Smart Tips to Crack the SBI PO Exam

The State Bank of India (SBI) holds the SBI PO exam every year, to recruit qualified candidates for the position of Probationary Officers (PO). This is a dream career for lakhs of candidates all across the country. SBO PI is one of the best job opportunities in the banking industry for several reasons –

  • SBI’s brand value and the reputation linked with the SBI PO post
  • A high salary
  • Great growth prospects (PO can become a Chairman)
  • Job fulfilment and social standing

The SBI PO exam is divided into three stages: preliminary exam, main exam, and a GD and interview round. Click here to see more.

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Exam Pattern

  • Phase 1 – Prelims
    • The prelim exam is a one-hour online exam, with a total of 100 questions for 100 marks.
    • It is divided into three parts –
      • English Language – This section consists of 30 questions for 30 marks, to be completed in 20 minutes.
      • Reasoning Ability – This section consists of 35 questions for 35 marks to be completed in 20 minutes.
      • Numerical Ability – This section also consists of 35 questions for 35 marks to be completed in 20 minutes.
    • There is no sectional cut-off in the prelim exam. The overall score will be used to determine which candidates will be selected for the main exam.
    • The bank determines the cut-off every year based on the difficulty of the exam.
  • Phase 2 – Mains
    • There are two parts of the main exam – the objective test and the descriptive test.
    • The objective test is a 3-hour online exam, with 155 questions for 200 marks.
    • There are 4 sections in the objective test –
      • Reasoning and Computer Aptitude – This section consists of 45 questions for 60 marks to be completed in 60 minutes.
      • Data Analysis and Interpretation – This section consists of 35 questions for 60 marks to be completed in 45 minutes.
      • General/Economy/Banking Awareness – This section consists of 40 questions for 40 marks to be completed in 35 minutes.
      • English Language – This section consists of 35 questions for 40 marks to be completed in 40 minutes.
    • The descriptive test which will last 30 minutes and be worth 50 marks, will have questions on essay and letter writing.
    • Candidates must pass the descriptive test by scoring the minimum passing marks determined by the bank.
  • Phase 3 – Interview
    • Candidates who score the minimum cut-off marks in the SBI PO Main exam will have to appear for the group exercise and interview round.
    • A combined score of the marks scored in the interview round and the main exam  will be generated after the interview round.
    • The final merit list will be prepared based on this combined score. The marks of the SBI PO Prelim exam will not be considered, as it is just for shortlisting candidates.

Section-wise Preparation Strategy

Candidates must plan a section-wise preparation strategy to crack the SBI PO prelim and main exam. Here are some smart tips that you can follow to tackle every section in the exam – 

  1. English Language –
    1. Questions in this section can be asked from topics such as Error Spotting, Reading Comprehensions, Para jumbles, and Synonyms and Antonyms.
    2. To crack this section, review your class 10 grammar books. You can also refer to the Wren and Martin book for practising grammar questions. Along with this, solve the previous year as well as sample papers.
    3. Try to build a habit of reading books, newspapers or magazines as this can increase your vocabulary.
    4. Make sure to read newspaper editorials every day.
  2. Reasoning Ability – 
    1. The reasoning ability section is the easiest in the exam. Candidates can score marks in this section if they can apply their logical and problem-solving skills efficiently.
    2. The questions in this section are asked from topics such as Syllogisms, Seating Arrangement, Puzzles, and Coding-Decoding.
    3. To solve Syllogism questions, use the A, E, I, O rules technique or the classic Venn Diagram method.
    4. To ace this section, you must revise each topic after studying and practising it.
  3. General Awareness –
    1. Read newspapers and magazines such as The Hindu and Indian Express every day.
    2. Go to the RBI website and read FAQs on banking awareness. This will help you prepare for the general awareness questions asked in the exam as well as the interview.
    3. Keep up with current events.
    4. Pay special attention to static Indian general knowledge.
    5. Go through all the questions that may be asked from events that have occurred in the past 6 months.
    6. Go through sections such as Finance, Sports, Banking, Indian Economy, the Indian constitution, Agriculture and Honours and Awards.
  4. Data Analysis and Interpretation/Quantitative Aptitude –
    1. Questions in this section are asked from topics including Simplification, Data Interpretation, Speed and Distance, Quadratic Equations, Number Series, Time and Work, Ratio and Proportion, and Average.
    2. This is the most difficult area in the SBI PO exams. Hence, candidates need to practice this section regularly.
    3. The best technique to tackle this section is to learn all the basic principles and formulas.
    4. Candidates should refer to the Quantum CAT section of the Sarvesh K Verma book to practice for this section.
  5. Computer Aptitude –
    1. This section is comparatively easier than the others.
    2. The most important topics which candidates should prepare are Basic Internet Knowledge and Protocols, Network Basics, Operating System Functions, MS Office Basics and Computer Basics.
    3. To score quick marks in this section, memorize all the shortcuts.

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General Preparation Tips

Apart from section-wise preparation tips, candidates should follow these general tips as well –

  1. Go through the exam syllabus and question paper pattern.
  2. Create a study schedule.
  3. Utilise all the resources available to you.
  4. Go for online or offline coaching classes.
  5. Identify your strong and weak areas and work on them accordingly.
  6. Give equal importance to each section.
  7. Give mock tests and solve previous year question papers.
  8. Make notes for reference during revision before the exam.
  9. Evaluate your speed and accuracy.
  10. Enhance time management skills to complete the whole question paper within the time limit.
  11. Don’t be nervous. Relax and be dedicated to your preparation and goal.
  12. Take regular breaks between study sessions.

By following these smart tips, you can surely crack the SBI PO exams and land your dream post as a probationary officer in SBI.