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The Procedure For A Group Discussion

The group discussion normally follows the procedure given below:

Selection of the Number of Candidates

Unlike interviews where only one candidate participates at a time, normally there are four to eight candidates in a group discussion.

Assignment of Serial Numbers 

As soon as the 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 names.

Wearing the Number Tag

If the group is large, candidates may have to wear a number tag all the time. The examiner, who is in the background, notes down the points from the tag numbers instead of writing the names of the ­candidates. Therefore, in such a situation it is essential that every candidate properly displays the number of his/her tag all the time.

Initiation of the Discussion

The examiner or the testing officer does not decide who should speak first and how much time each candidate should take. 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 is also accepted.

Sitting Arrangement

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

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 any one for discussion.

Examiner’s Role

As soon as the discussion starts, the examiner goes into the background, leaving the candidates free to carry on with the discussion. He/she takes notes to assess the personality and group behaviour of the members without making his/her presence felt by the group.

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. Such a gifted candidate will be able to carry the group with him/her despite the competition faced from other participants.

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 versus 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 nuclear deal issue or the current situation in the north-eastern part of India.
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.


MYTH: It is important that you keep speaking in the GD and get counted.
FACT: Yes, it is important that you speak well in a GD, but only what you speak and how well you present your points in the discussion would help you to be counted. During the GD, it is also noted that how well do you listen to the viewpoints of others and how open-minded you are in accepting views contrary to your own.

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