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IBPS PO Mains 2017 Descriptive Test

IBPS PO Mains 2017 | Descriptive Writing Test : How To Prepare, Expected Topics


This is the first time that IBPS has introduced Descriptive Paper in IBPS PO Mains Exam. The same pattern is followed in SBI PO Mains examination. Basically, the descriptive will test your writing skills in the form of Letter & Essay Writing. The descriptive paper test will be immediately taken after the Objective Mains test which is qualifying in nature. In this post we would be covering all the aspects: question types, how to prepare, the evaluation criteria and some DOs and DONTs for this section.

Lets have a look at the IBPS PO Mains Exam pattern:

IBPS PO 2017 Mains

IBPS PO Mains Exam Pattern 2017 – Descriptive Paper

Paper Max. Marks Time

Descriptive Paper (Essay & Letter Writing)

25 30 Minutes


Before, we discuss the evaluation criteria let’s understand the purpose of conducting this exam. This will help you put things in perspective.

Why is English Descriptive Writing, a part of bank PO recruitment process?

A bank job requires continuous interaction with customers, analyzing information and effective communication. These are the exact traits tested by the descriptive writing section.

Essay Writing: It tests you on your ability to organize and structure thoughts & ideas. It requires good writing skills and imagination.

Letter Writing: It tests your ability to put across your thoughts in a succinct manner. It also tests your ability to carry out effective written communication within the organisation.

How are letters and essays evaluated?

Although there is no set criteria according to which the descriptive section paper is evaluated, there are some common things that are examined by the evaluator. For most banking exams, the descriptive section is evaluated manually.

Content: The examiner would see whether aspects of the topic have been addressed in the essay and if provided details, examples and explanations are appropriately supporting the candidate’s point of view.

Formal Requirement: As the paper is descriptive in nature there are certain requirements that must be fulfilled by the answers. For letters, the format must be strictly adhered to. Although extra marks might not be awarded for the format/ structure, an absence of it might cause a deduction in your marks. For letter writing, stick to the prescribed formats of formal and informal letters. For essays, make sure the word limit (if any) is not exceeded. Also, make sure that the essay is in paragraph form.

Development, Structure and Coherence: How well the topic has been understood and explained is main criteria of evaluating any piece of descriptive writing. The examiner sees whether there are any examples given, what is the range of thoughts/ ideas presented and how logically they are penned down. The following might be the few things an examiner is looking for in your piece of writing:-

  • Does each paragraph contain just one idea or concept?
  • Does the evidence presented support the writer’s argument?
  • Does this paper have a beginning (introduction), a middle (body), and an end (conclusion)?

Grammar: This is also a very important criterion. An essay may be logically presented, it may have a variety of ideas, but if the grammar is bad, it makes the entire essay ‘not so good’. Examiners don’t expect complex sentences. Just make sure you create simple and correct sentence structures and convey your thoughts effectively.

  • Does this paper have proper punctuation?
  • Does the author provide full and complete sentences?
  • Does this paper have consistent verb tense, voice, and third-person usage? (essays are normally written in third person)

Vocabulary & Spelling: Again we would like to clarify that a test taker is not expected to use “high – fi” English words. As long as you have the right word for an idea, that’s good. A simple example of this would be:

  • If you want to say “very good”, say “excellent”.

Also, avoid spelling mistakes as they point to a careless attitude.

Here, we would like to mention one important thing: Time Management. Make sure you divide your time as per the weightage of the question. Since, an essay has higher marks, allot more time to it.

What should an Essay comprise of?

An essay is nothing but a short piece of writing on a particular topic. What sets an essay apart is not just being error free in terms of grammar and spelling but also the structure and flow of ideas in the essay. A basic but ideal structure to follow is:-

1) Introduction:- This should contain a brief introduction of the topic with an explain the background of the topic. Use this section also to briefly mention your view on the topic before elaborating on that in the body paragraphs.

2) Body Paragraphs:- The body paragraphs (or the middle paragraphs) are used to present one’s point of view on the subject in a detailed manner.  You should restrict the number of paragraphs here to 2 or 3. The purpose of the body is to list out in detail the examples that support your view. It is always advised to put forth your strongest argument first followed by the second strongest one and so on.  Each paragraph should contain one idea and sentences supporting it.

3) Conclusion:- The conclusion is place to restate the main argument/view you made by showing the connections made between the different points in your essay. However, one should not use the same words to do so.
The conclusion should also not be a place to introduce any new idea or thought but just a summarizing of your main argument using some of the strongest evidence supporting it.

 Plan Before You Type:-

Although it may seem like a waste of time, it is important to spend a few minutes to first plan and think about what you are writing instead of immediately writing. If you have 15 minutes for one essay, spending about 5 minutes on planning your essay can save a lot of time on thinking while you type. Most people who dont plan before writing tend to get stuck in the middle or run out of ideas and are forced to think after writing a portion of the essay. This will hamper the flow and structure of your essay if one tries to generate ideas while typing.

Spend a few minutes on outlining the points you want to make. Make rough points on the introduction, the stance you are taking along with supporting arguments. Make sure you have your sequence with the strongest arguments first and then the remaining arguments.

DOs and DONTs:-

  1. Make a time strategy while you practice. For eg: If it’s 15 minutes for one essay, then have 5 -7- 3 plan where you spend 5 minutes planning, 8 minutes typing and then 2 minutes to read through the final essay to eliminate any grammatical or spelling errors. Make sure you do get the time to read and check for any errors. You can tweak the time-break up and choose one that works for you.
  2. Stick to the word limit provided. If no word limit is provided, try to limit your essay to around 250-300 words.
  3. Avoid using colloquial, slang, SMS ‘lingo’ while you type. No using of “I’m”, “wat”, “thx”,”ASAP”, “gr8” etc. or use informal language such as ‘veggies’ instead of vegetables, ‘Kids’ instead of Children, ‘Anyways’ instead of Nevertheless etc.
  4. Use simple language. Even if your vocabulary is very strong, use words and sentences that you believe most of the readers will understand. No extra points are given for using difficult words that very few understand. In fact, it can be detrimental. For eg: “The deleterious effects of smoking…. ” vs ” The harmful effects of smoking… “
  5. Do NOT use “I think…”, “I feel… ” , “In my opinion” etc. Avoid the use of first person and second person pronouns throughout the essay.
  6. Do NOT make broad generalizations such as “Everyone knows that Narendra Modi is a good Prime Minister”. Instead one could say  that “Several people believe that Narendra Modi is a good Prime Minister” and this statement can be supported by text in the essay.

IBPS PO Mains | Descriptive Writing : Sample Topics of Essay for Practice

1) Consequences of Brexit

2) Merger of SBI with its associates

3) Resentment over 7th Pay Commission

4) MPC (Monetary Policy Committee) formation

5) Rising NPAs of Indian Banks

6) India’s NSG Debacle

7) What to expect from the new RBI Governor

8) 7% Growth in Indian Economy : Figures and Realities

9) Make In India : Where we have reached

10) Modi Government : Achievements and Challenges

11) One Year of Demonetization.

12) Alarming level of Pollution in Delhi.

13) Gender Inequality at Work  Place.

14) Are Offshore Investments Illegal?

15) Pros & Cons of PSU’s Banks Merger.

16) Privatization of Government Sector.

17) Who will help Rohingya? OR What happened to Rohingya fair?

18) Did Demonetization eradicate Black Money?

19) Current Status of Indian Economy.

20) GST Impact – Cheaper or Costlier?

21) Digital India Reality or Myth?

22) When will the Indian Women be Safe?

23) Are Online Modes of Transaction Safe?

24) Are Reservations for Lower Class Fair?

25) Role of Agriculture in Development of India.

26) Could India become Superpower until the year 2030?

27) Roots of Corruption in India.

28) Global Warming and its Impact.

29) Will War between America & North Korea lead to World War III?

30) How can we Stop Cyber Crime.

31) What is the problem with Feminism?

32) Religious or Spiritual, What do you think you are?

33) Explain this statement. ”Travelling teaches us more than Books and Documentaries”.

34) How people of today are technologically advanced than the previous generation but technological advancement pose serious threats. Do you agree? Explain.

35) What is the Ecological impact of increasing population and vehicles, when, Land is inelastic but population and vehicles are increasing?


To Know About IBPS PO MAINS Exam Syllabus & Exam Pattern

IBPS PO MAINS Exam Syllabus

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