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RBI Grade B Topper’s strategy - Hardik Mehta (AIR 1, 2016)

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Mar 12, 2021

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Abanti

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The RBI Grade B exam is conducted every year and is considered one of the most prestigious job roles in the public sector. Topping this exam opens the doorway to many more choices. Hardik Mehta was one such candidate whose AIR rank was 1 in 2016.

He was a student of MBA from Symbiosis School of Banking and Finance. He was also the topper of AIMA’s Management Aptitude Test or MAT. He had also cleared The UGC NET in his first attempt and pursued CAIIB (Treasury Management, 1st class). He also scored over 90% in different certifications from NCFM like Capital Markets, Options, Banking, Commodity Markets etc.

He has shared his strategy to ace the exam and the resources and materials which he followed to achieve this feat.

RBI Grade B- Phase-I Strategy and Preparation Tips

According to Hardik Mehta, time management is the most crucial part of acing the paper. He attempted 70 questions from the GK section in exactly 10 minutes. The rest of the time was shuffled for the Quantitative analysis and Reasoning section. He rigorously solved mock tests from different sources and this was his sole strategy for Phase-I preparation. Through practice, he improved his time management and accuracy, even though he found the difficulty level of the mock tests high.

Here are a few tips he has shared about preparing for the exam:

  • Dedicate the maximum amount of preparation time for General Awareness. It covers the major part of the phase-I exam and hence maximizing your score in this section is a wise choice.
  • Next focus on the English section which is scoring provided your grammar and vocabulary are good. This can be achieved through practice over a few months.
  • For the quantitative aptitude and reasoning section, try to attempt 20-25 marks from the mock tests correctly, which will be enough to clear the exam.

The phase-I exam is an eliminatory exam which means the score will not have much importance in the final merit list. Hence, according to Hardik Mehta, it is wiser to secure more than enough to meet the cut-off of the Phase-I paper and dedicate more time to prepare for Phase-II.

RBI Grade B Phase-I Reference and Study Materials

The following are RBI Grade B Books and study materials which are recommended and followed by Hardik mehta for his Grade B preparation:

  • How to Prepare Quantitative Aptitude for CAT- Arun Sharma
  • Teach Yourself Quantitative Aptitude- Arun Sharma
  • How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for CAT by Arun Sharma and Meenakshi Upadhyay
  • Reasoning ability from Mock test and previous years’ questions
  • General Knowledge from The Telegraph, Economics Times, Mint Business Newspapers.
  • Different organizations that offered mock tests.Check detailed Phase I syllabus and its Preparation tips.

RBI Grade B Phase-II Strategy and Preparation Tips

For Phase-II as well, Mehta appeared for mock tests regularly to assess his preparation and improve on his speed and accuracy. He emphasises on the score analysis that you get after every mock test and recommends studying them thoroughly to determine your progress. On the year he appeared for the exam, RBI had made a last minute change in Phase-II exam pattern, ten days before the exam commenced. If such situations arise in your year of attempt, practising updated mock tests which follow the new pattern is elemental according to Mehta.

Some advises that Hardik has for the next generation of aspirants regarding Phase-II exam are as follows:

  • The basic concept of finance, economics and banking should be very clear to the candidates.
  • Go through comparative analysis that many quality mock tests provide assessing the attempts from different students. This will help to understand where you stand.
  • Take a sectional mock test after you complete each subtopic under every section to strengthen your base.
  • Quality is more important than quantity when it comes to the mock tests. Analyse the results of each mock test you give before moving on to the next to build a stronger knowledge base.
  • Especially for the ESI part, reading in segments is very useful as you need to understand each and every term associated with the topic to ace questions from this section.Check detailed Phase II syllabus and preparation tips.

RBI Grade B Phase-II References and Study Materials

  • Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh, for ESI
  • Indian Economy by Mishra and Puri, for ESI
  • Current affairs related to ESI can be covered through newspapers but for the static concepts, the books are necessary
  • Follow business news channels and debates among financial experts and analyse them yourself.
  • Financial Management by Prasanna Chandra
  • Financial Management by I M Pandey
  • Day to Day Economics by Satish Deodhar
  • Ratios Made Simple by Robert Leach
  • Finance for Non-Finance by Vishal Thakker
  • How to Analyze Financial Statements
  • How to Read Cash Flow
  • How to Read Balance Sheet

The last three books are by McGraw HIll Publications. Apart from these there is another book for UGC NET Management which is notable for MCQs on Finance and Management and recommended by Hardik Mehta.

It is likely that many of the aspirants are not already familiar with banking terms and glossary. While reading the books, when you come across any such term take the help of the internet. According to Mehta, the combined help of the books, Mock tests and the internet proved to be the most fruitful for him.

RBI Grade B Interview Strategy and Preparation

There is no hard and fast syllabus for the interview round which actually makes it trickier. However, from his experience at the interview, Hardik has gathered some sound advice for the next generation of aspirants:

  • Brush up your basics and conception of Finance, Banking and Management thoroughly from the best books that are available.
  • Read the best newspapers daily to stay updated with the current affairs which are relevant to economics and finance of the country in particular.
  • Check the data published by various rating agencies like ICRA, and CRISIL.
  • Business news channels and magazines are particularly helpful to keep your knowledge base updated to confront the questions usually asked in the RBI Grade B Interview.
  • Follow speeches by the Governor on the major economic decisions in the country for the last couple of years. YouTube can be of great help for this purpose.
  • Take interest to thoroughly go through the RBI reports in the past couple of years. These knowledge can help you give enough statistical backup for your perspectives.

The exam proves to be easier for candidates who have exposure to the banking and finance section but with proper strategy, practice and dedication, students from a non-finance background can ace the exam very well. Mehta emphasises particularly on taking mock tests, irrespective of whether you have a finance or non-finance background.

*The article might have information for the previous academic years, please refer the official website of the exam.

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