Friday, February 22, 2008

How to Face GD

A group discussion consists of:

  • Communication Skills
  • Knowledge and ideas regarding a given subject
  • Capability to co-ordinate and lead
  • Exchange of thoughts
  • Addressing the group as a whole
  • Thorough preparations
Communication Skills

The first aspect is one's power of expression. In a group discussion, a candidate has to talk effectively so that he is able to convince others. For convincing, one has to speak forcefully and at the same time create an impact by his knowledge of the subject. A candidate who is successful in holding the attention of the audience creates a positive impact.

It is necessary that you should be precise and clear. As a rule evaluators do not look for the wordage produced. Your knowledge on a given subject, your precision and clarity of thought are the things that are evaluated. Irrelevant talks lead you nowhere. You should speak as much as necessary, neither more nor less. Group discussions are not debating stages.

Ability to listen is also what evaluators judge. They look for your ability to react on what other participants say. Hence, it is necessary that you listen carefully to others and then react or proceed to add some more points. Your behavior in the group is also put to test to judge whether you are a loner or can work in a group.

You should be able to convey your thoughts satisfactorily and convincingly before a group of people. Confidence and level headedness in doing so is necessary. These add value to your presentation. In case you are not good at it, you might gain by joining an institute that offers specialized courses in public speaking. For instance, British Council Division's English Language Teaching Centre offers a wide range of courses like conversation skills, business communication skills, business writing, negotiation skills and presentation skills. Mostly people attend these courses to improve their communication skills. Students here are involved in activities which use communication skills and teachers provide inputs, monitor and facilitate the classes. The course at the Centre makes you confident enough to speak before people without any nervousness.

Knowledge and Ideas Regarding a Given Subject

Knowledge of the subject under discussion and clarity of ideas are important. Knowledge comes from consistent reading on various topics ranging from science and technology to politics. In-depth knowledge makes one confident and enthusiastic and this in turn, makes one sound convincing and confident.

Leadership and Coordinating Capabilities

The basic aim of a group discussion is to judge a candidate's leadership qualities. The examiner withdraws and becomes a silent spectator once the discussion starts. A candidate should display tactfulness, skill, understanding and knowledge on varied topics, enterprise, forcefulness and other leadership qualities to motivate and influence other candidates who may be almost equally competent.

Exchange of Thoughts

A group discussion is an exchange of thoughts and ideas among members of a group. These discussions are held for selecting personnel in organisations where there is a high level of competition. The number of participants in a group can vary between 8 and 15. Mostly a topic or a situation is given to group members who have to discuss it within 10 to 20 minutes.

The purpose is to get an idea about candidates in a short time and make assessments about their skills, which normally cannot be evaluated in an interview. These skills may be team membership, leadership skills, listening and articulation skills.

A note is made of your contributions to the discussion, comprehension of the main idea, the rapport you strike, patience, assertion, accommodation, amenability, etc. Body language and eye contact too are important points which are to be considered. .

Addressing the Group as a Whole

In a group discussion it is not necessary to address anyone by name. Even otherwise you may not know everyone's names. It better to address the group as a whole.

Address the person farthest from you. If he can hear you everyone else too can. Needless to add, as for the interview, attend the group discussion in formal dress. The language used should also be formal, not the language used in normal conversations. For instance, words and phrases like "yar", "chalta hai", "CP", "I dunno", etc. are out. This is not to say you should use a high sounding, pedantic language. Avoiding both, just use formal, plain and simple language. Hinglish, (mixture of Hindi and English) should be discarded.

Confidence and coolness while presenting your viewpoint are of help. See that you do not keep repeating a point. Do not use more words than necessary. Do not be superfluous. Try to be specific. Do not exaggerate.

Thorough Preparation

Start making preparations for interview and group discussions right away, without waiting till the eleventh hour, this is, if and when called for them. Then the time left may not be adequate. It is important to concentrate on subject knowledge and general awareness. Hence, the prime need for thorough preparation. Remember, the competition is very tough. Only 460 candidates make it to the final list from 2.75 lakh civil service aspirants each year.

It may so happen that you are called for interviews and group discussions from three or four organizations but are not selected by any. The reason obviously lies in your not being well-prepared.

In a group discussion you may be given a topic and asked to express your views on it. Or in a case study GD, students have to read a case study and suggest ways of tackling the problem. For this you should have a good general knowledge, need to be abreast with current affairs, should regularly read newspapers and magazines. Your group behaviour and communication skills are on test, i.e. how you convince the others and how clearly you are able to express your points of view. You should be articulate, generate ideas, not sound boring, should allow others to speak, and adopt a stand on a given subject. During the course of the GD this stand can even be changed, giving the impression that you are open to accommodate others' viewpoints.

Additional marks may be given for starting or concluding the discussion.

Points to Remember

  • Knowledge is strength. A candidate with good reading habits has more chances of success. In other words, sound knowledge on different topics like politics, finance, economy, science and technology is helpful.
  • Power to convince effectively is another quality that makes you stand out among others.
  • Clarity in speech and expression is yet another essential quality.
  • If you are not sure about the topic of discussion, it is better not to initiate. Lack of knowledge or wrong approach creates a bad impression. Instead, you might adopt the wait and watch attitude. Listen attentively to others, may be you would be able to come up with a point or two later.
  • A GD is a formal occasion where slang is to avoided.
  • A GD is not a debating stage. Participants should confine themselves to expressing their viewpoints. In the second part of the discussion candidates can exercise their choice in agreeing, disagreeing or remaining neutral.
  • Language use should be simple, direct and straight forward.
  • Don't interrupt a speaker when the session is on. Try to score by increasing your size, not by cutting others short.
  • Maintain rapport with fellow participants. Eye contact plays a major role. Non-verbal gestures, such as listening intently or nodding while appreciating someone's viewpoint speak of you positively.
  • Communicate with each and every candidate present. While speaking don't keep looking at a single member. Address the entire group in such a way that everyone feels you are speaking to him or her.

Why do we have GD ?

Reasons for having a GD

  • It helps you to understand a subject more deeply.
  • It improves your ability to think critically.
  • It helps in solving a particular problem.
  • It helps the group to make a particular decision.
  • It gives you the chance to hear other students' ideas.
  • It improves your listening skills.
  • It increases your confidence in speaking.
  • It can change your attitudes.
Strategies for Improving GD Skills for Tutorials & Seminars

Asking questions and joining in discussions are important skills for university study. If you find it difficult to speak or ask questions in tutorials, try the following strategies.


Attend as many seminars and tutorials as possible and notice what other students do. Ask yourself:
  • How do other students make critical comments?
  • How do they ask questions?
  • How do they disagree with or support arguments?
  • What special phrases do they use to show politeness even when they are voicing disagreement?
  • How do they signal to interrupt, ask a question or make a point?

Start practicing your discussion skills in an informal setting or with a small group. Start with asking questions of fellow students. Ask them about the course material. Ask for their opinions. Ask for information or ask for help.


Take every opportunity to take part in social/informal discussions as well as more structured/formal discussion. Start by making small contributions to tutorial discussions; prepare a question to ask, or agree with another speaker's remarks.

Discussion Etiquette (or minding your manners)


  • Speak pleasantly and politely to the group.
  • Respect the contribution of every speaker.
  • Remember that a discussion is not an argument. Learn to disagree politely.
  • Think about your contribution before you speak. How best can you answer the question/ contribute to the topic?
  • Try to stick to the discussion topic. Don't introduce irrelevant information.
  • Be aware of your body language when you are speaking.
  • Agree with and acknowledge what you find interesting.
  • Lose your temper. A discussion is not an argument.
  • Shout. Use a moderate tone and medium pitch.
  • Use too many gestures when you speak. Gestures like finger pointing and table thumping can appear aggressive.
  • Dominate the discussion. Confident speakers should allow quieter students a chance to contribute.
  • Draw too much on personal experience or anecdote. Although some tutors encourage students to reflect on their own experience, remember not to generalise too much.
  • Interrupt. Wait for a speaker to finish what they are saying before you speak.
Leading a Discussion

You may be in a seminar group that requires you to lead a group discussion, or lead a discussion after an oral presentation. You can demonstrate leadership by:
  • introducing yourself and the members of the group
  • stating the purpose of the discussion
  • inviting quiet group members to speak
  • being objective
  • summarizing the discussion
Chairing a Group Discussion

When chairing a discussion group you must communicate in a positive way to assist the speakers in accomplishing their objective. There are at least four leadership skills you can use to influence other people positively and help your group achieve its purpose. These skills include:
  • introducing the topic and purpose of the discussion,
  • making sure all members have approximately the same time, (i.e. no one dominates the discussion by taking too much time)
  • thanking group members for their contribution
  • being objective in summarizing the group's discussion and achievements.

Types of GD

GDs can be topic-based or case-based.

Topic based Gds

Topic based Gds can be classified into three types :-

1. Factual Topics
2. Controversial Topics
3. Abstract Topics

Factual Topics:-

Factual topics are about practical things, which an ordinary person is aware of in his day-to-day life. Typically these are about socio-economic topics. These can be current, i.e. they may have been in the news lately, or could be unbound by time. A factual topic for discussion gives a candidate a chance to prove that he is aware of and sensitive to his environment.
E.g. The education policy of India, Tourism in India, State of the aged in the nation.

Controversial Topics:-

Controversial topics are the ones that are argumentative in nature. They are meant to generate controversy. In GDs where these topics are given for discussion, the noise level is usually high, there may be tempers flying. The idea behind giving a topic like this is to see how much maturity the candidate is displaying by keeping his temper in check, by rationally and logically arguing his point of view without getting personal and emotional.
E.g. Reservations should be removed, Women make better managers

Abstract Topics:-
Abstract topics are about intangible things. These topics are not given often for discussion, but their possibility cannot be ruled out. These topics test your lateral thinking and creativity.
E.g. A is an alphabet, Twinkle twinkle little star, The number 10

Case-based Gd:-
Another variation is the use of a case instead of a topic.
The case study tries to simulate a real-life situation. Information about the situation will be given to you and you would be asked as a group to resolve the situation. In the case study there are no incorrect answers or perfect solutions. The objective in the case study is to get you to think about the situation from various angles.
IIM A, IIM Indore and IIT SOM Mumbai have a case-based discussion rather than topic-based discussion in their selection procedures.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Satyam pattern

1. Written test

2. Group Discussion

3. Interview

1. Written test was of 30 minutes, 15 questions. +1 or -1/4 (negative correction was there)
The paper was of Logical Aptitude Some questions were very easy like- one-third of a number is also half. (Ans.3/2)
arranging the sentences in a sequence. counting the number of a's, b's, i's etc in a sentence
decoding the codes.(some numbers and corresponding letters for them will be given - very easy - new code and old codes will be there)
5 ltr and 3 ltr, will be there 4 ltr has to be
Some questions were confusing. Don't attempt the
questions if u r not sure.

I think for this paper, you can't have a book to
refer. It depends on how u analyse the questions at
that time. Be cool, don't get tensed.

2.Group Discussion for those who clear the test.
I got the topic-"Why is Indian Hockey limping"
You have to speak and tell something different(
hightlight a point which is not made by other members
of the group). I think they see leadership quality,
Taking Initiative etc.

I came to know the two other topics, which were -
"UN's peace activities" and "America's war on Iraq".

If u clear this round u will move on to interview.

3. It consists of HR and technical interview.- both
will be held at the same time by two people
In HR interview they ask questions like - tell about
yourself, your parents, brothers, sisters. why should
I recruit u?, What r your interests, hobbies-quesitons
on that.

In technical interview I was asked questions on -
circular linked list, OOPs features(encapsulation,
inheritance etc.), How a C program will be executed?
(First preprocessing, compiling etc.), Difference
between Java and C++, about bite code, threads and
process, applets, Virtual functions, abstract class,
public, private, protected, etc.

I heard that some people were asked questions on
DBMS, microprocessors, C, OS

Questions on your project.

While answering be confident, if don't know the answer
admit frankly.
[curtesy post from sridhar]