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How to Prepare for IBPS PO (Probationary Officers) Exam

What is IBPS PO exam?

IBPS PO exam is conducted by the Institute for Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS) to select eligible candidates for the post of Probationary Officers (PO) in various public sector banks. The number of public sector banks where successful candidates may get allocated amounts to roughly 20. Set up by the banking industry, IBPS was launched in 1975 and became an independent entity in 1984. Today, IBPS is a prestigious institute that has complete control over the recruitment, placement and promotion of candidates at public sector banks. It is mandatory for candidates to take the examinations conducted by IBPS to secure a great future in public sector banks.

  • Eligible age: 21-28 years in general category. (There is a certain relaxation in the reserved category)
  • Educational qualification: 60% marks in graduation from a recognized university
  • Forms available in the month of: Usually May/June
  • Exam in the month of: October – November
  • Mode of examination: Common Written Test and common interview
  • Common Written Test: Usually in the months of October-November
  • Common interview: Usually in the month of January
  • Final allotments: Usually in the month of March
  • Preparation time: At least two months
  • Passing marks: 40% in each section and an overall score of 100

Examination process

The exam includes a Common Written Exam followed by an interview. Only those who clear the written test are eligible for the interview.

Common Written Exam

The Common Written Exam was introduced by IBPS in 2011 for the selection of officers and clerks in the banks. The test is of 200 marks and will cover five areas: Quantitative Aptitude, General Awareness, Reasoning, Computer Knowledge and English Language.

Common interview

Initially, the participating banks conducted the common interview. But since 2012, IBPS has taken up the responsibility to arrange the common interview at various locations. Post which, they will prepare a list of the meritorious candidates, which the banks will then refer to for the recruitment process.

IBPS PO Paper Pattern

The Common Written Test will be for 120 minutes and this is how the question paper is usually structured:

Subject Marks
Reasoning 50 marks
Quantitative Aptitude 50 marks
General Awareness 40 marks
English Language 40 marks
Computer Knowledge 20 marks

IBPS POExam Syllabus and Tips for Preparation
Reasoning

This tests your power of observation and mental ability. As this section has the one of the highest allocation of marks, try to practice it thoroughly. This is also a section where you can get good scores. While you are preparing for this section, concentrate on solving a lot of problems like mirror images and problems that involve figures.

Quantitative Aptitude

This section tests a person’s mathematical ability. It covers areas like probability, time and distance, mensuration, profit and loss, number system, fractions and the like. To prepare for this section, practice as many sums as possible. Try to learn multiplication tables by heart. Also try to solve questions by using mental tricks. Practice, practice and more practice is the key to achieving good scores here.

General Awareness

This is also a scoring section. Usually 75% of the questions are related to the banking field, while 25% is allocated to current affairs. To score good marks, keep yourself abreast with the current banking policies, various changes they may have undergone, the causes, the impact the policy changes had on the economic situation of the country, and the like. You can also refer to the last Budget that was presented and the present economic scenario of the country. Apart from this, keep yourself updated with latest happenings in the field of science, history, geography, and other areas. Reading newspapers and watching news on TV regularly will also help you prepare for this section.

English language

This section is usually taken for granted and candidates end up not putting in too many hours of practice. However, it is important that they come fully prepared for this section, after all it is for 40 marks. The test will check the candidate’s command over the language. To prepare, one can start reading English newspapers regularly, learn a couple of new words every day, note down the antonyms and synonyms of words, practice comprehension, and watch English news on a regular basis. Apart from this, one can learn and practice grammar. There are online grammar tests too that you can take.

Computer knowledge

This is usually an easy section and is based on simple applications. If you know the basics of computers and the working of MS Windows and MS Office, you will be able to score decent marks in this section. You may also choose to refer to basic NCERT Computer books.
Time management: Learn to manage time effectively. When you are taking the exam, divide your time in such a manner that you are able to attempt all the questions. Have a clear plan in mind before you walk into the examination hall. In the hall, you just need to execute the plan. It may seem difficult to answer 200 questions in 120 minutes, but with a little bit of smartness and practice, you can give it a shot.

Regular reading

If you aspire to make a career in a public sector bank, make it a habit to read newspapers, magazines on current affairs and business and books on banking.

Mock tests

There are many tests available online that will test your general and quantitative aptitude. Try to take up as many online tests as possible. This will not only give you confidence but also help you build a strategy to handle the exam in a successful manner.

Hope these tips have been helpful to you. Best of luck for your exam.

List of public sector banks where a candidate is likely to get employed:

  • Allahabad Bank
  • Central Bank of India
  • Indian Bank
  • Syndicate Bank
  • Andhra Bank
  • Corporation Bank
  • Indian Overseas Bank
  • UCO Bank
  • Bank of Baroda
  • Dena Bank
  • Oriental Bank of Commerce
  • Union Bank of India
  • Bank of India
  • Punjab National Bank
  • United Bank of India
  • Bank of Maharashtra
  • IDBI Bank
  • Punjab & Sind Bank
  • Vijaya Bank
  • Canara Bank

Useful links

Official website of IBPS – (http://www.ibps.in/html/CWE_PO_MT.htm)

Online Tests

  • http://www.ibpsexamhub.in/quantitative-aptitude-questions/
  • http://www.ibpsexamhub.in/reasoning-online-test/
  • http://www.ibpsexamhub.in/numerical-ability-online-test/
  • http://www.ibpsexamhub.in/computer-knowledge-online-test/

Books for IBPS PO Preparation

  • IBPS Bank PO/MT Probationary Officer / Management Trainee CWE III Practice Work Book (50 Sets)
  • Success Master IBPS Institute of Banking Personnel Selections CWE Common Written Examination Bank PO Probationary Officers / Management Trainees Exam
  • IBPS Bank PO/MT CWE Practice Work Book
  • Comprehensive Guide to IBPS-CWE Bank PO 2nd Edition
  • Bank PO Exam – Solved Papers (Upto 2013)