SBI PO Mains 2016: Descriptive Test Preparation (Letter Writing)

Dear Students,

Most of the high profile examinations are taking descriptive tests nowadays. But have you ever thought that WHY ARE THEY TAKING DESCRIPTIVE TESTS? There are several reasons for which any organisation takes descriptive test of the candidate. Some of the reasons are:

1) To check the grammatical Knowledge over the English Language of the candidate.
2) To check whether the candidate is familiar with the basic formats of Letters, Reports, Essays etc. 
3) To check that whether the candidate will be able to submit the reports and documents in proper way.
4) To check the typing speed of the candidate i.e. how much is the candidate familiar with the computers.

We have have already discussed the Essay Writing concepts in the last post. In this post we will discuss about 'How to write a letter?'

Basically, there are 2 types of letters:

(I) Formal Letters
(II) Informal Letters

We will discuss about the FORMAL LETTERS today.

(I) Formal Letters: These letters are written to some organization's authority for some specific purpose or work e.g. letter to the bank manager, school principle, municipality or any other organisation. The Addressee in the formal letter is not your relative or friend. 

On a broader sight, formal letters which can be asked in the exam are of following types:

(a) Letter to the bank manager, credit officer or any other Financial Institution regarding some problem related to bank account, credit/debit cards, request for loan, registering complaints etc.
(b) Business or official letters to some organisation (for making enquiries, registering complaints, asking for or giving information, placing orders and sending replies).
(c) Letters to the editor (giving suggestions on an issue).

There are many formats to write a formal letter, but, here we will take a single standard format which can be used for any formal letter, so that you may not get confused in the examination that which format to use and which not. 


1) Keep all the text aligned to the left margin of the page.
2) Start with your own address.
3) Mention the date after your address.
4) Now, Mention the address of the person to whom you are writing the letter.
5) Then mention the subject.
6) After mentioning the subject, start with the salutation 'Dear Sir/ Dear Ma'am'
7) Now start the body of the letter. Remember not to be personal like asking the well being of the addressee or elaborating about your identity. You need to be specific to the topic regarding which you are writing the letter.
8) After elaborating about the purpose of your writing to the authority, request the authority to resolve your problem in the second paragraph.
9) Conclude the letter in a small third paragraph by thanking the authority.
10) End the letter with a valediction like 'Yours faithfully', 'Yours sincerely' etc. and mention your name below.

Note: Do not make spelling mistakes, keep in mind the grammar while forming the sentences. Do not try to use heavy words about which you are yourself not sure.

Some important topics for practice:

1. You have received a letter from your bank, asking you to acknowledge receipt of a new bank card. However, the card was missing from the envelope. Write a letter to the bank's head office.
2. You have lost your credit card while travelling from Mumbai to Delhi. Write a letter to the bank requesting for a new credit card.
3. You have lost your car loan documents while travelling from Bhubaneshwar to Madhurai and your due date for paying the EMI is just after 10 days. Write a letter to the bank manager to provide you the loan account number so that you can pay the EMI on time.
4. Write a letter to the bank manager for getting an education loan for your higher studies. 
5. You normally go shopping in the area where you live. However, you think some of the facilities for shoppers could be improved. Write a letter to your local newspaper.
6. Write a letter to the MLA complaining about the bad conditon of water supply in your locality.
7. You eat at your college cafeteria every lunchtime. However, you think it needs some improvements. Write a letter to the college magazine.
8. Last Tuesday you flew from New York to Paris. When you arrived home, you discovered that you had left your cabin bag on the plane. Write a letter to the airline.

All the best! 

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