UPSC CSE aspirants must go through several assessments before they are chosen, and a Detailed Application Form (DAF) is one such step. While it seems simple at the first glance, if not filled out properly, it can adversely affect the selection process.
DAF is a form that candidates are required to fill after cracking their Prelims examination, and this is done prior to the Mains and the interview. Over half the questions asked during the face-to-face session are curated from a candidate’s DAF.
IFS officer Suyash Chavan, who is from Delhi, shared his interview experience by posting his DAF on Quora. He said that due to a lack of proper guidance, he made a lot of mistakes in filling the form. This resulted in his inability to answer some questions during the interview.
Meanwhile, Vishnu H Prasad, an IRS officer from Nashik, shared that filling too many details can cause trouble for candidates.
Here’s what Quora users say are some crucial mistakes to avoid while filling out the DAF:
1. Filling in too many details regarding your interests
Don’t think that a large number of interests will excite the panel, Suyash said. These will, in turn, come as questions that might be difficult to answer if you’re unprepared. “Fill in only those details that are easy to prepare from an interview point of view. Add only those things you wouldn’t mind being questioned on and prepare them thoroughly,“ wrote Sayush
2. Not taking help
Taking notes from those with experience is always a good idea before filling DAF, Suyash opined. “Always consult a senior before filling your DAF. More often than not, over half of your interview is based on it. I was asked a lot of questions on certain aspects of my DAF that the panel found interesting,” wrote Suyash.
It is common for candidates to overdo their DAF. In order to tackle this problem, devote more time to understanding everything you have written. It will take time but it’s better than losing a chance. Suyash said that while he made the mistake of filling out too many details in his form, he prepared extensively for the interview, which helped him crack it in the first attempt itself.
4. Selecting the wrong service/cadre
A significant area of concern in DAF is service and cadre preference, he said. Proper research must be done before filling these blanks. “Many people fill the first three services very carefully and then ignore the later services, being over confident that they will make it to the top 100. This could prove to be the costliest mistake that you commit in your entire preparation,” warned Vishnu. Make sure that you have researched well about the selected cadres. “You are going to be spending at least two-third of your career in the cadre you choose (sic),” he added.
It is completely normal to not know the answer to a question. If you have written a hobby but don’t know much about it, there is nothing to worry about. Just be aware of its basics. “It is your hobby because you pursue it in your free time. That means you are not supposed to be an expert in it,” quoted Vishnu.
Meanwhile, Saumya Pandey IAS, a rank 4 holder in UPSC CSE 2016, said in an interview that confidence is the key. “The panel always tries to judge your confidence. Do not bluff if you don’t know an answer.’Sorry sir, I don’t know’ is the most obvious thing you can say,” she suggested.
Quora users opine that extreme care must be taken while writing each and every word inside the form. Many aspirants suggest going for easy or preparable options to face simple questions. But ensure that you have done enough research about things you cannot change, such as birthplace or cadre preference.
Edited by Divya Sethu
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