For most of these exams, the descriptive section is qualifying in nature. Due to the nature of this test, it has been the reason for a lot of queries. In this blog post, we would be answering some of these queries of our users. We would be looking at the evaluation criteria of essays and letters. The post will also consist of a sample essay and letter for your reference.
Before, we discuss the evaluation criteria let’s understand the purpose of conducting this exam. This will help you put things in perspective.
Why is English Descriptive Writing, a part of bank PO recruitment process?
A bank job requires continuous interaction with customers, analyzing information and effective communication. These are the exact traits tested by the descriptive writing section.
Essay Writing: It tests you on your ability to organize and structure thoughts & ideas. It requires good writing skills and imagination.
Letter Writing: It tests your ability to put across your thoughts in a succinct manner. It also tests your ability to carry out effective written communication within the organisation.
How are letters and essays evaluated?
Although there is no set criteria according to which the descriptive section paper is evaluated, there are some common things that are examined by the evaluator. For most banking exams, the descriptive section is evaluated manually.
Content: The examiner would see whether aspects of the topic have been addressed in the essay and if provided details, examples and explanations are appropriately supporting the candidate’s point of view.
Formal Requirement: As the paper is descriptive in nature there are certain requirements that must be fulfilled by the answers. For letters, the format must be strictly adhered to. Although extra marks might not be awarded for the format/ structure, an absence of it might cause a reduction in your marks. For letter writing, stick to the prescribed formats of formal and informal letters. For essays, make sure the word limit (if any) is not exceeded. Also, make sure that the essay is in paragraph form.
Development, Structure and Coherence: How well the topic has been understood and explained is the main criteria for evaluating any piece of descriptive writing. The examiner sees whether there are any examples given, what is the range of thoughts/ ideas presented and how logically they are penned down. The following might be the few things an examiner is looking for in your piece of writing:-
- Does each paragraph contain just one idea or concept?
- Does the evidence support the writer’s argument?
- Does this paper have a beginning (introduction), a middle (body), and an end (conclusion)?
Grammar: This is also a very important criterion. An essay may be logically presented, it may have a variety of ideas, but if the grammar is bad, it makes the entire essay ‘not so good’. Examiners don’t expect complex sentences. Just make sure you create correct and straightforward sentence structures and convey your thoughts effectively.
- Does this paper have proper punctuation?
- Does the author provide complete sentences?
- Does this paper have consistent verb tense, voice, and third-person usage? (essays are generally written in the third person)
Vocabulary & Spelling: Again we would like to clarify that a test taker is not expected to use “high – fi” English words. As long as you have the right word for an idea, that’s good. A simple example of this would be:
- If you want to say “very good”, say “excellent”.
Also, avoid spelling mistakes as they point to a careless attitude.
Here, we would like to mention one important thing: Time Management. Make sure you divide your time as per the weightage of the question. Since an essay has higher marks, allot more time to it.
A Good (Sample) Essay: With Analysis
Technology has highly evolved over time. In fact, nowadays almost everybody has some sort of machine at hand, be it computers, cars, or even washing machines. But although machinery was devised to benefit mankind, it has also brought along many flaws to match. [ The topics is introduced and developed in this paragraph. The writer talks about both, the good and the bad aspects. This not only indicates knowledge of the topic but will also help him present a “range of ideas” in the subsequent paragraphs. ]
Firstly, when it comes to technological equipment such as computers, disruption most often arises between the person using the computer, and the household he or she is surrounded by or living with. For example, many old family traditions such as eating meals with your relatives at the dining table seldom take place now that one of the family members might be too busy working on his Mac. laptop. Thus, family values and morals have changed in order to adapt to this technological age.
Secondly, having many kinds of machinery at hand is not only destroying family traditions but is also very harmful to our environment. Many people are careless about allowing their car engines to run haphazardly, or leaving their laptops on for long periods of time, however, they do not seem aware of the fact that all this energy and electricity consumption is dangerous to not only our local environment but to the world as a whole. Additionally, it is the over-usage of machinery, big or small that is bringing our society ever closer to Global Warming, and we must stop.
As mentioned in the introduction, technological equipment was never programmed to damage nature per se, but to help people all around the globe. Now that nuclear families aren’t as closely intact compared to the 1950s or 1990s, technology has given us an alternative method to keep in touch with our relatives, thanks to computer applications such as Skype, or even cell phone applications such as VIBER or WhatsApp. Machinery has most definitely done wonders in our lives, and we as people should be grateful to easily possess cars, and/or phones when poorer countries do not even have the chance to.
In the above three paragraphs, the usage of pointers, such as ‘firstly’ and ‘secondly’ shows the logical cohesiveness of the essay. The writer has developed each supporting point richly by using examples and connected the ideas together so that the essay reads smoothly.
However, with all the advantages machinery has brought to us all, I personally believe that possessing too many cars or phones, or even consuming too much of their energy and battery, is beginning to get out of hand and needs to be controlled.
Note that the writer has also, made a conclusion. This is a very important part of an essay. The entire essay shows proficiency in grammatical structures and vocabulary.
A Formal (Sample) Letter
- Sender’s Address
#34, GMR Layout
3rd Cross, Sanjaynagar
January 19, 2016
- Complete name, title and address of the recipient
Use “Mr.” for a male recipient. If you do not know how a female recipient prefers to be addressed, it is best to use “Ms.”
Mr. Mahesh Kumar
996, PMP Layout
Dear Mr. Kumar/Dear Sir/Dear
- Body of the letter
Start with an introduction, as in why you are writing this letter. In the next paragraph, provide the necessary details. Be concise and avoid redundancy. Also, use double spacing in between two paragraphs. Restrict yourself to 2-3 paragraphs.
Use “Sincerely, ” for closing. Leave four blank spaces and type your full name. The blank space should be used for your signature
If you have enclosed some documents with the letter (for ex, CV, Certificates etc), leave two spaces below your name and write Enclosure/Enclosures. If you have enclosed more than one document, mention the number in brackets. For example, if you have enclosed three documents, write- Enclosures (3)
Hope this helps you with your preparation.
Prepare for the IBPS PO/SBI PO/ Dena Bank PO/ BOB Manipal PO Descriptive Writing section with these guidelines.
All the best!