[Studyplan] RBI Assistant exam, Topicwise booklist, strategy, Free studymaterial, previous years paper, cut offs

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  1. Scheme of the written exam
  2. Approach: General Awareness
    1. Economy and Banking
    2. Economy (theory)
    3. Economy (Current Affairs)
    4. Government schemes
    5. Misc. GK
    6. Current Affairs?
  3. Approach: Computer and IT awareness
  4. Approach English
  5. Approach Maths
    1. Maths: ignore these topics
    2. Maths: prepare these topics
  6. Approach: Reasoning
    1. #1: Chart based
    2. #2: coding n series
    3. #3: Math ops
    4. #4: Syllogism
    5. #5 Analogy, odd man
  7. Tips on Computer based Tests
  8. Pitfalls/ Things to avoid
  9. Avoid jholachhap Publications
  10. Appendix: Free download studymaterial

Scheme of the written exam

  • will be conducted on computer
  • sectional cutoffs = yes
  • negative marking= yes (1/4)
Name of Tests (Objective)No of QuestionsMaximum MarksTotal Time
General Awareness40402 Hours
Computer knowledge4040
  • previous year’s paper uploaded here click me
  • job profile, cutoffs already given click me

Approach: General Awareness

From the 2012’s paper we can see that, GA involves following areas:

  1. Economy and banking (theory, current)
  2. Few Government schemes.
  3. Misc. GK (persons in news, sports, awards, books, authors etc.)
  4. Current affairs, mostly based on International events (summits, deals, treaties etc.)

History, polity, geography are absent or rarely asked. (Similar situation in LIC exams).

from 2012’s paper we can see that

Economy related topicsbanking5
Current affairs related to Economy3
GK related to Economy2
Current affairsGovernment  schemes5
International events5
Misc. GKawards3
books, authors2
misc science related2
Final total40

Economy and Banking

Economy (theory)

  1. NCERT Class 10, 11 and 12 textbooks on Economy. (for class 12, you may skip microeconomics.)
  2. NIOS Economy material

^free download links in appendix.

  1. a lot of theoretical concepts regarding banking and economy, SLR, CRR, Repo, reverse etc. have been explained in my old articles: Mrunal.org/economy

There is no need for “Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh” specially for RBI assistant exam alone, because questions won’t be of that high difficulty. (by the way, those who are planning to buy that book, wait for a few days because they’re coming up with a new 5th edition.)

Economy (Current Affairs)

  1. a lot of economy related current affairs covered in my old articles: Mrunal.org/economy
  2. In the market, truckload of books for “economy current affairs” etc. but they go in to lot trivial data, hence giving diminishing rate of return. although from competitive magazines, do refer the important things like appointment of RBI dy. governors, chiefs of various banks, merges of banks, entry of new player in banking sector, FDI limits etc. ( for more, scroll down and read the paragraph titled “current affairs?”)

Government schemes

Most of them already covered under

HealthcareClick me
EducationClick me
SC, ST, OBCClick me
WomenClick me

Misc. GK

This is infinite, there is no end to stupid awards, books and events. Anyways, here are some compilations:

Space, satellite, NASA, ISRO relatedClick me
Defense relatedClick me
Persons in news, books, authors, sports.Click me

Please note: above compilations are upto March 2013 only. I may update them with latest stuff later, but right now busy with some other projects. So whatever happened after March 2013, you cover that up from other sources (competitive magazines etc.) + beyond a level this whole exercise starts giving diminishing rate of returns, put that effort in other areas of the exam (maths, reasoning, English) + sectional cutoff for GA is not going to be 40/40!

Current Affairs?

  • Hit the library, go through previous issues of any magazine that is available: Chronicle, Wizard, Banking Services Chronicle, CST, Pratiyogita.
  • In all such magazines, first 30-40 pages are devoted to current affairs (rest is just filler material).
  • In these first 30-40 pages, you get current updates regarding National, international events, science-tech, defense, books-authors-persons in news etc.
  • Note down the important facts for MCQs, in loose papers. come back home, file those loose papers. (this way, when new things happen in upcoming months, you can easily update your file. if you write in notebook or diary then it becomes cumbersome to insert new details.)
  • Reason for this exercise: You’ll need this data for any other exams you appear (IBPS, SSC etc.). So always maintain your own notes for current affairs, for ready and rapid revision for any exam.

Approach: Computer and IT awareness

  • From the last year’s paper, we can see they mostly ask routine stuff: software, hardware, OS, MS-office, internet-email-networking and security.
  • If you already have some book for Computer (from Kiran, Arihant, BSC, GKP etc), that’s well and good. Read, revise it multiple times.
  • If you don’t have any book on computer then no need to buy a book because….
  • NIOS (National open school) runs various courses on Computer/IT/Web-design/Software programming and provides free PDF files.
  • Earlier, for SBI PO exam  I had already compiled the important and exam-relevant chapters from courses of  NIOS. Free download links in appendix of this article.  (Please note: some chapters would overlap but content and coverage is still quite good. and secondly, the difficulty level of SBI PO computer questions was higher- they even ask minor things from HTML, programming, database  Management etc. but for RBI assistant, you don’t need to prepare in that depth.)
  • After you have finished the syllabus, solve the computer section from old bank clerk/ IBPS papers.

Approach English

From 2012’s paper

ComprehensionVocabulary Qs Based on Passage5
Questions based on Passage5
Fill in the blanks (FIB)Sentence based FIB5
Paragraph based FIB10
Sentence Correction10
Sentence Arrangement5
  • Approach to English remains similar in all Bank, LIC, SSC exams: what differs is the difficulty level of grammar and comprehension + complexity of vocabulary.
  • For vocabulary, unlike SSC CGL, it doesn’t require exhaustive or exclusive preparation as such.
  • For comprehension, and Sentence arrangement = do maximum practice from old question papers of Bank clerk/ IBPS and SSC
  • For sentence correction  / spot the errors / fill in the blanks: first understand the rules from grammar book and then do maximum practice for old papers of SSC, IBPB etc.
  • For grammar book, If you already have grammar book (R.S.Agarwal, A.P.Bhardwaj) etc. use it. If you don’t have any book, I suggest you go for objective general English by SP Bakshi (Arihant Publication).

Approach Maths

Here, RBI assistant exam follows similar pattern of IBPS Bank clerk. That means first dozen or so questions based on BODMAS, to check your calculation speed. for example

  1. 65% of 654 – ? % of 860 =210.1
    1. 25
    2. 15
    3. 20
    4. 30
    5. None of these

To improve your speed and accuracy for such questions, do following

  1. First understand the rules of BODMAS, surds and indices from NCERT (free download link @bottom)
TopicNCERT chapter
Simplification (BODMAS)NCERT Class 8 Chap 1
Surds, indicesNCERT Class 8 Chap 12, Then NCERT Class 9 Chap 1
Roots, squares, CubesBasics from NCERT Class 8 Chap 6 and 7.
  1. Understand this two-digit long division technique explained here click me
  2. Understand the Trachtenberg’s method for multiplication, especially for 5,9 and 11. plenty of articles on google, start with this one: click me
  3. Then practice maximum questions from previous years’ IBPS/Bank papers.

(There is no harm in learning Vedic maths techniques either but I find Trachtenberg’s speed maths more user-friendly and convenient than Vedic maths.)

continuing the discussion on preparation of quantitative aptitude:

Maths: ignore these topics

  1. trigonometry
  2. Geometry theory except the area, volume, perimeter (AVP).
  3. coordinate geometry
  4. quadratic equations
  5. logarithms

Maths: prepare these topics

Number theory
  • Divisibility, remainders
  • LCM and HCF
  • Unknown numbers from given conditions
  • Fractions-comparisions.
  • my article explaining the concept of HCF, LCM click me
  • NCERT Class 7 Chap 2, 9 (fraction)
  • NCERT Class 10 Chap 1 (divisibility)
  • Finally practice sums from your Quantitative aptitude book.
AlgebraLinear equation
  • “Mother’s age was x and daughters age..”“3 mangos and 5 bananas purchased for…”
  • X+1/2x+3=3/8 then find X.
  • ^This type of stuff. Just practice and you’ll get a hang of it.
  • Basics given in NCERT Class 8 Chap 2 and 9.
  • Then NCERT Class 9 Chap 4
  • Lastly NCERT Class 10 Chap 3.
Avg and RatiosWine-Water mixture (Alligations)Can be solved without formula. read this article click me
Simple AverageJust practice sums from your quantitative aptitude book.
Ratio-Proportion-variationsFor ratio-proportion NCERT Class 8 Chap 13.
PartnershipCan be solved without formula. read this article, click me
  1. Time speed distance
  2. Trains, platforms
  3. Boats-streams
  4. Time and Work
  5. Pipes and Cisterns
All of them can be solved effortlessly, with just one Universal STD formula.
Explained in various articles of  Mrunal.org/aptitude
MensurationArea, Volume, Perimeter
  • Basics explained in NCERT Class 8 Chap 3, 11.Then NCERT Class 9 Chap 9, 12, 13.
  • Lastly NCERT Class 10 Chap 13
%Profit, loss, market price, discount
  • how to solve without formulas: explained here click me
Simple interest (SI), compound interest (CI), population growth
  • how to solve without formulas, explained here click me
  • Once this is done, practice maximum questions from your quantitative aptitude book (RS Agarwal, Sarvesh Kumar, Rajesh Verma, M.Tyra) and or previous IBPS/Bank papers.
  • Maintain a diary of mistakes, so whatever shortcuts you discover or whatever mistakes you make while practicing sums, note them in this diary. and refer to this diary in night before exam.
  • Also depending on time and mood; prepare permutation, combination, probability, arithmetic progression. (they’re not “priority topics”).

Approach: Reasoning

the Recommended Book is as usual: RS Aggarwal’s Modern Approach to verbal and non-verbal reasoning. Then the question is, how to prepare reasoning in systematic manner in the given time? Do it in following manner:

#1: Chart based

  • This includes: Direction sense test, Sitting arrangement (rectangle, circular, building, lecture schedules etc.) and blood relations.
  • I club them together because in all of them you’ve to make rough diagram / chart / table to solve it.
  • Here is the order in which they should be prepared:
Sr.NoTopicRS Aggarwal Chapter No.
1.Direction Sense Test.8
2.Sitting arrangement: circular6
3.Sitting arrangement: rectangle6
4.Sitting arrangement: “table” based e.g. lecture schedules, job-car-cloth color, building-car-newspaper etc.6
5.Blood relations5,6

#2: coding n series

Sr.NoTopicRS Aggarwal Chapter No.
2.Alpha-numeric sequence puzzle11

#3: Math ops

 Sr.NoTopicRS Aggarwal Chapter No.
1.Math ops13
3.Dictionary based arrangement10

I club these together, because in each of them you’re given some instructions and if you follow those instruction carefully then you can get answer without mistake. It doesn’t require any trial and error (unlike the coding-decoding type).

#4: Syllogism

“All cats are dogs,…” statement and conclusion. Usually a set of 3-5 questions. First Understand the UP-UN method explained here click me

  • Then solve all the questions given in RS Agarwal’s book Section II, Chapter 1 : Logic.
  • In assistant level exam is unlikely to ask 3 statement or 4 statement syllogism, so not much point in dwelling into that.

#5 Analogy, odd man

Sr.NoTopicRS Aggarwal Chapter No.
2.Oddmen out3 (chapter title is “Classification”)

Analogy and odd men can be of two types:

  1. Word based.
  2. Number based.

If it is word based, you don’t need pen and paper, you can solve it in your head and proceed.

If it is number based, then depending on your proficiency (and luck) it may be very easy question for example

  1. Find odd man: 13,17,21,23.  (ans. 21 because it is not a prime number). So this is quick and easy.

But at times it can be difficult and may require lot of trial and error for example

  1. 182::?::210::380. Find “?”.

^in this case, you may or may not be able to see the pattern immediately. It may take you five seconds, it may take 5 minutes. Therefore, My advice is that during the computer test, whenever you come across such questions, you click the “Mark/review” button, proceed to other questions and then solve these marked questions at the end of the exam.

Once above chapters are finished is done, time for the peripheral topics from RS Agarwal’s book viz.

  1. Non-verbal reasoning (although 2012’s paper didn’t have It but it won’t hurt practicing a few questions).
  2. input output (ch. 7 of RS Agarwal)
  3. Eligibility test (ch. 18 of RS Agarwal.)

Also solve the reasoning section from old papers of IBPS/Bank/LIC.

Tips on Computer based Tests

  • As per the notification, RBI assistant exam will be held online (=via computer, just like CAT, GMAT, LIC ADO, AAO etc. exams)
  • In the pen-paper based test, if you don’t know answer to a particular question, you could mark it in the question paper, or write its question number at the end of question paper (in the rough space). And at the end of the exam, you’ll review that question and try to solve it again.
  • In the computer based test, they also provide same facility.
  • Under every question there is button for “mark/review”.  I suggest you goto following page and see how computer based test (CBT) “looks and feels”


  • You must make efficient use of mark/ review button. There are two ways to do it (whichever works fine for you).



  1. In the beginning, don’t solve any question. Just read all questions (1,2,3…)and click on “mark” button on the questions that you can solve confidently.
  2. Then goback to home page /index on your computer screen and click on “review all marked questions”.
  3. Then you start solve those marked questions one by one.
  1. Start solving questions one by one in the series (1,2,3..) if any questions is totally un-solvable then ignore it and proceed to next question.
  2. but if any question is “sitter” type (that means, it can be solved but it’ll require lot of time or trial n error). E.g. some tough question on code-decoding, or number based analogy.
  3. In that case mark all the “sitter” questions. and once you’ve finished the paper, goback to homepage/index and click on review all marked.

GA: Mark n Review

  • Don’t put GA (General awareness) question on “mark n review”. Reason: if you don’t know the answer for a general awareness question on the first time reading, there is very low chance that you can solve it by “mark and review” (unlike mathematics or reasoning question). Here in GA question, you’ll just waste time in mark-n-review, and in the worst case, your mind will seduce you into ticking some wrong answer just to overcome to the imaginary cutoffs.

Comprehension: Mark n Review

  • Suppose, after reading the paragraph, you’ve to answer five question and suppose You can answer only 3 question. Remaining two question are difficult. Now you decide to put other two on “mark and review”.
  • Problem= when you come back to review the same question at the end of exam, the passage would have evaporated from your head, and you’ll need to re-read the whole passage again just for those two question =lot of time wasted. Therefore, solve all Comprehension questions at once after reading the passage, if you can’t solve any, then just leave it, don’t come back later for mark n review.
  • ^Same advice for “sets” based on sitting arrangement, blood relation etc. Because if you mark any 1-2 question for review, you’ll have to re-read the whole description to make a new chart on sitting arrangement.

Pitfalls/ Things to avoid

  1. Don’t live in any fantasy world, day dreaming or overconfidence that just because I’ve cracked xyz exam earlier so this is a pappu exam for me. Competition is merciless, reading-revision is necessary, otherwise you’ll become a rusted gun that doesn’t fire smoothly on the battlefield.
  2. Avoid overconfidence that I know everything about English. For sentence correction, sentence improvement, one must revise the grammar rules.
  3. When you’re not doing anything else, just keep solving maths-reasoning questions from whatever book, old paper you can find. TV, Facebook, friend’s wedding and everything else is unimportant.

Avoid jholachhap Publications

Whenever large scale vacancies come, it is Diwali time for jholachhap publications in North India. Market is flooded with “readymade guide books” for RBI assistant, insurance assistant etc. Please avoid them, reasons are following

  1. They don’t cover topics in comprehensive manner. Chapters are merely assembled like “Desi-jugaad”. If after 15 days another vacancy for EPFO assistant comes, they’ll just copypaste same thing and change the title cover.
  2. Competition is high, so despite best preparation you might not clear the exam, so then you would want to apply for another IBPS, LIC, SSC etc. But you can’t buy new book for every exam, that’s waste of time and money. Therefore, So as far as maths, reasoning and English is goes, use the standard books that have universal utility in all such exam: IBPS, Banks, LIC, SSC, PSUs.

RSObjective EnglishFasttrack

Appendix: Free download studymaterial


  1. NIOS study material for Economy
click me
  1. NCERT Class 10 Economics
Click me
  1. NCERT Class 11 Economy book
click me
  1. NCERT Class 12 Macroeconomics. (their microeconomics= not good cost benefit ratio for the given exam).
click me


  1. NIOS study material for Computer and IT
click me


NCERT Mathematics Class 8click me
NCERT Mathematics Class 9click me
NCERT Mathematics Class 10click me
Blank Answersheet for practicing MCQSclick me

As usual, thanks Mr.csl80 for the inputs on this exam.

Mrunal recommends

  1. (free) NCERT, NIOS, TN-Books
  2. Environment by ShankarIAS
  3. Indian Polity M.Laxmikanth (Hindi | English)
  4. Art & Culture by Nitin Singhania (Hindi | English)
  5. Spectrum: Modern History (Hindi | English)
  6. Bipin Chandra: Post Independence
  7. Fast-track to Arithmetic Rajesh Verma
  8. MK Pandey’s Analytical Reasoning
  9. Disha’s Topicwise Paperset (Hindi | English)
  10. School Atlas
  11. Mains: Language papers
  1. (free) NCERT, NIOS, TN-Books 4 History,Geo,Sci
  2. Indian Polity M.Laxmikanth (Hindi | English)
  3. Spectrum: Modern History (Hindi | English)
  4. Maths: Quantam CAT Sarvesh Kumar
  5. Objective General English SP Bakshi
  6. Word Power made Easy -Norman Lowe
  7. Topic wise Solved Paperset by Disha

So far 351 Comments posted


    Hi all.
    I’m 27 years old.. I want to prepare for UPSC. Don’t have any previous prepn. Belongs to obc . Shall I dare to prepare for Upsc. Shall I join coaching at Delhi. I want to join clasees at Delhi.. KIndly guide me in detail about classes n all….



  3. aniket

    Should I Leave my job for preparation of rbi assistant exam. I am a Mechanical engg. And not able to give time to preparation.

  4. sanju

    above topic and syllabus are latest one to prepare for rbi assistant.????

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