Aspirants have numerous questions in their mindspertaining to the importance of English in Phase 2, the probable essay topics, the types of questions that are asked and so on.
EduTap brings you an interview with Mr Neeraj Bharti who not only cleared the RBI Grade B exam but also scored a whopping 86 marks in English out of 100 marks!
Here he has shared his experience of preparing for the English section of this exam and the various do’s and dont’s that an aspirant should keep in mind.
So here it goes!
What is the importance of English vis a vis ESI and FM in making it to the final list for RBI Grade B? As we can see from the marks list of many candidates, the marks obtained in English and interview make the actual difference in securing a final seat or being out of the list. Is it so?
The point I want to make initially only is that every mark/score matters once you sail through the prelims. I have seen people, who lose their steam once they clear the prelims. RBI exam is not simply an exam but it’s a journey and a test of your vigor, patience, focus, consistency and dedication. With the advent of Mains Exam, the starting point of study is primarily ESI and FM exam, as majority of the candidates are from non-management/non-commerce back ground.
English paper is always left on the back burners. But English is the inflection point which plays a pivotal role in your final selection. I had given exam in 2014 and made it to the final interview list, but could not convert it to the last league because my English Score was low. Next year I appeared again and to my surprise the entire exam format was changed with ESI/FM paper being made objective. Thus it was the importance of being earnest towards the English paper, which actually drove me to the finish line. This is the paper (apart from interview) that adds subjectivity to the total scoring, and eventually makes or breaks the career of an aspirant. Thus I totally agree with the inference that the marks obtained in English and Interview make a significant difference in securing a final place.
How should an aspirant approach the English section for Phase 2? What is the right study material?
English is a language, and as for any language, you do not master it in a day, week, or a year. It is a gradual learning process, catalyzed by the penchant to master it. But yes, people who have a sound understanding of fundamentals of English can surely work on it during a limited time frame to score an above average/good marks in the Mains Exam.
There is no fixed study material that I can suggest.The more you read and more you write, the better you get.
The English paper revolves around three types of Questions, i.e. Essay, Precis Writing and Comprehension (in order of their difficulty level). Essay topics mainly pertain to latest Economic, Social or Finance Issues. The best material for that is Financial Dailies/Magazines and their editorial columns (Business Standard, Hindu BusinessLine, ET, EPW, Yojana, Indian Express and whole lot of Internet Research is what I followed).
These will improve your content and give you good food for thought. If you have time left, you can also go through Editorials of The Hindu or Indian Express also. But eventually, mere reading won’t help, if you don’t pen down your thoughts within the covenants of a Good Essay. (What is a Good Essay is altogether a different topic that I will discuss separately.)
You will find plentiful topics for Essay writing either from numerous Civils/RBI Prep websites. It is just that you need to start working on it from day one. I know initially it will be a challenge. But once you start picking it up and improving upon it, you will enjoy Essay writing.
Precis-writing is a simple game of rules. Search on the net, what are the features of an excellent precis, you will find a lot material on that. Start writing precis on the lines of those commandments (sticking to the word limit, usage of own language, an apt caption, juicing the essence of the article etc,). Pick an editorial or an article write its precis.
Comprehension is the last part and not a difficult one. It is straight question-answer topic, you read the para and write the answer in your own words as asked in the question. The other type of question in it is of, usage of a word or a phrase in your own sentence. That asks from some creativity and sentence -construction skills.
What all is asked in English paper for Phase 2? What are the topics that one needs to cover?
As mentioned in point no. 2. The topics as I said are broadly under the Umbrella of Economics, Social or Finance Issues.
What is the right strategy for writing a good and scoring essay in English?
I would not be able to give you a scholarly definition of Good Essay. What I think about a Good Essay is that it is an analytical piece of writing within the limits of the words prescribed. We can write blatantly on topics and stretch it to pages, but that is not what examiner is expecting. What is expected is a thorough multi-dimensional analysis of the topic substantiated relevantly at places with facts and figures (remember essay laden with facts and figures bores the examiner and lowers the score).
The essay structure also matters, right from the beginning with an introduction to concluding it neutrally with your personal remarks. The total body of the essay can be divided into 4-5 paragraphs. But don’t give it too much breaks, as the essay will lose its coherence. The essay should give a seamless reading, rather than a feeling of compartmentalized bunch of information. Content matters, but repetition of content (in case you are out of points) is a negative.
In the end, a good essay is a piece of art that gives the reader a good read. So read it again and edit it to give the final touch to your piece of art.
What things should be kept in mind while writing a précis?
As discussed above.
You scored less marks in your first attempt and then you scored one of the highest marks in your next attempt, what did you work on? How did you improve? What made the difference?
The mistake I did in the first Attempt English Exam was that I did not manage the time well, even when it was a three hour paper. I spent a lot of time on thinking/writing/re-writing the essay, which was basically due to lack of practice. This had a domino effect on other questions i.e. precis and comprehension, eventually ruining the entire paper.
So once bitten, twice shy, next time it was the situation of Do or Die, that too in 90 minutes. I had strategized how I will approach the exam. I finished the Precis Writing in first 20-25 minutes, and then started with the Essay writing. This time I didn’t waste any time in any thinking/writing/re-writing of the Essay. I had prepared content for a number of topics, which I was expecting to be asked in the paper.
Does background, basic schooling, graduation college matter for English for Phase 2?
As I said, language is a gradual learning process. The background, schooling et al do add to your English skill set. The medium in which you have studied has an add-on impact on it. But that is not the sole deciding criteria. It is your love for English that matters. If you have been/are enthusiastic and has that zeal to learn it, these things become secondary.
How should one approach the paper? Which section to begin with?
I have discussed my strategy in an earlier question. But there is no fit for all strategy. Everyone can have his or her own strategy. Actually what matters is having that strategy and being confident about it. The more you simulate yourself in an exam like environment, the more refined your strategy will be, and more confident you will be.
Since the examination is held online and one has to type the answers via keyboard, how different is the experience as compared to pen and paper style?
Speed matters eventually. People who are experts in writing on keyboards do have an advantage. As it helps in quick addition, deletion, correction. I would suggest to everyone that from day one, you should start working on keyboards and get rid of the pen and paper. Prepare your notes on your laptop/PC, practice mock exams online, start writing comments/blog posts etc. to holistically develop your online writing skills.
How much time should be devoted to English preparation while preparing for RBI?
There is no right time to start. There is always a right attitude to start. As we say in Hindi, “Jab Jago tab Savera”. The day you realize that you have to be sincere, devoted and focused about the Exam that is the right time, and sooner it is the better it will be. That way time just becomes a metaphysical concept.
Hope this helps!
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