Important: CSAT 2012 official answerkeys have been uploaded on

  1. Prologue
  2. Decisions Decisions
    1. Bad answers
    2. Good answers
  3. CSAt 2011: Decision Making Qs
    1. Boss did not inform you about meeting
    2. Local thug
    3. Can’t finish project
    4. Earthquake corruption
    5. Boat hire blackmail
    6. Vaccine for Gram Pradhan
    7. Homeless Thieves
    8. Dowry


  • You already know about my RTI (mis)adventure with UPSC. One of its purpose was that if I could get official answerkey for CSAT 2012, then we could extrapolate what type of Decision Making answers does UPSC like. (using the official answer keys of both 2011 and 12’s papers)
  • This article contains the first half (CSAT 2011) based on answerkeys recieved in earlier RTI.
  • The second half (CSAT 2012’s Decision Making question) given in separate article click me, based on official answerkeys uploaded on UPSC’s official site.

Decisions Decisions

  • If we go by the official answer key of UPSC (for CSAT 2011) (click me), we can see a “trend” of what are desirable answers for Decision Making questions?
  • Ultimately the aim to asking Decision Making question is to judge your character / personality / mindset.
  • That’s why UPSC doesn’t have negative marking for Decision Making question – to seduce you into ticking the answers so they can judge your character.

Bad answers

Good answers

  1. Waiting (Committee mindset/ bolbachchan mindset)
  2. Not doing anything (Status Quo, “Take no decision”, policy paralysis type)
  3. Highhandedness, arrogance
  4. Pliable (easily scared or seduced)
  5. Evasive (runs away from responsibility)
  6. Implausible / impractical / filmy
  1. Upright
  2. Humane
  3. Atleast trying to do something good.=action guy / non-status quo guy.

^Confused? Let’s go through actual questions from CSAT 2011 (along with its official answerkeys released by UPSC) and you’ll see.

CSAT 2011: Decision Making Qs

Boss did not inform you about meeting

Q1. 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 meeting is now putting pressure on you not to place an allegation against him/her. You would

  1. send a written reply explaining the fact.
  2. seek an appointment with the top boss to explain the situation.
  3. admit your fault to save the situation.
  4. put the responsibility on the coordinator of the meeting for not informing.

Official answerkey says “A and B”.

Meaning C and D are bad responses.

  • “C” means you take blame on yourself, to save your boss. That means you’re “pliable”. You’re easily intimidated by other people.=bad.
  • D=You put blame on others to save yourself. It shows you’re an evasive guy= bad.

Local thug

Q2. 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

  1. sell the property at a cheap price to him.
  2. Go to the police for necessary action.
  3. Ask for help from your neighbours.
  4. Negotiate with the goon to get a higher price.

Official answerkey says : B or D

  • A: sell property @cheap rate= you’re pliable. You’re easily intimidated by pressure tactics.=bad.
  • B: upright.
  • C: is downright ridiculous. Neighbors can’t / won’t help you in most cases, this is also “evasive”.
  • D: lolz although legit answer by UPSC.

Can’t finish project

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 do the needful.
  4. Stay away till you recover.

Official answerkey says :A or C

  • upright, willing to get the work finished.
  • doesn’t help finishing the project as such. While you’re contacting HQ, better to do A or C because it’d lead to project completion.
  • C=upright, willing to get the work finished.
  • D=status quo/take no action type.=bad

Earthquake corruption

Q4. You are an officer-in-charge for providing basic medical facilities to the survivors of an earthquake affected area. Despite your best possible effort, people put allegations against you for making money out of the funds given for relief. You would

  1. Let an enquiry be set up to look into the matter.
  2. Ask your senior to appoint some other person in your place.
  3. Not pay attention to allegations.
  4. Stop undertaking any initiative till the matter is resolved.

Official answerkey says : A or C

  • A= shows you’re upright officer, not afraid of inquiry =legit answer.
  • B= evasive/pliable. This is Bad idea because in Government service there are always some jholachhap NGOs, local cooperators, MLAs and power brokers who’ll keep making baseless charges against you, IF you don’t play by their rules. If you are so sensitive or afraid, you can’t work in public/private sector. Besides this is earthquake, there will be staff shortage. Therefore asking for replacement = implausible.=bad answer.
  • C= is also good because upright officer neednot pay attention to bogus allegations.=legit answer.
  • D is bad “Status Quo guy” = policy paralysis = bad.

Boat hire blackmail

Q5. You have been made responsible to hire boats at a short notice to be used for an area under flood. On seeing the price mentioned by the boat owners you found that the lowest price was approximately three times more than the approved rate of the Government. You would

  1. reject the proposal and call for a fresh price.
  2. accept the lowest price.
  3. refer the matter to the Government and wait.
  4. threaten the boat owners about a possible cancellation of the licence.

Official answerkey says : B or D

  • Call for new price= again waiting=bad in the given situation (floods). Besides new prices will be high in most cases (boatmen will always try to make money out of emergency): so (A) is also a bad idea.
  • B= atleast trying to do good for the larger interest.= legit answer
  • C= status quo / take no action type guy=bad. There is flooding so you can’t “wait” for Government to solve matter therefore answer (C) is bad idea.
  • D= upright officer= legit answer.

Vaccine for Gram Pradhan

You are the officer-in-charge of a village administering distribution of vaccine in an isolated epidemic hit village, and you are left with only one vaccine. There is a requirement of that vaccine from the Gram Pradhan and also a poor villager. You are being pressurized by the Gram Pradhan to issue the vaccine to him. You would

  1. initiate the procedure to expedite the next supply without issuing the vaccine to either.
  2. arrange vaccine for the poor villager from the distributor of another area.
  3. ask both to approach a doctor and get an input about the urgency
  4. arrange vaccine for the Gram Pradhan from the distributor of another area.

Official answerkey says : B or D

  • It means you must give vaccine to atleast one party (Pradhan or Villager) and try to get vaccine for another party from a different distributor. (Take some action).
  • Not giving vaccine to either party= waste of the precious resource that could save atleast one life. So (A) is bad idea. besides that’s same like “not taking action”
  • Doctor would be busy already attending other patient, and this is another “wait” approach =bad idea. (just like “wait” approach for Government to look into high prices of boat, in previous question.)

Homeless Thieves

You have taken up a project to create night-shelters for homeless people during the winter season. Within a week of establishing the shelters, you have received complaints from the residents of the area about the increase in theft cases with a demand to remove the shelters. You would

  1. ask them to lodge a written complaint in the police station.
  2. assure residents of an enquiry into the matter.
  3. ask residents to consider the humanitarian effort made.
  4. continue with the project and ignore their complaint.

Official answerkey says : B or C

  • A and D sounds irresponsible, highhanded.
  • B) and C) atleast shows some “humane” face of an officer.


You, as an administrative authority, have been approached, by the daughter-in-law of an influential person regarding harassment by her in-laws on account of insufficient dowry. Her parents are not able to approach you because of social pressures. You would

  1. Call the in-laws for an explanation.
  2. Counsel the lady to adjust, given such a circumstance.
  3. Take action after her parents approach you.
  4. Ask her to lodge a complaint with the police.

Official answerkey says : A or D

  • If the situation was “comprisable / adjustable” she wouldn’t have come to you in the first place. (B) is bad idea.
  • Waiting for her parents to approach you= sound some sort of nepotism or again “wait” approach. (wait approach is bad, as previous “official” answers have shown us e.g. like waiting for Government to take action in boat price, like waiting for doctor to give report on who deserves vaccine more urgently etc.)
  • (A) shows “humane” face. (not wanting to blow things out of proportion since it is delicate family matter.) and (D) shows upright officer. Both are valid.

CSAT 2012’s Decision Making Questions in a separate article soon.