How to Prepare for Bank PO Exam: A Definitive Guide

What is Bank PO Exam?

The ‘Bank Probationary Officer Exam’ is the most coveted competitive exam in India. Individuals get recruited at a managerial level post after clearing this exam. Various recruiting bodies such as IBPS, SBI, IPPB etc. conduct the bank PO exam each year. The PO exam is conducted by the Institute of Banking Personnel Selection or IBPS to select candidates in 20 public sector banks in India. Besides IBPS, other private and public-sector banks such as SBI conduct their respective assessments to select probationary officers.


Earning Potential of a Bank PO

Candidates aspiring for a career in the banking sector can draw a hefty pay package right from the start. The pay scale depends on the bank which is recruiting as well as the location of work. The total pay package goes upto 40,700 initially for banks that come under IBPS purview. Other perks and allowances such as medical cover, travel allowance etc can be availed besides the salary.

If candidates are inducted as SBI PO, the total package per year varies between 7.55 lakhs and 12.93 lakhs which depends on the location of posting and other aspects.


Eligibility for Bank PO Exam

Education and age are the two criterion which a candidate should fulfil before applying for bank PO exam.

Age Limit for Bank PO Exam

Minimum Age – 21 years

Maximum Age – 30 years

However, as per Government norms, there is maximum age relaxation for Bank PO exam for certain categories listed below:

  1. SC/ST – 5 years
  2. OBC (Non – Creamy Layer) – 3 years
  3. PWD(SC/ST) – 15 years
  4. PWD(Gen) – 10 years
  5. PWD(OBC) – 13 years
  6. Ex-Servicemen & Commissioned Officers with comprehensive and released 5 years’ service

Requisite Qualification – Minimum Bachelor’s degree


Mode of Application

Online Registration on IBPS website or through the respective bank

Below are certain useful tips which should be adhered to while the online application is made:

  • Scanned photograph and signature should be kept ready as per the official notification
  • Email id through which application is made should be kept valid till the results are announced
  • Print out of the application form should be taken for future reference

Bank PO Exam Schedule & Selection Process

The Bank PO exam is conducted in 3 steps

  1. Prelims (Online Assessment)
  2. Mains Exam (Online Assessment)
  3. Interview

Important Note: There is 25% negative marking in Prelims and Mains for each wrong answer

If a candidate is successful in clearing the first two stages of IBPS PO Exam, he or she becomes eligible for the interview round. Upon clearing all the above mentioned three stages, a candidate is selected as Bank PO.

Regarding IBPS, the interview comprises of 100 marks with a ratio of 80:20 (Mains Exam and IBPS PO interview) considered for final selection as Bank PO.

However, SBI PO interview consists of 50 marks and comprises of GD & Interview.

Bank PO Exam Syllabus

The Bank PO exam syllabus is based on three sections namely ‘Quantitative Aptitude’, ‘Logical Reasoning’ and ‘English Language’. Detailed syllabus can be found in Annexure I.


Bank PO Exam Pattern

The exam pattern for Bank PO Prelim comprises of three sections namely ‘Quantitative Aptitude’, ‘Reasoning Ability’ and ‘English Language’. For the mains exam, an objective and a descriptive test is conducted. Detailed exam pattern for Prelim and Mains can be found in Annexure II.


Bank PO Cut Offs

Scores are displayed below to give candidates an idea about what they can expect and prepare for the exam accordingly

Official IBPS PO Cut Off – Prelims 2017

Official Sectional IBPS PO Prelims Cut Off

Sections Max Marks GEN Cut Off OBC/SC/ST Cut Off
English Language 30 5 2.75
Reasoning Ability 35 10 6.75
Quantitative Aptitude 35 7.75 4.75

Source: Testbook.com

IBPS PO Mains Overall – Objective Paper

Category Cut Offs on Total
SC 62.50
ST 42.25
OBC 75.63
General 82.00
HI 47.75
OC 59.63
VI 77.87
ID 55.00

Source: Testbook.com

Official IBPS PO Mains Cut Off – Descriptive Paper

Name of Test Max Marks SC/ST/OBC/PwD Cut Offs General
English Language (Descriptive) 25 08.75 10.00

Source: Testbook.com

 Official SBI PO Mains Cut Off 2017 – Objective + Descriptive Test

Category GEN OBS SC ST OH VI HI
Maximum Scores 89.25 79.50 62.50 62.50 62.50 88.09 62.50

Source: Testbook.com


Notification for Bank Recruitment of PO

Interested candidates can look up for official notification for Bank PO exams in all the leading national daily newspapers, Bank sites as well as competitive exam preparation sites such as testbook.com, ibpsguide.com etc. Information pertaining to no of vacancies, syllabus, education criteria and such other details can also be found on such sites.

Every year, lakhs of aspirants apply for Bank PO job. There is a high level of competition and getting selected as a Bank PO requires meticulous preparation. Besides self-study candidates should also enrol themselves with sites such as Testbook.


Testbook: An Ideal Competitive Exam Preparation Website

  • Testbook is a comprehensive competitive exam preparation site which hones a candidate’s skills with an exhaustive online test series.
  • Testbook Pass is a unique membership which serves as a gateway for unlimited tests, quizzes
  • Individuals can take online test series for IBPS, SBI, IBPS RRB Officer Scale I, IPPB Officer Scale I and other PO/MT Cadre Exams.
  • Facility of Mock tests, quizzes and practice tests for individual topics can also be availed at Testbook. is also available with Testbook.
  • Featured articles as well as news and updates can be viewed at the Testbook site
  • Testbook also runs a blog which displays information pertaining to current affairs, general knowledge articles as well as important news and updates related to Bank PO exam
  • Individuals can download the Testbook App and its current affairs App to receive updates about Bank PO on the go
  • The Testbook Discuss section serves as an information board and a forum to discuss news and related issues regarding the Bank PO exam

You can unlock a series of tests by availing the Testbook pass. This pass is available on the site as a yearly, 4 monthly and a monthly pass. Students preparing for competitive exams using Testbook can avail more discounts through Cashkaro. Cashkaro is a cashback and discount coupons website which offers Testbook coupons at an amazing discounted price.

You can get extra 10% off along with an assured Rs 100 CashKaro Cashback !


Annexure I

Bank PO Exam Syllabus

Quantitative Aptitude Logical Reasoning English Language
 Simplification – Coded/Mathematical – Reading Comprehension
– Average – Inequalities – Grammar
– Percentage – Syllogisms – Verbal Ability
– Ratio & Proportion – Coding/Decoding – Cloze Test
– Data Interpretation – Circular & Linear Seating – Fill in the Blanks
– Mensuration – Arrangement – Error Spotting
– Quadratic Equations – Blood Relation – Phrase Replacement
– Interest – Direction & Distance  
– Problems on Age – Ordering & Ranking  
– Profit & Loss – Arrangement & Pattern  
– Number Series – Double Lineup  
– Speed, Time & Distance – Scheduling  
– Time & Work – Analogy  
– Number System – Classification  
– Data Sufficiency – Data Sufficiency  
– Linear Equations – Series  
– Permutation Combination    
– Mixture & Allegations    

 Source: Testbook.com

 

Annexure II

Bank PO Exam Pattern

  1. Bank PO Prelim Exam Pattern

 

Section No. of Questions Marks Duration
English Language 30 30 1 hour
Quantititive Aptitude 35 35
Reasoning Ability

 

35 35
Total 100 100

 

  1. Bank PO Mains Exam Pattern

     Objective Test

Section No. of Questions Marks Duration
Reasoning & Computer Aptitude 45 60 60 min
English Language 35 40 40 min
Data Analysis & Interpretation 35 60 45 min
General Awareness (with special reference to Banking) 40 40 35 min
TOTAL 155 200 3 hour

 

Descriptive Test

Topics Marks Duration
Letter Writing & Essay 50 30 min

Source: Testbook.com

 

Often found working quietly at her corner seat, Kalyani is the true voice of patience amidst naughty and sometimes hyperventilating writers. Referred to as the ‘Diplomat’, Kalyani is a zen personality who loves to churn out research backed copies.

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