Success Story of Ayush Upadhyay – Cleared RBI Grade B 2019

“Don’t let the fear of losing be greater than the excitement of winning.”  The same is true for Ayush Upadhyay who straight out of college in his first attempt went on to clear RBI Grade B 2019 exam and proved that if you can think of it, you can do it. Let us move on to read the Success Story of Ayush Upadhyay and take some important insights from him. 

Let us go on to read his strategy in her own words. 

RBI Grade B Success Story of Ayush Upadhyay

I. Brief Background: Education and Attempts at Other Exams

Hello everyone.

First things first, I’ll introduce myself – My name is Ayush Upadhyay, a graduate in civil engineering, 23 years of age (when I appeared for the examination).

This was my first attempt at any regulatory body exam. And no I am not some genius as some of you would imagine me to be.

I did my graduation from a pretty average college with pretty average grades.

Well, I’m specifically mentioning this because as aspirants we feel that we need to be from some prestigious institution with good grades or with exceptional work experience to clear this exam.

But the truth is all you need is – fulfill the eligibility criteria. As long you do that you have a good chance as anyone else.

My Journey

My journey to reach this organization hasn’t been very long but that doesn’t mean it has been very smooth or easy.

To give a little background, I was always decent or you could say above average student in my school life, but I messed that up in the last year of my school. And sadly that thing kind of grew into a habit that I carried with myself into graduation. And I must say it was a hard one to break.

After a not so good performance in GATE and other things not working out for me as well I had only two choices: Let external circumstances toss me around or make a choice to change all of that and actually put in the work for that.

And trust me taking responsibility for the efforts that you have to make to get desired outcomes is a difficult task, at least for someone who hasn’t done this for quite some time.

At the same time, it’s also very liberating. Thankfully I never thought of myself as someone who couldn’t do well in life. This belief that I will do good certainly helped.

I distinctly remember when we had our internship period, I stumbled upon RBI website where they were inviting applications for internship and thought to myself that RBI looks like a great place to work at, I wish I could do that.

A person with a few backlogs who hasn’t done anything worth mentioning in the academics off late, who had no idea what he was doing, with not so promising career ahead (at least that’s what it would have looked to anyone with an outside point of view). Well, who knew ;). That wish did come true some years later. Trust me if I could do that, so can you.

Now let’s move on to the actual preparation part

II. RBI Grade B Preparation Strategy 

1. PHASE-1

This is a section where it’s very easy to over-prepare or under prepare. A lot of people with very good phase 2 preparation can’t get through it or some people focus so much on it that they can’t prepare well for phase 2. So you really have to find the balance. Play your strengths and weakness in your favour.

Personally, I was comfortable in this section, as everyone else of course, and scored 127 and the cutoff was 122. You see I didn’t put in any extra effort than required, so work smart.

I gave around a month’s time to prepare for the QRE part while solving questions from books and daily quizzes on Oliveboard and other platforms, using YouTube to clear my doubts, and took mocks extensively.

What I’d suggest for this part is to try to maximize your score in your strong subjects and be average in the others (at least two strong subjects out of four).

Don’t get bothered too much by the score in mocks, unless it’s too low then you need to work upon your weak sections. Use mocks for speed practice and getting a hang of the exam.

i. Resources that I used for Preparation

Here are the sources that I used for this part:

  • Reasoning – M K Pandey, Magical book on puzzles, YouTube.
  • Quant – Arun Sharma, Rakesh Yadav, and YouTube.
  • English – Just quizzes and mocks.
  • Mocks – Oliveboard and one more, 20 in total.

This is the most important section in the preliminary phase. It’s 80 marks out of 200. This is very factual in nature, so multiple revision is the key.

Personally, I preferred two sources because it helped me remember better (one deep read, another a quick read). Do at least 6 months of current affairs for Phase-1. I used affairs cloud and edutap magazines for that.

ii. Other Helpful Pointers

Before moving to Phase-2 preparation, there are some things that I learned while preparing so I’d share them first:-

What makes this exam tougher is the unfamiliarity with the exam. There’s a lot of confusion about what to study, from where to study, how to study, what to expect, the perfect strategy yada yada. All these things together make this exam look very tough and I felt the same at some point. I remember when I was starting out I would ask random people about how to prepare for government schemes questions and I’m grateful for all the help I received.

So what I’d suggest is before fully getting into preparation mode, especially if you’re a first-timer, take out ample time to understand the exam pattern, the type of questions to be asked, how to prepare for those different kinds of questions. Look up previous year memory based question papers, give any free mocks if available. Read the syllabus thoroughly and see from where you are going to do different topics if you have not subscribed to any course. Use YouTube/Google extensively to understand the demands of this exam.

If you’ve bought any mocks give one or two mocks before completing the syllabus (you can start after you’ve covered around 30% syllabus) and focus only on the type of questions to get an idea of what to focus upon when you’re studying something. For example, let’s say in the mock there’s a question about govt scheme or some management theory, try to understand from it the things that you should focus on while studying anything. Sometimes what happens is we study a topic but we can’t answer the question even then because we didn’t focus on the right thing. So as you are preparing keep this in mind while studying anything, but at the same time do not get too anxious about it.

When one’s preparing on his own (as I did) we fall into the trap of “collecting materials”. We tend to consider almost every material as important and try to study them all. But that should be avoided. Once you’ve shortlisted your sources stick to them but also don’t hesitate to change them if they don’t serve you well. Keep making improvements as you move ahead with preparation and get a hang of the exam. You don’t necessarily have to be an expert from day one. It may seem too tough when you’re just starting (at least it did to me), but hang in there, it will become clearer and easier as you go forward.

Another question that comes up is whether or not you need a course. This totally depends on the individual, if you find it hard to find sources or understand the pattern definitely go for any suitable course. You don’t have to be rigid that no matter what happens you’ll not purchase a course and at the same time don’t think a course is a must to get into the final list.

When we are planning to get into such a prestigious organization, competing with so many brilliant people, it’s very easy to get intimidated, easy to make this something bigger than us. But what we tend to forget that at the end of the day it’s just another job, surely better than some, but still a job. It’s not the only way to reach your goals in life. This may seem to contradict someone looking for a “strategy” to clear this exam but it reduces the fear and you can better focus on the process.

Prepare with the mindset that you’re definitely going to make it to the final list of selected candidates. But remember that no matter how much effort you put in, only a handful of people are going to get in, so don’t make it a question of your self-worth. Be grateful for the opportunities that you have in life.

2. PHASE-2

I scored 62, 62, and 69.5 in ESI, English, and F&M respectively, with 45 in interviews.

My final score was 238.5 and the cutoff was 238.25.

You see again I didn’t try to waste any extra energy! One could even argue it was luck. But don’t we all need a bit of luck in our life every day every time?

i. ESI

There are 35 two markers and 30 one markers asked in the paper. This paper is usually the most dynamic paper involving a lot of current affairs. I’ll try to further divide it into sections as follows:-

  1. Static – Static portion is very straightforward and can be done from any basic Indian economy book like Ramesh Singh, Sanjeev Verma, Spectrum, Shankar IAS, or a combination of either of the two.
  2. Current affairs There is a lot of question from current affairs specifically related to the syllabus. So cover at least 8 months of GA for phase 2. Use any current affairs magazine that is relevant for this phase such as affairs cloud/other institutes with a focus on RBI. Filter out unimportant news and retain the important one. I used to do daily GA from bankersadda and then read one/two of the above three monthly compilation. That way it was easier to remember.
  3. Government Schemes It’s the most complicated and feared section (at least for me it was). But if you once learn the right method to cover schemes you’d do well enough. For any scheme focus on Name/acronym, ministry, year of launching (if recent), target citizens, goals, and budget (again if a recent scheme). Sources could be: UPSC coaching’s scheme compilation documents like Rao’s IAS (the one I found best), vision IAS, insights, or the ones from institutes specifically focused on RBI if you can get your hands on them. Personally, I found doing schemes from ministry websites very cumbersome not worth it but you can try that.
  4. Reports, budget and economic survey I preferred reading budget and survey from the original sources, making my own notes of the relevant information along with what was already covered in current affairs magazine. Reports can be hard to read from the original sources so what I’d suggest is as you come across any report you think important from the exam point of view in your daily current affairs (keeping in mind the syllabus and type of questions), just Google that and note down important points of the report from 2-3 articles. Supplement all this with daily/monthly PIB compilations.

ii. English

English section this time consisted of one essay, one precis, and one comprehension question. I did not specifically prepare for this section but in the hindsight, I should have. Practice about 5-10 of each. In the exam try to minimize grammar mistakes, typing errors, and spelling mistakes. Doing this with decent content that shows that you have knowledge of the topics should fetch average/above-average marks. Other than this I am yet to understand how to score high marks in an English descriptive paper. 

iii. Finance and Management

There are two separate sections in this paper. Each section needs a different approach. Let us try to cover each one –


The questions asked are usually static and conceptual in nature.

For the current affairs questions, the approach used for ESI should suffice.

For the static part, some of the topics can be found in the books used for ESI static. For others use M Y Khan/Bharti Pathak (very bulky books to be read selectively), Google, Investopedia.

If you can get your hands on last year’s course’s summary sheets that can also be used as a guide to get an idea of the topics/depth in which you should study.

Another thing to note here is that you need to have a conceptual understanding of the topics where you can answer application-based questions because questions aren’t that tough on the paper but can be confusing conceptually.



This is a very straightforward section that doesn’t pose many difficulties.

You can use the book such as S P Robbin’s organizational behaviour where you’ll find most of the topics and T N Chhabra.

You can also use IGNOU notes for HRM and if you can find 2017 management material from one particular institute, that’s also very concise and as per the needs of the exam. is also a very useful website for the subject. Again the key here is multiple times revision and understanding topics in the way so that you’re able to answer application-based questions.

3. Mocks Tests

Mock tests are as important as any other paper that’s why I’ve kept it in a different section. Mocks give us an idea about exam pattern, our preparation level, and the improvements that we need to make. Give as many mocks as possible but don’t forget to analyze them. Your score does not matter much as long you’re learning from them and making improvements. Things to learn from mock tests:

  • For Phase-1, get into the habit of doing questions in time, reducing silly mistakes, and also learn which questions to attempt and which to leave.
  • For Phase-2, analyze the silly mistakes, the types of questions, and things you should be focusing upon while studying. Another important thing to learn is making calculated guesses because everyone needs that when the competition is so fierce, so learn to make calculated guesses in the mocks only and in the exam do a cost-benefit analysis before doing this.

Thanks to Oliveboard for providing quality tests for both the phases that obviously almost everyone recommends.

That’s pretty much it for the strategy and sources part. Based on the information you can gather about the exam make a strategy that suits your needs and situation. One size doesn’t fit all. And remember it’s not a test of your worth.

In the end, I’d like to take a moment and thank – my Parents, Mausi, and the rest of the family to whom I owe everything. And also friends who always stood by my side through thick and thin, friends who were happier than me for me :p. A kind stranger who gave me his course subscription 5-6 days before the phase 2 exam, and anybody else who brought a positive change in me.

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