17 July 2008

Group Discussion – The Process

In my last post I threw some light on the importance of a Group Discussion (Henceforth referred to as GD), in this one I will try and explain what the process is all about.

The group discussion normally follows the procedure given below:

1. Number of candidates / participants
Normally there are 4/8 or 15/20 candidates participants in a group discussion at a time.

2. Assignment of serial numbers
As soon as candidates assemble for a group discussion, they are assigned different serial numbers, viz. 1, 2, 3, and 4. Afterwards they are to be addressed as Mr. NO.1 or NO.2 and not by name.

3. Wearing the number tag

In a group discussion, candidates have to wear a number tag all the time. The examiner, who is in the background, notes down the points from the tag numbers without writing the name of the 'candidates. Therefore, it is essential that every candidate properly displays the number of his tag all the time.

4. Initiation of the discussion

The candidates are instructed not to disclose their names or speak in any other language except the one prescribed for the discussion, which is mostly English. However, in some places Hindi has also been included. The examiner or the testing officer does not decide who should speak first and how much time each candidate should take.

5. Sitting arrangement

The members of the group are generally seated around a table in a semicircle so that they face each other for discussion, and the testing officer is able to watch them from the background.

6. Selection of topics

In some cases, the candidates themselves select the topic they wish to discuss. However, the examiner may also give two or three topics for discussion and the members of the group are required to select anyone for discussion.

7. Examiner's role
As soon as the discussion starts, the examiner goes into the background; leaving the candidates free to carry on the discussion. He then takes notes to assess the personality and group behavior of the members without making his presence felt by the group.

8. The group leader

Normally, no one is appointed as a group leader, chairman or president by the examiner. The candidate endowed with natural leadership qualities will automatically emerge as a leader and assume the leadership of the group on his own. Such a gifted candidate will be able to carry the group with him despite the competition he may face from other participants. The group testing officer or examiner, who has considerable experience, is able to spot leadership qualities and observe the candidates in action in order to assess their personality traits.

9. Type of topics
Generally at least two subjects are announced by the examiner or group testing officer. The topics for discussion may vary from light-hearted topics such as "Love marriages v. arranged marriages", to serious topics such as " population explosion" or "India's defence or economic policies". There may be topics on current affairs or news items like the Kashmir problem or the current situation of deciding the fate of the Nuclear Deal with the USA.
If the candidates themselves cannot come, to an agreement regarding selection of a particular topic for discussion, the examiner either selects the topic for them or invites their views and then decides the topic.

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