Approaching RBI Exam


Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) Grade B examination is not only one of the most prestigious but also one of the most sought after exams of the banking industry. Successful attempt at the exam not only gets you a managerial job in the central bank of the world’s fastest growing economy but also brings with it an annual CTC of Rs. 11-12 lakhs which is expected to increase by 20-30% with the recent pay settlement. Association with RBI is not only a bankers dream but is also the dream job of many from the IIMs who give up on their corporate offices in lieu of an association with the banker of the banks. As the phase 1 exam is round the corner , it is important to take you through the changed exam pattern before many of you sit down to test your fate, this Saturday and Sunday.For the ones, planning to attempt it in 2016, this shall serve as your user manual.


The pattern of the exam as per the new notification is as follows:

  1. The exam will be conducted in two phases 1 and 2 and both will be online based. Candidates have to score minimum qualifying marks in each section as well as aggregate. Such candidates will be called for Phase 2 of the selection process. Final selection will be done on the performance in Phase 2 of written exam and personal interview.
  2. Phase-I exam will be an MCQ type objective paper which will test the candidate in four modules: General Awareness, English language, Quantitative aptitude and Reasoning.
  3. Phase -II will also be an online exam with three papers.
  • Paper I will test the English writing skills and hence WILL NOT BE OBJECTIVE.
  • Paper II will be on economic and social issues and WILL BE AN OBJECTIVE TYPE PAPER.
  • Paper III can be given in any of the 3 subjects: Finance and Management / Economics/Statistics. This too WILL BE AN OBJECTIVE TYPE PAPER.
  1. All the papers will be conducted
  2. Score of the second exam only will be considered while shortlisting candidates for interview.
  3. The final merit list will be prepared by adding the scores of all the three papers of Phase-II and the interview.


  1. Phase -I will last for two hours and will be of 200 marks.
  2. Phase -II has 3 exams and a composite total of 300 marks, wherein each exam will be of 1.5 hours weighing 100 marks each.
  3. The interview will be of 50 marks and will continue in its existing format.


  1. Educational Qualification : A minimum of 60% marks (50% for SC/ST/PWD) or equivalent in graduation, 10th and 12th
  2. Changes in descriptive test pattern : The Phase-II test will consist of three papers out of which two will be compulsory and one optional (as mentioned above). All the papers including descriptive (English) will be conducted online. Thus, doing away with the practice of manual checking and expediting the whole process.
  3. Number of attempts increased : The maximum number of attempts have been increased from 4 to 6 for the general category.
  4. Duration of exam decreased : As per the new scheme the duration of Phase -I has been decreased from 2hrs. 10 mins to 2 hours. And that of Phase-2 from 3 hours each exam to 1.5 hours each exam. So, phase 2 which used to get completed in 1.5 days earlier can now be done away with in a day’s time, in turn reducing the psychological burden.
  5. Announcement of dates – The biggest change in the RBI’s pattern this year was the announcement of the dates for both Phase I and II exams, simultaneously. Earlier, Phase II dates were announced only after the declaration of the results of Phase I exam. What this means for you is that you can plan the entire study schedule at once as per the needs of both the phases.
  6. Time between Phase I and II decreased – The next big thing is the time between the two phases has been decreased. Earlier, there used to be roughly 30-45 days between the two phases but from this year onwards this has been reduced to 15 days. This implies that you cannot study in succession; the syllabus has to be dealt with in combination now.
  7. List of books : In the notification not only is the syllabus given in a more comprehensive manner but also has a list of recommended books and newspapers that you can refer to during the course of your preparation.

Another important aspect of this exam is the extensive syllabus in the General Awareness exam which is different from other competitive exams. So, when RBI tests your General knowledge, its more in context with the banking industry and economic schemes and policies rather than the generic current affairs, which are also present but in a miniscule share.

  1. The thing to be highlighted is that the grade B phase I exam has 200 questions out of which 80 will test your general awareness. Now, in these 80 questions also, the maximum share will be of the questions that will be based on RBI’s facts and latest developments in context of its policies and schemes.
  2. Second share will be of the questions which will test your banking terminology like: Basic facts related to NEFT and RTGS, the latest changes in their limits and so on. There can even be definition based questions like: What is a scheduled commercial bank? Or current topics like: Payment Banks conditions of eligibility etc.

Example :

  • You will be given a term and 4 definitions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • You will be given an organizations name and will have to choose the functions. This can also come in match the following format.
  • Name of a person would be given and you will have to mark the organization for which he/she works or vice-versa.
  • Name of a government policy or scheme will be given and you will be asked to mark the correct feature from the options.
  1. There will be questions related to the latest economic developments around the world and are being covered extensively in the news to test your international presence.
  2. The last and the least share is of the generic ones like: Who won the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna? Or, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize?

Once you get through this exam and get to be a part of India’s central bank, a 3-4 year dedicated service can even open the gates for international institutions like IMF and World Bank. So, for all those planning to appear for the exam in 2016, this is the time when you should actually fasten your seat belts and start preparing with all your might, and for the ones who have been preparing for this from quite some time and are ready to take the exam, give it your best shot for a glorious future that awaits you.

Good Luck!