Complete guide to prepare for Descriptive paper of SBI PO and Letter Tips

A lot of candidates are good at objective test but fear Descriptive paper. They are not able to make it to the interview due to bad performance in the Descriptive examination. To perform well in the descriptive examination, one need to have good grammar knowledge and Good vocabulary knowledge. Yes, Word power is very important, it will help you get new and appropriate words to express exact idea while writing article. Lets start on how to prepare for SBI PO Mains descriptive exam.

Pattern & Syllabus of the Descriptive Test: As per the notification for the SBI PO 2018 Exam

  1. The Descriptive Test will be of 30 mins duration with 50 marks.
  2. This Test will contain questions from Letter Writing & Essay topics.
  3. The Descriptive test will be conducted in online mode and candidates will have to answer the test by typing on the computer.

Now, the point is “How to prepare for the Descriptive Test”? For this, you have to devise a well-thought out exam strategy and prepare accordingly.
Now let’s discuss the topics covered in the descriptive test of SBI PO 2018 Exam: Letter Writing

Imagine that you write to a real friend of yours. Friends usually have names so address him/her with a name: begin the letter with Dear Janaki/ Tora /Revathi, etc. Begin your letter with some general statements. Refer to the letter you have received from your friend and thank him/her for it or apologise for the fact that you have not answered the last letter soon enough.

Use the proper register. The letter is supposed to be informal so you can use contractions, informal linking words like well, by the way, anyway, so, colloquial expressions, etc.

You can use more-conversation-like statements or questions in your letter: You know that I had this exam, right? You think he will be able to come to the party?
Use questions to ask about your friend – arrange the next meeting, send greetings to his/her friends and family, etc.
End your letter in informal way: Best wishes; Love; Regards.

Useful expressions: Usually in initial part of essay

  1. Thank you for your letter. It was nice to hear from you.
  2. Your last letter was a real surprise. It was so nice of you to remember about…
  3. Thanks a lot for the information you’ve sent me in your last letter.
  4. I’ve just received your letter. I’m so happy to hear that…
  5. I’m sorry I haven’t answered earlier but I was really busy with my school.
  6. I’m sorry I haven’t written for so long but…

In the end part

  1. Looking forward to hearing from you soon.
  2. Well, that’s all for now. Will talk to you soon.
  3. Give my regards to your Mummy.
  4. I hope we will be able to arrange a get-together.
  5. Do write back as I’m waiting for the news from you.

Q: You are spending your holidays in a very exciting place you have always wanted to visit. The people you travel with are really nice so you enjoy their companionship. Write a letter to your friend describing what you have been doing so far and what you still plan to do.
(ignore format because date and address i cannot write dates and other info here)

Dear Narendra Modi,
Thank you a lot for your last letter. It was a nice surprise to hear from you. I’m sorry I haven’t written to you earlier but I had to organise some things concerning my trip.
As you probably remember I’ve always wanted to visit some unusual places. And now, at last, off I went! But you’d never guess where I’ve chosen to spend my holiday. It’s on the snowy peaks of the Himalayas! You would never think of it, would you? I’m so excited about the whole event!
The people I travel with are incredible. It’s their fourteenth expedition there. They know every path in the snow by heart and they are very helpful. They share their knowledge and experience with me. Would you believe that here everything is different? You even need to set your tent in a special way. It’s all very challenging. Tomorrow we plan to move further North so I may not be able to stay in touch for a while.
Anyway, I’d like to meet you when I get back. Hope you are enjoying your holiday. Do write back soon.
Love, Arvinda Kejriwal

Business Letter Writing

Now we will come to know how to….
1. Grasp layout of business letters.
2. Learn how to write business letters.
3. Be familiar with styles of letters.

Brief Introduction

Business letters are the principle means used by firms or companies to keep in touch with their customers. They are sent to ask for or to convey information, to make or accept an offer, to deal with matters concerning negation of business and so on. Foreign trade personnel should not only understand but also be good at business letters.
Section 1 The Structure of Business letters

Generally speaking, an ordinary business letter mainly consists of seven parts

  1. Letterhead
  2. Reference and Date Line
  3. Inside Name and Address
  4. Salutation
  5. Letter Body
  6. Complimentary Closure
  7. Signature

Under some Circumstances more parts may be contained

  1. Attention Line
  2. Subject Line/Caption
  3. Reference Notation
  4. Enclosure/Encl.
  5. Carbon Copy Notation/CC
  6. Postscript/P.S.

The Essential Parts

(1) Letterhead
Letterheads include the essential particulars about the writer-his name and postal address, his telephone number, his telegraphic and telex addresses, the fax number and telegraphic codes used and even his website. Good quality paper and a neat, wellorganized letterhead combine to enhance the prestige of the firm that uses them.

(2) Reference and Date Line
The reference may include a file number, department code or the initials of the signer followed by the typist of the letter. They are marked “Our Ref.” and “Your Ref.” to avoid confusion. They are typed immediately below the letterhead.
The date should always be written in standard form: September 10, 2006, for example.
All number form (10/9/2006) should not be used. The date should be placed on the right-hand side for indented style and on the left-hand side for blocked style.

(3) Inside Name and Address
Generally, the inside name and address should include some or all parts of the following:

  • the receiver’s name and title, company name, street address, city-state/province, postcode and country. It appears on the left margin and usually starts two to four lines below the last line of the letterhead.

(4) Salutation
Two lines below the inside name and address of a letter is the salutation. The customary formal greeting in a business letter is “Dear Sir” or “Dear Madam” used for addressing one person; and “Dear Sirs”, “Dear Mesdames” or “Gentlemen” for addressing two or more people. If the receiver is known to the writer personally, a warmer greeting such as “Dear Mr. Smith” is preferred.

(5) Letter Body
This forms body of the letter and is the part that really matters. Before you begin to write, you must first of all consider the following two points.
What is your aim in writing this letter?
What is the best way to go about it?
Since the main purpose of the letter is to convey a message, the letter should be written in language that is easily understood. The following serves as reminders.

  • Write simply, clearly, courteously, grammatically and to the point;
  • Paragraph correctly, confining each paragraph to one topic;
  • Avoid stereotyped phrases and commercial jargon.

(6) Complimentary Closure
The complimentary closure ends a letter in a polite way. The main words in complimentary closure are as follows: sincerely, faithfully, cordially, respectfully and truly.
These words may appear in any of these combinations as “Yours sincerely” or “Sincerely yours”. The choice depends on the writer’s preference. It is usually placed two lines below the last line of the body of a letter.

(7) Signature
The writer’s signature consists of a handwritten signature and a typewritten signature. When typing a letter, leave three blank lines below the complimentary closure and type the signature identification and title on the fourth line. The writer’s signature should be placed between the complimentary closure and the typed signature.

(8) Attention Line
The attention line is used to name the specific individual the letter is addressed to. It is usually placed between the inside address and the salutation or within the inside address and centered over the body of a letter in the indented style.

The Optional Parts

(9) Subject Line/Caption
The subject line is the general idea of a letter. It is usually placed one or two lines below the salutation and centered over the body of a letter in the indented style.

(10) Reference Notation
The initials of the person who types the letter should appear in business letters. If the dictator’s name is not typed in the signature area, the reference notation shows the initials of both the dictator and the typist. It is placed two or three lines below the signature.

(11) Enclosure/Encl.
If something is enclosed, note it below the reference notation.

(12) Carbon Copy Notation/CC
If copies of a letter are sent to other parties, type CC below the enclosure.

(13) Postscript/P.S.
If the writer wishes to add something he forgets or for emphasis, he may usually add the postscript two lines below the carbon copy notation.


Essay writing is another essential part of the descriptive test. It involves organizing and structuring your thoughts and ideas. It requires good writing skills and imagination. Before writing an essay, plan your thoughts and ideas and put them on the paper in a very structured manner.

How to prepare for essay writing

  1. Make a habit of reading daily English Newspapers. This will improve your general awareness and help you in essay writing.
  2. Read articles and editorial columns of newspapers and try to write some of those articles in your own words in your notebook and also type out the same on your desktop or laptop.
  3. Always refer to the dictionary if you do not know the meaning of a word or when you are in doubt about any unfamiliar usage of a word.
  4. Reading and writing articles will help you in putting your ideas on paper and will ensure that you have good command over language.
  5. Buy books for essay writing and start your preparation. Write two essays daily on a regular basis.

Important points to keep in mind before writing an essay

  1. Please read the questions and instructions carefully, before you start writing any essay in the exam.
  2. Select the topic in which you are most confident and about which you have proper knowledge.
  3. Before you start writing your essay, note down all your ideas on a rough sheet.
  4. Also try to write your essay in three parts – Introduction, Subject and Conclusion.
  5. Always try to write in a simple and precise (to the point) manner.
  6. Do not repeat any sentence in the essay.
  7. Avoid spelling and grammar errors.

Note: Write a letter or essay in your notebook; then, type out the letter on your desktop or laptop. This will improve your writing skills and also improve your typing speed. questions and instructions carefully, before you start writing any essay in the exam.

  1. Select the topic in which you are most confident and about which you have proper knowledge.
  2. Before you start writing your essay, note down all your ideas on a rough sheet.
  3. Also try to write your essay in three parts – Introduction, Subject and Conclusion.
  4. Always try to write in a simple and precise (to the point) manner.
  5. Do not repeat any sentence in the essay.
  6. Avoid spelling and grammar errors.

Note: Write a letter or essay in your notebook; then, type out the letter on your desktop or laptop. This will improve your writing skills and also improve your typing speed.



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