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Introduction on Banking

First things first

  1. SBI has uploaded Halltickets/call letters for PO exam . If you’ve any problems / doubts then write email to “ This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  2. SBI has also uploaded the brochure for PO exam, it contains some mock questions (do solve all of them)
  3. And most important notices for Those who have never appeared in any Bank exams before:
    • Do remember your class 10, 12, graduation marks and annual family income. Because you’ve to fill up those details in the answersheet.
    • DONOT forget to bring one photo-identity proof e.g. voters’ id/ driving licence (and its photocopy) in the exam. Hall supervisor will take away the photocopy of your id proof.
    • DONOT forget to paste a recent passport sized photo on your call letter. Hall supervisor will take away your call letter also so also keep a photocopy of call letter @home for evidence/future reference.

Now coming to the topic of this article: how to prepare the English section (both objective and descriptive) for SBI PO exam.

In SBI PO, you face English in following areas

  1. Objective paper (MCQs): 50 out of 200 questions.
  2. Descriptive paper: 50 marks and 1 hour.

English Breakup: MCQs


SBI Asso.PO 2011

Rural PO 2010




Vocabulary (synonym, antonym)



Sentence correction



Fill in the blank



Sentence arrangement / sentence completion







English in SSC CGL vs SBI PO: Similarity

Both have questions on Sentence correction, Sentence arrangement and fill in the blanks, vocabulary.

English in SSC CGL vs SBI PO: Difference



In SSC CGL, the vocabulary is “absolute”, meaning they give you some word and ask you to find its synonym, antonym or fill in the blanks.

In SBI PO, some of the vocabulary is asked from the words/phrases given in the Reading comprehension passage.

In SSC CGL, there are exclusive questions from active/passive and direct/indirect speech.

Usually no

Exclusive questions on idioms and phrases

Usually no

Passages are bit more lengthy and complex than SSC

English Breakup: Descriptive (50 Marks)

From 2010’s Rural PO paper:





Letter writing

Any 1 out of given 3




Any 1 out of given 3




Any 1 out of given 3




1 passage



Reading comprehension

1 passage



Letter writing

Here is a list of letters asked in 2010’s SBI exams

  1. Write a letter to newspaper editor, expressing your concerns about adult graded cinema and its impact on youth.
  2. Write a letter to newspaper editor, to comment on the earlier article on environmental awareness and citizens’ duty to protect it.
  3. Write letter to your manager, seeking leave for attending family function
  4. Write letter to a student, giving tips on healthy study habits for board exam
  • As you can see the first and second letter are actually Essay topics.
  • How to prepare letter writing? Borrow some neighbourhood kid’s class 10/12’s English guidebook, see the standard format for letter writing (or google.)


For practice, use the UPSC (compulsory) English papers of past 16 years. Free download link in the appendix of this article.

Essay writing

Here is the list of essays asked in 2010’s SB PO exams

  1. My motherland
  2. Dowry deaths
  3. Blessings of science
  4. Socialism
  5. Features economic recession
  6. A Day when everything went wrong
  7. Media’s responsibility in molding public opinion
  8. Impact of interest rate change on economy
  9. Risks in Stock market trading.
  10. Banks are manufacturers of money

Why Essay is extremely important?

  • Don’t prepare Essay for the sake of descriptive paper, because you’ll have to face the same topics directly or indirectly during the Group Discussion (GD) and Personal Interview (PI) stage of SBI PO.
  • And GD+PI=50 marks.

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.

Essay: Grabbing the fodder points

  • 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, some good books from library on regular basis.
  • After some months, you have good fodder points on almost every topic.
  • But given that only few days are left before exam, such “ideal” approach is neither practical nor possible.

What is in the list?

  • I’ve compiled a list of essays from previous Bank Papers, LIC / other insurance exam papers, UPSC (from both compulsory English and regular Essay- papers), index of some essay books
  • This list is neither sacred nor exhaustive, but covers lot of the ground that needs to be covered, in terms of Essay / Group discussion for PO level competitive exams.
  • This list is broadly classified into following
    • Women empowerment
    • Economy related
    • Science-tech related
    • Globalization
    • Democracy, polity, freedom, development
    • India’s society, culture, media
    • Judiciary, law and order
    • Youth, education, sports
    • Philosophical / abstract topics and proverbs
  • Your task is to look at each of these essays, think in your head, brainstorm for ideas, “if this essay is asked, what will I write in it?”
  • If you’re positive that “yes I can write 250 words”=> then it is well and good.
  • If you can’t think of that much content, then dig google and gather fodder points.
  • Ofcourse 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.

Big list of Essay topics

Women empowerment

  1. Beauty Contests are an insult to womanhood
  2. Contribution of women in India’s freedom strugggle
  3. Do we need a Uniform civil Code in India?
  4. Do we need Women’s Reservation
  5. Dowry – A Curse
  6. Empowerment alone cannot help our women
  7. Female infanticide
  8. Gender Bias
  9. Greater political power alone will not improve women’s plight
  10. Growing Flexibility in Gender Roles of Men and Women
  11. Hardships of Working Women
  12. Honour Killings
  13. If women ruled the world
  14. Is India ready for a uniform civil code?
  15. Managing work and home – is the Indian working woman getting a fair deal ?
  16. Men have failed: let women take over.
  17. Problems of Working Women
  18. Role of Women in Nation Building
  19. Role of Women in Social Transformation
  20. Should the Rapist be Sentenced to Death ?
  21. The Culture of Modesty
  22. The hand that rocks the cradle
  23. The new emerging women power: the ground realities
  24. Violence against Women
  25. Whither women’s emancipation?
  26. Woman is god’s best creation
  27. Women empowerment: challenges and prospects
  28. Women entrepreneurs of India
  29. Women in Panchayati Raj institutions : Challenges and prospects
  30. Women need empowerment
  31. Women should have reserved seats in Parliament
  32. Women rights in India


  1. Banks are manufacturers of money
  2. Banking sector reforms in India
  3. Banking ombudsman
  4. Role of Banks in nation building
  5. Are trade unions relevant in Today’s world?
  6. Protection of ecology and environment is essential for sustained economic development
  7. Economic Liberalization—Challenges before India
  8. Privatisation of the Economy
  9. Private Sector versus Public Sector
  10. India’s Population and Its Economic Implications
  11. Transforming our Huge Population into Human Resource
  12. Development and Population Control
  13. Tourism : Potentials and Problems
  14. The Problems of a Huge Population
  15. From Brain Drain to Brain Gain
  16. Rise and Fall of Currency
  17. Employees Rights to Strike
  18. Proper Infrastructure for Growth
  19. The Problem of Unemployment in India
  20. inflation in India
  21. FDI in retail
  22. FDI will ruin the small scale industries of India
  23. Too many Holidays Hamper our Pace of Progress
  24. Poverty in India
  25. Indian Budget is a Gamble on the Monsoons
  26. In India when inflation rises govenance stalls.
  27. Features of economic recession.
  28. The risks of trading at the stock market.
  29. The impact of interest rate changes on the economy.
  30. IT sector boom in india.
  31. Globalization would finish small-scale industries in india.
  32. Economic growth without distributive justice is bound to breed violence.
  33. Ecological considerations need not hamper development.
  34. Multinational corporations – saviours or saboteurs
  35. Special economic zone : boon or bane
  36. Resource management in the Indian context.
  37. Should a moratorium be imposed on all fresh mining in tribal areas of the country?
  38. Are our traditional handicrafts doomed to a slow death?
  39. The focus of health care is increasingly getting skewed towards the ‘haves’ of our society.
  40. Urbanization is a blessing in disguise.
  41. Public-Private-Partnership
  42. Why are our farmers committing suicide?
  43. To feed our increasing population , forest areas need to be cleared to increase land area available for cultivation. Do you agree?
  44. Cottage industries
  45. Food security for sustainable national development
  46. Indian Budget is a Gamble on the Monsoons
  47. In India when inflation rises governance stalls.
  48. Features of economic recession.
  49. The risks of trading at the stock market.
  50. The impact of interest rate changes on the economy.
  51. Can India achieve Double digit GDP growth rate?
  52. IMF and World bank
  53. WTO
  54. Black Money: its social and economic impacts


  1. The masks of new imperialism.
  2. As civilization advances culture declines.
  3. The implications of globalization for India.
  4. My vision of an ideal world order.
  5. India’s contribution to world wisdom.
  6. The world of the twenty-first century.
  7. Preparedness of our society for India’s global leadership role.
  8. The global order: political and economic
  9. Good fences make good neighbors
  10. Terrorism and world peace
  11. India’s Defence Needs in a Technological Scenario
  12. United Nations—Role and Future
  13. On Good and Bad Neighbours
  14. India as a global power
  15. Is India a Soft State?
  16. Globalization and Multiculturalism
  17. India’s relations with its neighbors
  18. Relevance of United nations in Today’s world
  19. Consequences of globalization
  20. rise of China
  21. my vision of ideal world
  22. ‘globlisation’ vs. ‘ nationalism’
  23. National identity and patriotism
  24. Modernisation and westernization are not identical concepts.

Science Tech

I further classify them into four parts 1) Environment related 2) Computer/Information Technology 3) Science tech as such 4) Science versus others

Environment related

  1. Sustainable Development and Environment
  2. Pollution
  3. Biodiversity
  4. disaster management
  5. Green activism
  6. Drought : A Natural Calamity
  7. Environmental Pollution
  8. Wildlife Protection
  9. Global Warming
  10. The Need for Alternative Sources of Energy
  11. Environment and Conservation
  12. clean energy and sustainable Development
  13. Modern world’s fears about nuclear energy.

IT related

  1. Computers: A Silent Revolution
  2. Information Revolution
  3. Protection from Internet Abuse
  4. Computer : A Boon or a Bane
  5. India on Mars
  6. India on Moon
  7. Information Technology – Avenues and Opportunities
  8. cyber security
  9. Computers in Everyday Life
  10. Internet as Virtual Library
  11. Information Technology transforming the Indian Society.
  12. Computer: the harbinger of silent revolution.
  13. Increasing computerization would lead to the creation of a dehumanized society.
  14. The cyberworld: its charms and challenges.

Science as such

  1. Human Cloning – A Dangerous Invention
  2. The modern doctor and his patients.
  3. The technological miracles of the twentieth century
  4. Contribution of Science to human progress
  5. Science and human happiness
  6. The lure of space.
  8. Nanotechnology
  9. Biotechnology

Science vs others

  1. Science and Technology – Blessing or Curse?
  2. Science Versus Religion
  3. Man and Science – Development in Science and Technology
  4. Superstitions
  5. The Limits of Science
  6. Science and Religion.
  7. Inventions generate necessity.
  8. Science: Blessing or Curse?
  9. The Scientific attitude rather than science is the need of the day
  10. Moral Dilemmas Inherent in Scientific Progress
  11. Are science and art antithetical to each other?
  12. Science and Literature
  13. Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind
  14. Superstitions
  15. Human Cloning
  16. The march of science and the erosion of human values.

Polity/Society related

Democracy, Freedom related

  1. Whither Indian democracy today?
  2. are traditional forms of protest no longer effective?
  3. The predicaments of Democracy.
  4. My motherland
  5. Political reform you want in India
  6. If I were the Prime Minister of India.
  7. Water resources should be under the control of the central government.
  8. The misinterpretation and misuse of freedom in india.
  9. Politics without ethics is a disaster.
  10. The vip culture is a bane of indian democracy
  11. How far has democracy in india delivered the goods?
  12. What we have not learnt during fifty years of independence.
  13. Are we a ‘soft ’ state ?
  14. What have we gained from our democratic set-up?
  15. Paradoxes of Democracy
  16. Democracy implies tolerance of dissent
  17. The Role of Opposition in a Democracy
  18. Elections—Lacunae and Remedies
  19. casteism in India
  20. Non-Violence
  21. If the British had not colonised India…
  22. Relevance of Gandhi Today
  23. How free are we?
  24. Democracy in India
  25. The test of democracy is the freedom of criticism
  26. Indians are non-violent by nature
  27. Indians are not non-violent by nature
  28. migration and regionalism
  29. Election Reforms Versus Indian Democracy
  30. Politics without Ethics
  31. Caste Politics in Elections
  32. Threats to India’s Unity
  33. Democracy in Theory and Practice
  34. Directive Principles of State Policy
  35. Fundamental Rights – Bedrock of Indian Democracy
  36. Communal Harmony VS Internal Security
  37. Reservation in Private Sector
  38. Coalition politics: boon or bane
  39. do we need a Lokpal?
  40. The Kashmir issue
  41. Creation of smaller states and the consequent administrative , economic and developmental implication.
  42. Is autonomy the best answer to combat balkanization?
  43. The language problem in india: its past, present and prospects.


  1. Today’s politicians
  2. Criminalization of Politics
  3. Corruption in Public Life
  4. Criminalisation of Politics
  5. do we need CBI
  6. lokpal
  7. right to information
  8. right to service
  9. Right to Reject/Recall India
  10. Can the Corruption be Eradicated from our Society
  11. My Idea of an Administrator
  12. How should a civil servant conduct himself?
  13. Politics, bureaucracy and business – fatal triangle.
  14. Need for police reforms in India
  15. Election in India is the mother of all corruption.

Judiciary / Law n Order

  1. Role of Judiciary in a Democracy
  2. Judicial Activism
  3. Justice must reach the poor
  4. Capital Punishment: favor or against
  5. liquor prohibition
  6. Should smoking be banned in public places?
  7. Internal Security
  8. Criminalization of Politics
  9. Police Reforms
  10. Terrorism in India & Global War against Terrorism
  11. Criminalization of Politics
  12. Terrorism in India.
  13. “Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Liberty”.
  14. The Changing Face of Terrorism
  15. Can Terrorism be Justified?
  16. Crime : New Dimensions
  17. Left wing extremism in India
  18. Secessionist movements in India
  19. In the Indian context , both human intelligence and technical intelligence are crucial in combating terrorism


  1. Should there be reservations?
  2. Human Rights
  3. Status of Human Rights in Independent India
  4. Human Rights and the Armed Forces special protection Act
  5. custodial torture
  6. Should India implement one child policy
  7. Child Labour
  8. Child rights
  9. Right to food
  10. minority rights
  11. Rights of the physically challenged
  12. The Rights and Wrongs of Free Expression
  13. social networking sites and freedom of speech
  14. Reservation, politics and empowerment.
  15. Euthanasia
  16. Should Mercy-Killing be Legalized for Terminally ill Patients?


  1. Tolerance is the key to national unity
  2. Social Harmony vs. Communal Frenzy
  3. religion and politics
  4. New cults and godmen: a threat to traditional religion
  5. True religion cannot be misused.
  6. Politics and Religion
  7. Communalism
  8. The Rights and Wrongs of Conversion
  9. The world needs more tolerance


  1. People’s Participation in Development
  2. Law as an Instrument of Social Change
  3. Panchayati Raj and Rural Development
  4. Evaluation of panchayati raj system in india from the point of view of eradication of power to people.
  5. India’s NGOs
  6. Civil Society

Social issues

  1. The Changing Face of Indian Society
  2. Changing Idea of Family
  3. India Today
  4. Road rage
  5. Adulteration
  6. problems of urbanization
  7. India – A Tourist’s Paradise
  8. Rural Development
  9. Is vegetarianism a virtue ?
  10. increasing consumerism in the middle class in India
  11. Consequences of globalization on Indian society
  12. India vs bharat
  13. rural vs urban divide
  14. challenges before urbanization
  15. Urbanisation and its hazards
  16. The indian society at the crossroads.
  17. Why should we be proud of being indians?
  18. Should the Prostitution be Legalized?
  19. Gays should be Accepted Gracefully


  1. Indian Culture
  2. Tourism in India
  3. Indian culture today: a myth or a reality?
  4. Modernism and our traditional socio-ethical values.
  5. The composite culture of india.
  6. Globalizations and its impact on indian culture.

Media, Cinema, Television

  1. Advertising and Social Responsibility
  2. Indian Cinema and Social Responsibility
  3. Television and Teenage Violence
  4. Challenge Before Television in India
  5. Media Freedom and Individual Privacy
  6. Can television affect society?
  7. Role of Newspaper
  8. Role of Visual Media in Socity
  9. Yellow Journalism
  10. Violence and Vulgarity in Films
  11. Power of the press
  12. Responsibility of media in moulding public opinion.
  13. Advertisements : need for control
  14. Role of media in good governance
  15. media trials: good or bad?
  16. role of media in national integration
  17. breaking news
  18. Mass media and cultural invasion.
  19. Does indian cinema shape our popular culture or merely reflect it
  20. How has satellite television brought about cultural change in indian mindsets.
  21. Responsibility of media in a democracy.
  22. Foreign Media in India : Any Cause for Concern?


Philosophical / Abstract type essays

  1. There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.
  2. Search for truth can only be a spiritual problem.
  3. Spirituality and scientific temper.
  4. Compassion is the basic of all morality
  5. The pursuit of excellence.
  6. What freedom means to me
  7. Your idea of a happy life
  8. Importance of a Work-Ethics
  9. Material Progress and Human Values
  10. Laughter, Truth, and Universality
  11. Have We Lost the Direction ?
  12. An encounter with an astrologer
  13. Morality and Law

Proverb based

  1. The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
  2. Truth is lived, not taught
  3. History repeats itself
  4. History needs to be rewritten
  5. The Child is the Father of Man
  6. Compassion is the basis of all morality
  7. The road to happiness is always under construction
  8. Our deeds determine us as much as we determine our deeds
  9. Truth may be eclipsed but not extinguished
  10. No one knows what he can do till he tries
  11. The great end of life is not knowledge but action
  12. Failures are the pillars of success
  13. “Cowards die many times before their death”.
  14. Man is saved not by faith but by work
  15. Laughter is the best medicine
  16. Knowledge is power
  17. ‘All That Glitters Is Not Gold’
  18. Discipline means success , anarchy means ruin
  19. Geography may remain the same ; history need not.
  20. Attitude makes, habit makes character and character makes a man.
  21. Disinterested intellectual curiosity is the lifeblood of civilisation.
  22. Our deeds determine us, as much as we determine our deeds.
  23. Useless life is an early death.
  24. He would reigns within himself and folds his passions and desires and fears is more than a king.
  25. “Sweet are the uses of adversity.”

Youth Education and Sports Youth

  1. The Problems of Old Age
  2. Menace of Ragging in India
  3. Generation Gap
  4. The tragedy of old age is not that one is old but that one is young
  5. Commercialization of sports has degraded of sportsmanship
  6. Menace of Drug Addition
  7. An ideal college
  8. An ideal college
  9. Youth is a blunder, manhood a struggle, oldage a regret
  10. If youth knew, if age could.
  11. Youth culture today.


  1. Education in India—Lacunae and Remedies
  2. Commercialization of Education
  3. Privatisation of Education: Solution to Resource Crunch
  4. Examinations are a necessary evil
  5. Pleasures of Reading
  6. India’s Examination System needs to be Overhauled.
  7. Student politics in India
  8. Importance of Wearing Uniform in Schools
  9. right to education
  10. pressure of competition is ruining the childhood
  11. Should Students be Allowed to Grade their Teachers?
  12. Modern technological education and human values.
  13. Credit – based higher education system – status , opportunities and challenges
  14. “Education for all” campaign in india: myth or reality.
  15. Privatization of higher education in india.
  16. Irrelevance of the classroom.
  17. Value-based science and education.
  18. Is an egalitarian society possible by educating the masses ?
  19. Independent thinking should be encouraged right form the childhood.
  20. Restructuring of Indian education system.
  21. Literacy is growing very fast, but there is no corresponding growth in education.
  22. What is real education?
  23. Education is Freedom
  24. Why Ban English?
  25. The ways to enrich our regional languages.


  1. Sports sans Sportsmanship
  2. Ethics in Sports
  3. Future of Sports in India
  4. Need to check politicization of sports bodies in India
  5. Value of yoga
  6. India and Olympics
  7. Need to check politicization of sports bodies in India