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AIR 1 – Hardik Mehta’s strategy to ace RBI Grade B exam


The Reserve Bank of India has released notification for the RBI Grade B 2017 exam earlier than expected. The registrations have begun and are ending on 23rd July 2018. The exam is scheduled to be held on 16th August (Phase 1), and 7th September (Phase 2).

Here, let’s get more insights on RBI Grade B by the 2016 AIR 1 Hardik Mehta himself:

RBI Success Story – Hardik Mehta

Hello everyone,

Before I provide the details on how I went about my preparation, here is some information about my background before joining the RBI – I have done my MBA (Banking Management) from Symbiosis School of Banking & Finance, Pune. I was the topper of Management Aptitude Test (MAT) conducted by AIMA. Apart from this, I have also cleared UGC-NET (Management) in my first attempt, pursued CAIIB (Treasury Management, 1st Class), and scored over 90% in various NCFM Certifications pertaining to Capital Markets, Options, Commodity Markets, Banking, etc.



My Strategy for RBI Grade B 2016 Phase 1

I attempted 70 questions of GK in flat 10 minutes. 25 questions in English took another 10 minutes. The remaining time was used to shuttle between the Quant & Reasoning sections. For Phase 1, I was dependent solely on Oliveboard’s Mock Tests. I found the level of tests very difficult and hence every time there was a lot of learning and scope for improvement. For GK, I used to read newspapers like The Telegraph(Calcutta), Economic Times, Mint Business Newspaper, etc.

The maximum time of your preparation should be dedicated to General Awareness topic and you should try to maximize your score here because it covers a major portion of the Phase 1 exam. Your next focus should be on the English section. The remaining time should be dedicated to Quant and Reasoning. If you attempt 20-25 standard mock tests, you will be able to clear this part of the exam.

Since Phase 1 is just an eliminator exam, the marks you score here do not hold much importance later. Hence, I would recommend you to focus more on Phase 2 and the Interview than on Phase 1.


You can refer to the following study material for Phase 1:

Quant How to prepare for quantitative aptitude for the CAT & also soon to be released “Teach Yourself Quantitative Aptitude” by Shri Arun Sharma.

EnglishHow to prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for CAT by Arun Sharma & Meenakshi Upadhyay

Reasoning Oliveboard

General KnowledgeThe Telegraph(Calcutta), Economic Times, Mint Business Newspaper.

Mock TestsOliveboard


My Strategy for RBI Grade B 2016 Phase 2

For Phase 2, I had appeared for mock tests of Oliveboard. Oliveboard mock tests for phase 2 also were very informative, descriptive and they did provide an edge in preparation as score analysis was done on the spot.

Kudos to the Oliveboard’s technical team for providing in-depth analysis of candidate’s performance. I also remember that RBI made a last-minute pattern change to Phase 2 just 10 days before the exam. I was really glad that Oliveboard in the first week of September 2016 had redesigned the mock tests as per the new pattern for RBI Grade B Exam (Phase 2). It showed that their think tank was very much keen to ensure that their students should get the knack of as many different types of questions as possible.


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I would recommend that candidates first learn the basics of finance, economics & management and then appear for a few quality mock tests to determine where they stand as compared to others.

Candidate should not approach one topic at a time. After building a strong foundation, they should appear for sectional Mock tests and once the entire syllabus is covered, only then they should go for the complete mock test.

For example, if you are reading a newspaper, do not read it just for the sake of it. Instead, try and understand each word to build your base.

Taking Mock tests is a very important part for phase 2 exams. Again, just taking too many mock tests is not going to help. You should be analyzing each test as and when you take it up and accordingly work on your weaknesses and sharpen your skills.


ESI section should be read in bits and parts because you need to understand the nitty gritties and every term used in the content.

Candidates can refer the following materials for Phase 2 preparation:


Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh

Indian Economy by Mishra & Puri

Newspapers are a good source for current affairs but the static concepts are not covered. Hence, you must read and the books thoroughly.

News Channels – Business News Channels; Listen to experts’ views and analyze the news yourself. Try and think what could be tomorrow’s headline.

Financial Management by Prasanna Chandra

Financial Management by I M Pandey

Finance for Non-Finance by Vishal Thakker

Ratios Made Simple by Robert Leach

Beginners can refer to Day to Day Economics by Satish Deodhar (IIM-A Publication).


Books by McGraw Hill Publication:

How to Read Balance Sheet

How to Read Cash Flow

How to Analyze Financial Statements

There is a UGC Net Management book by Arihant Publication which is extremely useful for MCQs (Finance and Management).

While reading the books, make sure you’re aware of all the technical terms. If you are not aware of something, do google it or find another source to know what it exactly means and then move ahead.


RBI Grade B Interview Strategy 

As far as interview was concerned, my MBA course had helped me to some extent. Besides that, I followed the RBI website closely. Other things I did were:

  • Read a lot of books on Finance, Economy and Banking.
  • Read newspapers to stay updated with current affairs.
  • Followed various websites like ICRA, CRISIL and multiple rating agencies
  • Watched Business news channels and also read Business magazines.
  • Read newspapers like Economic Times, Business Standard, Business Line, Mint etc.


All aspiring candidates must also listen to speeches given by the Governor in the last couple of years on major economic decisions. You should also have a knack of RBI reports (Quarterly, Half Yearly and Annual)


RBI Grade B preparation is not about the number of hours you put in, it’s more about how strong your fundamentals are. You can also clear the exam if you spare two hours every day meticulously. Sometimes, even five hours won’t be enough if you’re not concentrating.

So just forget about the past and make optimum use of the chance that you have got. Never over/underestimate yourself. Take a lot of Mock tests which will help you have a good grip on the exam and you won’t feel the pressure on the main day which is very important. One thing can be judged in various ways, so be prepared for all possibilities.

For aspirants who have exposure to the Banking and Finance sector, it will be comparatively easier for them than people who do not have it.

Analyze yourself, keep calm and hold your nerves. This will help you to efficiently capitalize on your knowledge.

All the best!

Click here to take a FREE RBI Grade B Mock Test.

Further reading:

Infographic: Hardik Mehta shares his Strategy for RBI Grade B

RBI Grade B 2018 : Recruitment Notification | All You Need To Know

RBI Grade ‘B’ 2018 | Phase-I & II Preparation Guide & Study Plan

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