Mains paper of any Officer scale banking exam has gone through a series of changes of late, from soaring difficulty levels and pattern changes to the introduction of sectional time limits and now no sectional cut-offs in SBI PO. But the most important addition that surprisingly doesn’t attract much attention is the Descriptive section. The section was added to test the writing skills of the future officers.
Weightage in deciding Cut-off
Apart from four sections in the objective test, the mains exams nowadays also consist of an English language descriptive writing test.
Questions: Generally, candidates have to attempt two questions. One question on essay writing; one on letter writing There is an internal choice available for each of the two questions.
Maximum marks: 25 (IBPS PO 2017) /50 (in SBI PO 2018, Dena Bank 2017)
Duration of exam: 30 minutes
Cut-off: 20 marks in SBI PO

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Most of the candidates prepare hard for the objective test but due attention and time is not given to the descriptive section, which has the potential to land one’s name in the final merit.
Good score in the descriptive exam can give one the desired cushion of extra marks and might also reduce the dependency on one’s performance in the interview.
Take the example of the SBI PO Mains 2017: the cut off for the objective exam was 50/200 and for descriptive cut-off was 20/50 and final cut off for mains was 89.25/250. Now consider a candidate scores just 50 in objective but 40 in descriptive would be able to clear the cut-off. But a real benefit is if one score slightly more than the objective cut off say 75 marks and now 40 marks in descriptive take the score to 115 now with even 25 in GD and PI one can achieve selection.
This is how descriptive can boost your chances.

LETTER: Generally, there is the choice between a formal and informal letter, a candidate can attempt any of the two types. Following are the examples of the type of letter asked.
I. Write a letter to your Branch Manager regarding non-credit of the amount deposited in ATM-
II. Express your concern over the impact of irrelevant news through social media by writing a letter to the editor of a newspaper daily.
III. Write a letter to your sibling giving them advise related to stress and anxiety.
ESSAY: Topics of an essay are varied one topic would be from economy from finance, this topic would be any of the current issues like NPAs etc., and the other one would be more of a social topic like technology- a boon or a bane or consequences of social media. Candidate can attempt any of the two types.


1.Adhere to the format: If writing a letter strictly adhere to the format. It’s very important it creates the first impression in the evaluator, not doing so might lead to your marks being deducted. For essays, make sure you don’t exceed the mentioned word limit. Also, structure the essay in multiple paragraphs in simple language.
2. Content: While writing the essay stick to the topic mentioned. Cover differing viewpoints and various aspects. Provi, e facts, numbers and explanations to support your point of view.
3. Grammar & Language: Use of fancied terms and phrases is not compulsory an essay in simple language can also fetch you good marks provided it is grammatically correct. Use proper punctuation, be consistent with the tense, avoid spelling mistakes
4. Word Limit: Try to stick to the word limit provided. Breaching it by few words is not a big issue but writing 50-100 world in excess might create a bad impression.

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Read: For descriptive paper it is important to develop one’s own stand on various issues, for that regularly read newspapers, magazines, novels, etc. It will not only enrich your knowledge but will boost your confidence.
Type: Try to type one essay and one letter daily, it will improve your typing speed which is very important as with poor typing speed one might be unable to complete the exam within stipulated time.
Analyse and Evaluate: It’s good to get your typed matter be evaluated by someone else. Incorporate his/her inputs to improve your writing.

Important Topics for Essay for SBI PO Mains, Dena Bank PO

1. The issue of NPA in Public Sector Banks
2. Rising insecurity among minorities: A threat to India’s secular fabric?
3. Rohingya migrants: Should India show a more humanitarian face?
4. Rising fuel prices.
5. Is Indian Judiciary going through its worst phase?
6. Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code: Remedy to all banking issues?
7. Impact of E-Way bill
8. 2019- the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, how successful Swaccha Bharat Abhiyan has been?
9. Need for Sustainable development
10. Deepening Water Crisis: A cause of concern
11. Global Warming: the Biggest threat of this century
12. Rising cases of molestation: Are we serious about women security?
13. India’s outdated education policy
14. Make in India
15. GST: A review, was it a revolutionary change?

The format of a Formal letter

Note: Everything should be aligned to the left
Sender’s Address (Maximum in three lines)
Date (May 10, 2017 or 10 May 2017)
Receiver’s Address (Maximum in three lines)
Content (Write-in Paragraphs, the first paragraph should be direct and address the issue, next paragraph should have details and other information, the last paragraph should deal with your expectation and outcome that you want.
Thanking You/ Yours Faithfully/ Yours Sincerely

The format of the Informal letter

Note: Everything should be aligned to the left
Sender’s Address (Maximum in three lines)
Date (May 10, 2017 or 10 May 2017)
Salutation (Dear is generally used)
Content (One can begin with enquiring about receiving well-being like How are you? In the first paragraph write about the reason for writing the letter, in the second paragraph add more details and information, in the last paragraph conclude the letter)
Yours Lovingly
(Your Name)
Note: Don’t forget to type the number of the question you are attempting in the letter as well as the essay.

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