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How should one fill out the DAF form for the UPSC civil services?
The DAF has to be filled out very carefully giving careful thought to each and every section. I shall divide my answer into three primary areas where my advice might be helpful. Hobbies/ Interests/ Achievements. This section is important because it is a great conversation starter. I have seen some of my friends leaving it blank thinking either low of their achievements/hobbies/ or because t don’t really have anything to put there. This, I would say, is a mistake that you should not make. Interview is one area in the entire CSE where the process is synchronous. You are present then and there. But the problem with the interview is that the interviewer could ask you about anything under the sun. Filling the DAF honestly can actually fetch you questions from areas you are most comfortable with. Some things you should avoid while filling this portion are Filling too many things. Many aspirants in their over enthusiasm fill in everything under the sun in this section ( like playing cricket, football, squash, guitar etc. etc.) Unless it is an activity you genuinely take interest in and actively pursue, you should not add it in your DAF. It is alright to not know something about your hobby. Many people panic when there is a question about their hobby and t don't know the answer. It is your hobby because you pursue it in your free time. That means you are not supposed to be an expert in it. Be aware of the basics because that is proof that you indeed pursue it. Service Preference. Did you know that if you chose IRS (IT) or Customs over IAAS, your promotion to the Higher Administrative Grade could be delayed by atleast 8 years? This is because IRS is a bottom heavy service, whereas IAAS is not. Similarly putting services like IPoS, IDAS etc above IAAS or IPTAFS could severely curtail your future prospects. I would recommend that you fill service preferences after thoroughly researching it. Promotion prospects/ Postings/ Recognition/ Learning opportunities etc should all be considered while filling the form. Many people fill the first three services very carefully and then ignore the later services, over confident in themselves that t will make it to the top 100. This could prove to be the costliest mistake that you commit in your entire preparation. Remember. Making it once into the list, is no guarantee that you will be able to do it again. Do it right the first time itself. Cadre Prederence. Don’t go by stereotypes. For Example, many people have this notion that Kerala is a bad cadre because of the communist influence. It is one of the most professional cadres for a civil servant to be in. Ofcourse, lal batti culture might be absent there, but then if that is what you are after, you should not even be writing this exam. Therefore, avoid selecting cadre based on stereotypes. Find someone in the service from your area and ask them their opinion. Once you fill this then there is no going back. You are going to be spending atleast 2/3rd of your career in the cadre you choose. All the best
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T his was taken from a much longer list, but there are many others.