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Descriptive Writing for SBI Associates PO - How to Start Preparation

Published on Tuesday, October 14, 2014
The upcoming SBI Associates PO will have a 50 marks Descriptive Writing paper; these precious 50 marks could be the deal maker – neglecting descriptive paper is not wise at all, specially when one could easily score somewhere between 30-40 with nothing but sincere interest and a little bit of planning.
descriptive paper

Here we are attempting competitive exams, our goal is to be better than the competition, and trust me, what better way to show that than through the descriptive paper!

In MCQs quality of an answer does not get checked, it only evaluates objectively, you’re either wrong in giving the answer to Meghalaya’s new Governor or right. Anyone and everyone who reads current affairs magazines religiously can do it. That is why SBI conducts the descriptive papers, through which they attempt to short list those candidates who have the quality along with the quantity!

Paper pattern 

  • Precis writing
  • Letter writing
  • Paragraph writing
  • Short essay
  • Reading comprehension
  • Report writing

All these different types of writings have their own set of specific dos and don’ts, but today we’re going to learn some basic ways or methods to go about writing the descriptive paper, common for all the above mentioned types of questions.

The Central Idea

Every literary composition will have one central idea; in other words there’ll always be one topic on which the entire paragraph, or a letter, or an essay or a summary will be based on. Identify that central idea; encompass it while answering any question, as your composition needs to based on that.


One is never too old to use pencils! Human brain works at a very fast pace, but memory can be fickle and lazy, more so when we are already tensed and sweating in the exam hall! Thus we need to put our brainwaves in writing, so that we can easily remember all of them when we actually begin writing our composition.

Here comes the use of the trusty old pencil – jot down your ideas in short hand in the margins as soon as it comes to your mind. Then go about seeing the whole picture in the words you've jotted down – decide which point is more important and should come first, which should be highlighted, which should be left out etc. This way you can organize your ideas and thoughts properly and put them into words, and impress the examiner with your collected thoughts and intelligence! 

Oh, but please remember to erase your ‘jotted down brainwaves’!


Precision is required in every field, why should a 10 mark letter writing question or an essay be any different? 

We need to show the examiner that we are mature adults, with organized and structured intelligent point of views and ideas. Beating around the bush, unnecessarily using meaningless sentences to get the word count will only result in very less marks. 

Be precise, systematic and to the point – i.e. write on and about the central idea and do not deviate from it.

Flowery language 

Flowery language is best used when writing love poems! Use simple, regular English words when writing your composition. 

Remember your ideas are being evaluated along with your ability to write and express the said ideas in English; you do not get points for using long, complicated, and complex words. 


Oh, Deer! Or, was it ‘Dear’? Madam or Madame? Program or programme? Opportuinity or opportunity? The dilemma never ends! We understand – but unfortunately there are no shortcuts here. Learn the words along with the spellings. 

If in exam you’re confused with the spelling of a particular word, try using another synonymous word, the spelling of which you know. And if you’re not able to remember an easy synonym, try re-writing the sentence without using the word but keeping the idea of what you want to express intact.

Worst case scenario – pray that the examiner does not notice or doesn't know that spelling as well!

Sentences and syntax

Try avoiding long and winding sentences. When we write long sentences there are chances we might end up muddling up the tenses and straying away from the point. 

We should always make an effort to write short precise sentences with correct grammar.


We are trying to express our ideas, but do we have to be boring the examiner? No! The examiner is reading hundreds of papers with the same topics; we need to give him something interesting to read! 

We should write our answers in such a way, using such words, constructing our sentences in a manner that would interest the reader and impress him.


Try to use some original ideas instead of the same old matter being published in the descriptive writing magazines. Every one is reading those magazines, and everyone will probably use those ideas and words and everyone’s answers will look the same. We need to stand out. We need to put down our own ideas, because that’s what they want to see, and not somebody else’s ideas and words.


Easy topics does the job just fine. Choosing difficult topic just to give the impression to be more intelligent than the rest and not supplementing that with your written words is nothing but inviting disaster. Chose the topic you can naturally write on without any difficulty. They don’t want heavy intellectual thinkers and Salman Rushdies ; they want intelligent and practical employees. Chose the one in which you can showcase your best and leave out all the rest.


Time management is important. Don’t give too long to any particular question and attempt all.

And lastly,


We need the examiner to be able to actually read what we've written, how else will he mark us!? Our handwriting should be legible; not too big or spaced out to use up the lines (that trick never works) and not too small to give the impression we've written a lot (examiners actually read the answers).

Use a good pen, one that doesn't leak or blot the paper. A blue ink which is not very dark is preferable as it is considered to be easy on the eye and helps the reader.

Avoid scratching words or sentences, and if we need to scratch out, don’t make a complicated 3-D diagram on the words, a simple line across the word or sentence (like this) should give the examiner the idea! Please remember a clean piece of work with a pleasant handwriting adds to the appeal of your painstakingly written English descriptive paper.

Think we covered the 101s, next up we’ll go through the nuances of writing each type of descriptive questions. Till then love English, it’ll love you back

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About Me

Ramandeep Singh

Ramandeep Singh - Educator

I'm Ramandeep Singh, your guide to banking and insurance exams. With 14 years of experience and over 5000 successful selections, I understand the path to success firsthand, having transitioned from Dena Bank and SBI. I'm passionate about helping you achieve your banking and insurance dreams.

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