filter your search allcollegesexamnews



IBPS PO Exam Pattern 2018 Changed: Prelims & Mains

Updated On - February 19th 2018 by PRAKRITI BHAT

IBPS PO 2018 Exam Pattern describes the nature of questions, marking scheme, section-wise marks distribution, total number of questions, etc. It is decided by the Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS) each year. 

The Exam Pattern and syllabus for IBPS PO is different for all the three stages viz. Prelims, Mains and Personal Interview. IBPS also conducts Pre-Examination Training before the exam for reserved category candidates to nurture their capabilities. Final selection is done on the basis of IBPS PO cutoff.

Candidates are advised to solve as many IBPS PO Sample Papers as they can, for a better idea of the exam pattern and syllabus

IBPS PO Exam Pattern At a Glance

Number of Rounds3 (Prelims, Mains, Interview)
Number of Questions in Prelims100
Number of Questions in Main Exam155
Total Marks for Prelims100
Total Marks for Mains200
Marking Scheme

+1 for correct answer

-0.25 for incorrect answer

Exam Duration for Prelims1 hour (60 minutes)
Exam Duration for Mains3 hours (180 minutes)
Type of QuestionsMCQs (Addtitional Descriptive paper in Mains)
Exam ModeOnline
Conducting AuthorityIBPS

The IBPS PO Interview will carry 100 marks. Minimum qualifying marks for the interview will be 40% (35% for SC/ST/OBC/PWD candidates). Check how you can make use of your educational program to ace the IBPS PO Interview

IBPS PO Prelims 2018 will be held on October 13, 14, 20 and 21, 2018. while the IBPS PO Mains date is November 18, 2018. Around 20 lakh students are expected to appear for IBPS PO this year.

New Changes introduced in Exam Pattern for IBPS PO

IBPS has introduced a few changes in the exam pattern for IBPS PO. Now the question paper will be modelled upon the SBI PO exam pattern. The new changes are ennumerated below:

  • The Reasoning Ability section will now include questions from ‘Computer Aptitude’. This means that ‘Computer Awareness’ has been scrapped as an individual section.
  • ‘Quantitative Aptitude’ section has been renamed as ‘Data Interpretation and Analysis’. It will now include questions from Data Interpretation as well.
  • The exam duration for IBPS PO Mains has ben increased to 3 hours. The number of questions has been decreased from 200 to 155.
  • Since the candidates are being given more time for lesser number of questions, it is likely that the difficulty level of the exam will go up.
  • IBPS PO 2018 Main Exam will also include an English descriptive paper where students will have to attempt two questions- Essay writing and Letter Writing for 25 marks within 30 minutes.

IBPS PO Exam Pattern for Prelims 

  • Mode of Examination–IBPS PO Prelims will be conducted in online mode. Candidates appearing for IBPS will be allotted a desktop which will show all the instructions and guidelines that need to be followed by them. Post that, questions will appear on the screen.
  • Number of Sections- There are 3 sections in IBPS PO Prelims viz. English Language, Quantitative Aptitude, and Logical Reasoning.  
  • Duration of Exam- The bank exam will be of 1 hour (60 minutes).
  • Nature of Questions-  Questions in the exam will be of objective type. Each question will have 4 options wherein only 1 option will be correct.
  • Number of Questions– In IBPS Prelims, there will be a total of 100 questions. These questions are further divided into 3 sections i.e. English section will have 30 questions, Quantitative Aptitude section and Reasoning section will have 35 questions each. 
  • Marking Scheme– Each question will carry 1 mark. Also, there is a provision of negative marking i.e. for every wrong answer, ¼ mark would be deducted.
  • Language of Exam- For English section, candidates have to answer in English Language only, whereas for Quants and Reasoning Section, English and Hindi language can be used.

Key Points for IBPS PO Prelims

  • It is considered as the qualifying examination.
  • Candidates clearing this paper will be eligible to appear for IBPS Mains.
  • The marks secured in this phase will not be considered while compiling the final result.
  • There will be sectional cutoff as well as overall cutoff to qualify for IBPS PO Mains exam.

IBPS PO Sectional Paper Pattern for Prelims

The following table represents the section pattern for IBPS PO Prelims:

Section NameTotal QuestionsTotal Marks
English30 30 
Quantitative Aptitude35 35 
Reasoning35 35 
Total100 Questions100 Marks

Read  How to prepare Quantitative Aptitude Section in IBPS PO?

IBPS PO Preparation Books

Book NameAuthor/ Publisher
Objective General EnglishS.P. Bakshi
Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive ExaminationR.S. Aggarwal
Analytical ReasoningM.K. Pandey

IBPS PO Exam Pattern for Mains

  • Mode of Examination: – IBPS PO Mains will be conducted in online mode. Each candidate will be allotted a computer where they will be shown all the instructions and guidelines that need to be followed by them. Post that, the questions will appear which need to be answered one by one.
  • Number of Sections: - There are 4 sections in IBPS PO Mains viz. English, Data Analysis & Interpretation, Reasoning & Computer Aptitude, and General Awareness. There will also be a descriptive paper containing 2 questions- Letter Writing and Essay writing
  • Duration of Exam: - The exam will be of 3 hours (180 minutes)
  • Nature of Questions: -  Questions asked in the exam will be of objective type. Each question will have 4 options wherein only 1 option will be correct.
  • Number of Questions: – In IBPS Mains, there will be a total of 155 questions. These questions are further divided into 5 sections i.e. 45 questions in Reasoning & Computer Aptitude, 35 in English Language, 35 in Data Analysis and Interpretation and 40 in General Awareness. 
  • Marking Scheme: – Each question will carry 1 mark. Negative marking will also be applicable. For every wrong answer, 0.25 marks will be deducted.
IBPS PO Mains Exam Pattern

IBPS PO Mains Key Points

  • There will be a sectional cutoff and overall cutoff
  • IBPS, the conducting body of the exam, has specified a sectional time limit to attempt each section in Mains exam.
  • An IBPS PO cutoff list will be prepared where candidates having higher score/marks will have their names on top of the list.
  • Candidates with a higher score will be given priority for the Interview Round.

IBPS PO Sectional Paper Pattern for Mains

The following table represents the section wise exam pattern for IBPS PO Mains:

Section NameTotal QuestionsAllotted TimeTotal Marks
English35 40 minutes40 
Quantitative Aptitude3545 minutes60 
Reasoning and Computer Aptitude4560 minutes60 
General Awareness4035 minutes40
Total155 Questions3 hours200 Marks

Read  How to prepare Computer Knowledge Section in IBPS PO?

IBPS PO Preparation Books

Book NameAuthor/ Publisher
A Modern Approach to Logical Reasoning R.S. Aggarwal
Bank PO Quantitative AptitudeArihant
General Studies 2018B. Singh
Advanced Bank ManagementIIBF

IBPS PO Exam Pattern for Interview

  • Candidates who have secured the minimum qualifying marks in IBPS PO Mains will be eligible to take part in the interview round.
  • The interview round will carry 100 marks.
  • This is the final stage in theselection process of IBPS PO exam.
  • This round carries 20% weightage in the final result.
  • Through this round, a candidate's communication skills and personality is examined. 

Highlights of IBPS PO Interview

  • Minimum qualifying marks for General Category candidates is 40%. Candidates belonging to reserved category should score a minimum of 35% marks.
  • Final Merit List is prepared on the basis of IBPS Mains and Interview round.
  • IBPS PO Combined Score would be declared on the basis of scores obtained by the candidates in the Main Examination and Interview in the ratio of 80:20
  • After the interview round concludes, provisional allotment will be done as per the vacancies in different banks.

IBPS PO Sample Papers

Candidates preparing for the exam should try smart techniques to get qualified for the provisional allotment process. To be thorough with the preparation, candidates should attempt as many sample papers as possible since it trains them for the exam in the best possible way.  

Advantages of IBPS PO Sample Papers

  • Solving mock papers boosts your confidence and increases the accuracy of solving the maximum number of questions.
  • It helps in understanding the IBPS PO exam pattern and managing time in the exam. The IBPS PO mock tests maintain the same level of difficulty as the actual exam.
  • The exam pattern of IBPS PO doesn’t change much and thus solving IBPS PO Sample Papers  will give advantage to the candidates in knowing the format of the exam.
  • Sample papers are designed in a manner that they also include some previous years’ questions.  
  • Candidates can track their performance level while solving sample papers online.

ReadHow to prepare for IBPS PO in 6 months

IBPS PO Preparation Tips

IBPS PO is a highly competitive entrance exam. Both the exams- preliminary and mains, have the same syllabus but the difference lies in the level of difficulty of the questions. Here are a few preparation tips for the applicants.

Reasoning Ability

It is a section that doesn't need much attention and is very scoring if you practice regularly. Candidates should focus more on the analytical part. Given below are the topics which can fetch you more marks.

  • Making series/ analogy
  • Number Series
  • Coding and Decoding
  • Problem Solving
  • Passage and conclusions type questions
  • Comprehension Reasoning etc. 

Read More: IBPS PO Preparation Tips 

General Ability Section

  • GA is the easiest among all sections.
  • Candidates should be updated with current affairs in order to score well.
  • Most of the questions in this section are asked from current affairs. Having the habit of reading newspapers daily will help a lot.
  • Along with the general awareness, candidates should be aware of the banking terms and its updates.
  • GA is a very scoring section and it is less time-consuming. Following are the topics which are to be focused to fetch good marks- Current Affairs of last 6 months, Indian Economy Questions, Marketing, Awards & Honors Sports, Books & Authors, Finance, Agriculture, Banking History, Banking Terms, RBI Functions and Fiscal-Monetary Policies.

English Language Section

  • The questions in this section are based on grade 10.
  • To score well in this section, candidates should practice hard from reference books.
  • This section tests the grammatical skills in the candidates appearing for IBPS PO exam.
  • This section is less time consuming and it is a scoring section too.
  • Candidates should be thorough with the rules of grammar in order to score well in the exam.
  • Some of the most important topics include- Fill in the Blanks, Comprehension Passage, phrases, and idioms, Spotting Error Questions, Preposition, and Sentence Improvement etc.

Read More IBPS PO English Language Syllabus

Quantitative Aptitude

  • This section is considered as the toughest of all the sections though a rigorous practice makes it easy.
  • Most of the questions in this section can be solved by using short-tricks.
  • This section needs a focused mind and regular practice.
  • The topics on which most of the questions are asked include Data Interpretation (DI), Sequence & Series, Number System, Quadratic Equations, Sequence & Series, Ratio, Proportion Percentage & Averages, Simplification etc.

Computer Knowledge

  • It is a very easy section and candidates can even score full marks in it.
  • The topics that can be prepared well to score high marks include Basics of Computers, Basic internet knowledge and protocols, Network basics (LAN & WAN), Generations of computer, Input & Output Device, Shortcuts & Basic knowledge MS Word, MS Excel, MS power point, and Computer Shortcuts etc.

IBPS PO Preparation Tips for Interview

The very last hurdle to get selected for the post of PO/MT is clearing the Interview. Candidates who clear all the written exams would be called for the personal interview. Here are some Preparation Tips for IBPS PO Interview.


  • Greet your interviewers.
  • If you are not offered your seat, ask them for it. And sit comfortably.
  • Forward your CV to the interviewer and wait till they ask you questions.
  • Candidates should bear a smile and maintain proper eye contact during the interview.
  • If you don’t know the answer, simply say NO and there is no need be panic. Be smart while answering the questions as the next question can be connected to your previous answer.
  • They can even check your patience level so be cool.
  • When you are done with the interview, stand up politely, shake hands with the interview panel and leave the room quietly.


Ques. How many stages are there in IBPS PO exam?

Ans. IBPS PO examination will be completed in three stages i.e. Prelims, Mains and Personal Interview.

Ques. When will the exam be conducted?

Ans. The Preliminary examination will be conducted in the month of October 2018 whereas, the Main examination will be held in the month of November 2018.

Ques. How will be the exam conducted?

Ans. The examination will be conducted in online mode only.

Ques. What is the Syllabus for IBPS PO Prelims and Mains?

Ans. Prelims exam comprises questions from the English Language, Reasoning and Quantitative Aptitude. On the other hand, in the Mains exam, questions are asked from English Language, Reasoning and Quantitative Aptitude, Computer Knowledge and General Awareness.

Ques. Is there any marks deduction for wrong answers?

Ans. Yes, for every wrong answer 0.25 marks will be deducted.

Ques. Is the exam Bilingual?

Ans. All the tests except that of English language are bilingual. Question paper for the same is available both in English and Hindi language.

Ques. What are the age criteria to apply in the common written exam?

Ans. Minimum age criteria for appearing in the exam is 20 years and maximum age is 30 years.

Ques. When will IBPS PO Registration start?

Ans. IBPS PO Registration will start from August 2018 and will end in the month of September 2018.

Ques. Will I get provisional allotment if I clear the main exam?

Ans. No, for getting provisional allotment students need to clear personal interview as well as score top rank in the merit list.

Ques. Can I appear for personal interview without appearing in the Main exam?

Ans. No, for appearing in the personal interview, it is mandatory for students to clear the Mains exam.

Ques. Is it enough to score the cut off marks?

Ans. For Prelims, it is enough to score the cut off marks as Prelims is conducted just to shortlist candidates for the Mains exam.

Ques. What is the minimum educational qualification for IBPS PO exam?

Ans. Students must have completed graduation from a recognized institution.

Ques. What are the total number of questions asked in Prelims and Mains examination?

Ans. In the Prelims exam, a total number of questions asked is 100. On the other hand, questions asked in the Main exam are 200.

Ques. What is the total time duration given to complete the Prelims exam?

Ans. One hour duration will be given to the candidates to complete the prelim exam.

Ques. What is the time duration allotted to students to complete the Mains exam?

Ans. 140 minutes will be given to the students to complete the IBPS PO Main exam.

Ques. For how long the score provided by the IBPS remain valid?

Ans. Scores provided by IBPS will remain valid only for 1 year.

Ques. When will the result be declared?

Ans. Prelims examination result will be announced in the month of November 2017. While result for Mains exam is expected to be announced in December 2017.

Ques. What is the structure of Preliminary Exam?

Ans. The structure of Preliminary exam is as follows:

SectionNo. Of QuestionsMaximum MarksDuration
English Language30301 Hour
Quantitative Aptitude3535
Reasoning Ability3535

Ques. What is the structure of Main Exam?

Ans. The structure of Main exam is as follows:

SectionNo. Of QuestionsMaximum MarksDuration
Reasoning & Computer Aptitude456060 minutes
English Language354040 minutes
Data Analysis & Interpretation356045 minutes
General/ Economy/ Banking Awareness404035 minutes
Total1552003 hours

Ques. Is there any change in the IBPS PO Exam Pattern?

Ans. There are four major changes made in IBPS PO Exam Pattern for Mains:

  • Total number of questions asked in the paper has been decreased
  • Time duration for the exam has been increased
  • Reasoning Ability and Computer Aptitude section have been merged into one section
  • Descriptive section (English Language – Letter Writing Essay) has been added

Ques. What is the application fee for IBPS PO Exam?

Ans. Application fees for SC/ ST/ PWD category candidates is INR 100 whereas, all other categories have application fee of amount INR 600.

Ques. Is there any sectional cut off in the exam?

Ans. Yes, there is a sectional cut off in the exam. Students have to clear all the sections in order to obtain a seat in the interview.

Ques. What are the maximum marks allotted for each correct answer?

Ans. 1 mark will be allotted for every correct answer.

Ques. What are the minimum marks required for appearing in an interview?

Ans. For appearing in an interview, marks required by general category candidates will not be less than 40% and 35% marks must be required for reserved category candidates.

Ques. How will be the final merit list prepared?

Ans. Final merit list will be prepared on the basis of IBPS Mains and Personal Interview round.

Ques. What are type of questions asked in the paper?

Ans. In the paper, the questions will be asked of objective type and each question will have to correct only 1 option among the 4 options

Ques. What is examined through the interview round?

Ans. Through the interview round, candidates’ communication skills and personality are examined.

Ques. How many vacancies will be announced?

Ans. It depends upon the number of banks participate in the recruitment drive. Last year, total numbers of vacancies announced were 8820.

Ques. What is the cut off for being recruited?

Ans. There is no fixed cut-off. It depends on the performance of candidates each year.

Ques. I have scored 55% in graduation. Am I eligible to sit for the exam?

Ans. Yes, there is no specific percentage criterion to decide if a candidate is eligible to appear in the exam or not. But anyone sitting in the exam must be a graduate.

Ques. What is the mode of the IBPS PO Preliminary exam (online or offline)?

Ans. Online.

Ques. How many questions are asked in the IBPS PO prelims exam?

Ans. There are 100 questions for prelims.

Ques. What is pattern of the IBPS PO Preliminary exam?

Ans. Following are the details of the IBPS PO prelims:

  • English Language: 30
  • Reasoning Ability: 35
  • Quantitative Aptitude: 35
  • Total: 100

Ques. What is the structure of the IBPS PO main exam?

Ans. Following are the details of the main exam:

  • English Language: 40
  • Reasoning: 50
  • Quantitative Aptitude: 50
  • General Awareness (banking/finance industry): 40
  • Computer Knowledge: 20
  • Total: 200

Ques. How many marks are there in the IBPS PO Preliminary exam?

Ans. 100 marks.

Ques. How many marks are there in the IBPS PO Main exam?

Ans. 200 marks.

Ques. Is it there any cut-off marks for qualifying the IBPS PO exam?

Ans. Yes, though it is not fixed and it is based on candidates' performance every year.

Ques. Are candidates required to clear every section of the exam to get shortlisted for the interview?

Ans. Yes, candidates need to clear every section of the exam separately.

Ques. Is there negative marking?

Ans. Yes, there is negative marking. One-fourth (1/4) mark will be deducted for each incorrect answer.

Ques. Can BA in Hindi students appear for IBPS PO?

Ans. Yes.

Ques. How many phases are there in the IBPS PO exam?

Ans. There are three phases:

  • Preliminary Exam
  • Mains Exam
  • Interview

Ques. I scored very well in the preliminary exam but failed in the mains. Shall I be called for the interview?

Ans. No. Preliminary exam is just a qualifying test for appearing in mains.

Ques. How many sections do I need to clear for the final selection of IBPS PO?

Ans. You must need to clear all the three sections to qualify for IBPS PO.

Ques. What topics are covered in the English Language section of IBPS Prelims exam?

Ans. The following topics are covered:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Cloze Test
  • Para jumbles
  • Miscellaneous
  • Fill in the blanks
  • Multiple Meaning/Error Spotting
  • Paragraph Completion

Ques. What topics are covered in the Quantitative Ability section of IBPS Prelims exam?

Ans. The following topics are covered:

  • Simplification
  • Profit & Loss
  • Mixtures & Allegations
  • Simple Interest & Compound Interest & Surds & Indices
  • Work & Time
  • Time & Distance
  • Mensuration – Cylinder, Cone, Sphere
  • Data Interpretation
  • Ratio & Proportion, Percentage
  • Number Systems
  • Sequence & Series
  • Permutation, Combination & Probability

Ques. What topics are covered in the Reasoning section of IBPS Prelims exam?

Ans. The following topics are covered:

  • Logical Reasoning
  • Alphanumeric Series
  • Ranking/Direction/Alphabet Test
  • Data Sufficiency
  • Coded Inequalities
  • Seating Arrangement
  • Puzzle
  • Tabulation
  • Syllogism
  • Blood Relations
  • Input Output
  • Coding Decoding

Ques. Is Tier I and Preliminary exam of the IBPS PO exam same?

Ans. Yes.

Ques. Is Tier II and Mains exam of the IBPS PO exam same?

Ans. Yes.

Ques. How many questions are asked from the English Language section of the IBPS PO Preliminary exam?

Ans. 30 questions.

Ques. How many questions are asked from the English Language section of the IBPS PO Preliminary exam?

Ans. 40 questions.

Ques. Will we be allowed to navigate between the various sections of the IBPS PO Preliminary and Mains exam?

Ans. No, you will be required to attempt the sections in a sequential manner.

Ques. Would I be able to move to the next section as soon as I complete a section while attempting the IBPS PO Preliminary exam?

Ans. No, you cannot leave an existing section before the completion of the time allotted.

Ques. Who coordinates the Interview part of IBPS PO selection process?

Ans. Interview is coordinated by the Nodal Bank in each State/UT with the help of IBPS.

Ques. Will the IBPS PO 2018 prelims paper be available in Tamil?

Ans. No.

*The article might have information for the previous academic years, which will be updated soon subject to the notification issued by the University/College



February 27, 2018IBPS-PO 2018

How to prepare for IBPS PO Ma ..

The main exam for IBPS PO is scheduled for Novembe ...

February 19, 2018IBPS-PO 2018

Important Topics for IBPS PO ..

January 25, 2018IBPS-PO 2018

IBPS PO Interview 2018: Impor ..

It is that time of the year when banking enthusias ...

December 29, 2017IBPS-PO 2018

IBPS PO 2019 Application Form




No Comments To Show