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Banking Exams Guide


Latest Updates

  • July 2: SBI PO 2020 notification along with the application form is expected to be released in July.
  • May 6: SBI PO 2020 notification has been delayed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The notification is expected to be released after the lockdown ends.

About SBI PO

State Bank of India (SBI) conducts the SBI PO examination every year for candidates who aspire to join the organization as a Probationary Officer. From the lakhs of candidates who appear for this exam, candidates are selected for the vacancies based on their performance in preliminary exam, mains exam and Group Exercise and Interview.

Paper Type Prelims- Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs); Mains- Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) and Descriptive Questions
Exam Duration Prelims- 1 hour; Mains- 3 hour 30 minutes
Scoring Prelims- 1 marks for correct answer
1/4 of marks assigned to question deducted for incorrect answer in Prelims and Mains
No negative marking for subjective questions in Mains exam
0 marks for not attempted

Important Dates

Online Registration July to August 2020
Application Correction Window July to August 2020
Prelims Admit Card To be declared
Preliminary Exam Date September 2020 (Tentative)
Prelims Results To be notified later
Mains Admit Card To be declared
Mains Exam Date To be announced later
Call Letter for Group Exercises and Interview To be notified later
Group Exercises and Interview To be notified later
Group Exercises and Interview To be notified later
Final Results To be notified later

Exam Pattern

The SBI PO selection process is conducted in three phases- Preliminary, Mains and Group Exercises & Interview. The preliminary and mains exams are conducted in computed-based test mode, wherein candidates need to answer objective type multiple-choice questions and a few subjective questions (Mains exam only).

The final SBI PO merit list will be prepared based on the marks obtained by candidates in Mains exam as well as Group Exercises and Interview. The Mains Exam will be given 75% weightage while the Group Exercises & Interview will be given 25% weightage for the final selection. Marks obtained in the Preliminary exam will not be considered for this purpose. Additionally, candidates need to qualify both in the Mains exam and Group Exercises and Interview separately.

The exam pattern for each phase is detailed below.

First Stage Prelims Exam

Section Name No. of Questions Max. Marks Duration (in mins)
English Language 30 30 20
Quantitative Aptitude 35 35 20
Reasoning Ability 35 35 20
Total 100 100 60

Second Stage Mains Exam

Section Name No. of Questions Max. Marks Duration (in mins)
English Language 35 40 40
Data Interpretation and Analysis 35 60 45
Reasoning and Computer Aptitude 45 60 60
General/Economy/Banking Awareness 40 40 35
English (Essay and Letter Writing) 2 50 30
Total 157 250 210

Third Stage Group Exercises and Interview

In the third stage of selection, an interview is conducted to assess the capabilities, personality, and general banking/economic knowledge of candidates who qualify the mains exam. The marks allotted to the interview are 30, while 20 marks are allotted to the Group Exercises.

Detailed Syllabus

Syllabus for SBI PO- Prelims


  • 1) Reading Comprehension
  • 2) Cloze Test
  • 3) Para Jumbles
  • 4) Fill in the Blanks
  • 5) Multiple Meaning/Error Spotting
  • 6) Paragraph/Sentence Completion
  • 7) Vocabulary


  • 1) Simplification
  • 2) Profit & Loss
  • 3) Mixtures & Allegations
  • 4) Simple Interest & Compound Interest
  • 5) Surds & Indices
  • 6) Work & Time
  • 7) Time & Distance
  • 8) Mensuration- Cylinder, Cone, Sphere
  • 9) Ratio & Proportion
  • 10) Percentage
  • 11) Number Systems
  • 12) Sequence & Series
  • 13) Permutation & Combination
  • 14) Probability
  • 15) Data Interpretation


  • 1) Logical Reasoning
  • 2) Alphanumeric Series
  • 3) Alphabet Test
  • 4) Coded Inequalities
  • 5) Data Sufficiency
  • 6) Seating Arrangement
  • 7) Puzzle
  • 8) Tabulation
  • 9) Syllogism
  • 10) Blood Relations
  • 11) Input-Output
  • 12) Coding-Decoding
  • 13) Direction-based questions
  • 14) Ranking-based questions

Syllabus for SBI PO- Mains


  • 1) Reading Comprehension
  • 2) Vocabulary
  • 3) Grammar
  • 4) Verbal Ability
  • 5) Fill in the Blanks
  • 6) Word Association
  • 7) Sentence Improvement
  • 8) Para Jumbles
  • 9) Cloze Test
  • 10) Error Spotting


  • 1) Tabular Graph
  • 2) Line Graph
  • 3) Pie Chart
  • 4) Bar Graph
  • 5) Radar Graph Caselet
  • 6) Missing Case DI
  • 7) Let It Case DI
  • 8) Data Sufficiency
  • 9) Probability
  • 10) Permutation and Combination


  • 1) Verbal Reasoning
  • 2) Scheduling
  • 3) Double Lineup
  • 4) Coded Inequalities
  • 5) Data Sufficiency
  • 6) Linear & Circular Seating Arrangement
  • 7) Syllogism
  • 8) Blood Relations
  • 9) Input-Output
  • 10) Coding-Decoding
  • 11) Directions & Distances
  • 12) Ordering & Ranking
  • 13) Critical Reasoning
  • 14) Course of Action
  • 15) Analytical and Decision Making
  • 16) Internet & Networking
  • 17) Memory
  • 18) Keyboard Shortcuts
  • 19) Computer Abbreviations
  • 20) Microsoft Office
  • 21) Computer Hardware & Software
  • 22) Operating Systems
  • 23) Computer Fundamentals/Technologies
  • 24) Number Systems
  • 25) Basic of Logic Gates


  • 1) Financial Awareness
  • 2) Current Affairs
  • 3) General Knowledge
  • 4) Banking Awareness

Exam Analysis

SBI PO 2019 Mains Analysis

The SBI PO 2019 Mains examination was held on 20th July 2019 in two shifts- 9 AM to 12:30 PM and 2 PM to 5:30 PM. The overall analysis of the Mains exam is given below:

The overall paper was moderate to difficult, based on the feedback received from the candidates. Test-takers commented that most of the questions in Data Analysis & Interpretation were difficult and tricky. This year, the Mains paper was relatively more difficult as compared to the Prelims paper. The section-wise difficulty level has been tabulated below:

Section Name Number of Questions Difficulty Level Good Attempt
English Language 35 Easy to Moderate 24-27
Data Analysis and Interpretation 35 Difficult 16-18
General/Economy/Banking Awareness 40 Easy to Moderate 25-28
Reasoning & Computer Awareness 45 Moderate to Difficult 19-21

The detailed SBI PO Mains exam analysis for each section is given below to help candidates understand the relative importance of topics for their preparation.

English Language: The questions in this section were easier compared to last year's exam. Candidates with good comprehension and reading skills could have easily attempted a good number of questions. There were 6 reading comprehenesios. The distribution of questions belonging to various topics has been provided below:

Topic Number of Questions
Reading Comprehension 20
Filler Statements (column based) 5
Sentence Re-Arrangement 5
Phrase replacement 5

General/Economy/Banking Awareness: Nearly 90% questions in this section were from current affairs. Most of these questions were from the events between March and July 2019. Out of the total questions, nearly 13 were from July current affairs. The questions were from across topics like government schemes, RBI and its functions, Economic Survey of India, Budget and Banking Affairs. Topics from where questions were asked are:

  • Ujjwala Yojana
  • Jalamrutha Scheme
  • Mukhya Mantri Yuva Swabhiman Yojana
  • Indradhanush Yojana
  • Swabhiman Yojana
  • Sangam Project
  • RBI Current Affairs
  • Famous Personalities
  • Current Affairs

Data Analysis and Interpretation: This was the toughest section of the SBI PO Mains 2019 exam. Topics from where questions were asked are:

Topic Number of Questions
Data Interpretation 25
Data sufficiency 2
Statistics 1
Partnership based 1
Number Series 5
Mensuration 1

Following types of DIs were asked in the exam:

  • Bar graph(Population Density Based)
  • Two tables (Time and work based)
  • Venn diagram(Probability based) step based. Ball based
  • Sales and Purchase based
  • Inverted Cone flow chart type

Reasoning and Computer Awareness: This section was moderate to difficult. The distribution of questions belonging to various topics has been provided below:

Topic Number of Questions
Puzzles (Seating arrangement +Blood Relation based) 5
Country Based Puzzles 5
Puzzles (States+languages) 5
Occupation based Puzzles 5
Assumptions 5
Machine Input 5
Coding decoding 5
Logical Reasoning (Cause and effect) 2-3
Logical Reasoning (Assertion and reason) 2
Logical Reasoning (Conclusion from passage) 2-3
Logical Reasoning (Eligibility test) 2-3

SBI PO 2019 Prelims Analysis

The SBI PO 2019 Prelims examination was held on 8th, 9th, 15th and 16th June 2019 in four shifts on each day- 9 AM to 10 AM, 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM, 2 PM to 3 PM and 3:30 PM to 4:30 PM. The overall analysis of the Prelims exam is given below:

The Prelims exam had a moderate difficulty level overall and 69-74 questions were a good attempt. The difficulty level and good attempt for each section has been tabulated below:

Section Name Difficulty Level Good Attempt
English Language Easy to Moderate 18-20
Reasoning Ability Moderate 26-27
Quantitative Aptitude Moderate 25-28

SBI PO Prelims Exam Analysis (Section Wise): The number of questions in each topic across the three sections are provided below so that students can find the most important topics.

English Language

Topic Number of questions
Reading Comprehension 6-7
Cloze Test 5-6
Single Fillers 5
Phase Replacement 4
Error Detection 5
Sentence Rearrangement 5

Quantitative Aptitude

Topic Number of questions
Data Interpretation 10
Quadratic Equations 5
Simplification 5
Wrong Number Series 5
Miscellaneous 10

Reasoning Ability

Topic Number of questions
Puzzle and Seating Arrangement 15
Inequality 5
Blood Relations 3
Coding-Decoding 5
Alphanumeric Series 2
Syllogism 5

Exam Tips

  • Know the exam pattern and syllabus: Candidates must know the exam pattern and detailed syllabus for SBI PO Prelims and Mains before kick-starting the preparation. By going through the SBI PO syllabus, they will understand which subjects and topics are used in questions. The pattern of SBI PO has changed with the introduction of the sectional time in the prelims exam. Such changes need a change of strategy and the exam pattern should be studied by all aspirants.
  • Time Management: To get enough practice for each topic, candidates must divide their time effectively. Going through the analysis of previous years' SBI PO exams will help candidates idenitfy important topics that carry most weightage in the Prelims and Mains exam and should be covered first.
  • Practice and more practice: The SBI PO Prelims exam of SBI PO is a speed test where candidates need to attempt at least 65-70 questions accurately. Therefore, not only should the candidate's speed be fast, but he/should also have high accuracy to avoid negative marking. Both the speed and accuracy can be achieved only through practice.
  • Make Reading a Habit: The English Language, General Awareness and Computer Aptitude sections require a lot of reading. Read newspapers, magazines, books and yearbooks daily which will help to build GK for the General Awareness section and make you accustomed to reading passages for the English Language section.
  • Clear your Basics: Before moving on to learn shortcuts, strengthen your concepts in each topic. This will build your analytical ability so that you can solve any tricky question in the exam.
  • Practice SBI PO sample papers and previous year question papers: Since practice is essential duting SBI PO preparation, sample papers and previous year papers are an important resource. Solve SBI PO practice questions once you finish preparing a chapter, and then move on to solving sample papers. While practice questions, mark the questions you find difficult and revise them later. Solve previous year question papers, in a time bound format, to understand the balance between accuracy and speed.
  • Revise regularly: While making a preparation plan for completing the syllabus, you should allocate time for revision of chapters and topics as well to ensure that you retain what you have learned.
  • Take full length SBI PO mock tests: Appearing for full length mock tests will help you get used to the actual experience and get an idea of the sectional time limits. Taking mock tests will also help you to assess your performance and guide you to work on your weak areas. Mock tests are an effective way for revision and build confidence so that there is no anxiety on D-day.
  • Choose the right books: Candidates should choose the right selection of books to ensure that they cover all the topics well. The following section provides a list books recomended for preparation for SBI PO examination.

Best Books for Quantitative Aptitude

Book Author
Fast Track Objective Arithmetic Rajesh Verma
Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Examinations RS Agarwal
Data Interpretation Arun Sharma
Magical Book on Quicker Mathematics M Tyra

Best Books for English Language

Book Author
Word Power Made Easy Norman Lewis
Descriptive General English SP Bakshi and Richa Sharma
English Language Wren & Martin

Best Books for Reasoning and Computer Aptitude

Book Author
A Modern Approach to Verbal Reasoning RS Agarwal
Analytical Reasoning MK Pandey
A New Approach to Reasoning Verbal and Non-Verbal BS Sijwali, Indu Sijwali

Best Books for General/Economy/Banking Awareness

Book Author
Banking Awareness Handbook of Banking Information NS Toor
Manorama Year Book Malayala Manorama group
Banking Awareness Arihant Publication

Eligibility Criteria


Candidates should have completed graduation in any discipline from a recognised university or have any equivalent qualification recognised by the Central Government. CAs may also apply. Candidates who are in the final year of graduation can also apply provisionally and must produce proof of having passed the graduation if they are called for the interview process.


Candidates' age should be between 21 to 30 years, as calculated as on the date of application. Relaxation provided for reserved categories: SC/ST- 5 years; OBC (Non-creamy Layer)- 3 years; PwD (SC/ST)- 15 years; PwD (OBC)- 13 years; PwD (Gen/EWS)- 10 years; Ex-servicemen- 5 years; Persons with domicile of J&K between Jan 1, 1980 to Dec 31, 1989- 5 years


Candidates are allowed a maximum number of attempts depending on their category: General/EWS- 4; Gen/EWS (PwD)- 7; OBC- 7; OBC (PwD)- 7; SC/ST/SC (PwD)/ST (PwD)- No restriction


SBI PO result 2020 will be announced online separately for different stages- preliminary, mains and final result. The hard copy of SBI PO result is not sent to candidates by post and candidates can access the merit list in PDF format from the official website.The final result for SBI PO 2019 was announced on October 18 but the result might be delayed this year since the entire exam schedule has been impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The scorecard will be released a few days after the declaration of results, separately for prelims, mains and Group Exercises and Interview. Candidates need to login with registration number or roll number and date of birth or password to download the scorecard, which displays section-wise and overall scores.

Cut Off

The cut off signifies the minimum qualifying marks that candidates must secure to qualify the exam-stage and become eligible for the next round of selection process. The category-wise cut off is released along with the scorecard separately for preliminary exam, mains exam and final selection. Candidates can view the cutoff by logging into the official website. There is no sectional cut off in the SBI PO exam. The cut off marks are determined based on several factors like:

  • Number of vacancies
  • Number of test-takers
  • The difficulty level of exam

Previous years’ SBI PO Prelims Cut off

The cutoff trends of the last three years for SBI PO Prelims are given below

SBI PO Prelims Cut off 2019

Category Cutoff Marks
General (Gen) 71
Scheduled Caste (SC) 61.75
Scheduled Tribe (ST) 54.75
Other Backward Classes (OBC) 68.25
Economically Weaker Section (EWS) 68.25
Hearing Impaired (HI) 16.25
D & E 0.25
Visually Impaired (VI) 64.75
Learning Disability (LD) 50.50

SBI PO Prelims Cut off 2018

Category Cutoff Marks
General (Gen) 56.75
Scheduled Caste (SC) 49.00
Scheduled Tribe (ST) 43.00
Other Backward Classes (OBC) 56.75
Hearing Impaired (HI) 14.75
Orthopaedically Handicapped (OH) 45.25
Visually Handicapped (VH) 49.00

SBI PO Prelims Cut off 2017- Overall Cutoff

Category Cutoff Marks
General (Gen) 51.50
Scheduled Caste (SC) 43.25
Scheduled Tribe (ST) 31.25
Other Backward Classes (OBC) 48.25
Hearing Impaired (HI) 18.50
Orthopaedically Handicapped (OH) 38.75
Visually Handicapped (VH) 42.50

SBI PO Prelims Cut off 2017- Sectional Cutoff

Category Quantitative Aptitude English Language Reasoning Ability
General (Gen) 10.25 8.75 6.50
OBC/SC/ST/PwD 7.00 5.75 4.00

Previous years’ SBI PO Mains Cut off

The cutoff trends of the last three years for SBI PO Mains are given below

SBI PO Mains Cut off 2019

Category Cutoff Marks
General (Gen) 104.42
Scheduled Caste (SC) 82.50
Scheduled Tribe (ST) 77.63
Other Backward Classes (OBC) 94.28
Economically Weaker Section (EWS) 100.89
Hearing Impaired (HI) 75.36
D & E 75.14
Visually Impaired (VI) 101.75
Learning Disability (LD) 86.51

SBI PO Mains Cut off 2018

Category Cutoff Marks
General (Gen) 93.10
Scheduled Caste (SC) 77.13
Scheduled Tribe (ST) 75.01
Other Backward Classes (OBC) 86.42
Hearing Impaired (HI) 75.16
Learning Disability (LD) 75.03
Visually Handicapped (VH) 88.91

SBI PO Mains Cut off 2017

Category Cutoff Marks
General (Gen) 89.25
Scheduled Caste (SC) 62.50
Scheduled Tribe (ST) 62.50
Other Backward Classes (OBC) 79.50

Previous years’ SBI PO Interview Cut off

The final cutoff trends of the last three years for SBI PO Group Exercises & Interview are given below

SBI PO Group Exercises & Interview Cut off 2019

Category Cutoff Marks

SBI PO Group Exercises & Interview Cut off 2017

Category Cutoff Marks
GEN 20

Previous years’ SBI PO Final Cut off

The final cutoff trends of the last three years for SBI PO are given below

SBI PO Final Cut off 2019

Category Cutoff Marks
General (Gen) 54.11
Scheduled Caste (SC) 45.74
Scheduled Tribe (ST) 43.90
Other Backward Classes (OBC) 48.78
Economically Weaker Section (EWS) 50.13
Hearing Impaired (HI) 35.29
D & E 33.37
Visually Impaired (VI) 52.58
Learning Disability (LD) 47.11

SBI PO Final Cut off 2018

Category Cutoff Marks
General (Gen) 50.79
Scheduled Caste (SC) 43.99
Scheduled Tribe (ST) 39.87
Other Backward Classes (OBC) 46.26
Hearing Impaired (HI) 32.69
Learning Disability (LD) 43.04
Visually Handicapped (VH) 47.09

SBI PO Final Cut off 2017

Category Cutoff Marks
General (Gen) 46.59
Scheduled Caste (SC) 38.95
Scheduled Tribe (ST) 28.88
Other Backward Classes (OBC) 40.83
Orthopaedically Handicapped (OH) 37.24


Ques: Is there any bond for candidates selected as SBI PO?
Ans: At the time of joining, candidates will have to execute a bond of Rs 2 lakh to serve the bank for a minimum period of three years.

Ques: Are selected candidates for SBI PO put on probation?
Ans: Yes, the selected candidates have a probation period of two years.

Ques: What is the career progression for a PO?
Ans: Candidates can be promoted from the Middle Management Grade Scale-II (MMGS-II) from Junior Management Grade Scale-I (JMGS-I) based on performance.