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SBI PO Syllabus - Prelims and Mains

SBI PO Exam Pattern

SBI PO Syllabus is laid out by the State Bank of India. The syllabus is different for Prelims and Mains. SBI PO Pre-exam is scheduled in different slots. Candidates clearing Prelims exam are then eligible to appear for Mains exam. Here are few changes in SBI PO Exam Pattern over the years:

  • Initially, SBI PO was conducted in offline mode. The online mode of the exam was introduced in the year 2015.
  • It was a single test conducted in two sessions on the same day. The first session included objective type questions while the next session was a descriptive test.
  • From 2015, SBI PO was divided into different stages- Prelims, Mains and Group Discussion & Interview

SBI PO Prelims has 3 sections in the exam with a total of 100 MCQs to be solved in 1 hour (60 minutes). The sections in the exam are English, Quantitative Aptitude and Reasoning. Here is SBI PO Exam Analysis 2017 for Prelims:

  • English section this year was comparatively easier than the previous years. The passage was lengthy and time consuming. The cloze test was based on new pattern and was easy- moderately difficult. The sentence improvement section had 10 questions which were easy to moderately difficulty. One could easily attempt 16-18 questions in this section.
  • Reasoning section was found to be moderately difficult this year. Puzzles dominated this section with questions varying from easy to moderate difficulty level. There were 5 questions from inequality with 3 questions being direct and easy. One could easily attempt 15-18 questions in this section.
  • Quantitative Aptitude was moderately difficult this year with maximum questions from Number series, Quadratic equations and Approximation. One could easily attempt 20-22 questions in this section.

SBI PO Mains comprises 4 sections in the objective test and a descriptive test separately. Descriptive test includes letter writing and essay writing on any random or trending topic. The important topics from each section in the objective test of SBI PO are given below:

  • Data Analysis and Interpretation- Graphs, mix of any two types of DI, Missing case DI, Data Sufficiency, Premutation and Combination.
  • Reasoning and Computer Aptitude- Analytical Decision Making, Double Line up, Seating Arrangement, Verbal Reasoning, Binary logic and Number system (Computer Aptitude)
  • English- Reading Comprehension, Cloze test, error spotting, Word Association pair
  • General Awareness- Static Awareness (important dates, countries and capitals, currencies, new research and technology

SBI PO Exam Pattern for Prelims

SBI PO Prelims is conducted in different slots on different dates. The important SBI PO Exam Pattern highlights are given below:

SBI PO Prelims Exam Pattern

  • It is an online mode exam with 100 objective type questions in English and Hindi.
  • Candidates have to solve all the questions by clicking on the radio button using the mouse. Do not use the keyboard
  • The duration of the exam is 3 hours. There will be a stopwatch on the top right corner of the screen to show the time left for the exam.
  • The exam has three sections with different number of questions in each- English, Quantitative Aptitude and Reasoning
  • English was found to be easier than the last year in SBI PO. There are 30 questions in this section from comprehension, cloze test and basic grammar
  • Quantitative aptitude has 35 questions from basic mathematics. This section was analyzed to be the easiest section in the exam
  • Reasoning section tests the thinking skills of the candidate. There are 35 questions in this section of easy to moderate difficulty level.


Here is a table to describe the SBI PO Exam pattern for Preliminary Exam:

Duration of Examination1 hour or 60 minutes
Types of questionsObjective Type Multiple Choice Questions
Maximum Marks100 marks
Total number of questions100 questions
Marking scheme1 mark each for every correct answer
Negative markingQuarter of the marks assigned to the question will be deducted
Mode of examinationEnglish Language

SBI PO Exam Pattern for Mains

SBI PO Mains is conducted two sessions on the same day. The exam has objective type questions and there is a descriptive test. It will be conducted in online mode. Candidates who qualify the Preliminary exam for SBI PO are eligible to appear for Mains. Here are the important SBI PO Exam Pattern highlights for Mains:

SBI PO Mains Exam Pattern

  • It is a computer based test with 155 objective type questions divided in 4 sections. The questions are in both English and Hindi
  • There is separate time slot for each section while the total duration of the SBI PO Mains exam is 2 hours.
  • The total weightage of the Mains exam is 200 marks. The weightage of each section is different
  • The sections in the exam are- Reasoning and Computer Aptitude, Data Analysis and Interpretation, GK about Economy/Banking and English
  • Reasoning and Computer Aptitude section in the exam has 45 questions to be solved in 45 minutes. The total weightage of the section is 60 marks.
  • Data Analysis and Interpretation has 35 questions carrying 60 marks. Time allotted to solve the questions in this section is 45 minutes.
  • GK section has 40 MCQs to be solved in 40 minutes. The total weightage of this section is 40 marks
  • There are 35 questions carrying a weightage of 40 marks. Candidates have to solve the questions in 40 minutes.
  • The descriptive exam tests the English proficiency of the candidate. It is 30 minutes online test carrying a weightage of 50 marks
  • There are questions based on letter and essay writing.
SectionObjective TestDescriptive Test
Duration of the examination3 hours or 180 minutes30 minutes
Number of questions155 questionsLetter Writing/ Essay Writing
Maximum marks200 marks25 marks
Negative MarkingQuarter of the marks assigned to the question will be deductedNA
Mode of examinationHindi and English (Hindi will not be applicable for English language section)English

SBI PO Quantitative Aptitude Syllabus 

Candidate must attempt questions that he/she finds easy to solve, less time consuming and most importantly, scoring. To help candidates identify those concepts we are providing here a list of topics which can be solved easily in short span of time:

  • Simplification: (5-10 Questions)
    this will include problems based on BODMAS Rule, Fractions, Approximation, Decimals and Surds & Indices.
  • Number System: (0-1 Questions)
    number system is based on problems related to Divisibility & Remainder, Multiples & Factors, Integers, LCM & HCF.
  • Average: (1-2 Questions)
    Questions on Average Weight/Height/Age/Marks, Average Money expenditure, Average Temperature etc. will be asked from this topic.
  • Percentage: (1-2 Questions)
    there will be calculation oriented basic percentage problems.
  • Ratio and Proportion: (1-2 Questions)
    Problems based on Simple Ratios, Compound Ratios, Componendo and Dividendo, Proportions etc. can be expected from this topic under Quantitative aptitude.
  • Interest: (1-2 Questions)
    Problems based on Simple Interest, Compound Interest as well as mixture of both SI & CI are commonly asked in SBI PO examinations.
  • Number Series: (3-5 Questions)
    Problems based on completing the Series, Finding the Missing Term, Finding the Wrong Term. The concepts behind this can be based on simple AP, GP, AGP or more complex patterns.

Next set of topics can be tricky sometimes but if the candidate is clear with concepts, he/she can easily score in it as well. These topics include:

  • Profit and Loss: (0-2 Questions)
    questions like successive selling, partnerships, discount & MP and dishonest dealings are commonly asked from Profit and loss topic.
  • Speed, Time and Distance: (1-2 Questions)
    one or two questions can be asked on relative speed, average speed, problems based on trains, boats and stream.
  • Algebra: (3-5 Questions)
    Problems based on Quadratic Equations in which two quadratic equations are given and we have to determine the relation between x and y. Linear Equations questions based on ages may be asked, Sometimes Inequalities are also asked.
  • Mensuration: (1-2 Questions)
    Problems based on areas of Square, Rectangle, Circle, Semicircle and Parallelogram. Questions pertaining to Cone and Cylinder can also be asked.
  • Data Interpretation: (5-10 Questions)
    Problems that fall in this category are Line Graphs, Bar Graphs, Pie Charts, Tables and other miscellaneous info graphics. Triangular Graph & Radar Graph problems appear rarely. Missing data types questions are also asked in the SBI PO examination.

Finally, candidate must attempt questions that are tough and likely to get inaccurate answers. These questions are highly time consuming. Following are the concepts that fall in this category:

  • Time and Work: (1-2 Questions)
    Problems based on Work Efficiency, Pipe & Cistern, Work and Wages can be asked.
  • Permutation and Combination: (1-2 Questions)
  • Mixture Problems: (0-1 Question)
    Problems based on making a mixture of two or more entities/mixtures.
  • Probability: (0-1 Question)
    Basic questions are asked from probability section.
  • Data Sufficiency: (0-5 Questions)
    Data sufficiency problems are based on almost all topics mentioned above.

SBI PO Quantitative Aptitude Preparation Books

Book NameAuthor/Publisher
Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive ExaminationsR S Aggarwal
Shortcuts in Quantitative Aptitude with 4 eBooks for Competitive ExamsDisha Experts
Bank PO Quantitative Aptitude Chapterwise Solved PapersArihant Experts
Chapterwise Solved Papers 2000-2015 Bank PO QUANTITATIVE APTITUDEArihant Experts

SBI PO Reasoning Ability & Computer Knowledge Syllabus 

Reasoning ability is to judge the candidate’s ability to apply reason in solving a particular problem. Topics covered under this category also vary from being easy to moderate or sometimes tough.

Candidate must begin with solving some easy questions to secure those marks at least without wasting much time on them. Here is the list of topics under this category:

  • Coding & Decoding: (1-5 Questions)

Mostly questions on Coding and Decoding in Fictitious Language are asked where a few statements are given which are coded in some meaningless language and questions are based on this code. Possible questions could also include Coding and Decoding by Letter Shifting, Coding by Analogy and Coding Letters of a Word.

  • Inequalities: (3-5 Questions)
    Mostly Direct Mathematical Inequalities problems are asked in the inequalities concept. There may be a single statement or 2-3 complex statements. There may be 2-4 conclusions which can be extracted from these statements.
  • Ordering and Ranking: (1-3 Questions)
    Several questions on arranging by age, floor, rank, order in row etc. can also be asked.
  • Directions & Distances: (0-2 Questions)
    Simple problems that can be solved by just plotting all the given information on paper. The questions under this concept are rarely asked in SBI PO examination.
  • Arrangement & Pattern: (0-2 Questions)
    Questions related to this topic are less likely to appear in SBI PO examination. However, if asked, then questions on Random Sequence of Alphabets, Number Arrangements and Dictionary or Alphabet based Arrangements etc. can be thrown at the candidate.
  • Analogy: (0-2 Questions)
    this includes Meaning based, Letter based and Number based questions.
  • Classification: (0-2 Questions)
    these questions are also less likely to appear and includes Letter based and Meaningful Words based questions. GK based and Number based questions can also be asked.

Questions from the following topics can be asked which would not be difficult to answer if the concepts are clear. The topics that can be categorized in this section are:

  • Syllogisms: (5 Questions)

Problems with numerous statements and multiple conclusions can be dealt with. Questions are asked whether the conclusions follow or not. Mostly possibility based questions are asked.

  • Blood Relations: (1-3 Questions)
    As the name suggests, questions pertaining to family tree and coded blood relation will be asked in this category.
  • Input-Output: (0-5 Questions)
    Words and numbers are arranged based on some pattern which is to be identified and applied on the question statements to arrive at the output.
  • Data Sufficiency: (0-5 Questions)
    Questions on various topics including Blood Relations, Ordering & Ranking, Coding in Fictitious Language, Circular Arrangements, Directions & Distances, Ages & Birthdates can be asked as per the observations made from previous SBI PO examinations.

Lastly, questions that can be tricky and time consuming will be asked from the following topics:

  • Circular Seating Arrangement: (5 Questions)
    This concept basically includes uni-directional and bi-directional problems (i.e. facing inside, outside or in both directions). Sometimes, tough Square/Rectangular/Hexagonal Table problems also asked. These questions may be paired with Blood Relations or some other Double Line-Up information along with Circular Arrangement information which makes the problem more difficult and time consuming.
  • Linear Seating Arrangement: (5 Questions)
    Problems involving single row or 2 rows facing each other are given under this category. It can include Double Line-Up type problems with information sorting.
  • Double Line Up: (0-5 Questions)
    These problems are usually negatively informed so the candidate is required to attempt clean charting, proper technique and step-by-step solving of the problem.
  • Scheduling: (0-5 Questions)
    The questions of this category are less likely to appear. The problems in this category are very similar to Double Line-Up problems.
  • Grouping and Selection: (0-5 Questions)
    These are the questions which are less likely to appear. Problems on teams and committees asked under this category.
  • Verbal Reasoning: (0-2 Questions)

Cause and effect, course of action, statement and assumptions, statement and arguments, statement and inferences, statement and conclusions and critical reasoning questions are possible.

SBI PO Computer Knowledge Syllabus 

  • Basic of Computer.
  • Hardware and software.
  • Operating system.
  • MS Word and MS Excel.
  • PowerPoint.
  • Generation of Computer.
  • The internet, etc.
  • Short forms (Eg. Jpeg, mp3, pdf).
  • Android and Apple related news.

SBI PO Reasoning Preparation Books

Book NameAuthor/Publisher
Bank PO Reasoning: Chapterwise Solved Papers 1999 to till Date 7330+Objective Questions Think Tank of Kiran Prakashan, Pratiyogita Kiran, KICX
Bank PO Reasoning Chapterwise Solved PapersArihant Experts
Chapterwise Solved Papers 2000-2015 Bank PO REASONINGArihant Experts
Computer Awareness for General Competitive Exams (Objective with Subjective)Soumya Ranjan Behera

Read DetailedSBI PO Reasoning Syllabus 

SBI PO English Language Syllabus

The third concept in the Preliminary Examination of SBI PO is that of English Language. Here are several topics that will be covered in this concept:

  • Fill in the Blanks: (5 Questions)
    Double Blank type questions. Vocabulary based questions. Answers can be easily picked by eliminating options and understanding context of the sentence.
  • Reading Comprehension: (10-15 Questions)
    Likely the RC will consist of one passage of 10 questions, including 3-4 questions on vocabulary. The topics you should look out for are Moral Stories, Banking & Economy, Business, Education, Technology and Social Issues.
    Synonyms, Antonyms and meanings of Phrases are asked in vocabulary based questions. Theme and main idea based questions are also asked. The fact based and inference based questions require a thorough reading of the passage and sometimes could be a bit tricky.
  • Para Jumbles: (5 Questions)
    a set of 6 sentences will be given to be rearranged and form a meaningful paragraph. All questions will be based on this single test. Sometimes, the correct order is asked. The passage can be on any general topic.
  • Cloze Test: (5-10 Questions)
    a single passage with 5 or 10 blanks. Passage could be on any topic ranging from Banking & Economy to Social Issues. Words are usually easy to moderate, but there is always one or two tough words. Understanding the context of the passage will help the candidate to solve it easily.
  • Error Spotting: (5 Questions)
    Questions in this category could be asked either from grammar or vocabulary section. Important topics covered under this are tenses, subject-verb agreement, article-noun agreement, correct part of speech, correct use of prepositions, parallelism, phrasal verbs, easily confusable words, contextual usage, sentence construction, degree of comparison, conjunctions, finite and non-finite verbs. 
  • Phrase Replacement/ Sentence Correction: (5 Questions)
    Mostly grammar based. Candidate must avoid guessing too much in these questions. The questions sometimes test candidate’s standard construction of sentences, order of words etc.
  • Phrase Idiom Meaning:
    To attempt this topic candidate must be sound with interpretation of given phrase idiom. The phrases will be given and he/she will need to select the correct meaning of the given phrase.
  • Spellings:
    Candidate will have to choose the word that is correctly spelt or wrongly spelt from the given options.
  • Sentence/ Paragraph Completion:
    Candidate will be given an incomplete long sentence with four options to choose from to complete the sentence meaningfully.

SBI PO English Preparation Books

Book NameAuthor/Publisher
Bank PO English Language Chapterwise Solved PapersArihant Experts
Objective English for Competitive ExaminationHari Mohan Prasad, Uma Sinha
Objective General English (Old Edition)R S Aggarwal

Read DetailedSBI PO English Syllabus

SBI PO General Awareness Syllabus 

  • News related to RBI (Reserve Bank of India) and other Banks
  • Awareness regarding Union, State and Railway Budget
  • Economics
  • Current Affairs- A candidate must be aware of National and International awards, sports, author and books, summits, etc.

SBI PO Marketing Syllabus 

  • Basics of Marketing and its strategies
  • Market Segmentation and Management
  • Marketing Mix and Products Life Cycle
  • Developing stage of organization
  • Brand and Advertising
  • 4 P’s and 4 C’s of marketing

SBI PO Descriptive Test Syllabus

This is Level 2 in the Main Exam of SBI PO. It  will commence immediately after candidates completes Objective Test. Listed below are the highlights for SBI PO Descriptive Test.

  • The exam is conducted in online mode i.e. candidates are alloted a desktop in which they are supposed to type their annswers.
  • Candidates are given 30 minutes to complete Descriptive paper
  • There are a total of 2 questions in this section namely Letter writing and Essay Writing
  • Each question is of 25 marks.

Note: Descriptive paper of a candidate will be checked only if he/she qualifies in the Objective test as per the qualifying marks decided by the Bank.

In the SBI PO Descriptive Examination, the questions will be based on both informal and formal letter writing, essay writing and precise writing. It is a 30 minute duration test. Candidates will have to type, to attempt SBI PO Description Paper.


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1 Comment
srishti thakur


16 Jul, 2017 00:20
sangeeta rawat

Hi Srishti, Please check this link, it will help you for the preparation of PO test Practice Papers

17 Jul, 2017 12:06

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