The Small Industries Development Bank (SIDBI)
is conducting an online examination to recruit 150 candidates for the Assistant
Manager Grade ‘A’
position. In this article, we will discuss the pattern
of the online descriptive exam and few general tips to ace this test.

Exam Pattern:

The descriptive test will evaluate your
command over English Language and your ability to draft essays, letters, etc.
This test has two sections worth 50 marks and has to be solved within 45
minutes. The section-wise pattern of the descriptive test is as follows:

                   Section                    No. of questions     Maximum marks

Essay writing                                       01                             35               

Letter writing (Business
letter)           01                             15

Business Letter:

Letter writing
assesses your drafting ability, usage of formal language and effective
communication skills. At present, ‘block style’ format is
widely used while drafting business letters. In this format, text of the entire
letter is justified left. Given below are other important points to remember
while writing letters:

i) Date: While writing the date, use
day-month-year format or you can use month-day-year For eg: 22, January, 2016
or January 22, 2016.

ii) Sender‘s address: Make
sure to study a particular example of official address, if any, during your
preparation. It is advisable to include the sender’s E-mail ID
beneath the address.

iii) Receiver’s address: This is the address
you are sending your letter to. While mentioning the inside address, write the
full name of the addressee using proper titles such as Mr./Ms./Mrs.

iv) Salutation: Your letter actually begins
with the salutation for which you can use words like ‘Respected’ or

v) Subject of the letter : You should
mention the subject/reason of the letter in brief.

vi) Body of the letter: You should begin the
body of the letter by stating your purpose. You can write 2-3 lines to
establish your connection with the addressee. In the second paragraph, you
should write about the core subject. If you are stating grievances, make sure
to keep your language fairly balanced and formal. Do not to get caught up in
the subject and include irrelevant details as it would distract the reader from
the core subject. Try to present facts in support of your point of view.

vii) Closing the letter: State your
requirement/request while closing the letter. You can also mention what you
expect the reader to do and what will be your follow-up action. You can add ‘Thanking
you in advance’
in the end of your letter.

viii)  Signature: You should sign your first
and last names at the bottom left corner of the letter.  You can use words like ‘Yours
faithfully’ or ‘Yours sincerely’ above your signature.

ix) You letter should be clear and concise to avoid any kind of
miscommunication. You should not fill your letter with too many facts or
arguments. If you want to address more than one pressing issue, then write
about each in a different paragraph.

x) The tone of your language should convey confidence and sincerity
without making you seem verbose. You should also be persuasive by stating clear
actions to be taken by the reader.

xi) At the end, go through your letter once to correct spelling or
grammar mistakes (if any).

xii) This question carries 15 marks. You should not spend more than 15
minutes for the same.

topics for business letter writing (You can use these topics to practice letter
writing) :

a) Write a complaint
letter to a bank’s Branch Manager about the inordinate delay in opening of a
savings account.

b) As the Branch
Manager of a bank, write a letter to the Head Office requesting setting up of
an ATM in the branch’s premises.

c) Write a letter to a
bank’s Branch Manager about the delay in remittance of funds from your savings
bank account to so-and-so person’s account in another bank.

d) Write a letter to
the Branch Manager about unavailability of 500 rupee notes in its XYZ branch’s

e) Write a letter to
your bank about the procedure for applying personal loan, requesting details
like rate of interest, time period, EMIs and documents to be submitted for the

f) As you have
completed B.Com (Banking and Insurance), write a letter to a higher official in
an insurance firm applying for a suitable job.

g) Write a letter to a
bank’s Branch Manager to complain about the inordinate delay in
proceeding of your loan application.


An essay is a comprehensive argument on a topic
which reflects the author’s knowledge and the direction of his/her thoughts.
Essay writing is a very important question asked in the descriptive test as it
is worth 35 marks. Let’s now understand the three important steps of essay
writing: selection of a topic, structure of the essay and writing of the essay.

i) Selection of topic: While selecting a
topic for the essay, take a few minutes to carefully go through the given
different topics and form a rough outline based on your knowledge of the same.
Choose a topic about which you have maximum knowledge. Spend no more than 2-3
minutes to select the topic.

ii) Structure of essay: Without the right
structure, it is difficult to effectively convey facts, opinions and your
personal stand on the issue. Ideally, your essay should comprise three parts:
Introduction – Body –

iii) Devote time to think about your topic with a clear and focused mind.
Try to recollect information and list out points related to the topic. Now, go
through them to evaluate their relevance to the topic.

iv) Introduction: The introductory paragraph
is important as it helps to attract and hold the reader’s attention. You should
make the examiner curious about what s/he is going to read further in the
essay. You can also mention a brief background of major facts related to your
essay topics.

v) Body: This is the most crucial part of
your essay because it provides in-depth analytical arguments for every point
you wish to elaborate in the essay. This is where you can present your
knowledge of the topic, analytical ability and assessment of ideas. You can
structure the body of your essay by presenting your arguments, facts &
figures. These arguments will present your random given opinions. The stand you
take must be mature, rational and pragmatic. Ideally, you should not take
extreme stands on topics. For ex. ‘All criminals must be shot dead’.
You should not use such opinions in your essay as they contradict with
fundamental right of Indian citizens. (Article 21)

vi) Conclusion: The conclusion gives the
examiner an insight into your final stance and assessment as regards different
angles of the topic thus far discussed in the essay. Conclusion should
generally make the reader agree with your point of view. You conclusion must
follow the argument presented in the body of your essay.

vii) Language: Your language should be simple
and should enable the essay to have a seamless flow. It is essential to
maintain correct grammar and usage of words, a well-balanced tone and subtle
formality while conveying your ideas.

viii) Your essay should not have
an overly negative tone. Remember, your line of thought should be positive and
solution-centric. Also do not get personal while writing the essay. After completing
your essay, proofread it to eliminate grammatical and spelling errors.

Given below is a
list of probable essay topics:

a) Indo-Pak dialogue: The road ahead

Delhi’s odd-even
rule: A success or failure

RBI Norms

India’s changing
banking scene: Payments banks and small finance banks

Inflationary trends in India

COP21: What did India gain?

g) Recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission

Lodha Committee report on BCCI

The ideal Budget-2016/ What to
expect from Budget-2016/ Your Wishlist from Budget-2016

Role of Bank PO in Banking

Recent collapse in stock market

67th Republic Day of India : A
mile stone.

General Tips:

The online descriptive test is
conducted to test candidates knowledge & ability communicate. Therefore,
you should have a good practice of reading and writing as it will not only help
you to grasp the topics quickly but also to use your imaginative skills and
prior knowledge to write a decent essay and business letter.

Keep abreast of the latest
developments of national and international importance. Also, topics related to
banking awareness may help you write the essay. You should be able to combine
factual knowledge with your opinion to write an effective essay. 

Simple facts and procedure
related to day-to-day bank activities will prove beneficial while writing the
business letter.

Most importantly, you should
have a good typing speed as this test requires you to type out an essay and a
letter within a short amount of time. Candidates who are not much experienced
in using the keyboard should immediately start working on their typing skills.

Descriptive Test Cut-offs:

qualifying in the objective test (in individual sections as well as the overall
test) will be eligible for the descriptive test. The cut-off required to clear
the online descriptive test will be decided by the bank based on the
performances of candidates.

Start preparing for this exam as soon as you
can. These strategies and tips given in this article will help you prepare
well, clear the exam and progress to the interview round. If you have any
queries regarding the SIDBI Officers Grade ‘A’ exam, feel free to post
them in the comment section below. We are here to guide & help you.

Best of Luck!!!

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