07 Primary Tips to Prepare for SBI PO Exam with Exam Pattern, Official Syllabus and Best Books


Preparing SBI PO Online Exam will become interesting for you. I will tell you what to do in a simple and easy way.
If you have read my previous article How to submit online application for SBI Po Exam, you will get an idea about the selection process and exam syllabus.

You know that SBI has made some changes in the system of the online exam.

The main key to easy and effective preparation for a competitive exam is to get a clear knowledge about the Exam pattern and the official syllabus for the exam. Before preparation or buy a guide book, open the SBI PO Advertisement and read carefully the above two things.

Selection Procedure and Exam Pattern  for SBI PO Exam:

1. SBI PO Exam will be held in Three (03) phases-

  • Phase-I: Preliminary Examination: This Preliminary Examination is consists of Objective questions. Total marks will be 100 marks. This will be conducted online. You will be given 1 hour duration tom answer 3 sections. 
  • Phase – II: Main Examination: The Main Examination will be consist of Objective Type questions for 200 marks and Descriptive Type questions for 50 marks. Both the Objective and Descriptive Tests, Exam will be online. You will have to answer Descriptive Test by typing on the computer. Descriptive Test will be administered, after completion of Objective Test, 
  • Phase - III : This phase includes Group Discussion for 20 marks & Interview for 30 marks. To get selected for phase III, you will have to qualify both in Phase-II and Phase-III separately. Marks secured by the candidates in the Written Test (out of 250 marks) are converted to out of 75 and marks secured in Group Discussion & Interview (out of 50 marks) are converted to out of 25.

2. Preparation of Final Merit List :

After the Interview, The final merit list is arrived at after aggregating converted marks of Written Test and Group Discussion & Interview ( Phase I + Phase II + Phase III) out of 100 for each category. The selection will be made from the top merit ranked candidates in each category.

Syllabus for Phase-I: SBI PO Preliminary Examination:

1. Name of Test = English Language

No. of Questions = 30

Marks = 30

2. Name of Test = Quantitative Aptitude

No. of Questions = 35

Marks = 35

3. Name of Test = Reasoning Ability

No. of Questions = 35

Marks = 35

Duration = Composite Time of 1 hour

Total No. of Questions = 100

Marks =100

Important Note 

You have to qualify in each of the three tests by securing passing marks as decided by SBI. Adequate number of candidates in each category as decided by the Bank (approximately 20 times the numbers of vacancies subject to availability) will be shortlisted for the Main Examination.

# 1 English Language preparation for SBI PO Exam :

SBI PO English Exam is tough to prepare. If you compare with other competitive exams, SBI gives more interest in English Language. In this is the section most of the aspirants can't score minimum cut off marks too. You should have a good knowledge of grammar too. Read the best books in the market. To search the best books, you can search in Amazon or Flipkart to see the reviews written by other students. In this section the common questions are asked from the following categories-

  • Grammar 
  • Synonyms & Antonyms. 
  • Comprehension 
  • Error Correction 
  • Sentence Rearrangement 
  • Vocabulary 
  • Cloze Test 
  • Fill in the blanks 
  • Para jumbles

 Prepare for SBI PO Exam
The book for Bank PO English Language Previous Years’ Solved Papers has been divided into nine chapters namely : Spotting the Error, Sentence Improvement, Double Fillers, Sentence Rearrangement, Cloze Test, Reading Comprehension, Idioms & Phrases, Synonyms & Antonyms and Miscellaneous.

Each containing ample number of solved questions asked in previous years’ Bank Probationary Officers Recruitment Examinations. The questions asked in previous years’ Bank PO examinations have been solved in detail with explanation wherever required. The book also contains five practice sets designed on the lines of current examination pattern of Bank PO Examinations. With over 4000 previous years’ solved questions the book covers questions asked in previous years’ examinations like SBI PO, IBPS PO, etc

Prepare for SBI PO Exam
2. Essential English Grammar : This is a reference and practice book for a Student in the English language. The book contains grammar points with examples and exercises for learners, with over 100 chapters on various grammatical theories. To learn Essential English Grammar for SBI PO Exam, this is the complete guide to the correct usage of English.

Concepts in the book range from spellings and its rules to forms of verbs, regular or otherwise, all of which form the building blocks of the language and are a must for anyone wishing to learn the language.

Prepare for SBI PO Exam
3. Objective General English :
This book is divided into 6 sections for the convenience of the students. It covers topics like vocabulary usage, comprehension ability, selecting words or phrases, error detection, rearrangement and general usage. Objective General English delves into the topics in detail. It helps readers to develop their communication skills and increase their ability to understand the text provided in the exam efficiently. This book teaches the right way to go through a passage to extract its accurate meaning, while also understanding its tone.

# 2 Quantitative Aptitude preparation for SBI PO Exam:

To Score a good mark in this section, you must be a master in the basic mathematical questions. You can score more marks in this section if you learn some short cuts to solve the questions. Go through the basic mathematical formula. Otherwise you will loss all your time in the Quantitative Aptitude section. Most common questions are comes from the below subjects.
  • Fractions 
  • Ratio and Proportion 
  • Percentage 
  • Profit & Loss 
  • Simple Interest & Compound Interest 
  • Mensuration 
  • Partnership 
  • Bar graph, Pie-chart and Probability 
  • Average 
  • Number Systems 
  • Time & Work 
  • Time & Distance etc.

Tips to Prepare for SBI PO Exam
1. Quantitative Aptitude For Competitive Examinations : This book covers every aspect of the numerical ability section of many competitive tests. Numerous examples have been used throughout the book to illustrate the concepts and problem solving techniques. This book gives the students or candidates a good idea about the kind of questions asked in these exams.

Data Analysis and Interpretation contains Pie charts, Bar Diagrams and graphs. It is one of the time consuming concept. So it’s better to do at least five questions of this type a day to speed up your calculations.

# 3 Reasoning Ability for SBI PO Exam:

The aim of Reasoning Ability Test is to test the capacity of solving a problem in lesser time. There are Two types of Reasoning Ability Test - Verbal and Non-Verbal. To solve a question you should read the question again and again until you understand the question properly. To score good you should do practice again and again. Previous years question can help you to better understand this section. Study the following subjects carefully and start practicing from now.

  • Analogy 
  • Classification 
  • Seating Arrangements 
  • Syllogism 
  • Ranking 
  • Coding-Decoding 
  • Directions 
  • Blood Relations 
  • Series problems 
  • Data sufficiency etc.

Tips to Prepare for SBI PO Exam

1. A Modern Approach To Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning: The first section covers General Mental Ability, include Verification Of Truth Of The Statement, Assertion And Reason, Alpha Numeric Sequence Puzzle, Direction Sense Test, Series Completion, Inserting The Missing Character, Logical Sequence Of Words, and Logical Venn Diagrams.
In the second section, Logical Deduction, the chapters include Cause And Effect Reasoning, Statement-Conclusions, Theme Detection, Statement-Arguments, Deriving Conclusions From Passages, Logic, Statement-Assumptions, and Statement-Course Of Action.

Phase – II: SBI PO Main Examination:

The candidates who score above the SBI PO Preliminary Cutoff Score 2016 will be allowed to take the SBI PO Main Exam 2016 which will follow a completely different exam pattern. 

SBI has made some changes in the exam pattern of SBI PO Main Examination. Main Examination will consist of Objective Tests for 200 marks and Descriptive Test for 50 marks. Both the Objective and Descriptive Tests will be online. 

Candidates will have to answer Descriptive Test by typing on the computer. Immediately after completion of Objective Test, Descriptive Test will be administered.

The main examination of SBI PO is divided into two stages:

  • Objective Test : SBI PO Main Examination will consist of Objective Tests for 200 marks. The objective test will be for 3-hour duration consisting of 4 sections. The Objective Test will have separate timing for every section. 
  • Descriptive Test : Immediately after completion of Objective Test, Descriptive Test will be administered. Descriptive Test for 50 marks

Note :

  • Both the Objective and Descriptive Tests will be online. Candidates will have to answer Descriptive Test by typing on the computer. 
  • The candidates are required to qualify in each of the tests by securing passing marks, to be decided by the Bank. 
  • For every correct response provided, the candidates would be awarded 1 mark and for every wrong response ¼ marks will get deducted. However, no mark will be deducted for any response.

Syllabus for SBI PO Phase II (Main Exam) :

(i) Objective Test :

Test I

Name of test- Reasoning & Computer Aptitude

No of Questions - 45

Max Marks - 60

Duration - 60 minutes

Test II

Name of test - Data Analysis & Interpretation

No of Questions - 35

Max Marks - 60

Duration - 45 minutes

Test III

Name of test - General/Economy/ Banking Awareness

No of Questions - 40

Max Marks - 40

Duration - 35 minutes

Test IV

Name of test - English Language

No of Questions - 35

Max Marks - 40

Duration - 40 minutes


No of Questions - 155

Max Marks - 200

Duration - 3 hours

(ii) Descriptive Test:

Name of test - Test of English Language (Letter Writing & Essay)

Max Marks - 50

Duration - 30 minutes

# 4 Prepare Computer Ability for SBI PO Exam :

Reasoning and Computer Ability Test is one of the most important test in this section. As I described above, prepare for Reasoning ability and learn the basics of Computer. Study Some competitive books for this section. Some important books are -

# 5 Prepare Data Analysis & Interpretation Test :

Data Interpretation and Data Sufficiency Data Interpretation is the major factor of Quantitative Aptitude Test. The Data Interpretation section can be divided into 2 key areas- i.e. Data Interpretation and Data Sufficiency.

DI tests your decision-making ability and speed using limited input. It consists of a myriad of graphs, charts and tables from which you have to glean and analyze data.

DS problems usually take the form of a logical puzzle, and in the form of question followed by two statements. This book is the source to get the concepts related to various topics which will help in going through the examination. It also includes the basic concepts behind the questions, asked indifferent examinations and makes your better practice to solve the problems.

Tips to Prepare for SBI PO Exam
The book Data Interpretation & Data Sufficiency which is an equally weighed section in many competitive examinations tests the thinking power and mind applicability skills of the candidates.

The questions asked in various competitive examinations are not easy to solve without having enough practice. The Accredited Guide to Data Interpretation & Data Sufficiency will help aspirants master the ‘Tricks of the Trade’.

This book has been divided into nine chapters namely Analysis of Data, Data Table, Bar Chart, Line Graph, Pie Chart or Circle Graph, Mixed Graph, Case Studies, Miscellaneous Charts & Data Sufficiency, each sub-divided into number of chapters with different types of questions of multiple patterns asked in various exams. Ample numbers of solved problems have been covered in each chapter followed by practice exercises at the end to help aspirants revised and practice the concepts discussed in each chapter.

# 6 Prepare General/Economy/ Banking Awareness:

It is the most important section of main examination. Study regularly News papers and watch TV news to keep yourself update for this section.

1. Economic Survey of India :

Most authoritative and updated source of data on India’s economy
Highlights a growth rate of 7.6% hailing India as a 'bright spot' amidst a slowing global economy
Identifies wide-ranging challenges and summarizes policy and performance of the government
Advocates inclusive development in key sectors with the right strategies, policies, and interventions
Focuses on ensuring macro-economic stability and prudent fiscal management
Locates a fresh set of economic reforms and policy initiatives to counter risks of global slowdown

2. Objective Banking and Economic Awareness :

# 7 Prepare Test of English Language (Letter Writing & Essay) :

As SBI Po gives most important in the practice of English language, you should not ignore this subject. While not all writing methods work for everyone, tips in this book both in writing Letters and Essays should get you started on your path to writing. In this book, the first chapter gives insights towards teaching writing skill. Chapter two explains about techniques for either starting writing or teaching different types of writing. Chapter three is about different types of letters. Buy Steps to Writing Letters and Essays from flipkart to get a sound knowledge on writing English.

The candidates are required to qualify in the Descriptive Test by securing passing marks,as decided by the Bank. Descriptive Test paper is only for those candidates who have scored qualifying marks in the Objective Tests and are placed adequately high as per total marks in Objective Test.

Phase – III Group discussion and personal Interview for SBI PO Exam:

Who clear the cutoff score for the Main Examination would be called for a group discussion and personal Interview test. There candidates will have to face an Interview board.

The Group Discussion will carry 20 marks and Interview will carry 30 marks. The aggregate marks of candidates qualifying in both the Objective Tests and the Descriptive Test will be arranged in descending order in each category. Adequate number of candidates in each category, as decided by the Bank will be called for Group Discussion and Interview. The qualifying marks in Group Discussion and Interview will be decided by the Bank.

Group Discussion & Interview : The aggregate marks of candidates qualifying in both the Objective Tests and the Descriptive Test will be arranged in descending order in each category. Adequate number of candidates in each category, as decided by the Bank will be called for Group Discussion and Interview. The qualifying marks in Group Discussion & Interview will be as decided by the Bank. Candidates qualifying for GD & Interview.

Final Selection

The marks obtained in the Preliminary Examination (Phase-I) will not be added for the selection and only the marks obtained in Main Examination (Phase-II), both in Objective Test and Descriptive Test, will be added to the marks obtained in GD&Interview(Phase-III) for preparation of the final merit list.

Declaration of Result :

Results of the candidates who have qualified for GD & Interview and the list of candidates finally selected will be made available on the Bank's website. Final select list will be published in Employment News/Rozgar Samachar and also on Bank’s website.

Have I missed anything? Feel free to discuss with me about Tips to Prepare for SBI PO Exam.
Share with your friends.