The SBI Probationary Officer exam is an exam conducted and monitored by the SBI for candidates from all over the country. It is a highly coveted post and a competitive exam. A lot of applicants from all over the country apply each year. Only a handful of applicants who crack the exam and pass the interview stage are selected. It is a good post to apply for to enter the banking sector.
SBI offers a brand value and job titles like no other financial body in the country with lucrative pay and a lot of opportunities to accelerate your career in the banking sector.
Candidates appearing for the exam should start preparing for its time as it is a fairly difficult exam to crack. The exam has different stages. The candidates should prepare for each stage and focus on them separately. The selection process has a prelims exam and the main entrance exam. After the candidate clears the main exam, he/she is eligible for the GD interview round. The final selection is made on the basis of the overall performance of the candidate and their merit. The cut-off for the exam is fairly high as well. Each exam has different sections and syllabus the candidates need to prepare from.
The prelims exam has 100 questions that need to be attempted in 1 hour. The questions are asked from topics like the English language, numerical ability, and reasoning ability. The English section is more or less similar for both the prelims and the main exam. The candidates should focus on reading comprehensions, filling in the blanks, identifying errors, para jumbles, etc. The section aims at testing the basic command over the language of the candidates.
The numerical ability section tests the mathematical aptitude of the candidates. Questions asked are related to topics like date interpretation, profit, and loss, number series, ratio, and proportion, etc. The candidates can refer to sample papers and questions available online for the exam. The last section in the prelims exam is the reasoning ability section. Questions asked are largely from topics like logical reasoning, series, coding-decoding, puzzles, blood relations, etc. Once the candidate clears the prelims exam, he/she is eligible for the main entrance exam.
The difficulty and level of questions asked in the mains exam are much higher than the prelims exam. The main entrance exam is divided into the following sections- English language, General/financial awareness, Reasoning Ability, Quantitative Aptitude, and Computer aptitude. The English language section has the syllabus and questions similar to what is asked in the prelims exam. General and financial awareness include questions from the daily news and updates of what is happening in the country and in the economic and financial sectors.
Besides general awareness questions pertaining to static general knowledge may also be asked. Candidates should remain up to date with all of the relevant information. Reasoning ability, quantitative aptitude, and computer aptitude test the general skills and knowledge of the candidates about these topics. The topics asked are similar to the ones in the prelims exam. Quantitative aptitude tests the numerical ability of the applicants. In addition to the topics to be prepared for the prelims exam approximations, permutation combination, number systems, and series may also be asked.
The topics in the main exam are mostly the same as the prelims but the level of the questions asked is tougher. The candidates can refer to the NCERT books for a basic understanding of the Math topics. After clearing both the exams, the selected candidates can sit for the group and personal interview. After the interview, the final selection of candidates is made.
Basic Preparation Tip and Tricks:
- Preparing for the SBI PO exam is a process that requires full focus and hard work. The students should be prepared to give it their all if they want to crack it. You have to start preparing well in advance if you want to complete the syllabus and preparation well in time. The first step in preparing well for the exam is to be familiar and thorough with the exam. You should know your syllabus well and divide your time for each section and topic so that you do not miss out on any topic and prepare each section well. Create a timetable dividing time for each topic depending on your strengths and weaknesses. Make it easy for you to follow.
- Make reading regularly a habit during your preparation months. Being up to date on current affairs and general knowledge is extremely important for the exam and the interview stage. Read newspapers, magazines, and blogs regularly. This will not only help you keep up with what is happening but also help brush up your English skills with regular reading.
- Make notes and write down formulas. This will help you make all the information necessary concise and help you memorize better. If all the formulas are written in one place then it will be easier for you to also revise before the exam. While preparing for quantitative aptitude it is important that you write and practice as many questions as possible. Also making notes of the general awareness dates, important names, topics, etc. will make it much easier for you to study and revise as you will have all the information handy.
- Practice as many mock papers, sample papers, and practice questions as possible. You can attempt the SBI PO mock test online and assess your performance. This will give you a fair idea of where you stand with your preparation. This will help you understand which topics need more practice. Attempting the mock tests will also help you work on your time management skills. Make sure to finish well in time. Mock tests are available for free online on the Oliveboard website.
For the group discussion and personal interview, make sure that you have a general awareness of what is happening around you and in the world. Be confident and work on your speaking skills. The panel judges on how you answer the questions and conduct yourself. All the best!