SBI PO, Eligibility, Study plan and strategy ?

SBI-PO is one of the toughest examinations to crack in entry level bank examinations organized by SBI Group. Team CAT Aspirants has analysed this very examination in all possible dimensions and composed all observations in form of this blog on demand of many readers and aspirants. We hope that this blog will add certain values in your preparation and try to answer all your doubts and queries regarding this very examination.

Examination Structure and Question Pattern:

As per the official notification released by SBI for recruitment of Probationary Officers, the recruitment will take place with the help of online examination and Group Exercise & Personal Interview.

  1. Online Preliminary Examination (Objective Test).
  2. Online Mains Examination (Objective Test).
  3. Phase III: Personal Interview Round

The marks obtained in the Preliminary Examination (Phase-I) are not added for the selection and only the marks obtained in Main Examination (Phase-II) and Interview (Phase-III) are added for the preparation of the final merit list. Final selection will be made on the basis of candidate's performance in the main examination and the Phase-III.


Preliminary Examination consisting of Objective Test for 100 marks will be conducted online. The test will have of 3 Sections (with separate timings, 20 minutes for each section) as follows:

Subject Marks
English Language 30
Quantitative aptitude 35
Reasoning ability 35

Selection criteria for Main Examination:

Category wise merit list will be drawn on the basis of the aggregate marks scored in the Preliminary Examination. Candidates numbering approximately 10 times the numbers of vacancies in each category will be short listed for the Main Examination from the top of the merit list.


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. Descriptive Test will be administered immediately after completion of the Objective Test.

(i) Objective Test: The objective test of 3 hours duration consists of 4 Sections for total 200 marks. The objective test will have separate timing for every section.

Subject Marks
Reasoning & Computer Aptitude 45
Data Analysis & Interpretation 35
General/ Economy/ Banking Awareness 40
English Language 35

(ii) Descriptive Test: The Descriptive Test of 30 minutes duration with two questions for 50 marks will be a Test of English Language (Letter Writing & Essay).

Penalty for Wrong Answers (Applicable to both – Preliminary and Main examination):

There will be penalty for wrong answers marked in the Objective Tests. For each question for which a wrong answer has been given by the candidate one fourth of the marks assigned to that question will be deducted as penalty to arrive at corrected score. If a question is left blank, i.e. if no answer is marked by the candidate, there will be no penalty for that question.

Phase – III:

Group Exercises (20 marks) & Interview (30 marks) Candidates qualifying for GE & Interview under 'OBC' category would be required to submit OBC certificate containing the 'Non Creamy layer' clause. Candidates not submitting the OBC certificate containing the 'Non Creamy layer' clause and requesting to be interviewed under General category will not be entertained.

Final Selection:

The marks obtained in the Preliminary Examination (Phase-I) will not be added for preparing the final merit list for selection. Only the marks obtained in Main Examination (Phase-II), both in Objective Test and Descriptive Test, will be added to the marks obtained in GE & Interview (Phase-III) for preparing the final merit list. The candidates will have to qualify both in Phase-II and Phase-III separately. Marks secured by the candidates in the Main Examination (out of 250 marks) are converted to out of 75 and marks secured in Group Exercises & Interview (out of 50 marks) are converted to out of 25. The final merit list is arrived at after aggregating converted marks of Main Examination and Group Exercises & Interview out of 100. The selection will be made from the top merit ranked candidates in each category. Results of the candidates who qualify for Main Examination and Group Exercise & Interview as well as the final select list will be made available on the Bank's website.

Important Observations/ Findings:

I.) Sectional Cut-off marks: No sectional cut-off marks, cut-off will be decided on aggregate marks only.

II.) Objective Cut-off marks for evaluation of descriptive paper have been decided by Bank.

III.) Much emphasis on English language: One sectional paper and one descriptive paper are included exclusively for testing English language aptitude of candidates. Control over the English language will be decisive factor in this examination. Essay writing, Précis and letter writing will be component of descriptive paper.

IV.) High Cut-off marks:  One has to be accurate & precise and has good speed to solve problems.

We all know that speed with accuracy only comes with regular practice.

Study Materials:

Strategy and Study Plan:

Every effective preparation strategy requires a systematic planning to optimize available resources and to achieve maximized outcomes /results. Here, we are presenting an effective 10 Months Study Plan for SBI-PO and other elite Bank-PO examinations. First of all, banking aspirants must list all available resources to them and then accordingly devise their unique Study plan. Team CAT Aspirants recommend that banking aspirants must also do the SWOT analysis for recognizing their areas of Strengths,   Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, accordingly they can devise their preparation strategy and plan.

SBI-PO preparation strategy & plan is combined mix of Theory, Concepts, Practice, Simulated Tests and Effective evaluation on individual's performance on All India level. By considering all important factors, we devised a 10 Months Study Plan for SBI PO and other elite Bank-PO examinations. Students and aspirants may change the aforesaid plan according to their strengths and weaknesses and resources available to them.

Phase From -To Duration Activities
Foundation 01 Jan – 30 April 16 Weeks Understand basic concepts and theories.

Practice Solved questions based on concepts and  Theories

Practice exercise based on concepts and theories

Aspire 01 May – 31 July 12 Weeks Take Module based online Test Series

Solve Previous years IBPS/SBI-PO papers

Practice problems from a good question bank

Elite 01 Aug – 30 Sep 08 Weeks Work on your weak areas

Revise concepts and theories

Take full length Mock tests for IBPS/SBI-PO

Achievers 01 Oct-15 Oct 02 Weeks Solve Previous year IBPS/SBI-PO Papers

Take Full length Online Mock Test for IBPS/SBI-      PO examinations

All the Best

Team CAT Aspirants 🙂

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