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5-min read

How to Crack IBPS PO or Bank PO Exam

Most of the posts in government jobs have an examination which the person needs to qualify in order to get employed on that particular post.

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Updated:July 26, 2017, 2:23 PM IST
How to Crack IBPS PO or Bank PO Exam
Picture for Representation. (Photo: Reuters)

A government job has its own charm and perquisites, no wonder everyone dreams and prepares their best to land a government job in India. Limited working hours, low level of stress, paid leaves, retirement benefits are a few among the plethora of benefits government jobs offer. However, most of the posts in government jobs have an examination which the person needs to qualify in order to get employed on that particular post. One of such many sought after jobs is the post of IBPS PO popularly known as a Bank PO officer.

IBPS stands for Institute of Banking Personnel Selection and it conducts exams for various posts namely PO i.e. Probationary Officer, SO i.e. Special Officer, RRB i.e. Recruitment for Rural Banks, Clerical posts, etc. This article discusses the various aspects of the IBPS PO exam and how you should go about your preparation.

Let’s understand the Examination pattern:

Like any standard Govt. exam the IBPS PO exam is divided into 2 main stages-

- Common Written Examination i.e. CWE

- Interview

CWE consists of a Preliminary Exam and a Mains exam.

The preliminary exam is for 1 hour and a total of 100 marks are distributed amongst 3 subjects in the following manner:

Reasoning for 35 marks

English for 30 marks and

Quantitative Aptitude for 35 marks.

The Mains exam is for 2 to 2.5 hours and is a total of 200 marks covering

Reasoning, General Awareness, English/Hindi (Language paper), Quantitative Aptitude, Numerical Ability, Computer Knowledge, Professional Knowledge. Equal weightage is given to all the subjects so you should focus on every subject. Also, wrong answers are marked negatively by 1/4th of a mark i.e. 0.25, so it is better to leave the questions whose answers seem doubtful to you.

Whoever qualifies the stage of CWE is called in for interview.

Once you qualify the interview you are given a provisional letter of appointment.

Now let us take your through a brief overview of the topics that should be prepared:


It is easy to score high marks in this subject which will help in boosting your overall marks. The questions in this part are mostly of general type and also consume less time if you focus solely and fully on the paragraph and puzzles that you are solving. Usually the pattern is such that a small paragraph is given and 5 questions with regard to that paragraph are asked. You should prepare reasoning well and make it your strong suit. The important topics are - making Series/Analogy, Number Series questions, Coding and Decoding, Logical Reasoning Problem Solving, Passage and Conclusions type questions, Comprehension Reasoning, etc.

General Knowledge/Awareness (GK)

General Knowledge is an elementary part of any competitive examination be it Civils or IBPS or MBA. To nail this exam you really need to be aware of daily events happening in India as well as around the world. Get into the habit of reading the newspaper daily and this habit will go a long way. It'll not only be educational but will also take your mind off the monotonous subjects and it’s also very scoring and least time consuming. The following topics need to be studied thoroughly- current affairs of last 6 months related to Banking & Finance Sector, Indian economy, Marketing Awards and Honors, Sports, Indian Constitution, Agriculture, History of Banking, Banking Terms, RBI Functions, Fiscal-Monetary Policies, etc.

English/ Hindi language

The Language section of English/Hindi are also scoring subjects in IBPS Exam. You have to choose either one whichever you’re comfortable and proficient in. Since English is a language which is used all over the world, the examiner would want to check your basic knowledge of English. The important topics that you should focus on are Fill in the Blanks, Comprehension Passage, Phrases and Idioms, Spotting Error Questions, Preposition, Sentence Rearrangement Questions, etc.

Quantitative Aptitude

This section is time-consuming because you need to solve certain problems.

Quantitative questions consume lots of time to solve the problems. A significant topic is Data Interpretation and the exam contains up to 15 questions from it. So you ought to have great learning about Tabulation, Pie outline, Line Diagrams, Bar Graphs, etc. Other important topics you need to focus for Aptitude are Sequence & Series, Number System, Quadratic Equations, Ratio & Proportion, Percentage & Averages, Simplification, etc.

Computer Knowledge

An additional subject in the IBPS exam is Computer knowledge. Your basic knowledge about computer will be tested. The syllabus for this subject is not vast hence it is less time consuming and scoring. Important topics to prepare are - Basics of Computers, Operating System Functions, Basic Internet knowledge and protocols, Computer Basic Questions, Network Basics (LAN & WAN), Generations of Computer, Input & Output Devices, Shortcuts & Basic knowledge MS Word, MS Excel, MS Power Point, etc.

Professional Knowledge

This topic is there only in the IBPS SO exam. SO stands for Special officer. The syllabus and areas to focus in this subject depend on the post and specialization. IBPS SO post includes various positions such as IT Officer, Agriculture Field Officer, Law Officer, HR/Personnel Officer, Rajbhasha Adhikari, Marketing Officer, etc.

Five tips to Prepare and Clear IBPS-PO Exam

- Planning is the first step towards your success in Bank PO exams. Divide your syllabus into two parts - parts which need more time, parts which need less time.

- You should read the newspaper daily, magazines routinely and furthermore must be thorough with current issues, every day events and happenings. And make GK your strength.

- Study one topic at a time. Students need to focus on a particular subject at any given moment, don't juggle between subjects and give careful consideration to every last point.

- Solve previous years’ Question Papers and mock tests. Update your notes few days before the exam and focus more on sections that you think you aren’t good at.

- In the exam attempt that section first which is you’re strength, the section that you’re good at. Don’t get distracted and attempt your exam with full concentration.

- Last but not the least, Manage your time effectively to complete your exam on time and attempt all that you know.

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| Edited by: Swati Sharma
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