RBI Mains Question papers of 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 are given @bottom. (in pretty readable fonts. These are not those eye-stressing scanned papers.)

  1. RBI vs UPSC : Mains English paper
  2. Pattern
  3. Letter/Report/Memo writing
  4. Essay Writing
  5. Précis, Comprehension
  6. Vocabulary
  7. Appendix I: Previous Question Papers RBI Grade B Officer
  8. Appendix II: Free Study Material

RBI vs UPSC : Mains English paper

IN RBI Grade “B” Officer Phase II exam (henceforth called RBI Mains), you’ve to face a paper of English language and comprehension. First, let’s compare it with UPSC

RBI Mains English paper UPSC Mains Compulsory English paper (2012)
Every candidate has to give this paper Same
3 hours Same
100 marks 300 marks
Marks counted in final merit list Not counted, but you’ve to pass the paper.
Essay worth 500 words 300 words
(for compulsory English paper)
Précis Yes
Comprehension questions are based on the same precis paragraph They two provide different passages for precis and comprehension.
Grammar not asked Grammar questions are asked e.g. fill in the blank, active-passive, direct-indirect voice, sentence correction.
Vocabulary questions are based on the passage given for précis+comprehension. Vocabulary questions are ‘absolute’ (i.e. not asked from the passage), they just give you a term and you’ve to write its synonym/antonym.
Letter and report writing is asked not


In the RBI Mains English paper, usually the pattern is like following:

Topic Marks
Essay 40
Précis 24
Comprehension + vocabulary based on the passage 16
Letter/Report writing 20
Total marks 100

Let’s start looking at previous questions and the approach

Letter/Report/Memo writing

Let’s take a look @Questions asked in Previous RBI Exams:


Attempt any one of the following in about 250 words, 20 marks.


  1. Draft a brief investigative report as Assistant Manager, on your findings about the recent instances of conflict among your junior staff members, Recommend solutions.
  2. You have been asked to draft a proposal to sponsor a sports event for specially disabled children on Republic Day, Draw up the proposal.
  3. Offer financial advice to a party that has come in to explore investment avenues. Point out the benefits of investing in Mutual, Funds rather than Fixed Deposits.


  1. On behalf of the employees of your bank, draft a representation to the management asking for improvements in infrastructure for bettor work performance.
  2. Draft a proposal to disburse funds and relief material to the flood hit victims of Bihar
  3. Imagine yourself to be the Governor of the Reserve Bank. What measures would you adopt in the present financial crisis?


  1. A car manufacturer has appointed a committee to investigate the feasibility of setting up a car manufacturing plant in India. As the Chairperson of the committee, draft your report with recommendations.
  2. As the MLA from a rural area, draft a proposal to start a Technical College in your area
  3. As the General Manager of a company, draft a circular to all employees about austerity measures to be adopted, in order to tide over the recession.


  1. Draft an investigative report on a fire that broke out in the accounts department last week. Suggest safeguards to handle such accidents in the future.
  2. Make a proposal on behalf of the employees to the General Manager of the R. B. I. on the need for some Yoga and Stress Management Programmes for the officers, twice a year to increase their efficiency. You are the H. R. Manager.
  3. With Corporates supporting social causes it is suggested that the R.B.I. can organize a Math’s Quiz with cash awards for underprivileged children. As General Manager put your ideas forward to the Head Office.


  1. Indian households have savings of above 30%— one of the highest in the world. A Committee has been constituted to suggest various financial products where these savings can be invested with a view to protecting the principal from inflation and also to give positive and real returns. Draft the Committee Report.
  2. Commuting to office during peak hours has become an ordeal particularly in large cities. This is affecting the efficiency of the employees. As the HR Manager draft a proposal to be sent to RBI for introducing flexible working hours in the bank. Highlight the salient features of flexi-time and how it would enhance efficiency at workplace.
  3. RBI had issued a Notification directing commercial banks against lending more than 80% of the value of the property for loans above Rs. 20 lakhs. The President of the Association of Real Estate Developers of India has written to RBI stating that this move does not bode well for developers as it may lead to drop in home sales. On behalf of RBI write a suitable reply to be sent to the President of the Association. Impress upon the real estate developers that the notification is aimed at curbing speculation in the market and not at affecting home sales.

How to prepare for Letter / Memo / Report Writing?

  • for the basic principles/rules: refer to the IGNOU+NIOS material. (download links @bottom)
  • Read English newspaper on daily basis, particularly the economy section, letters to editor and columns to get additional ideas/fodder points.
  • practice writing a few reports on your own @home

Essay Writing

Let’s take a look @Questions asked in Previous RBI Grade B Exams:


Write an argumentative essay of about 500 words on any one of the following. 40 marks.


  1. Has the virtual workplace become a reality?
  2. Health insurance and wealth!
  3. Laptops for notebooks, what next in schools?
  4. In the Light of the popularity of ODIs and 20 x 20s has Test Cricket a future?
  5. What’s wrong with the SEZ policy?


  1. What went wrong in Singur?
  2. The Role of Media in a Crisis.
  3. The Nuclear Deal.
  4. The Future of Peace in India.
  5. Can we host the Olympics?


  1. Is China a threat to India?
  2. The 2008 recession was a myth in India.
  3. Can we leave the world a safer place for the next generation?
  4. Formal education is the only way to success in life?
  5. Business Schools more business than school?


  1. Does Politics need Ethics?
  2. Cricket unites the World!
  3. Do Growth and Inflation go together?
  4. Is Environment our Social Responsibility?
  5. Travel and Tourism is a booming business.


  1. Can technology bring about economic growth with social justice?
  2. Has the RBI succeeded in curbing inflation?
  3. Can we have a corruption-free sobriety?
  4. Has the economic balance of power tilted eastwards?
  5. Is social ‘net’ working a blessing or a curse?

Essay: fundamental principles

  • Fundamental principles remain same like UPSC Essay: spend the first few minutes on brainstorming the idea. Then rank those ideas, start writing essay: introduction >> body (+/- pros, cons) >> conclusion.
  • For more elaboration, read the earlier article on Essay writing Click Me

Essay: Grabbing the fodder points

book-spectrum essay

  • To write a decent essay, what you need is decent fodder points.
  • Essay can be on variety of topics, so ideally you need to keep reading newspapers, magazines, and some good books from library on regular basis.
  • After some months, you have good fodder points on almost every topic.
  • I’ve providing two things (in the appendix)
    1. Topicwise Huge list of essays, from previous UPSC, LIC etc exams. So you can practice them or atleast brainstorm for ideas about how to write them @home.
    2. IGNOU India democracy and Development zip file. This PDF set contains necessary fodder points to approach most of the social/democracy/Development etc. topics related essays.
  • there is no dearth of readymade essay books in the market, but that type of firefighting/desi jugaad, I don’t find it very helpful because such books are either outdated (only reprinted, not updated after 90s), and or don’t cover all the necessary topics. But still, if you want to refer to any books, you may use Spectrum Book of Essays

Précis, Comprehension

RBI provides only single passage and asks three types of questions from it

  1. précis for 24 marks
  2. Comprehension questions (and vocabulary) for 16 marks.
  3. =total 40 marks.
  • Previous RBI question papers for Mains English paper 1, are given in the appendix of this article. You’ll find the précis/comprehension questions in it.
  • For additional practice, I’ve also included last 16 years UPSC Mains compulsory English papers. Because they too contains précis/comprehension questions.
  • Other than that, Internet is full tips on précis, of just a google search away.


RBI asks vocabulary questions directly from the passage meant for comprehension. Just like SBIPO. And Unlike UPSC Mains English or SSC CGL.

How to prepare vocabulary?

  • Download free software called “WordWeb”: http://wordweb.info/free/
  • It is also available for android phones, tablets etc. for free (links on the same site).
  • Read daily English newspaper, and whenever you come across any difficult word, note it down in a diary. Once you’ve a list of 10-15 words in your diary, open wordweb software, dig their meaning and note them down. Keep this habit, until you stop giving competitive exams.
  • It’s not like RBI will lift questions from it, but with this exercise you’ll be able to accurately guestimate the meanings in the exam hall.
  • + If you’re simultaneously preparing for SSC CGL or CAT, I’d suggest go through Word Power made easy by Norman Lewis

Appendix I: Previous Question Papers RBI Grade B Officer

RBI Mains Paper 1 English Papers

Click Me

RBI Mains Paper 2 Economic and Social Issues

Click Me

RBI Mains Paper 3 Finance and management papers

Click Me

RBI Prelims papers 2008 and 2010

Click Me

Appendix II: Free Study Material

  1. for précis, comprehension practice:
  2. Last 16 years’ UPSC papers of Compulsory English (1997-2012)
Click Me
  1. for Essay fodder points: IGNOU booklet India Democracy and Development (MPS-003)
Click Me
  1. For Letter/Memo/Report writing and business correspondence: IGNOU, NIOS material
Click Me
  1. for additional Essay practice: big list of mock topics
Click Me