State Bank of India has released 2000 vacancies for the posts of Probationary Officers. As SBI is the largest public sector bank in India, not to much surprise, SBI has received 26 lakh applications so far. Aspirants who are looking for a career in SBI must prepare well to withstand the competition and get recruited in SBI.

SBI PO examination is conducted in four different stages namely Prelims, Mains, Group Exercise and Personal Interview. In this article, we are going to share with you, a preparation strategy for Prelims examination. In order to crack any examination, it is vital to have a thorough knowledge of the test pattern and syllabus. So, let’s look into those details.

A. Prelims Exam Pattern

S No Name of Tests No. of Questions Maximum Marks Duration
1 English Language 30 30 20 Minutes
2 Quantitative Aptitude 35 35 20 Minutes
3 Reasoning Ability 35 35 20 Minutes
Total 100 100 1 Hour

As mentioned in the official notification, few changes have been made in the pattern of Prelims examination.

Sectional timing is Introduced: This year which means that you cannot go into the next section until the allotted time is exhausted. Once you move to the next section, you cannot go back to the previous section.

The sectional cut-off is Removed: Candidates are shortlisted to Mains basing on their overall score in Prelims.

  • The ratio of candidates selected for SBI PO Mains 2018 will be 1:10. That means, out of 26 lakh applicants only 20,000 candidates will be allowed to appear in Mains examination. Candidates will be arranged in descending order from top to bottom basing on their prelims score and the top 20,000 candidates will be allowed to appear for Mains.

B. Preparation Strategy

To crack Prelims in this cut-throat competition, both speed and accuracy are important. You have to attempt as many questions as possible within the allotted time accurately.

  • The examination is going to commence in 37 days. Do not panic that there is not enough time. Learn to make use of time effectively. Instead of trying to cover all the topics, work smart. Follow our preparation strategy. Work hard and it pays off.
  • Believe in yourself and start your preparation from today, if you seriously want to crack the examination. Don’t wait for the right moment. Start working today itself. You have 37 days left in your hands. Divide this time into 3 equal parts and use it effectively.

The first stage of Preparation:

  • In the first 12 days i.e. from 24-05-2018 to 04-06-2018, revise all the basic concepts in all the three sections. This span of time is to make you solve questions accurately. Do not attempt any quizzes in these 12 days.
  • Try to solve questions accurately. No matter what, you should be accurate in solving any question after these 12 days.
  • Practise questions from those topics which are certainly asked in the examination. Once you are done with these topics, you can revise other topics as well.
  • Revise all the basic grammar like tenses, voice, direct and indirect speech and parts of speech. You can practise questions from “High school grammar by Wren and Martin”.
  • Practise quantitative aptitude and reasoning questions from ‘R.S.Aggarwal”. Do not forget that we are starting our preparation from the basic level.
  • Once you finish revising the basic concepts from these books, you may go for other books of your choice.

The second stage of Preparation:

  • In the second phase of preparation i.e. from 05-06-2018 to 16-06-2018, attempt quizzes from each section. See that you solve questions accurately.
  • Analyse the quiz after each test. Solve all those questions which you couldn’t solve during the given time.
  • Cover all the topics in each section. You cannot take any sort of risk in the examination.
  • Do not try to attempt full-length mock tests in this span.

The final stage of Preparation:

  • In the last stage of preparation i.e. from 17-06-2018 to 30-06-2018, attempt full-length mock tests one in each day. This helps you learn time management.
  • Do not forget to analyse the paper after the examination each day. Analysing the paper is as important as attempting a test.
  • Solve the questions which you are unable to solve in the online test.
  • Avoid repeating the mistakes in next day’s test. Your preparation should be progressive day-by-day.
  • Also, do not attempt more than one test each day. One test a day is more than sufficient.

C. Topics to be attempted first to maximize your score

English Language

If you are one of those candidates who doesn’t feel comfortable with this section, then this article is meant for you. You have to stay positive throughout your preparation time. Positive mindset creates strength and gives you the confidence to crack the examination. You cannot completely avoid any section in the examination. So accept the fact and feel free to learn. Have a look at the topics which are expected to be asked in the examination. The below data is made by analysing the previous years’ papers.

Topic Expected No. of questions
Reading Comprehension 10 questions
Error Spotting / Sentence Correction 5-10 questions
Cloze test 5-10 questions
Fill in the blanks/ Sentence Improvement/ Phrase replacement 0-5 questions
Para Jumbles 0-5 questions
Vocabulary 0-5 questions

The topics which are to be attempted first in your preparation as well as in examination are cloze test, error spotting and phrase replacement. Practice a lot of questions from these sections.

Reading comprehension should be attempted in the end. If you are good at vocabulary, attempt those questions first. Try to read the questions before reading the passage. This gives you a brief idea about the topics you have to concentrate while reading the passage.

Quantitative Aptitude

If you are one of those candidates who loved Mathematics in your school days, you feel this section very much comfortable. Even if you don’t like mathematics, you need not worry. Follow our preparation strategy and score well in this section. The topics which are expected to be asked in prelims are given in the table below.

Topic Expected No. of questions
Data Interpretation 5 -10 questions
Simplification & Approximation 5-10 questions
Number Series 5 questions
Percentages 1-2 questions
Mensuration 1-2 questions
Ratio and Proportion 1-2 questions
Time & work, Boats and Stream 1-2 questions
Averages 1-2 questions
Profit & Loss, Partnership 1-2 questions
Speed, Time, and Distance 1-2 questions
Alligations & Mixtures 1-2 questions
Simple & Compound Interest 1-2 questions
Quadratic Equations 0-5 questions
Data Sufficiency 0-5 questions
Permutations & Combinations 0-1 questions
Number System 0-1 questions
Probability 0-1 questions
  • The topics which are to be attempted first in your preparation as well as in examination are Simplification & Approximation, Number Series, Data Interpretation and Quadratic Equations. Practise as many questions as possible from these topics.
  • Once you are confident enough in these topics, go for the other topics listed in the table.
  • Miscellaneous questions should be attempted in the end in the examination.
  • As you cannot take any chance of losing marks in the examination, see that you practise all the topics under the section.

Reasoning Ability

If you are one of those who feels reasoning is easy, then the ball is in your court. Scoring more in this section is pretty easy compared to other sections. Though you are a master of this section, revise the basics once more. There is no harm in doing that. Have a look at the topics asked from this section.

Topic Expected No. of questions
Inequalities 5 questions
Linear Seating Arrangement 5- 11 questions
Circular Seating Arrangement 5-7 questions
Puzzles 0-6 questions
Directions & Distance 2-5 questions
Blood Relations 2-3 questions
Syllogism 4-5 questions
Coding and decoding 3-5 questions
Order & Ranking 0-5 questions
Grouping & Interview Selection 0-5 questions
Scheduling 0-5 questions
Alphanumeric Series 4-5 questions
Input – Output 3-5 questions
  • The topics which are to be attempted first in your preparation as well as in examination are Inequalities, Syllogism, Alphanumeric Series and Coding and decoding.
  • Puzzles and Seating arrangements should be attempted in the end in the examination.
  • Practice all the new and old models of questions. This maximises your score as you will be well versed with all the topics.

                                          “RULE YOUR MIND LEST IT SHOULD RULE YOU”

Few more tips:

  • Do not argue with anyone in your preparation time. You may think that it doesn’t matter. But it stays in your subconscious mind and disturbs you.
  • Avoid all sorts of distractions while you are studying. Keep your phone aside. Tell your family members not to disturb you while you are studying.
  • If you feel bored in your preparation, listen to some melodies, go for a walk or sit and meditate for a while.
  • Have a healthy diet and proper sleep of 6-7 hours a day. “A healthy mind stays in a healthy body”.
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