RBI assistant prelim exam 2017: 25 tips to ace the English section

Last year, the passage for reading and comprehension was story-based. If that is the case this year as well, it would be slightly easier for candidates

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) assistant preliminary examination is a national-level exam conducted annually to recruit candidates for posts of assistant in various offices of India’s apex bank. The RBI Assistant 2017 preliminary examination is scheduled for November 27 and 28, 2017, and the English language section been one of the many challenges for the aspirants. However, if you can get the basics right you’ll be able to crack this section easily. There will be 30 questions of 30 marks in the English language section. The question-wise distribution of topics is sorted below.

•Reading Comprehension – 8 questions

•Cloze Test – 7 questions

•Error spotting, sentence Improvement – 10 questions

•Fill in the blanks – 5 questions

•Para-jumbles – 5 questions

Note: The numbers mentioned above are based on previous years’ exams and might vary in the actual exam.

The English section in the recent IBPS PO 2017 prelims took candidates by surprise. The difficulty level was high. The error spotting questions were of a new type although the general method of solving them was the same. The options were changed, and these surprise elements led to candidates spending more time on these questions than they would have anticipated. Instead of the traditional type where one had to identify errors in a sentence the candidates had to choose a combination of sentences without errors.

The RC passages were also not easy with some indirect questions although there was relief in the form of four to five vocabulary based questions. The phrase replacement questions had one part of a sentence in bold which had to be replaced with better options.

Below are a few tips on how to improve your English preparation for the upcoming RBI Assistant 2017 – preliminary examination.

Reading comprehension

This section is likely include passages related to banking and economy, finance, business, demonetisation, financial policies, economy and more. The level of questions is moderate to tough. Last year, the passage was story-based. If that is the case this year as well, it would be slightly easier for candidates. Few tips for reading comprehensions are mentioned below that will come handy:

1.Choose the topic you are most comfortable with

2.Work out synonym-antonym questions first as these are straightforward and less time-consuming

3.The first few sentences of RC passage gives the major hint for the entire text. Also, the first question will be from the first few sentences and so on.

4.Always stick to the passage while answering questions from RC.

Cloze test

Could have tricky questions. The options given could be quite confusing so here are a few tips to sort things out:

5.Use eliminate options to attempt these questions. List out all the options and use the one that seems most suitable. Think of words that fit the context of the entire passage.

6.Pick questions with commonly used words so that you can build a connect and attempt the question.

7.Concentrate on the tone while attempting the answer – does it have humour? Pick the answer accordingly.

8.Get well versed with grammar rules and sentence structuring.

Error spotting and sentence improvement

Error spotting and sentence improvement are both based on grammar rules and its usage in sentences. Few tips for this topic are:

9.The verb and the sentence must comply with the subject of the sentence. For example: a singular subject will go with singular verb and a plural subject with plural verb.

10.Two or more singular subjects connected by ‘and’ usually go with a verb in the plural.

11.When the subjects are joined by ‘or’, ‘nor’ the verb agrees in person with the nearest one.

12.Try elimination option here as well. Read the sentence and eliminate parts that require no improvement to reach the correct answer.

Fill in the blanks

You can get a good score in this section if your answers are correct. Here’s what you need to do:

13.Recognise the logical structure of a sentence and pay attention to what is required.

14.Basic grammar rules come handy. Example: If the article ‘an’ comes before the blank, the answer must begin with a vowel.

15.At times, the answer might not be a commonly used word but a synonym. Example: She is reticent to express herself in front of her family. (reticent is a synonym of reluctant).

16.Read between the lines. This can be mastered with practice.


Though considered difficult, this section can actually help you score well. There is no straightforward approach to solving para-jumbles. However, here are few tips that will be helpful.

17.Look for the introductory sentence where a person, place, concept is being introduced. This will be the opening sentence of the paragraphs.

18.Use articles to spot the opening sentence. While the article ‘a’ or ‘an’ will be used to introduce a subject, ‘the’ will be used for something that is already introduced and therefore, cannot be the opening sentence.

19.Spot connectives like although, though, if, until etc. Sentences with these words will never be opening sentence.

20.Spot the central theme of the paragraph. This will help you gather pieces of the paragraph faster.

General tips to ace the English section

21.Read English newspapers every day to improve your vocabulary. You can rely on ‘The Hindu’ as recommended widely by experts.

22.Play word games and word search puzzles. This will also improve your command of the language.

23. Brush up your grammar.

24.Attempt topic-wise tests from online preparation platforms and analyse performance.

25.Time management is important. Allot 10-15 minutes to attempt the English section in the exam.