Every Candidate has a unique strategy to crack a prestigious exam like NABARD Grade A and B. No one strategy shall be called the best strategy but definitely some strategies are better than the rest and that is what makes all the difference.
Continuing with our series of interviews/videos with NABARD Grade A and Grade B officers, EduTap is pleased to present the preparation strategy and much more by Ms. Nidhi Verma (Name Changed due to personal choice of candidate to keep the identity secret).
Ms. Nidhi cleared the NABARD Grade A exam last year with flying colors and currently she is happily pursuing her job with good work life balance
Nidhi, first we at Edutap would like to congratulate you for making it big. After All, NABARD Grade A is one of the most sought after jobs in India. How are you feeling these days? Happy, Elated!!! or Just about being Normal
Yes. Definitely Happy with the outcome!!
Tell us something about your Education and Work experience. What made you interested in NABARD Grade A exam?
I am a B.E. graduate and was working with a software firm, when I thought of preparing for government exams.I appeared for a lot of banking and insurance exams out of which one was NABARD. Unlike Commercial banking, NABARD is a development financial Institution, which offers more opportunities and exposure. Moreover, I heard a lot about its good work culture and the kind of right work life balance it offers , it inspired me to appear for it and it was my 2nd attempt.
You are not from IIT or IIM and do not have any background in Agriculture or Rural Development or even in ESI. Did this factor lead to any negative thoughts in your mind at any point of time? What was your strategy to circumvent all these limitations and make a mark in the exam?
No doubt NABARD Grade’A’ is challenging for someone who is not from Agricultural Background considering the kind of diversified syllabus it has. But at the same time, if you analyse the type of questions being asked, you would realize that background here hardly matters.
My strategy here was simple. Analyse the syllabus and accordingly work for Phase-1 and Phase 2. I prepared my strategy for all 3 stages of this exam- Phase-1 , Phase-2 and interview and accordingly priortised areas of work.
We will start with Phase 1 which is although qualifying but still cannot be neglected. How is Phase 1 of NABARD different from Phase 1 of RBI and how did you prepare for Phase 1?
There is not much difference if you compare the level of the both the exams. But yes, since NABARD has a more diversified syllabus, Phase 1 consists of 7 sections unlike 4 in RBI. So, the type of preparation required for NABARD Phase 1 needs to be more comprehensive. Also, to manage time in NABARD phase 1 is more challenging as compared to RBI phase 1.
EduTap input: Check out our analysis of NABARD Phase 1 here:
What was your strategy with respect to time spent in each of the 7 sections in Phase 1?
Everybody has their own strategy to crack Phase 1 as here unlike Phase 2 management of time is the key. I knew my weak areas out of all the sections and I ensured that I give more time to them so as to clear sectional cutoff. Also if one if is good at current affairs sections, it boosts your score with very less time to be allotted. So I started with General Awareness section, then English then Reasoning and Quant.
I believe in order to boost your overall score scoring good in General Awareness section is very important. But again I would emphasize that everyone has his own strategy and one should manage time well.
What was the Phase 2 exam like? Was it more of a fact /current affairs based or was it bookish/concepts based?
It was mostly current based. Most of the questions were from Economic Survey, Budget, Government schemes related to agriculture and rural development, NABARD in news, various reports etc. Very less questions were asked from the static portion of the syllabus.
EduTap input: Check out our analysis of NABARD Phase 2 here:
How one must go about the preparation since standard books are not of much use and there are not many resources available which cover the syllabus for NABARD?
As I mentioned, one should thoroughly read economic survey and budget, government schemes in detail ( with special emphasis on agriculture and rural development related), various reports in news, recent developments in agriculture and rural development.
What was the weightage of ESI and ARD respectively in the Paper 1 and which one among ESI and ARD is more scoring?
Both sections comprise of 25 marks each, I think ESI is more scoring than ARD as ESI is more of general awareness. In ARD, you may get some static questions related to agricultural concepts which may be difficult to answer. But again it depends on the level of preparation.
EduTap input: Check out the pattern of the examination here:
How should one prepare for ARD section since most of us do not have any background in that and questions asked were mostly from the current affairs? Any strategies/hacks/points that you would like to suggest to all the aspiring candidates
For ARD section, government schemes , recent developments like issue of GM crops, loan waivers, reading newspaper, etc would only help. I myself didn’t prepare static portion much and relied mostly on current topics.
But the exam had this trend last year, we cannot say about this year. So one should not ignore other topics and concepts mentioned in the syllabus during course of preparation.
What are key areas which one needs to give attention to in ESI section? What are the sources that one should prepare from? Moreover since the syllabus for ESI section in NABARD and RBI is almost same, how should one augment their preparation for ESI section in NABARD after having prepared for RBI?
Yes ESI portion for RBI and NABARD is similar but not same. NABARD’s syllabus is vast in comparison to RBI. For Phase 2, detailed reading of the current policy changes related to agriculture, schemes launched, issues and challenges in agriculture and rural development, reports like SECC, Agricultural census etc is needed.
If one has prepared for RBI earlier, then more emphasis on ARD portion is needed. Sources will be same as I mentioned earlier.
EduTap input: Check out the similarities and differences between RBI and NABARD here:
Many of the students over prepare for ESI and ARD at the cost of under preparation in English. Most of us believe English needs minimum preparation as it is very generic. According to you what is the importance of English component in NABARD, especially Phase 2?
Please remember, there is a sectional cutoff in Phase 2 here unlike RBI. So here each paper play a key role. So one should prepare for English paper thoroughly with special emphasis on Essay Writing. Also typing speed is important when it comes to English as English has 4 questions to be typed in 1.5 hours which may seem a challenging task.
What all was asked in English exam and specifically what kind of essays are asked in the exam?
English paper consisted of 4 questions- Essay, Precis, Reading comprehension and Letter writing .Essay topics were like MNREGA, Rural Entrepreneurship and some current topics which I don’t remember.
You missed Grade B by short margin? Do you still feel the pain or are you feel motivated enough to give it another go this year?
Yes I do feel the pain considering the time constraint I had for preparation of Grade B as I was working. Grade’B’ is definitely a motivation for me and I plan to appear for it this year.
At last what would be your message to all the budding Aspirants for NABARD Grade A?
My message would be no matter what your background is, you can clear this exam if you strategize your preparation in the right manner and work accordingly. Do work on weak areas as one sectional cut off can cost you huge. What this exam needs is SMART work and not hard work.
I wish all the future aspirants best of luck for upcoming Grade A exam.
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