How to ace SBI PO Exam in the first attempt?

State Bank of India is the second-largest bank in the country. It has branches all over India. Recently it has notified that it will recruit around 2200 personnel for the post of Probationary Officer. The official notification is going to be released tentatively in April 2020. Any graduate from any stream can apply for this post. But preparations for SBI PO should start at the earliest. 

SBI PO Exam Stages

Before candidates get familiarized with the ways of preparing for the exam, they must get acquainted with the SBI PO exam pattern first. This serves as the first step to analyze your capability of cracking the SBI PO at one go. SBI PO will take place in 3 stages. They are:

SBI PO Preliminary Exam

This is the first round of the exam. You need to obtain a certain cut-off mark in this section in order to qualify for the Mains. It has 3 sections and total marks of 100. For every incorrect answer chosen, 0.25 marks will be deducted. The total time duration is 1 hour. The 3 sections are English Language, Numerical Ability and Reasoning and Aptitude. While numerical ability and Logical Reasoning will comprise 35 marks each, English Language will hold 30 marks.

SBI PO Mains Exam  

This round will take place in 2 steps. The first one is the objective type test and the second one is a written test. The MCQ section will have 4 sections with total marks of 200 and a time duration of 3 hours. The 4 sections from where questions will be asked are Reasoning and Computer Aptitude, Data Analysis and Interpretation, English Language and a Miscellaneous section consisting of General Awareness, Basic Banking Concepts and General Awareness. 60 marks are there for Reasoning and Data sections while 40 for English and Miscellaneous sections. There is negative marking in this section as well.  

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The second step is a written round. There is a cumulative marks of 50. It will have an Essay and Letter Writing in English. 

The last round is the Interview round where questions can be asked from anything.

Candidates are required to secure a particular mark in both the stages to go to the SBI PO Interview round or the Group Discussion round as the case may be. The cut-off marks will be set by the regulating authority of the exam.

The final calculation will be made excluding the marks of the preliminary round. A ratio of 80:20 weightage will be given to the Mains and Interview rounds to secure the appointment letter. 

SBI PO Syllabus

This is the most important part – getting acquainted with the syllabus of prelims and mains. Some of the important topics from each round are given below:


There are 3 sections in this round. Some of the important topics from each section are:

Reasoning Ability: Logical Reasoning, Alphanumeric Series, Data Sufficiency, Puzzle, Syllogism and Coding and Decoding.

Numerical Ability: Profit and Loss, Mixtures, Time, Work and Distance, Number Systems and Permutation and Combination.

English: Reading Comprehension, Para Completion and Jumbles and Fill in the Blanks.


There are as mentioned previously 4 sections. The noteworthy topics from each of them are:

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Reasoning: Syllogism, Verbal Reasoning, Seating Arrangement, Blood Relations, Data Sufficiency, Coding Inequality and Analytical Decision Making.

Data Analysis: Graphs, Pie Chart, DI, Probability and Permutation and Combination.

English: Grammar, Vocabulary, Sentence Improvement, Cloze Test and Error Spotting.

Miscellaneous: Financial Awareness, General Knowledge and Banking Concepts

Computer Section: Keyboard Shortcuts, Operating System, Networking and Computer Software and Hardware.

Candidates must remember that these are just some of the important topics. In order to crack SBI PO, they should study all the topics as far as possible. 

Preparation Tips for candidates appearing in SBI PO

Here are some of the tips to crack the SBI PO in the first attempt.

  • Candidates must have a thorough knowledge of the SBI PO  syllabus.
  • The students must keep track of the cut-off marks of previous years and chart their study plan accordingly.
  • Applicants should conduct a self-study to find out their areas of strengths and weaknesses.
  • They must devote at least 7-8 hours of study to crack the exam at one chance but the time has to equally distributed for the different sections.
  • Students must thoroughly solve previous year questions.
  • For the reasoning section, candidates must solve as many word and number problems as possible.
  • There are many reasoning and aptitude books that candidates can buy from the market or find over the internet.
  • The quantitative section requires special attention where candidates must solve arithmetic-based problems thoroughly along with brushing up on the basics.
  • In order to score highly in the English section, candidates should read English articles, magazines, newspapers, etc. and thereby stock up on more vocabulary and enhance word and sentence construction.
  • Try to focus on the economic condition of India and the basic banking concepts to ace the miscellaneous section.
  • For the general awareness section, aspirants should give as many GK quizzes as possible.                           
  • After finishing up on the syllabus, jot down the important points and deliver more focus on them. 
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Besides these, candidates should also look to give mock tests as much as possible. There are different sites over the internet where applicants can give mock tests or they may also opt for the same offline at different coaching institutes. Candidates should practice thoroughly and must have their basics crystal clear. After having cleared the basics, only then can anyone learn the tricks and shortcuts to solve the problems quickly. Candidates must develop a comprehensive reading and writing habit to clear the SBI PO exam at first chance effectively. There is no harm in beginning to prepare for the exam from now itself.


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