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Handy tips to attempt Descriptive writing – Part I

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In the following article, we will discuss the nuances of Essay writing from the point of Banking and other exams. Spend a good amount of time reading the article and try to gain as much from it as possible.

Descriptive Writing

In the descriptive exam, you will have to write an essay within 250 words by choosing a topic from the 3 given choices. This is the trend SBI has been following till now. You will have approximately 20 minutes to cover this portion (considering that we save 10minutes for letter writing).20 minutes is too much time allotted to write a good essay. I repeat again, 20 minutes is ample time to design a well-structured, number- fetching essay. Remember this and do not be hasty – Just like Dhoni, keep yourself calm and composed.

Following were the three topic choices in SBI PO – 2016Descriptive Writing

  1. Effect of Pokemon Go
  2. Importance of History of a Nation
  3. Positive effects on the hike of salary of an employee

First comes the selection of the topic

It goes without saying that choose the one you are most comfortable with. Spend a good amount of time choosing the topic.Take a minute or so – remember we have ample time.

  • If I try to categorize the two topics – 1 & 3 are more of rational and scientific in nature, whereas 2 is more philosophical. Scientific and Rational implies that the topic can be supported by statements and arguments, even with some numbers. For e.g. – Pokemon Go increased the accidents on roador Hike in salary increases motivation – an argument which can be supported.
  • Although, it completely depends on you which topic to choose, but I advise you to choose one which is scientific and rational.
  • I selected 2nd one last year, and ended up having very little content to write. So, you spend a minute or so to decide the topic and consider how well you know the topic.
  • After selecting, next comes the structuring of essay. But before that, let’s see what is the aim of writing the essay. What needs to be written to get good marks? What is the expectation of examiner? On what basis will the examiner give the marks?

Examiner’s Expectation

Examiner will check one’s thinking, reasoning power, acumen and the ability to support the arguments in a structured way. What this means is that you should be able to take a stand, you should define what your essay is all about – there must be a theme around which essay would revolve. You should support this theme or ‘stand’ of yours with arguments. These arguments must be rational and well structured; by well-structured I imply that there must be a smooth flow of ideas.

  • Whenever you listen to a song – one line is repeated again and again; around that main line song is constructed. In the movie Dangal, song ‘Haanikarak Bapu’, the line ‘Bapusehatkeliyetutohhaanikarakhai’ has been repeated a number of times and around this main theme, song has been written.
  • Similarly, your passage must have a theme, around which you will construct the essay. This theme will be repeated in the essay a number of times.

Agree with topic you have chosen.

Before you begin writing the essay one thing must be clear – you must always agree with the statement.For example – If the topic you have selected is ‘GST is not the remedy of all problems’ – then you have to structure your essay around this only, you cannot counter this statement. If the topic is ‘IPL is bad for cricket’ , then do not cross this statement of yours. You have to write the essay citing reasons why IPL is bad. You may give a few positive points, but they must be overshadowed by negative points. In the end, you have to justify the topic you have chosen.

  • It is highly improbable that you will get a topic like ‘Demonetisation’ or ‘NPA’. Topics will be more specific – ‘Demonetisation – Boon or Bane for common man’ or ‘Will the NPA effect spill over on other sectors?’.
  • In these topics, you have to take a stand. For example, in the Demonetisation topic you will write whether it was good or bad for the common man. This stand will be your ‘theme’ around which essay will revolve. You will support this theme of yours by citing various examples and by giving information. (IMPORTANT – This theme selection must be made after selecting the topic. Relate this to 2nd step of ‘Step by Step Approach’)
  • If you take ‘Effects of Pokemon Go’ as the topic that you have selected, then you will write both positive and negative effects but you must choose your stand, and structure the essay around it. This is a very very very important point. Always keep this in mind.

BIG Don’ts

Many of the students make these common mistakes. So, read them carefully, remember that you don’t commit the following mistakes while writing the essay.

  1. Do not deviate from the topic – We have limited words, use them wisely. All the sentences must be related to each other and must point towards a common theme.
  2. Remotely linked things are written–If there is essay on Demonetization and you write ‘New 2000 note carries the image of Mangalyan’, you will just end up wasting your words. If the topic is ‘IPL is bad for cricket growth’ and you write ‘IPL chairman was Mr. Lalit Modi now it is Mr. Shukla’ then it is a waste of precious time.
  3. No overwriting – Do not use same words or lines again and again. There must be some keywords which could be repeated but do not overwrite. You will need to write the same thing more than once in a paragraph but rephrase it. ‘GST will be a big boon for India’; ‘GST will help India move towards a robust economy’; GST will be a platform for reach double digit growth in the coming years’. All the three lines highlight the advantages of GST and are more or less the same, it’s just the rephrasing that I have done, so that reader doesn’t get bored.
  4. No bullet points
  5. No diagrams or flowcharts
  6. No numbering – you may say firstly, secondly etc but do not make points like 1 , 2 etc
  7. No subheadings – Intro, Conclusion, Effects etc
  8. No extreme or radical point – You need to choose your stand but don’t go into extremes. If the chosen topic is ‘Demonetisation – good or bad’, then you choose your stand – good or bad – whatever you desire but do not go into extreme. Like, do not say ‘Exercise like Demon should never be done in a country’ or ‘Demon should be followed every now and then’.
  9. Do not use any data if unsure of.
  10. Last and most important – Do not make any GRAMMATICAL ERRORS

Step By Step Approach

  1. Choose the topic – spend approx. 30 seconds
  2. Don’t start writing immediately. Take two minutes before you start writing. In this time, type all the information regarding the topic in brief. For ex – GST, indirect tax, 4 slabs, starting on 1st July, single market, increase in tax base due to it etc etc.
  3. Start writing – spend around 15 minutes
  4. Leave two minutes for revision – spelling, grammar mistakes and structuring.

Remember that even if you don’t have enough data, you could always get marks by structuring it appropriately.


  • Reading daily newspaper – one topic will be definitely from the current news, be it banking or economy or technology. (Pokemon Go was trending last year)
  • Since you all must be preparing for GA too, it would be advisable to use the data if you could recall while writing.
  • An apple a day keeps the doctor away – an essay a day keeps the ‘Descriptive Fear’ away

Structuring the Essay – Part II 

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