SBI PO Exam is the competitive exam conducted by the SBI to select candidates for the post of probationary officers. The exam is conducted at a national level and lakhs of candidates apply each year. The exam is highly competitive. Students start preparing months in advance even before the SBI releases the official notification for the exam each year. The post of a probationary officer with SBI is a prestigious post to have especially to start off your career in the banking sector. SBI provides the brand value and status associated with it and a lucrative pay scale and numerous growth opportunities for you in the banking sector.
The exam is conducted in three stages- preliminary exam, main exam and the interview round. The interview round consists of a group discussion and a personal interview. You have to clear each stage to be eligible for the following stage in the selection process.
The syllabus for both the exams is more or less the same besides the addition of two extra sections in the mains exam. The exam is conducted online. The sections from which questions are asked in the exam include- English language, reasoning ability, quantitative aptitude, computer knowledge and general/financial awareness. The prelims exam consists of 100 questions that need to be attempted in 1 hour. The mains exam consists of 190 questions that need to be attempted in 2 hours and 40 minutes. The prelims is for a total of 100 marks and the mains exam is for 200 marks.
Make sure to be thorough with the syllabus while preparing for the exam. Be sure to have a set timetable dividing time for each topic and subject before you start preparing. For the English language, make sure to focus on reading and comprehension. Questions testing basic grammar skills in the form of finding errors, filling blanks etc. can be asked. Quantitative aptitude tests the basic mathematical skills of the candidates. Topics from which questions can be asked include profit and loss, percentages, number series, data interpretation etc. Reasoning ability has questions related to topics like blood relations, syllogism, input and output, puzzles, logical reasoning etc. For general awareness and financial knowledge, the students need to be updated on static general knowledge and current affairs in general and in the economic and financial sector as well.
Tips for the Exam and Mistakes to Avoid
1.) Prepare a timetable
Make sure to start your preparation by having a proper set timetable. Set realistic goals for yourself for each day or week in the timetable. This will help you stay motivated and help you cover as much syllabus as possible. Since the syllabus is vast, it can seem difficult to keep up but if you manage your time well, you will be able to prepare well. Do not overwork yourself. Make sure to give yourself breaks in the timetable while preparing.
2.) Keep up with reading regularly
Make reading daily a habit. Make sure to read newspapers, editor’s blogs, magazines, and books while preparing. Some people make the mistake of only reading the newspaper while preparing for general knowledge. Make sure that you practice and learn static general knowledge as well. You can refer to books and make notes. This will help you memorise better and make all the information concise and easy to handle and revise from before the exam. Reading daily will also help you brush up on your English skills and practice reading comprehension. Having a good command of the language is also important for the interview.
3.) Practice mock tests and sample papers
Having enough practice before attempting the exam is extremely important to analyze the kind of questions to expect in the exam and your performance as well. Assessing your performance will help you realize which topics out of the syllabus need more attention and work. Make sure to time yourself while attempting the exam. Since the exams are timed, it is important that you know how to manage your time well and do not have to leave any part of the question paper unattempted. You can attempt the SBI PO mock test free and determine your weak and strong areas.
4.) Do not answer any questions if you are not sure about the answers
The exams have a 0.25 negative marking scheme. Make sure to only attempt questions whose answers you know or are certain about. Negative marking can lead to losing a lot of marks and bringing down your overall cut-off. Carefully read and analyze each question before you select an answer. If any question is taking a little extra time, you can always move forward and come back to it. Make sure to keep a check on the time so that you do not have to rush while attempting the questions.
Make sure to know the dates, exam pattern, book etc. before you start preparing for the exam. It is important to get your basic information correct before you start preparing for any exam. Be regular in studying and revising for the exam. Even if you do not cover a new topic every day, it is extremely important that you keep revising what you did the previous day or in the week. This will help you analyze how well you know a topic and stay focused and in touch with what you are studying. Keep practicing as many questions as possible. Especially for qualitative and reasoning ability, it is important to have as much practice as possible.
For the interview, it is important that you are aware of all the general topics and current affairs in the country and all over the world. The panel and GD discussion can test your awareness in general. It is important to be confident and not seem nervous and they can judge you on the basis of your body language. Make sure to think before you answer any questions. Practice speaking and having a good command of English. Take part in the group discussion as much as possible and make valid points. The final selection of the candidates is made based on their overall performance.