The State Bank of India conducts the SBI PO exam to recruit probationary officers (PO) every year. It is one of the most sought-after exams in India and every year lakhs of candidates appear for the SBI PO exam. SBI is the largest public sector bank and the job of SBI PO is highly esteemed in our country. There are three stages in the recruitment process of SBI PO:
- Preliminary exam
- Mains exam
- Group discussion/personal interview
A candidate needs to clear all three stages to get selected. The final selection is based on merit only. Candidates must prepare well with sincerity and dedication to ace this exam.
- Exam pattern and syllabus: The primary step to crack any competitive exam is to understand the exam pattern and syllabus. Like we mentioned before, SBI PO is conducted in three stages. Let us look at them individually:
- SBI PO Preliminary exam: SBI PO prelims exam is of qualifying nature and the marks obtained is not considered in the final merit list. There are three sections in the prelims exam, which are, English language, Numerical ability, and Reasoning ability. Each section is allotted a time limit of 20 minutes and hence the total duration of the SBI PO preliminary exam is 60 minutes. The maximum mark in the prelims exam is 100. Each correct answer will fetch you 1 mark and each incorrect answer will lead to a deduction of 0.25 marks.
- SBI PO Mains exam: Candidates who crack the prelims exam must appear for the mains exam. There are two sections in the SBI PO mains exam – objective and descriptive. The objective paper carries 200 marks and the descriptive section carries 50 marks. The marks and time allotted for various sections are summarised in the table below:
|Reasoning and computer aptitude||45||60||60 minutes|
|Data analysis and interpretation||35||60||45 minutes|
|General/ Economy/ Banking awareness||40||40||35 minutes|
|English language||35||40||40 minutes|
The descriptive section has two types of questions and carries a total of 50 marks. The time limit for this section is 30 minutes.
- SBI PO Interview: Candidates who successfully pass both the prelims and mains exam are called for an interview. The interview carries 30 marks and the group exercise carries 20 marks.
- Take mock tests: Taking the SBI PO test series is very important. It gives you an idea of the type of questions asked in the exam. Do not wait for the last moment to attempt mock tests. You can start with topic-wise and section-wise mock tests. As soon as you complete a topic, give a mock test. Analyze your paper. Look for your mistakes and note down your strengths and weaknesses. After a gap of one or two weeks, attempt another mock test on the same topic and check your progress. You might not be efficient under time pressure. Try practicing in a time-bound environment. Along with speed, accuracy is also very crucial to succeed in the SBI PO exam. It is very important to spend some time analyzing your performance in mock tests. It will prepare you for the final exam. You can easily deal with the panic and nervousness faced during exams since you have adapted yourself to perform in such an environment.
- Read newspaper daily: Reading newspaper daily has multifold advantages. First, you get habituated to reading. Your reading and comprehension skills improve. Another advantage is, you get to enhance your vocabulary. Note down new words that you come across and write down their meaning and application. You can go through these notes during your revision sessions. Another important advantage of reading newspapers is improving your general awareness. Both prelims and mains exams have a general awareness section. Prepare notes for general awareness news that you come across in the newspaper.
- Analyze and practice previous years’ question papers: Solve previous years’ question papers and analyze your performance to know where you stand. You will come across topics that are asked frequently in the exam. Hence, you must focus on those topics. You might feel that it is easy to crack this exam if you have the required knowledge, but performing in a time-bound environment with certain accuracy is not easy. This comes with regular practice and dedication. Solving previous years’ question papers gives you an idea of the type of questions asked in the exams. After solving each paper, spend some time analyzing your performance and focus on your mistakes. What are the common mistakes that you are committing and what can you do to improvise upon those mistakes?
- Learn the basics: The syllabus might look very easy to some candidates. Though the challenging part is accuracy within the limited time. There is a sectional time limit, you must be able to handle the time pressure. Do not start directly solving questions. Go through the syllabus and prepare short notes. Many candidates make silly calculation mistakes in the general aptitude section and ultimately lose marks. You have to avoid incorrect answers since there is a penalty. Make a list of all the important formulas. You can make small flashcards and stick them near your studying area where you can see them. Revise them regularly. Another section where candidates often make mistakes is the grammar section. Since most of us have been studying English since our childhood, we assume it to be very easy and avoid the practice. Sometimes, questions in the grammar section can be tricky. The only way to deal with all types of questions is to strengthen your basics. If you are confident and good in your basics, you can solve questions from all complexity levels.
- Prepare short notes: You cannot go through your entire syllabus during revision, especially before your exams. Prepare short notes, with only crucial points. Include tips and tricks in your notes. These notes come in handy during revision before the exam. You should prepare your notes when you read the topic for the first time, and further on keep adding more points to it as you solve mock tests and previous years’ question papers. Make sure to revise your notes regularly. You can do it alternatively or after a gap of three-four days. The more you revise, the better you will remember the concepts.
The competition in the SBI PO exam is high since lakhs of aspirants appear every year. Though the syllabus might look exhaustive, it is easy to crack this exam. You must have the right strategy and proper mindset to prepare for the SBI PO exam. All the best.