SBI Clerk Exam: Preparation strategy to outsmart competition
None, 21 Jan 2015, #SBI Clerk

The SBI bank clerical exam is one of the most competitive exams in India. Though lakhs of candidates appear in the exam every year, only a few thousands are selected for this entry level job in SBI.

So, what does it take to outsmart your competitors? How should you prepare to score high in the written exam? What can bring you competitive edge in this banking exam?

Click here to Enroll SBI Clerck online test series to boost SBI Clerk 2014 preparation.


Though experts say that cracking the clerical level exam for banks are not much difficult, they suggest candidates to have a planned and consistent approach towards preparation strategy.


Careers360 here brings section-wise and overall exam preparation tips from coaching experts to help candidates accentuate their SBI exam preparation. According to coaching experts, a section-wise division of whole preparation for SBI Clerk exam can immensely help candidates qualify in the objective-type test. They also stress on the importance of clarity of concepts and efficient time management to succeed in banking job exam.


With lakhs of candidates appearing in the exam, making it one of the most competitive recruitment exam, experts opine that candidates need to have a planned preparation strategy for the last week and on the exam day as well to crack it.

“A proper assessment of one's strengths and weaknesses in the test areas will help an aspirant channelize his/her efforts in the required direction. Thus, proper application of the results of this self-analysis will ensure success across a number of bank exams. In addition to this, thorough preparation will go a long way in yielding the desired fruit,” says Mr. Manek N Daruvala, director at T.I.M.E.


Plan your Preparation in synch with SBI Clerk pattern

SBI Clerk Selection Process includes written test and Personal Interview (PI). The PI is conducted after the results of written exam are announced. According to the SBI Clerk Paper Pattern, the duration of the objective-type written test is 2 hour 15 minute. The paper with 200 questions is divided into five sections – General Awareness, General English, Quantitative Aptitude, Reasoning Ability and Marketing Aptitude/Computer Knowledge – carrying a total of 200 marks.


No of questions


General Awareness



General English



Quantitative Aptitude



Reasoning Ability



Marketing Aptitude/Computer Knowledge






Marking scheme: While each correct answer carries 1 mark,every wrong answer invites a penalty of 0.25 marks.

Section-wise SBI Clerk exam preparation plan

The syllabus of a banking job exam comprises five different sections and the right approach to get perfection in all these areas is to divide your preparation according to the sections. Further, work more on your weak areas and simultaneously continue practicing those subjects where you have a good hand. But be sure that you are not ignoring any of these sections and give equal importance to all the subjects.


“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. So, if you are weak in any of the above sections, you should immediately start working on the same,” Mr. Anil Nagar, director of Career Power Institute.


How much weightage to different sections: Analyze weak points (section-wise) and on the basis of them, give weightage to every section. Equally you have to have perfection in every section but it doesn’t mean you should give equal weightage to each section in last month of preparation. Give more importance to sections which need to be strengthened.


Daily practice and revision: More or less, the last-month of preparation for this competitive exam is based on revision and practice. At this moment, candidates are suggested to be focused and selective with their studies. Instead of studying all the topics, they should try to strengthen their weaknesses and utilize their strengths in the best possible way.


Group exercise for General Awareness: Nothing is more effective for enhancing General Awareness than discussing various topics with others and allowing a two way communication to understand view points of other. Even with a small group of 5 students, you can do this daily exercise, where every student comes up with 10-20 questions for discussion. After a group discussion of an hour or so, you will be able to learn at least 50-100 GS questions a day which will remain in your memory for longer.


Read Newspapers for General Awareness, English, Marketing: You cannot afford to skip questions based on General Awareness and Current Affairs while preparing for the banking job exam. You have to be aware of what are the major happenings in your country and the world. You cannot avoid reading a newspaper. Apart from that, an English newspaper improves your English and enhances your Marketing knowledge.


“The candidates should read newspapers regularly. An English newspaper reading can help improve their General Awareness, Marketing knowledge and English language. The idea behind setting a question paper is that the candidates are Graduates and they must know the basics,” says Mr. Javed R Siddique, director at BSC Academy.


Daily Mathematics and Reasoning Practice: In areas like Mathematics and Reasoning, you should have clear concepts and strong fundamentals. Besides this, you need to have accuracy and speed to cover Mathematics and Reasoning portions. Your calculation skills must be strong. Daily practice is a must for all these sections. Consulting a few good reference books to learn short cut to solve questions and calculation techniques is also a good option.


Last-week preparation strategy for SBI Clerk exam

In the last week of preparation, the candidate should be focused and very selective in terms of subjects and topics to be revised and studied. Study only those subjects where you need to improve. Practice of a few hours a day will work. Solving previous test papers will help you build and maintain confidence.


Solve test papers: The candidate appearing for this exam should possess commendable speed and accuracy level for solving questions. You can continue with solving previous test papers to polish your skills at every level.


“These exams are speed and accuracy based so my suggestion to students is that they should first gain clarity on basic concepts of subjects/topics and then practice questions from previous year papers with a focus on their speed and accuracy,” Hanumant Sabharwal, director, SmartPrep India.


Get involved in recreational activities: This is the time when exam is approaching and stress is obvious. The candidates need to be involved in some recreational activities in order to bust exam stress. Play your favorite sport, watch your favorite movie and listen your favorite song. You can also opt to visit an amazing destination around the town.


Don’t forget it’s a digital age: In this age of digital revolution, when the banking job exams are coming up in their newest online avatar, regular practice and time management are the key to crack any competition exam. Candidates, pursuing a bank job, cannot skip computer awareness and marketing knowledge. You can be more concerned with these parts in the last week.


“Many candidates may face problem due to lack of fluency in online test format. Computer awareness and marketing knowledge are compulsory parts of the recruitment process, so, the candidate should be well-versed with basic operating knowledge of computers and basics of marketing and technology to keep up with the competition,” says Ms. Neetu Singh, founder and director of Paramount Coaching Centre.


SBI Clerk exam-taking strategy

You have already practiced a lot. You have solved a number of test papers before entering the examination hall. You are not nervous but full of confidence. Still, experts suggest following some basic test-taking rules in the examination hall.


Read question paper: The first thing you can do with your question paper is to read it carefully, calmly and patiently.


Divide time: You should divide your 2 hour and 15 minute time according to your section-wise strengths and weaknesses. Now, make sure what to attempt first and what to leave for the last.


Accuracy: You cannot compromise with accuracy at any cost. Concentrate and do it carefully. If needed, revise your calculation, etc.


Speed: Time management part has to be totally taken care. You cannot come out of the examination hall, leaving your paper half-done only because the time allotted was not enough for you.


Revise: Make sure some time has been left with you after completion of all the answers to revise them.


Know all about SBI Clerk

India’s largest bank State Bank of India, with over 13,000 branches across the country, announces over 5,000 clerical vacancies in its branches across the country. Out of the total vacancies, over 2000 vacancies are for General candidates. Other vacancies are reserved for candidates belonging from SC, ST, OBC categories. In past years, top three states allotted with highest vacancies were Gujarat, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh.


SBI releases online Admit Card for written exam for the eligible candidates who apply for the computer-based exam in the respective year. The Result of the written exam is announced generally after two months of exam.


Stay tuned to for more news and articles on SBI Clerk 2014

More like SBI Clerk

Questions related to SBI Clerk

Showing 122 out of 122 Questions

what will be expected cutoff for ex serviceman of sbi clerk mains 2019 in UP. What was last year also for esm

Vemireddy Rushitha Student Expert 16th Oct, 2019

Hi dear,

Right now only overall cutoff of SBI mains 2019 are not released on the official sites.

But if we analyse the previous years cutoff marks of SB mains for ex servicemen then it is 86.25 out of 200 marks.

While, this year the overall sbi mains 2019 cutoff for UP candidates if is expected to be around 80-90.

For more details and exact cutoff we still have to wait for the release of results.


what was the cutoff for mains sc category odisha in 2018?

Ronak Gala Student Expert 6th Oct, 2019

See marks varies each year, the cutoffs depend on various factors like number of candidates appearing, paper level, etc. So one thing that you can rely on is the ranks. I'll give you a brief idea about the ranks for colleges in Odisha for sc category. One of the best colleges Central Institute of Plastic Engineering and Technology, Bhubaneswar had cutoff rank 373175 for sc category.

College of Engineering and Technology Bhubaneshwar had cutoff rank  349747 for Electronics Engineering, 277610 for Electrical Engineering, 207393 for Chemical Engineering, 458685 for Information Technology.

So prepare well for the exams and give your best and once the exams are over, then think about where you stand and the options you have.

Best wishes. Thank you.


i applied sbi clerk as ews category but now i realized that i am not under ews i qualify prelims in general cut off if i qualify mains in gen will they consider me as general without ews certificate and will i get the job as general

Priyaanka Sarkar Student Expert 2nd Oct, 2019

Dear Annya, this is the official notification for SBI Clerk 2019 esam. You can access it at:

To give you a gist, the merit list after each round is prepared on the Category you have selected while filling in the application form. There is a statement that says that SBI cannot assume any responsibility of the mistakes in the application form and submission of the application forms after the last date. Now if you select your Category as General during Mains and you qualify under General Category, you will be given a placement under the General Category.



Mahaveer Reddy Student Expert 3rd Oct, 2019

Dear aspirant,

Qualification Criteria for Ex Servicemen –

Age Limit for Ex Servicemen in IBPS/SBI Exam

Instruction Criteria for Ex Servicemen in IBPS/SBI Exam

Above all else, all of you have to know fundamental things about ex-servicemen as per the IBPS and SBI department.The Ex-servicemen who might go after the position post:

Ex-Servicemen up-and-comers who previously verified work under the Central government in

Gathering 'C' and 'D' would be allowed for the age unwinding as recommended for Ex-servicemen for verifying another work in a higher evaluation or framework in Group 'C'/'D'.

An ex-serviceman who has once joined a Government work on common side in the wake of profiting of the advantages given to him/her as an ex-serviceman for his/her re-business.

Category    Prelims Cut off (Out of 100)    Mains Cut off (Out of 100)

General    47.50    52.50

OBC    46.50    52.50

SC    40.00    41.75

ST    31.25    31.50

OC    32.75    34.00

VI    31.50    37.50

HI    18.00    37.00


How to prepare for SBI clerk jobs

Papeya Dubey Student Expert 17th Sep, 2019

Exam for SBI Clerk is divided into three stages-

Prelims of 1 hour duration with following subjects-

  1. English
  2. Quant
  3. Reasoning

Mains is of 2 hour and 40 min duration with following subject-

  1. General/Financial Awareness
  2. General English
  3. Quantitative Aptitude
  4. Reasoning Ability and Computer Aptitude

Last one is assessment  of Official/Local Language.

The first and foremost thing required in banking exam is speed and precision.

To follow the first step, you need to practice a lot, solve as many mock papers as you can, along with test series. At the same time time, do not forget to evaluate your performance. This will give you a fair idea about strength and weakness.

The more papers you solve, more grasp you'll have on that subject, this will increase your ability to solve any type of questions that come in exams.

For General Awareness/ Financial Awareness, you have to read a newspaper daily with emphasis on The Editorial part, you can read The Hindu, The Economic Times, The Indian Express. You'll have to well updated with current affairs more so business/finance section regarding this.Newspaper will also help in your English.Do not skip this step at all, as in exams in the recent trends, Editorial parts are coming in either for RC, or some other section.

You may also refer the following books for SBI Clerk Exam-

Quant- Quicker Maths by M Tyra/ Fast Track Arithmetic by Arihant Publications /Quantitative Aptitude by RS Agarwal

English- General English by SP Bakshi or Plinth to Paramount

You can also refer Wren and Martin, that's the best book for grammar. Word Power Made Easy for Vocab.

For Reasoning- RS Agarwal Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning

Analytical Reasoning by MK Pandey

Related E-books and Sample Papers

The question have been saved in answer later, you can access it from your profile anytime. Access now

Download the Careers360 App on your Android phone

Regular exam updates, QnA, Predictors, College Applications & E-books now on your Mobile

Careers360 App
150M+ Students
24,000+ Colleges
500+ Exams
1500+ E-books