IBPS PO Exam: Preparation strategy to crack it!
None, 30 Apr 2015, #IBPS PO

With cut-throat competition making officers grade job in banking sector increasingly tougher, you must prepare for the written exam for IBPS PO with a well-laid preparation strategy. As lakhs of candidates appear for a few thousands of vacancies in PSU banks conducted by Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS), the consolidation of this competitive exam has only intensified the competition.

“The number of aspirants appearing for these exams is much higher than the number of vacancies announced. For example, an overwhelming 14 lakh appeared for 1500 SBI PO posts in 2013; this gives approximately a 1:1000 vacancy-aspirant ratio, i.e. one candidate recruited among a thousand candidates,” says T.I.M.E. Director Manek N Daruvala.


Amid this stringent, increasing competition, Careers360 brings you tips aimed at helping your preparation strategy.


What does it tests on?

Before we share with you the preparation strategy, it is important for you to know what does IBPS PO tests you on.


The exam is not merely criteria to evaluate the bookish knowledge you have accumulated during your education, but it also tests you on your overall personality, communication skill and marketing traits. Your preparation strategy must adapt a more open approach as you can’t prepare for this exam in isolation.


“A candidate who wishes to apply for banking jobs must have an interest in finance and banking area. He must be good at public dealing as banks don’t work in isolation. It is consumer centric operation,” says BSC Academy Director Javed R Siddique.


IBPS PO selection process is conducted in three stages – 1-hour Preliminary Exam, 2-hour Main Exam  and Interview. A deduction of 0.25 marks is applied as negative marking for every wrong answer marked in the online objective-type tests. Candidates can check IBPS PO Exam Pattern for preliminary and main exams in separate tables below:


IBPS PO 2015 Exam Pattern - Preliminary Exam:



No. of Questions

Maximum Marks



English Language




1 hour


Quantitative Aptitude




Reasoning Ability







IBPS PO 2015 Exam Pattern - Main Exam:



No. of Questions

Maximum Marks










2 hour


English Language




Quantitative Aptitude




General Awareness

(with special reference to Banking Industry)




Computer Knowledge







The candidates, who qualify in the Common Written Exam (CWE) will be called by participating banks and IBPS for a Common Interview as the final round of IBPS PO Selection Process. The qualifying candidates in the final round will be appointed in PO cadre of any of the participating banks.


Based on the suggestions of experts of the field, our comprehensive preparation strategy is broadly divided into three parts – overall preparation strategy, last-week preparation strategy and exam taking strategy. Let’s have a look at all the three level of your preparation for IBPS PO.


Overall IBPS PO preparation plan

In view of changing pattern and nature of exam, we bring here an expert-recommended overall preparation plan for the candidates. In order to crack IBPS PO exam, be ready for Computer Based Testing and divide your preparation according to different sections of syllabus.


Adapt to CBT (Computer-Based Testing)

Recently, the exam conducting authority IBPS has made a few changes in the pattern and nature of the exam including making it a computer- based test.

As IBPS has started conducting PO exam in Computer-Based Testing format, it is imperative on you to adapt to the new mode. This is important because a first-timer may lose part of his precious test time in getting know-how of the testing format.

“Candidates have to change with the technology and be tech-savvy as they have to take online papers. Every year we see some changes in paper pattern,” says Siddique.


Section-wise IBPS PO exam preparation plan

Divide your preparation as per the 5 sections of IBPS PO paper pattern – Reasoning, English Language, Quantitative Aptitude, General Awareness and Computer Knowledge. Allot a reasonable time-frame to each section to ensure completion of your section-wise preparation before the exam date.


Determine sectional weightage

Not everyone is perfect in all the areas of study. You must have a few strengths and a few weaknesses. What it needs for a good preparation strategy is to identify your strengths and weaknesses in order to utilize your strengths and improve your weaknesses successfully.

“The written exam for the banks consists of sections on Quantitative Aptitude, Reasoning Ability, General Awareness, English & Basic Computers and candidate has to qualify in each of the sections individually, other than qualifying in the overall score. So, if you are weak in any of the above sections, you should immediately start working on the same,” says Career Power Director Anil Nagar.


Daily practice, revision and group study

Bearing in mind to crack such a tough exam, it’s important to stick to daily practice and revision. Experts say 3-4 hours of dedicated practice can fetch the desired result.

“A regular practice which includes about 3 to 4 hours per day of dedicated study/preparation can surely equip one with the aptitude necessary to make success possible,” says Daruvala.

Further, instead of studying different subjects in isolation, it would be a good idea to have a group study. A study group of 5-10 friends will help you learn 50-100 questions a day if every member of the group comes with 5-10 questions and their solutions every day.


Read Newspapers for GS, English, Marketing, Communication

Here you get 3-in-1 study package if you have a habit of reading newspapers, especially an English language newspaper. By doing so, you not only keep yourself updated about the latest happenings and current affairs, with increasing your general awareness, but also you get more command on the English language. Moreover, you get a few Marketing and Communication skills, which are the requirements of the bank job.


Daily Mock Test

To perform well in Mathematics and Reasoning papers, speed and accuracy are a must. High scores in these tests can be obtained only though time management and clear concepts. So, daily practice is required to get perfection in these subjects.

“These banking job exams are speed and accuracy based, so my suggestion to students is that they should first clear there concepts and then practice questions from previous year papers with a focus on their speed and accuracy,” Smart Prep Director Hanumant Sabherwal.


Last-week preparation strategy for IBPS PO exam

Last week of preparation must be given extra importance while making a preparation strategy for such a tough exam. However, there is no need to be lost into studies in this week. You have already given section-wise attention to all the subjects. Now, it’s time to make a revision of whatever you have learnt.


Solve test papers

Solving test papers and revisiting question bank, which contains questions you found difficult during your preparation, will immensely help. Daily practice and revision of questions in the last week of your preparation offers you clear concepts and time management. Also, you enter in the exam hall with full of confidence.

“The focus should be on target preparation. The focus should be on target preparation. Whether you start studying anything and everything, you may get confused and distracted from your goal. Attempt online mock tests and review your scores to get accustomed to format as well as to avoid a last minute surprise or goof ups,” says Paramount Coaching Director Neetu Singh.


Recreational activities will work

It has been a long hectic preparation time for you in the recent months. Before the exam date approaches, you need to get rejuvenated yourself so that you enter the exam hall with full of positive energy. So, in the last week of your preparation, get involved in some extracurricular activities to get yourself refreshed and energized and ready for the exam day.


Go digital, be tech-savvy:

Here you need to always be up-to-date with latest digital technologies. Not only because exam is going to be computer-based but also you have to work in that kind of atmosphere once you enter the banking sector jobs.

“A reality check in terms of time management for online format is equally important. In past, we have seen even the best of talent getting flunked due to inability to adapt with the online test format,” says Singh.


Probationary Officers exam-taking strategy

After solving a number of question papers, practicing and revising all those difficult questions and giving proper attention separately to various sections of syllabus, you are ready to enter confidently the exam hall. However, experts have a line of advice on how you must manage your skills and time inside the exam hall.


Read question paper: Once you get the question paper, your first job should be giving a thorough glance to the questions. You should be patient, calm and careful at this time.

Divide time: Before starting to attempt questions, you need to divide the 2-hours in various sections in accordance with your section-wise strengths and weaknesses. Here, you also need to ascertain priorities among the sections as well as questions within them.

Accuracy: A lot of concentration is needed to maintain accuracy during your exam. Revision of your calculation is always helpful. Solve the questions carefully.

Speed: While appearing in an exam like this, speed cannot be compromised. Leaving exam hall with a half-done paper due to lack of time is always painful.

Revise: You should save some time only for revision of your answers after the completion of the test. Sometimes, a thorough revision of answers saves us from a big mistake.


Know all about IBPS PO

Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS) announced registration of application forms for IBPS PO Common Written Exam to be held in October this year to fill up around 22,000 vacancies of Probationary Officers/Management Trainees or similar posts in around 20 public sector banks across India.


The IBPS PO application process began in July, and continued in August. The registration of the candidates was done in online mode only.


The IBPS PO eligibility criteria say the candidate must be a graduate in any discipline from a recognized University or should have any other equivalent qualification. He/she should be aged between 20 years and 30 years as on July 1 of the application year.


Stay tuned to competition.careers360.com for more news and articles on IBPS PO

More like IBPS PO

Questions related to IBPS PO

Showing 175 out of 175 Questions

sir how can i download my result for ibps po prelims with resistration no and date of birth

Manidipa Kundu Student Expert 8th Nov, 2019


ibps has released ibps po prelims score today. the exam was held on first november, 2019.

you can check your result with your login credentials from the below official link:



which books should i refer for ibps PO exams....?

Ruchika Chauhan Expert 28th Oct, 2019


Here is the list of books which you can refer for the preparation of IBPS PO exam

Reasoning Ability
A Modern approach Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning by B.S. Sijwali
Verbal Reasoning by R.S. Agarwal
A New Approach to Reasoning Verbal & Non Verbal by B.S. Sijwali
Logical reasoning by K. Kundan
Test of Reasoning by Pearson Publication
Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning by Kiran Publication
Lucent’s Reasoning
Analytical Reasoning by M.K Pandey
A New Approach to Reasoning Verbal and Non-Verbal by Arihant Publication

Quantitative Aptitude
Quantitative Aptitude Book by Wiley’s Publication
Quantitative Aptitude For Competitive Examination by The Pearson Guide
Teach Yourself Quantitative Aptitude by Arun Sharma
Rapid Quantitative Aptitude with Shortcuts & Tricks by Disha Publication
Aptitude Quantitative by Sarvesh Verma
Fast Track Objective Arithmetic by Rajesh Verma (Arihant Publication)
Quantitative Aptitude by Disha Experts

English Language
Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis
English Grammar & Composition by Wren & Martin
Descriptive General English by S P Bakshi and Richa Sharma
New Pattern English Language for SBI/IBPS Bank PO by Disha Experts

Good Luck!


i have finished my bachelors degree in anaesthesia am i elilgible for IBPS

Papeya Dubey Student Expert 17th Oct, 2019


Yes, Bachelor's Degree in Anaesthesia in  three year undergraduate program and as per eligibility criteria of IBPS candidate needs to passed graduation in any discipline from a recognized university, so you definitely fulfill its eligibility criteria.


For IBPS PO 2019 and IBPS Clerk , EWS Certificate for which financial year is required? 2018-19 or 2019-20?

Piyush Dixit 9th Oct, 2019

Candidates who are applying for IBPS PO and Clerk should be noted that EWS Certificate will be required for the income of the financial year prior to the year of application. Hence 2018-19 is the year for which certificate is required


how many question to attend to qualify prelims

Ankhi Banerjee 23rd Sep, 2019


In IBPS PO prelims, there are a total of 100 questions each carrying 1 mark. In preliminary exam, there are 30 questions in english, 35 questions in quantitative aptitude and 35 questions in reasoning ability. There is a sectional cut-off in all the 3 sections which you will need to qualify separately as well as the overall cutoff. As a result of this, every year the cut-off changes. In 2018, the cut-off was 56.75 for general, 55.50 for OBC, 49.25 for SC and 41.75 for ST category. So try to solve correctly more number of questions as there is a negative marking of 0.25 for each wrong answer.

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