NABARD Grade A/B notification is expected soon and it is high time that an aspirant chalks out a strategy with a proper study plan for the same.
The questions that often come to the mind of the aspirants are many, like:
What topics do I have to study?
What all books should I cover covered to prepare for the exam?
How much time do I need to devote towards my preparation?
Which is best resource to cover Current Affairs?
What is the Job profile at NABARD, what is the Salary, Perks etc.?
Will I get rural posting or urban posting?
NABARD is one such exam where not much information is available in the public domain and with the changed exam pattern since 2015, it has become even more difficult to find satisfactory answers to such questions.
Continuing with our series of interviews/videos with NABARD Grade A and Grade B officers, EduTap is pleased to present insights into NABARD Grade A exam preparation strategy and Job Profile by Mr. Aarif Khan.
He cleared the NABARD Grade A exam last year and is currently posted NABARD Regional Office.
Aarif, 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 job in India. What was your first reaction after getting selected?
Thank you! As the final result was in my favor, I was quite happy and relieved.
Where are you currently posted? Could you please clear the myth that people have regarding rural postings in NABARD?
I’m posted at the Dehradun office. All the selected candidates, after their training, join either at one of the Regional Offices (in state capitals) or the Head Office (in Mumbai). Unlike PSBs, there is no concept of rural or urban postings in NABARD.
What are the Job Profiles offered to candidates after selection and what is the job profile that you are having?
The profile, nature of responsibilities and other functions vary from person to person depending upon which department they work in. The nature of work is quite diverse and in due time, everyone gets an opportunity to work in different areas and positions.
How is the career growth in NABARD?
The career progression is similar to RBI and other PSBs. Initially, one begins his career as Asst Manager (Gr A), and then is promoted to Manager (Gr B), AGM (Gr C), DGM (Gr D), GM (Gr E) and CGM (Gr F).
Tell us something about your Education and Work experience. Do you think it is manageable to clear the exam without background in Agriculture or Economics?
I did my B.Tech in E&C from Delhi, and prior to NABARD, I was working with SBI as a PO. Although having a background in either agriculture or economics might give an extra edge, it’s not required as such. A major chunk of the selected candidates this year had no such background (including me). As the questions in the exam test one’s basic understanding of the subjects, a proper study from standard books is all that’s necessary.
Can you please let us know about your scores in Phase 1 and Phase 2 (subject wise)?
My scores were as:
Phase 1: ES (13.25) AR (16.50) RE (20) EL (31.25) CK (17.50) GA (9.25) QA (17.75)
Phase 2: General English (62) Eco & Social Issue, Agri & RD (72.25)
How did you manage time in Phase 1 because it can be very tricky to clear cut offs in all the 7 sections in Phase 1?
In Phase 1, each candidate has his/her own strategy molded according to one’s strengths and weaknesses. My strategy in this paper, as in every other exam, was to attempt GA first, followed by EL, CK and then QA and RE. I attempted ES and AR towards the end. The idea was to solve the easier sections first before proceeding to the calculative ones. However in Phase 1, one must always be wary of sectional cut-offs and the amount of time being devoted to each section.
Computer Knowledge is one section in Phase 1 where cut off was pretty high (around 10.5 out of 20). Was it that easy a section or one should not take a chance and prepare well for this section?
The questions in this section did not require any additional preparation; they were quite straightforward and based on our day-to-day knowledge. However, if one is under-confident and wishes to specially prepare for this, there are a number of books/short notes available online.
How did you prepare for Phase 2 exam? Which all resources you read to cover both theoretical and Current Affairs Part for ESI?
Regarding Phase 2, it is very important to follow the syllabus mentioned in the notification and prepare accordingly. The trend is that most questions are being asked from current events, news etc, and only a few questions from the traditional and static portions.
For ESI, I followed ‘Indian Economy’ by Ramesh Singh; reading it selectively and not cover to cover. I also referred Pratiyogita Darpan’s Economy Issue. For the dynamic portion, I relied on reading newspaper, Vision IAS Monthly current affairs and GK Today. A thorough reading of Economic Survey, Union Budget and Govt schemes is also required.
For the social portion, I focused mainly on currents affairs and read the Census, SECC etc
Which all resources you read to cover both theoretical and Current Affairs Part for ARD?
For ARD, there’s no one good book/source available in the market. So I again referred mostly to Ramesh Singh for the static part. For selected topics of agriculture, I read ‘Geography of India’ by Majid Hussain, and a brief reading of reports of M/O Agriculture and M/O Rural Development. I focussed more on the topics related to ARD in the news, related schemes, Forest Survey of India report etc. For this section, Kurukshetra will be a useful magazine.
Since you mentioned you did not read much for the static part but you still cleared the exam, so can we say that current affairs hold much importance for the exam and one can clear the exam if he/she covers the current affairs thoroughly?
The recent trend of focussing on current affairs not just in NABARD, but in other exams as well, only underscores its increasing importance. Fortunately, there are a number of sites/magazines from where current affairs can be prepared along with the newspaper. This does not, however, mean that one should completely ignore the static portion as it builds a foundation for understanding the news, and questions from here will always be asked; although less in number.
What was the weightage of ESI and ARD respectively in the Paper 1 and which one among ESI and ARD is more scoring?
The weightage of both was equal; each being of 25 marks. Between the two, I found ARD comparatively easier as many schemes were asked. Both are scoring, and it ultimately all depends on a person’s preparation.
What would be those 2-3 things that you were not able to execute but you would like aspirants to do or follow?
There were definitely a few sources which I could not touch upon as much as I had wanted such as the annual report of NABARD, Kurukshetra magazine etc.
Does one has enough time in the exam to solve the entire set of questions in ESI and ARD paper?
Time is not an issue when it comes to ESI and ARD papers. One can easily attempt all questions in all the sections. The test here is of knowledge, and not speed.
You got very less marks in English; In fact you just cleared the cut off. How should one prepare for English as it accounts for 50% of marks in Phase 2?
English is definitely a paper which is both easy and scoring, and the expected topics can also be predicted to some accuracy. No special reading is required for the essay, as the points are derived from our general preparation and following of the events around us. The key to this paper is writing practice, and retrospectively; I think that is where I could’ve worked more on. Following Yojana and Kurukshetra magazines can be hugely beneficial for the essay, in my opinion.
What would be your message to Grade A aspirants who want to follow your steps?
Be it any exam, the fundamentals of preparation continue to revolve around reading, revising and practicing. Regardless of the educational background, anyone can do well in the exam. All that’s required to is to properly strategize with a balanced approach and follow previous years’ papers. Given the fact that it’s a competitive exam, it’s important to focus on clearing sectional cut-offs and time management. Other than that, ample guidance is available online and ultimately it all comes down to a person’s perseverance. With this, I wish all aspirants the best of luck for their forthcoming exams.
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