NABARD Grade A mains exam consists of 2 papers:
- Paper 1- General English
- Paper 2- ESI and ARD (with focus on rural India)
Both the papers are of 100 marks and 1.5 hours duration. Mains exam is very important as the marks are added in the final list and it has huge weightage. It is essential for candidates to maximize their score in this section to secure a seat. We have discussed below the complete preparation strategy for both the papers.
Paper 1: General English
This is a descriptive paper where the comprehension and drafting abilities of a candidate is tested through Essay writing, précis writing, questions on the precis para, and Report/Letter writing. Some candidates make the mistake of ignoring this section and devote their entire time to paper 2. However, this is a paper which has “low input and high output” as practicing this paper just for a few days can yield great results.
Here is some strategy to tackle different sections of this paper.
- Essay writing: The topic of the essay is generally from recent happenings. For tips on structuring and organizing your essay and writing sound introduction and conclusion, you can search on the Internet or pick any Essay writing book. After that, start practicing by picking an article from any newspaper/editorial and writing it in your own words.
- Precis writing: Quickly go through the rules of précis writing and sample precis. Generally, the number of words for précis writing is mentioned in the paragraph. In case it is not mentioned, a rule of thumb is to write it in 1/3rd of the passage. Strictly follow the word limit and don’t try to exceed it as marks can be deducted for it. Precis writing should be short and crisp and for improvement, practice is a must.
- Questions on précis paragraph: In this section, the same paragraph on which you wrote précis is given and some questions are asked regarding it. It’s similar to reading comprehension. For getting good marks in this section, it is imperative to write in your own words and not copy the words of the author. This section is easy, however, you need to read the paragraph properly so that the main points can be inculcated in your answer.
- Report/Letter writing: Both formal and informal letter should be focused upon. You can search for some online sources for understanding the structure and format. This section is all about adhering to the structure and practicing. So, make it a point of practicing constantly in order to derive maximum benefit.
PAPER 2: ESI and ARD:
While English section is asked in almost all the competitive exams, aspirants often find themselves in the dark when it comes to ESI and ARD section. A majority of people are not from Economics or Agricultural background which makes it all the more difficult for them to understand the requirements of this exam. Below we have mentioned a strategy to help you tackle the Paper 2 of NABARD Grade A mains examination.
Economics and Social Issues
- Static Economics: For static concepts, go through the books – Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh or Indian Economy by Uma Kapila. Now, a beginner might get scared seeing the voluminous book. But remember, that you don’t need to read these books completely. Go syllabus-wise! Pick a topic from the syllabus, search it in the book, read 1-2 times until the concepts become crystal clear, and make notes (if you prefer). Though the weightage assigned to the number of questions from static concepts is comparatively less, but that doesn’t mean it should be ignored because you wouldn’t understand Economic survey and budget, current affairs without having knowledge of static concepts.
- Current Affairs: Current affairs of the past 6-8 months before the exam related to Economics, Finance, and Social issues is of utmost importance. But before reading current affairs, it is recommended to go through the static portion first as without having knowledge of the concepts, you won’t be able to understand the current affairs. For example, let’s say that there is an article regarding a monetary policy of RBI in the newspaper and various terms like Repo rate, Reverse repo rate, MSF, etc. are used in that article. An aspirant who hasn’t gone through the concepts well won’t be able to understand the meaning of those terms and as a result, will not derive any benefit after reading the article. For covering current affairs, follow daily news updates of affairs cloud or GKtoday and then supplement it with their monthly current affairs module. Apart from this, it is recommended to follow one financial newspaper like Livemint, Business standard, etc.
- Economic survey, Budget and Government Schemes: If you want to score good marks in this paper, you should not miss reading these three important documents at any cost- Economic Survey, Budget, and Government Schemes. These three documents will constitute a majority of the paper.
For Economic survey, a summary of any institute like Visions will suffice. However, if an aspirant wants to read the full survey, he/she will surely be benefitted. Even though it will be time-taking, but the insights gained on the Indian Economy will be very valuable.
For Budget, go through the PIB summary. As far as government schemes are concerned, government schemes booklet of any institute like vision ias or Shankar will be helpful. Pay special attention to the amount allocated to various schemes, a ministry involved in implementing that particular scheme, etc.
- Reports: Reports/ Rankings of various national and international organizations, like the World Bank, IMF, etc. carry significant marks in the exam. While reading the reports, don’t just read India’s ranking or name of the country who topped but pay special attention to parameters, indices, subindices used to arrive at the ranking.
- Types of questions asked: Generally, paragraph based questions are asked in the exam. For example, a short paragraph from a report published by an organization is given and questions are asked regarding it. Hence, you need to cover every news in detail so that you are able to attempt a good number of questions.
Agriculture and Rural Development
- Static portion: For ARD section, no single source would suffice. Hence, you are required to go for different books for complete preparation. Please note that you don’t need to read any book from cover to cover. It is very much advised to keep syllabus in front of you while studying so you can gauge what to read and what to skip. Some of the recommended books for covering static and conceptual portion:
- Principles of Agronomy by T. Yellamanda Reddy & G H. Sankara Reddy
- Introduction to Soil Science by Dilip Kumar Das
- Agriculture at a glance by R.K. Sharma
- Principles of Agricultural Engineering volume 1 by T.P. Ojha
- MRD 101 Rural Development Indian Context by GPH
- Magazine: Kurukshetra magazine of past 6-8 months before the exam need to be studied properly and revised before the exam
- News from Ministry: Important news from the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Rural Development need to be read either from a newspaper, like The Hindu or from PIB.
- Current affairs: Current affairs related to agriculture and rural development should be revised properly because this is a very important section. The same can be covered from any monthly current affairs module like visions.
- Government schemes: Government schemes related to farming, agriculture, rural development, etc. need to be studied properly. Important facts and figures must be remembered. The source of Government schemes is Government schemes booklet of Vision IAS or Shankar.
- Reports: Important reports like ‘State of forest report’, Agriculture census, SECC should be revised multiple times as fact-based questions are generally asked.
- Types of questions asked: ARD section consists of a mix of paragraph based questions and one-liners. There are many fact-based questions from budget allocation, Government schemes and static concepts. So, reading thoroughly and revising multiple times is the key to perform well in this section.
Often, candidates make the mistake of not reading according to the syllabus. That’s why even though they work hard, they are unable to reap any benefit. With the rising competition, it becomes imperative to gauge the requirement of any exam and channel our hard work in the right direction so that success is achieved.