The second and most crucial round of the SBI PO exam is round the corner. The main aim of this article is to help students to prepare for this round.

First let us understand the exam pattern.

About the Exam:  The objective exam will have four sections of 50 marks each, as per SBI notification. The sections are:

  1. a) English Language (Grammar, Vocabulary, Comprehension etc.)
    b) General Awareness, Marketing &Computers
    c) Data Analysis & Interpretation
    d) Reasoning (High Level)

Let me now deal with the agenda. Moving ahead, I have answered few frequently asked questions and also provided guidelines on preparation for the exam.

What is more important speed or accuracy? SBI PO, foremost is the test of speed. That does not mean that accuracy is not important. But to have a chance of clearing the overall cut off, the number of attempts need to be decent and for that calculated risk (Marking an option after making an intelligent guess or after eliminating two options) has to be taken. So, I suggest that you should approach the exam with an aggressive mindset to see all the 200 questions and attempt all those questions for which you are more than 50% sure.

What would be a decent attempt or a decent score? This is the most difficult thing to suggest. Both the things can only be judged on the spot once the question paper is in hand. I suggest that one should focus on the preparation rather than worrying about attempts and cut offs. Prepare well, make a sound test taking strategy and go with a positive attitude.

How to prepare for the sections? The next 10-14 days are the most critical phase of this entire SBI PO exam journey. Your entire focus should revolve around how to make full use of these days left for the exam.  Here are my suggestions:

a) For Data Interpretation: This section is going to be a differentiator- a section which could make or mar your chance.  The DI sets could be calculation intensive. You should focus on improving your calculation speed. Besides solving previous SBI PO papers, for practise, I suggest to solve DI caselets asked in CAT exam (year 1990 to 2000).  The moderate level DI questions could be of this level. To practise calculation intensive DI set, I suggest to solve previous 5 year papers of IIFT (IIFT is an entrance exam of Indian Institute of Foreign Trade). These should be sufficient.

Now, why I am saying that DI would be a differentiator? Because most of the students think of DI as a time consuming section and their mere focus is on clearing the cut off. But then most of the students will not make it to the next round. So, if you wish to differentiate yourself then prepare for DI.

Remember, DI caselets difficulty level can be judged in a minute, unlike LR caselets. And that makes your job of seeing all the 50 questions of this section easy.

b) Logical Reasoning: Everybody or shall I say majority, feels comfortable about this section. The problem with this section is that it is a double edged sword, if you crack a caselet you get 5 answers correct, but if are unable to crack it then you end up wasting time. SBI has clearly mentioned that the questions in this section will be of high level, and so the risk with the section also increases.

For preparation, I suggest to pick the areas and make them solid. Syllogisms are must attempt as they can be solved quickly. So practise syllogism. At least one question on circular seating arrangement will definitely be asked, so practise this part. Input Output sequencing questions will also be asked. Once again I suggest solving previous year SBI PO papers and CAT papers (1990 to 2004) for practise.

As a general observation, if you are finding this section easy then majority will also find it easy. Also, most people will think of scoring well in this section. So, you need to be competent enough.

c) English: The easiest and the most neglected part of this section are RC passages. And because they are neglected, they will be the differentiator. Your aim should be to attempt both the RCs (I assume two RCs will be asked) in the exam. The parajumbles and cloze test are also easy and should be attempted. Grammar can be bit tricky. At this juncture, solving previous SBI PO exam papers should be sufficient for the preparation.

The good part about this section is that it is less time consuming. And the bad part is that it often is subjective and accuracy may suffer. But I suggest to focus on the good part and to attempt 30-35 questions.

d) GA/Marketing/Computers: When it comes to GA, be thorough with the happenings of the last 3 months. The questions from computers and marketing are of very elementary level and being aware about the basic terms will be sufficient. Of course previous year papers will give you an idea about the level of questions being asked.

The best part of this section is that it can be finished in 10 minutes and hence it should be attempted first.

Is writing Mock Test important? Yes, very important. Before the actual exam, you should daily write one test and do a proper analysis of the test. This will help you to strategise your examination day approach. Half the students lose even after good preparation because they do not have proper strategy for the exam and hence they end up mismanaging their time.

What should be the order in which to attempt the sections in the test?  You should be very clear with the approach to the exam. I suggest you to strictly follow the order of attempt and time allotment which you have decided for yourself; else your time management will go haywire.

My suggested order of attempt for the sections is:


Order Section Time Management
1. GA/Marketing/Computer 10 mins
2. English 25 mins
3. Logical Reasoning 40 mins
4. DI 45 mins

Prepare well, Take mock test, analysis and strategise for the exam.