Effective preparation strategy for SBI PO exam

SBI PO Examination

SBI PO Examination is a national examination conducted annually for the post of Probationary officer for the State Bank of India. It is a prestigious post with high demand among aspirants in the banking sector. This examination is usually conducted in the month of September or October. An estimate of roughly 9 lakh candidates take part in this examination every year.

Registration and vacancy

The registration for the exam takes place online and a small fee is conducted for the registration, depending on the categories. The form will be made available on the official website, sbi.co.in.

Every year there are around 2000 vacancies for this post. These are again divided based on category. With such a high number of candidates writing this examination every year, the competition is remarkably high for the post.

Eligibility criteria

One of the most important steps to cover before beginning to prepare is the eligibility criteria.

Educational qualification:

The candidate must have completed basic bachelors’ degree graduation that is recognized by the Government of India. Candidates in their final year or semester of their degree may apply provided they can produce proof of passing the final examination on or before the 1st of July. Candidates with a Chartered Accountant degree may also apply. Candidates who have an Integrated Dual Degree may also apply provided the date of passing the examination is on or before the 31st of August.

Age limit

The candidate must be above the age of 21 and below the age of 30 at the time of registration. Age limit restrictions may apply to various categories.

Number of attempts:

The candidate has a maximum attempt of 4, 7, 7 times for general, general/EWS(PWD), and OBC/OBC(PWD) respectively. SC/ST do not have any maximum attempts.

Examination pattern

Candidates need to know about SBI PO Exam and be familiar with the pattern. This is very important to crack the exam. The SBI PO Examination has three parts:

SBI PO Preliminary Examination

The preliminary examination is a 100-mark exam that happens online. The areas tested are the English Language, Numerical Eligibility, and Reasoning Ability. Each segment carries 30, 35, 35 marks, respectively. The entire examination is to be completed in 60 minutes.

SBI PO Mains Examination:

The mains examination consists of four sections: Reasoning and Computer Aptitude, General/Economy/Banking Awareness, English Language, and Data Analysis and Interpretation. This is also an online examination with a time limit of 3 hours. The total marks allotted for this part are 200.

Apart from this, a descriptive test of 50 marks will also be conducted. This part includes letter writing and essay writing.


The third and final part of the examination is the interview. Those who have cleared the first and the second will be called for the interview where the candidate’s knowledge about the banking sector will be tested. The interview consists of a group discussion and an interview round.

The entire course of the examination requires adequate practice and preparation as it has a huge competition every year. Understanding the examination pattern is of utmost importance for this.

Preparation for the examination

The SBI PO examination is a national examination with a huge population of candidates competing for around 2000 posts. The competition is high, and the examination requires adequate practice and preparation. In such examinations, the preparation must be strategic and well-planned.

Here are a few strategies that make the preparation not only easy but also effective:

Study the syllabus and exam pattern

As mentioned earlier, the examination pattern is important. Familiarize yourself with the pattern of questions, the marks, the importance of each subject, and the time. Make a list of all the subjects and the syllabus. Analyse this list and make a note of the difficult and the easy topics. This would help in allotting time for each topic and to keep track of how much one must study.

Make a study plan

The next step would be to formulate an extensive timetable for the preparation. Make a plan that is easy to stick to and not too overwhelming. Keep time for revision and tests. Also, make time for a bit of relaxation to not get saturated.

Making notes

Make concise notes of points that are difficult to recollect. Making a note of everything will make it difficult to revise in the last few days. Different note-making techniques can be used to make remembering easier. For example, flashcards, color-coding, and flow charts may help in easy recollection.

Regular reading

Topics like English Language and General awareness cannot be studied off a textbook. They require everyday practice in the form of reading. Making this a habit in the study routine will make a huge difference in the final examination. Reading newspapers, magazines and blogs will not only improve the language but also increase awareness of the latest news.


Examinations like the SBI PO Exam do not depend as much on the person’s intelligence. It depends more on the consistency of practice and preparation. A steady reading and revision strategy is better than slogging for long hours towards the end of the study period. Consistency also provides enough time for the completion of the syllabus and also provides time for revision, which is particularly important.

Strengthen basics

Basic concepts should be dealt with in a proper way. Take time to understand these concepts as they lay the foundation for the rest of the topics. Once this is established, questions of any style can be answered easily. Try watching videos or using pictures to capture them for a longer duration.

Mock tests

Another important way of improving and practicing for the examination is by taking mock tests and solving papers of the previous years. This helps to analyze the weak areas and focus more on them. One can also learn to effectively manage the time through the examination. Mock tests also build confidence for the final examination.

Preparation for the SBI PO Examination is not easy. It requires commitment and practice, regularity, and sincerity. Having said this, the examination is not impossible to crack. With the right guidance, it can be cleared with flying colors.


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