How should one start preparing for SBI PO?


Over 10 lakhs of applicants take up the State Bank of India Probationary Officer Examination (commonly known as SBI PO). Held once a year, this exam has three rounds. Phase 1 is the preliminary examination, followed by Phase II which is the Mains examination, and Phase III is the interview round. Because it has a limited number of attempts for the General and a few other categories, the examination can be difficult for some. This article dives into methods that might help you succeed in SBI PO. This is the status of the SBI PO Salary.

SBI PO Prelims

This exam is for 100 marks which consist of 30 questions in the English Language section, 35 in quantitative aptitude, 35 in reasoning ability. Each question is 1 mark.

The Mains Round

It has a descriptive type of papers with the following pattern: reasoning & computer aptitude section which has 45 questions for 60 marks, data analysis & interpretation which has 35 questions again for 60 marks, general/economy/banking awareness which has 40 questions for 40 marks, and English language which has 35 questions for 40 marks.

How should one start preparing for SBI PO?

General Section

This is a scoring section that is super important for the exam but a bit difficult at the same time. One of the ways to get better at English is to read articles, novels, newspapers, magazines, etc often and practice the grammar portion from time to time. While reading, pen down any new words you come across and try to find their synonyms and antonyms. Practicing English over and over will also drill grammar and help you understand the sentence structure better hence allowing you to solve comprehension-based questions with ease. This portion can be mastered by learning most of the standard rules and applying their applications in different sentences.

Quantitative Ability

The questions of quantitative ability are based on class 10th and class 12th mathematics. Hence, building the basic foundation of math from these years and practicing them out helps in building accuracy really fast. Try to pick up shortcut methods from here and there to get better at this section and save a lot of time.

Reasoning Ability

This section tests the reasoning ability, logic, judgment, and other skills related to the presence of mind and analytical ability of a candidate. The most important topics of this section are analogy, classification, ranking, series problems, syllogism, sitting arrangements, coding-decoding, statements and conclusions, blood relations, directions, data sufficiency, assumptions, and direction sense test.

Interview preparation

  • Be well dressed

Dressing up for bank interviews, women can either be dressed in a plain and light-colored cotton saree or salwar kameez with a plain dupatta or trousers paired with a blazer and light-colored blouse. Men can go for a plain light-colored shirt and dark-colored trousers and a plain tie; if it’s winter, pair it with a good blazer.

  • Be punctual

Punctuality demonstrates your willingness to make an effort to complete work on time and hence don’t show up to the interview late. In fact, arrive 5 minutes early as it would give you some time to de-stress from the journey and collect your thoughts.

  • Enhance your soft skills

Enthusiasm, attitude, communication, problem-solving, leadership, and taking initiative are some of the soft skills that are super important in the workplace.

  • Be relevant

Being relevant is important and here’s the reason why. By the end of the interview, they should know about your qualifications, it should be evident that you meet the requirements, and even if you don’t, you should be willing or capable of learning them. Show them your soft skills, tell them how you can carry out responsibilities well, and why you are interested in the job/company and why you want to commit to them on a long-term basis.

  • Be well-versed in the financial and banking issues

This can be improved by reading business newspapers, magazines, etc.

  • Be confident and maintain proper body posture

Ways of being confident in an interview include maintaining good body posture, maintaining eye contact, giving a good handshake, good breathing techniques, calming your fidgeting, preparing and rehearsing answers, talking slowly, dressing for the part, etc.

Here are a few additional tips on preparing for the exam.

  1. Know the details- Understand the pattern of the SBI PO exam well along with the syllabus, mark the important dates and also check the duration of tests.
  2. Strategizing preparation techniques- Studying everything properly might help you prepare for the best, but if you don’t have enough time, you might need to go with a different strategy. Try to figure out the strong topics that are asked often and the weak topics which are of lower importance. Prepare a timetable out of the important syllabus and try to cover it all in a month/next few months.
  3. Prioritize every section and topic- As the exam has a cut-off, it is important to prepare all the sections well and try to cover as many topics as you can.
  4. Start reading – As stated earlier, one of the ways to master the language of English is to work on your vocabulary, grammar, and comprehension skills by reading from a lot of sources, or watching shows.
  5. Follow the news- Add this tip to your SBI PO preparation plan. Following news will help you out with the general awareness section of the Mains exam. Reading newspapers, watching them, or reading online news will help you get well-versed with the recent happenings. Know the current affairs, especially the ones that involve banking and financial matters.
  6. Make notes- Adopt the method of taking notes as it would not help you out with memory retention, but you’ll also be able to capture important information. Practice questions from all the topics to get well-versed with the concepts.
  7. Take mock tests- Mock tests are necessary to help you figure out how well your preparation is. Analyzing the paper after the test is equally important to help you rectify your errors and not make the same mistakes again.

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