be busy in election duties only.

Counter Question: if minister still doesn’t agree will you consider resignation or seek transfer? [hint- read next question]

Will you resign/seek transfer in adverse situation?

Question: You’re in xyz Government post. You’re trying to do “ABC” good thing. But your seniors/colleagues/xyz is not cooperating despite your best efforts, they’re even trying to malign your reputation etc. In short, you’re in a complete hopeless scenario. then will you consider resigning or seeking transfer to deskjob/training institute?
Wrong Ans.

  • Yes Sir, I’ll resign and focus my time and energy on something else where I can serve society, I’ll open an NGO or xyz as Kejriwal did.
  • Or any other answer that hints you’ll “give up”.

Why it is wrong answer?

  • by resigning, you can save your personal dignity.
  • But you’ll tarnish dignity of your post.
  • Government doesn’t need “saints”, it needs “effective officers”.
  • so if you can’t do xyz which is in best interest of organization, then you’re not working effectively enough. There is always a way. So, you should find fault in the approach and try another way, instead of resigning.

Avoid Student leader mindset

Question: A student of St. Stephen College was rusticated on the day before final graduation, because he allegedly published an unauthorized interview of the principal in online college newsletter. If you were in his position, what will you do?

WRONG Ans
  • “I will rally of my classmates/seniors/alumni through social media.”
  • This is wrong answer, because it hints you’ve problem with the ‘authority‘.
  • Discipline is the foremost requirement of an officer. UPSC panelists with police/defense background, don’t like such dedh-siyaanaa (oversmart) candidates.
Right Ans
  • Sir, First I will present my side to the principal and higher authorities in the college/university.
  • If no help, I may consider legal options.
  • I’ll not consider any dharna-pradarshan with my classmate’s/students union, because unnecessary it’ll harm other students’ classes and preparation.

Homework: In BSF, the higher officers are imported from IPS/army. Don’t you think it will negatively affect the morale of other junior officers from within BSF? If you are a BSF officer, what will you do? Will you file PIL in court?

Don’t say “no” to crazy ideas

Mixed Cricket Match

Directly saying “no” to the idea of mixed cricket = you’re not open to new ideas

Q. In tennis, we have mixed doubles, so should we have mixed cricket matches as well?

Wrong answer
  • No sir, we should not, because it’ll pose many problems.
  • This is wrong answer because it shows you’ve ‘closed mind’ unwilling to try new things. Often boss (Esp. Minister), will come up with crazy ideas, you should not start answer with “no sir” but show him the problems involved.
Right answer
  • Yes, sir, we can explore it, although there will be some practical problems, that we’ll have to address.

Follow-up question: what practical problems do you see, if we start mixed-cricket match?
Sir, may I’ve a moment to collect my thoughts? (think and then reply)

  1. What if both captain and vice-captain are men (or women)? And other team members from opposite gender feel resentment?
  2. What is some people demand gender-wise rotational captaincy after each 5 overs?
  3. We may have to decrease the size of boundary for 4s and 6s.
  4. What if there is demand that only men should bowl against men and women against women Because of the different physical strength? (but then it won’t be “mixed match” anymore because women playing against women and men playing against men.)

Homework Questions:

  1. Do you think bifurcation of CMD post in public sector banks will lead to efficiency, As Nayak Committee recommended?
  2. Raghuram Rajan wants to restructure RBI and make it similar to an MNC, But union is opposed because they feel their promotion chances will be reduced. If you are in place of Rajan how will you proceed?
  3. Should we include group discussion in the selection process of UPSC? Afterall, “meeting discussion” is also a skill required in future officer. Should we include GD in CAPF as it is in SSB?

Stopping Desi-Liquor menace through secret drug in PDS?

In vernacular newspaper we see drug-ads that claim “stop your husband’s alcohol addiction without his knowledge.” As Collector of A’bad, will you consider secretly mixing this drug in all PDS-wheat, given the nuisance of desi-liquor addition?
Wrong answer: No sir, I’ll not because it’ll hurt their freedom of choice.
Counter Question: how is freedom of choice relevant here? Gujarat has prohibition law, desi liquor dens of A’bad have ruined countless families and State can take action to stop intoxicating liquors and drugs under DPSP!
Right approach:
Sir, if a drunkard is arrested, perhaps we can explore giving such drug to him, with courts’ permission. But we should not secretly mix such drug in PDS-Wheat for consumption of entire population because

  1. We don’t know how drug affects pregnant or lactating mothers and their babies
  2. Cough-syrup also has alcohol. What if such person consumes this wheat, there may be adverse reaction.

Flag Hoisting @University

JNU Flag Hoisting Central Universities
Question: After JNU-Kaiya incidence, union Government ordered the Vice Chancellors of 42 Center universities to hoist National flag on their building. If you’re the office in charge of establishment/infrastructure in one of these universities, and ordered to do this flag hoisting on daily basis, how will you proceed?
Wrong approach- candidate directly starts answering like I’ll come early in the morning etc. Many points missed / juvenile type answer given. First you should tell panel that you seek time to think about it. then answer
Right approach/ Steps

  1. Study flag code of India to ensure proper protocol, size-dimension-material of the flag.
  2. Visit collector office and seek inputs from their officer-in-charge of flag hoisting e.g. how do you delegate work? What if the security personnel assigned for this task is absent? What to do in rain and public holidays? And so on.
  3. Then, delegate task. Remember, you’re an officer, therefore you’ve to delegate, coordinate and supervise. You don’t need to come yourself in the morning on daily basis.
  4. Use App/ICT tools such as wunderlist, whatsapp for monitoring and task-delegation- to justify how your (stupid) IT degree will help.

Sensitizing lower staff

Question: In private companies, customer relations / customer support is far better. But Government officials- especially the clerical grade officials are very cynical, arrogant and apathetic to general public. As DM/SP, how will you address this?
Wrong approach- candidate will give shallow two-liner answer about training and sensitization.
Right approach/ Steps
First you should seek time from panel to think, then give systematic steps.

  • Sir, I beg to differ. Not all clerks/constables are cynical and arrogant. There are good people as well. So, first I’ll ensure they’re given adequate symbolic/material reward/recognition, so they don’t become cynical. [Recall earlier lesson “don’t presume a person’s character” Every IAS is not fit to run every department and every clerk is not lazy & corrupt.]
  • Training and Rewards mechanism.
  • Punitive Mechanism. E.g. A’bad AMTS (bus service)- has given a whatsapp number. If conductor/driver misbehaves, doesn’t stop bus then you can take photo of number plate, send through whatsapp to AMTS. Their personnel will call you to know your complaint and take action against that driver/conductor immediately. Again, you can device something similar as DM/SP to justify how your (stupid) IT degree will help.

Places to show?

Question: Nepal Prime Minister K.P.Sharma Oli visiting Gujarat. If you’re assigned his protocol duty, what 5 places/things will you show him?
Wrong approach: Rani ki vaav, Dholaveera, Kutch white desert, Saputara hill station, Baroda Museum, Sidi-Saiyya ki Jaali etc. This is wrong because these ‘tourist’ places. Nepal PM will see them, take photos and forget.
Right approach:
“Sir, I would like to have a moment to collect my thoughts on this.”.. Then, you should think about Gujarat places that Nepal can also replicate. If such places are shown, Nepal PM will seek help of India for technical support, officer-exchange program. Our diplomatic-ties, exports will strengthen. So, accordingly, you may consider following places:

  1. Sardar Sarovar dam: Nepal also has hydro-electric potential.
  2. Kutch after earthquake rehabilitation: Nepal also suffered earthquake recently.
  3. Energy pipelines at Hazira etc.
  4. 108 ambulance service.
  5. BRTS in A’bad.
  6. IIM Ahmedabad
  7. Clean Surat after plague outbreak
  8. Amul Cooperative movement.
  9. E-Dhara, Krishikrian project for farmers
  10. SWAGAT grievances redressal system by State government.

And so on.

Be aware of Jurisdiction

Question: if you’re chief of MCI (Medical council of India), tell me the three reforms you’ll initiate?
Wrong approach: candidates would suggest increasing salary of doctors posted in rural area- unaware of the fact that it’s beyond the domain of MCI.

MCI= education standards, IMA=voluntary body for professional standards and welfare of doctors, health ministry=public healthcare. You’ve to give reforms accordingly.
Homework question

  1. Reports of drought/famine in an area. What’ll you do as collector, chief Secretary and agriculture minister?
  2. NPA problem in India. What will you do as (1) RBI Governor (2) Finance Secretary

Urban Governance related SRTs

Question: Swachh Bharat Rankings for 2015 by urban ministry declared- (1) Mysuru (2) Chandigarh (73) Dhanbad-most bogus. What is the rank of your city? Suppose you’re the Secretary in union ministry of urban development, and you’ve to design the ranking. How will you proceed?
Hints

  • ranking- parameters e.g. door2door collection, solid waste, toilets, cleanliness at bus-stand, railways.
  • Seek input of officers from union, state, local bodies to make parameters.
  • Order NIC to design separate portal and app for database. ISRO-Bhuvan-Ap,. Geo-tagging of photographs.  Even junta can upload.
  • Don’t use teachers. Instead use NCC/NSS students on holidays for survey work.
  • Don’t buy new tablets, coordinate with other ministries to get their tablets utilized in SECC/census survey.[This show you’re financial prudence even while using Government money.

Homework Questions:

  1. Under Swatch Bharat campaign, Modi nominate nine people, they do something and nominate nine more people. So if you are nominated what will you do? How do you ensure that it is not just one-time photo op? when you are nominating nine other people, what parameters will you keep in mind? Candidate made mistake by giving vague answers on welfare of safai karmcharis or doing something in nearby school. You have to give holistic and professional answer, befitting a future officer.
  2. Transport minister- who will to systematically plan odd-even rule? – Hint: notifiy in advance, list of exempted category. NSS/NCC students for coordination, Social /print media, Rope in a celebrity. Pollution monitoring. Extra buses etc.
  3. As municipal commissioner, Food hygiene training for street vendors? Hint: registration of vendors, train them, certificate, kit, badge, pocketbook, social media campaign with local celebrity, punitive actions.
  4. If you have to develop a smart-city within one month, which city will you pickup. Ans. Gandhinagar- the capital of Gujarat, Because there already well-planned, roads are wide, full of greenary, slum problem is minimal, electricity/ watersupply is efficient. Counter-Question: It means you run away from challenges? Why did you not pick up something difficult like Ahmedabad’s eastern part? Ans: Sir, since I am given deadline of one month, I picked Gandhinagar. Otherwise if sufficient budget, time and manpower is available, all should be converted to smart cities and smart towns and smart villages.

You don’t have to tilt/agree to every visitor

Question: Government of Gujarat celebrates “Khel-mahakumbh” to promote sports in youth. You’re the secretary in Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs. Group of activists and intellectuals come to you saying “Mahakumbh” word should be changed to “Mahotsav” as former indicates “saffornization/Hindutva-vaadi” OR that Government should first do online polling before deciding name of the event.  What will you do?
Hint:

  1. First listen to them patiently and peacefully. Irrespective of the character and crazy idea of a visitor, a good officer must give him a patient hearing.
  2. Tell them not to politicize/look everything through religious glasses but look at the benefit to youth.
  3. Tell them posters/banners/ads already printed circulated and Government money will be wasted if event- name changed.
  4. However, their suggest that event-name should be made after consulting with people- tell them “we *may* explore it next time.” (just say explore, don’t give commitment.)

Homework Questions

  1. In budget, government made it mandatory PAN card number for transactions above Rs. __ lakh. However, Jeweler lobby is not happy and their association leader comes to meet you (Finance Secretary). How’ll you address the meeting. Candidate mistakenly said “I’ll tell them they’ll be punished if they don’t follow the norms”. Panel was looking for how you’ll take every stakeholder on board without ‘inspector-walla’ mindset.
  2. I’ve problem with Comedy night with Kapil- because of its double meaning jokes. I write a competitor, you are the head in Ministry of information and broadcasting what will you do?

Social media campaigning requires more planning

Question: As secretary in Ministry of health and family welfare, how’ll you promote a new scheme for free medical checkup for xyz disease?
Approach:

  • Most candidates gave amateur answers like “I’ll post photos and posters in my account, then my friends will forward it and so on”. Mind it, you are asked to do this task as an “secretary” (highest Administrative boss in a ministry and not as a college student)
  • Standard approach is: you’ll rope professional graphics designers to create banners, ad-videos etc.
  • Get them uploaded on personal and professions social media accounts of everyone from minister to peon.
  • Then contact a PR agency to get few celebrities and noted persons that have large following among youth (e.g. Sachin, Chetan Bhagat etc.), and who’re willing to like or re-tweet your posts and so on.

Homework Question: What are the principles of good communication? If you’re tasked to design a poster for beti bachao/HIV awareness, how will you apply those principles?

Surrender doesn’t mean immunity

Question: If you’re an IPS officer serving in Naxal area, what will you do? Candidate said he’ll encourage moderate Maoists to surrender.
counter question: what if, there is a Maoist leader who has killed many people, but now he has problems with his higher bosses, so he wants to surrender. But his condition is that police must not press any charges against him in the court. Then what will you do?
Right Ans. Sir, no such guarantee can be given. Earlier Vinoba also convinced Chambal dacoits to surrender, but with clear condition that they will have to face prison term.

Witch hunting

Question: tribal widow woman branded as witch. People want to kill her. Your tehsildar. What will you do?
Right approach:

  1. Immediate action- I’ll take police to stop the mob and deploy 1-2 policeman round the clock for her security.
  2. I’ll gather village elders, tell this lady to make tea, and I shall drink it myself to prove there is no such thing as witch.
  3. As such, not all villagers would be bloodthirsty to lynch the widow. Just a few ring-leaders fanning the fire. I’ll ask the police to identify them and take them to task.

Efficiency is not same as money saving

Question: Suppose there are two processors: Intel processor is expensive but it seems more energy. AMD processor is faster but it consumes more energy. If you have to purchase hundred computers, which system will you choose?

Wrong approachRight approach
I will purchase Intel system because it is more energy-efficient and therefore useful in saving electricity bill and combating climate change
  • First I will make personal assessment or hire an IT consultant to find out the technical requirements of my office
  • For example, CSO (Statistical) office will require faster PC than ordinary tehsil office. so electricity bill alone can’t be the criteria.
  • Secondly, I will find the life-cycle of a processor versus the electricity bill. Example: If Intel processor is 10,000 rupees more expensive than AMD, works for 5 years and saves only 5000 rupees in light bill, then its loss making proposition.

Mistakes in Roleplaying/SRT Qs

  1. When you’re asked to give “solution” to any socio-economic problem, don’t simply recite the salient features of some existing Government scheme. And when panel grills you/ corners you-, don’t give answers like “yes sir, but I’ll implement it in better manner”. You’ve to tell new reform or just cite recommendations of xyz Committee which are not implemented yet.
  2. Don’t give long winded “background” information. E.g. what’ll you do to implement NFSA. Then simply cite the points rather than talking about how many poors and what rupees’ wheat?
  3. Whenever you are asked to give 3 reforms / 3 priorities etc., it is better to seek time before replying. Example Tell me 3 reforms you’ll initiate as the VC of Guj. University. The candidate replied (1) sports (2) cultural programs (3) R&D. Panel countered, sports+ culture = simply one category under “extracurricular activities”. And why have you not given R&D or placements first priority? Then candidate was unable to justify.
  4. If you’ve multiple options for a policy/decision, select best option on following parameters
    1. Constitutional provisions
    2. Maintenance of law and order.
    3. Cost: benefit to society at large.
  5. Although above “toolkit/priority list” may not always be helpful e.g. Perumal Murugan’s book hurting particular caste. Then as Collector, your Option#1: get it banned to maintain law and order; Option#2: allow its sales to protect Constitutional right of “freedom of speech”. But in any case- first priority will be to protecting author’s life from agitators and protecting public and private property from vandalism.
  6. Whether “X” is bad than “Y”, that’s for the sociologists and law makers to decide. As an administrator, you’ve to focus only on strict enforcement of constitutional and legal provisions already in place.
  7. If highest authority is asking you to do anything immoral/illegal, then refuse because at max what he can do to you is: transfer / suspension. However, it doesn’t mean for every petty thing, you should seek written orders before doing anything. E.g. dignitary coming for a surprise visit, wants to eat in 3-star hotel but there is no fund in office. Then first you arrange it somehow from pocket money, later on put the bill to collect the amount.
  8. If you’re asked to narrate any event in your life which tested your ethics/character? Then direct come to specific points rather than giving long winded tale about whole episode.

40 Mock Interview Questions: SRT

  1. After Dr. Amartya Sen resigned from Nalanda Univ., Dr. Subramanian Swamy sent letter to government, alleging that Dr.Sen was involved in some financial impropriety. Suppose one day Dr.Swamy comes to a police station, asking to file FIR under Dr.Sen under prevention of corruption act, but inspector refuses, given the high stature of Dr.Sen. Dr.Swamy approaches DCP (you). How will you handle this situation? Candidate said he will ask Dr.Swamy to submit evidence. Panel countered saying if there is evidence, it’ll be in university records, beyond the reach of Dr.Swamy, then what?
  2. After Uber rape case, government banned all taxi apps. Do you think government should launch its own taxi app? Candidate said yes. Panel asked in follow-up: some customers are duped on flipkart/snapdeal. So, should Government ban all of them and launch its own online shopping site? Candidate again said yes. But then he was unable to justify on how this this will not lead to license quota inspector raj and another BoP crisis. The right answer is: not banning but proper regulation.
  3. Amar singh Allegedly worked as a conduit to give funds to Clinton foundation and in return Hillary Clinton “allegedly” Lobbying for Indo US nuclear deal. If you are the Ambassador of India to USA, And MEA has ordered you to facilitate such deal. What will you do?
  4. As Vice Chancellor, you are trying to initiate some reforms in exam pattern, syllabus, compulsory attendance, hostel discipline etc. but student union and certain egoistic senior professors are not in favour. They are orchestrating Strikes and media smear campaigns against you. How will you proceed? If nothing can be changed, will you consider resigning?
  5. Can you narrate any incident during your CA articleship/ job/apprenticeship, what affected your value system? [Candidates made mistakes by giving long and windy technical details rather than coming to the ethical dimensions clearly.]
  6. Controversy about movie Gabbar. hint- Corporatized culture of doctors. Will you ban it? Hint: portraying the realities even in an exaggerated manner-that’s artistic freedom. As long as censor board cleared the film, it can be shown.
  7. Do you think this interview is right way of judging a candidate? Ans. Yes in military and marketing jobs. Counter: IAS/IPS also work in Stressful work environment, don’t you think it will be right if we selected an officer through stress interview?
  8. Government of Rajasthan has started converting heritage palaces into hotels. Is this good or bad? As Union minister for Cultural, will you oppose this? Ans. Good because It promotes tourism, besides privy purses abolished so we don’t have to treat anyone as royalty.
  9. Have you given any suggestion too “mygov”. Suppose you’ve to give a suggestion right now, what will it be? Candidates mistakenly gave long winded essay like explanation on why xyz issue is important, rather than actually giving the suggestion.
  10. How does nicotine patch and nicotin gums help in de-addiction from bidi, gutkha etc. would you consider its compulsory implementation to all addicts?
  11. If the supreme being decides to make you a god/goddess and give option to pick one of the given three powers, which one will you pick? Ability to reward people for good deeds; Ability to punish people for bad deeds; Ability to create a new world from scratch.
  12. If there is no hospital / school in your area, Government is not giving any money then what will you do? Ans. With departmental permission some type of “public donation funding” could be explored.
  13. If there is unseasonal rain, what are the responsibility of a district magistrate?
  14. If you are a member of both green law panel and railway reform panel, then what common ground do you see? What do you recommend for it?
  15. If you are sitting on the side of the table, what qualities would you like to see in the person sitting on that side of the table? Do you think you possess all those qualities as a candidate? What type of questions should you ask if you want to judge a candidate?
  16. If you are the head of a selection process, where your relative is with also applying, what will you do? Ans. I will rescue myself from the process and ask another officer to take over.
  17. If you are working in intelligence bureau, and Nehru has ordered your DG to spy on Bose’s family members. Will you do it?
  18. If you are working on a public sector undertaking, your subordinates are lazy and unionized, how will you extract work from them?
  19. If you RTI is rejected, what are the subsequent stages of appeal? Candidate did not have sufficient command over such technicalities. Perhaps you should file an RTI, just for the sake of learning.
  20. IMF is sending a team to India to investigate the fallacy in new GDP calculation method. You are in CSO, your was has advised you not to disclose anything that can help IMF build criticism Against your office. What will you do?
  21. Rucksuck between Virat Kohli and a reporter who allegedly wrote some article about Kohli’s girlfriend. As ICC President, How will you handle this issue? If you had to release a press statement, what will be its content?
  22. Should we promote electronic voting at all India level? What are the ethical and technical issues involved? (ethical- husband may coerce wife to vote for xyz at home PC. This is not possible in polling booth).
  23. Shyam Benegal Committee to reform Censor board, if you’re in the Committee?
  24. Stephen Hawkins says there exist a parallel universe, and inside there is a Parallels earth- where some events may be opposite to how they happened here. e.g. Sardar became PM, Gandhi was not assassinated and so on. Tell me the international order of this parallel earth.; Describe the life of your parallel persona in that earth.
  25. Suppose you are a Government officer. There is an employee below you. But he’s “favorite” of your boss, spends more time with doing his tasks. You are unable to finish work on deadline, but he doesn’t listen because he thinks your boss is the supreme authority. You approach the boss, he says he’ll not Pressure you to perform anything on deadline, In fact he will give you excellent remarks in your CR report. Will you drop the matter?
  26. Swami Vivekanand said- if you come up with a new idea, first people will laugh, then oppose then they accept you. Give an example of some world famous scientist or businessmen. If you were at his place, what will you do to convince the people quickly?
  27. As collector of Gir-Somnath district, you’ve ordered the staff not to take bribes, they’re not taking any bribes. However, every now and then some MLA, Minister, high ranking official comes with family to visit either Gir or Somnath. Money is required to arrange for their vehicle, food and protocol duty. Staff requests you to allow them to collect some bribe to arrange these expenses, else they’ll have to manage from their own salary. What’ll you do?
  28. What are your views on participatory budget making as it is being done in Delhi? Ans. At national level it is unsuitable because public can’t decide technical things such as should we apply MAT on FIIs or not? They may get swayed by news reporters. As a collector, What will you do to ensure participation of people in district administration? “Gangajal” movie portrays Participation of people in law and order maintenance. What are your views on that?
  29. What is CAMPA fund? If you are made the manager of this fund how will you spend it?
  30. You have to file an RTI, which specific topic will you choose? Candidates gave poor and vague answers to this e.g. finding state public services result delay. As such you’re expected to give specific subjects such as fighting against Traffic police corruption or delay in completion of a local xyz project.
  31. 192nd birth anniversary of Arya Samaj founder, Swami Dayananda Saraswa born in Tankara of Morbi district.  What were his ideas and area of operation? Satyarth Prakash. Machchhu Dam break- 1979. Manmade disaster or natural disaster? How would you have approached it in that era when no modern communication devices were available?
  32. As Collector, how will you address leopard sighting news?
  33. Bandipur Tiger reserve- forest fire, if you’re chief warden how’ll you approach?
  34. Central nodal agency to curb human trafficking planned- which ministry will be more suitable? Social welfare or home? What’ll you do if you’re the Secretary of the given ministry?
  35. Incidences of “celebratory firing’ in UP- people die. How will you stop as SP?
  36. Modi: governors should act as catalytic agents in national development. So how will u do it? (Hint: schedule areas, speeches @convocation to motivate students for nation building, 26th Jan at-home programs invite good citizens and honor them.)
  37. Where do you see yourself in 20 years from now? [hint: should see yourself in a high level Administrative / managerial / executive position]
  38. Why do bank employees go to strike every now and then? How will you address this issue as Finance Minister? [Be aware of jurisdiction]
  39. If you’re CMD of Mahila Bank, what will you do for financial inclusion of women? Hint: If you narrate the existing schemes, panel will grill you “ya but that’s already being done”
  40. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer- losses: 1700 jobs cut, patents sold away, offices closed down. what’ll you do in her place?

In the Next part, we’ll see mistakes in Graduation related Technical Questions.

Mrunal recommends

  1. (free) NCERT, NIOS, TN-Books 4 History,Geo,Sci
  2. Indian Polity M.Laxmikanth (Hindi | English)
  3. Spectrum: Modern History (Hindi | English)
  4. Maths: Quantam CAT Sarvesh Kumar
  5. Objective General English SP Bakshi
  6. Word Power made Easy -Norman Lowe
  7. Topic wise Solved Paperset by Disha

38 Comments on “[UPSC Interview Prep.] Roleplaying & Situation Reaction Test (SRT): Common Mistakes & 40 Mock Questions”

  1. Thank you sir for ur continuous support n encouragement for our preparation…thank you so much sir…:)

  2. mrunal bhi u r just amazing !!!!

  3. nice initiative sir…..thank you!!!!

  4. sirji, tusi great ho !

  5. Superb Article

  6. thak you sir, i was searching for such material for so long…. u r awesome bhai

  7. awesome article !! thanks

  8. thank you Mrunal sir!!

    have a great day!!

  9. Sir, r u teaching economic survey 2015_2016 this year, pls take the class for economic survey ,atleast the survey pls teach

  10. Sir, what if a minister asks a collector to give the tender of a bridge to a contractor who has a very bad profile? What should he do? If he cows down then some day or the other there may be an accident which may take several lives; and if he does not listen to the minister then goons will shoot him?
    What should he do? And what is the right approach to take?

  11. Sir ..for the question of developing a smart town in one month can I give this answer ?” Sir I will try to develop my home town…as I stayed for so long time I will know all the practical difficulties, it’s potential areas( access to man poewer) and if I select another area it may take grater than one month…I am not being partial but if I am really given time, resources, budget i can do it for any other city,…

  12. Thank you sir.

    Eagerly waiting for your budget + Eco. Survey’s update.

  13. Thku sir I needed dis article badly…plz sir upload more article reltd to interview soon as nt much Tim left for my murder day….

  14. BHAAI is back.With his unique approach!
    Starting lines were EPIC!!!!

  15. aapka bahut bahut aabhaar, GURUJI.

  16. Sir,
    Nice and Useful article
    Please give tips about etiquettes before panel

  17. It helps me. thanks

  18. nice sir,,,please give article on srt and wat ???…………..for ssb purpose

  19. Thank you so much for this article:)

  20. This is awesome.

  21. Fabulous way of helping candidates develop critical thinking abilities of an officer by numerous case studies.

    Request you to put either a sequel to this article or a followup to the 40 mock questions. T

    hanks a ton!

  22. Thanxx a lot sir… Very helpful…. It would B of great help if you could give answers of all the questions as well… Thanxx in advance

  23. great work sir,
    I’m doing a preparetion for SSC, can upload the PIN from JANUARY to till…
    thnx sir,

  24. My first experience to read such a mind blasting articles!!!! Out of box thinking so innovative….Great sir.Thanks

  25. Sir , you & your team has done a great work , it’ll certainly help to streamline the interview preparation. Thanks a lot.

  26. यूपी लोक सेवा आयोग देवता प्रसन्न हों For

  27. Upsc se toh keh ke lenge…

  28. pl continue it non hindi medium student cant understand lecture so ppt needed pl come back with ur economy ppt

  29. Sir and madam ‘please my help you and you term ‘ i do think SSS GGL in select those Releted and competitive question help

  30. Any girl out there planning to dawn western formals for interview?? can this have a negative influence on board?

    1. not a good idea..trust me..saree or salwar suit..

      1. Why? No uniform is specified in the interview call letter, then why should this matter at all?

  31. How to approach for UPSC,if I m a beginner. I read 2 yrs ago about this but I can’t find it now. plz help.

  32. Site for all solution and sample paper

  33. Sir you have provided a very nice material

  34. @shreyansh. First and foremost, analysis the credentials of the contractor objectively, ensure that enough saftey measures are employed while generation of the tender itself, at the same time ensure that punitive measures are predefined clearly in the tender for lack of safety protocol and inadvert delay during project. If minister have the final say in the issue we can’t do much, but we can always ensure that the project quality is maintained either by self surveying or through a third party that can neither be influenced nor have any interest in the project as such, and based on such report further actions are an option always open. Its a different matter if he have a bad reputation in implementation of project itself, that should have made him ineligible for the bid in first place, they are usually blacklisted.

  35. Hello Sir,

    Please tell me some one don’t have hobby then how can be answered hobby related question

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