How to study for Group Discussion (GD)?

Group Discussion (GD) is one of the toughest phases or parts of any selection process of an examination or a recruitment. CAT / MBA admission  or Banking recruitment ( SBI PO / IBPS PO etc.) has given significant importance to group discussion process, which is meant to evaluate communication skill, team or group skill and leadership traits of candidate.

CAT Aspirants or Bank Aspirants may google and find many articles on "how to study or prepare for Group Discussion" on internet. But still, There is no clarity about the wining strategy and approach for GD, Candidates find themselves always in dilemma and confusion with respect to preparation of Group Discussion. Team CAT Aspirants has analysed various facets and dimensions associated with Group Discussion. We Also tried to solve & simplify this tricky and complex evaluation process for the betterment of aspirants.

What is Group Discussion ?

Group Discussion is a process of evaluation which involves a group comprising of 5-10 prospect candidates discussing on a topic / subject for specified time ( usually 15-30 minutes) with or without any objectives, and which is closely monitored by recruiters or invigilators. Objectives or task may be given to group, which include achieving unanimous decision, Group Opinion, view on given subject / problem, or majority decision / view etc.

We define the process of Group Discussion as a Team activity, where team is formed of team members ( Candidates) with an objective to achieve certain things through team work ( discussion, persuasion, agreement or disagreement, consensus etc.).

This whole process is usually meant to evaluate social / personal traits or skills such as Leadership, Team bonding, Team work, Interpersonal relationship, etc of the candidate.

A candidate who is a natural team player, always be successful in group discussion with flying colors. Aspirant has to identify or recognize suitable team role in accordance with prevailed dynamics of the group ( before the start of the Group discussion. But after the revelation of topic or subject of Group Discussion), you must stick to that particular role till the end of the group discussion.

Structure or phases of Group Discussion ?

We have broadly classified Group Discussion into three phases as explained below:

I) Initiation: This is the first step or phase of Group Discussion. It involves initiation of Group Discussion by a candidate ( team member) after announcement of topic or subject by recruiter or invigilator. Initiator may put forth popular or minorities view about the topic and also can set the direction of group discussion. A candidate having depth knowledge about topic may go for the role of Initiator and capitalize the first mover advantage.

II) Discussion: This is defined as second and most critical phase of Group Discussion. It involves almost all team roles such as leader, follower, approver, challenger, mentor, etc. based upon the tone or direction set by initiator, different team roles may also be evolved and contributed into the discussion.

III) Conclusion: This is termed as last phase and it involves outcome or conclusion of Team work ( Group Discussion). One or more Candidates may conclude and speak end result with summary of discussion. Vote of thanks by a candidate may also be included post conclusion.

Pyramid of Value additions into Group Discussion: 

Against the popular belief, Initiation of  group discussion is at the bottom of pyramid in terms of importance and scoring pattern for evaluation. If a candidate starts the initiation of group discussion and do not add further values into process may be scored less than other candidates by selection committee.

Conclusion of Group Discussion is ranked higher than initiation. Vote of thanks is considered as an icing on cake. Conclusion coupled with vote of thanks may be lethal and deciding factor for final selection.

Above all, Ideas and valuable inputs are considered as high scoring and deciding factors during group discussion. A candidate might be selected with only one good and logical or innovative idea or input given into discussion by the selection committee.

Different Roles for Team Members into Group Discussion: 

Roles for team members into Group Discussion may be broadly classified as Leader, Follower, Challenger and Convener or Mentor.

Do's and Don'ts into Group Discussion: 

A) Be polite, and maintain decorum.

B) Be clear in your thoughts and use simple and short sentences.

C) Don't interrupt when two candidates are arguing, wait for your turn or till the closure of their argument.

D) Be fearless and assertive.

E) Be logical and give good examples for supporting your reasoning or belief / views.

F) Respect others and their views or opinions.

G) Use persuasion instead of coercion in order to achieve consensus or majority .

Study Materials for Group Discussion: 

Newspapers are considered as best study materials available for Group Discussions. Topics or Subjects of the Group discussions are generally given from current affairs and social issues. Candidates must read at least two newspapers daily and should make a list of topics pertaining to current affairs or social issues along with important facts associated with it .

Candidates may also watch news debates on English news channels to  learn about presenting facts logically with structured way. DD Rajyasabha or Loksabha may be a good watch for structured group discussions.

We hope that your all queries and confusion about group discussion process have been explained or clarified through this blog.

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All the Best !

Team CAT Aspirants 🙂



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