SBI PO (State Bank of India Probationary Officer) Exam Pattern 2018

Last Updated - March 07 2018

SBI PO Syllabus

The official SBI PO Exam Pattern has been released by the State Bank of India. The paper pattern varies for each stage. However, it has been similar over the years.

SBI PO Exam is conducted every year to recruit eligible aspirants as Probationary Officers in various SBI branchs throughout the country. It is conducted in three phases namely Preliminary, Main and Group Discussion & Interview.

The following article will help candidates have a better understanding of the exam pattern, marking scheme, time limits etc. of SBI PO 2018.

Listed below are some quick facts relating to SBI PO Exam Pattern:-

SBI PO Prelims

  • This paper has 3 sections (English language, Quantitative Aptitude, Reasoning Ability).
  • The duration of SBI PO Prelims is 60 minutes.
  • There are 100 objective-type questions.
  • The exam is held in online mode.

SBI PO Mains

  • There are 155 objective-type and 50 subjective-type questions.
  • In the subjective paper, you have to write a Letter and an Essay.
  • The exam is held in online mode.
  • The duration of objective paper is 3 hours, while for subjective paper, it is 30 minutes.
  • This paper has 4 sections in the objective paper (Reasoning & Computer Aptitude, Data Analysis & Interpretation, General Awareness about Economy/ Banking, English language).


  • Candidates who qualify SBI PO Mains, appear for the GD/PI rounds.
  • Marks for GD round are 20.
  • Marks for Personal Interview round are 30.

Every year, the competition for PO increases by 5%. Hence, it is important for all candidates to be thorough with SBI PO Exam Pattern and Syllabus. The Prelims exam is scheduled in April 2018, while SBI PO Mains is scheduled in July 2018.

Exam Dates of SBI PO 2018

The official dates for SBI PO 2018 will soon be released by the organizing body. Tabulated below are all the important dates that an candidate should keep in mind:

SBI PO 2018 Prelims Exam DateApril 29 & 30, 2018 and May 06 & 07, 2018
SBI PO 2018 Result (Prelims)May 17, 2018
Release of SBI PO 2018 Admit Card (Mains)May 22, 2018
SBI PO 2018 Mains Exam DateJune 04, 2018
SBI PO 2018 Result (Mains)July 4, 2018
SBI PO Call Letter for Interview will be available fromJune 26, 2018
Date for SBI PO 2018 Group Exercises and Interview July 10, 2018
Declaration of SBI PO 2018 Final Result August 05, 2018

SBI PO Exam Pattern 2018 – Prelims (Phase I)

  • The marks secured in this Phase will not be considered for final selection.
  • SBI PO Preliminary exam is the first stage of the recruitment process. 
  • Candidates completing this paper will then be eligible to appear for SBI Mains.
  • It is considered as the qualifying examination.
  • SBI PO 2018 Prelims is scheduled for April 29, April 30 and May 06, May 07, 2018 (tentatively).
  • The test is conducted in online mode and consists of 3 sections- English Language, Quantitative Aptitude and Reasoning Ability.  

Highlights of SBI PO 2018 Exam Pattern for Prelims

  • Mode of Examination: SBI PO Prelims is conducted in online mode. Candidates appearing for SBI PO Recruitment Exam are allotted a desktop, where they will be first shown all the instructions and guidelines that need to be followed by them. Post that, questions will appear and need to be responsible one by one.
  • Sectional Time Limit:- No time limit is allotted in SBI PO Prelims exam sections.
  • Qualifying Marks:- There is the provision of sectional cut off. An candidate has to clear the minimum qualifying marks in each section of the test, to get selected for the subsequent rounds.
  • Nature of Questions: -  Questions that will be asked in the exam are of objective type. Each question will have 4 options wherein only 1 option will be correct.
  • Medium of Paper:- For English section, candidates have to respond in English Language only, whereas, for Quants and Reasoning Section, English and Hindi language can be used.
  • Number of Sections: - There are 3 sections in SBI PO Prelims
  • Marking Scheme: For this paper, each question will carry 1 mark. As negative marking (penalty) for wrong answers, one-fourth of the marks will be deducted
  • Duration of Exam: - The bank exam will be of 1 hour (60 minutes)
  • Number of Questions:  In SBI 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. 

Sectional Weightage in SBI PO Prelims

The following table represents the distribution of questions in SBI PO Prelims exam:

Section NameNo. of QuestionsTotal Marks
English Language3030
Quantitative Ability3535
Reasoning Ability3535
Total100 questions100 marks

Section-wise SBI PO 2018 Syllabus for Preliminary Round

Quantitative AptitudeSimplification, Number System, Average, Percentage, Ratio and Proportion, Interest, Number series, Data Interpretation, Profit and Loss, Mensuration, Permutation and Combination
Reasoning AbilityInequalities, Ordering, and Ranking, Directions and Distances, Coding and Decoding, Blood Relations, Syllogisms, Circular Seating Arrangement, Linear Seating Arrangement, Double Line Up, Grouping, and Selection
English LanguageFill in the blanks, Reading, and Comprehension, Para Jumbles, Cloze test, Error spotting, Spellings, Phrase Idiom meaning,

SBI PO 2018 Cut Off for Prelims (Expected)

Mentioned below is expected cut off that one need to score so as to become eligible for Mains Exam.

Candidate’s CategoryCut Off out of 100 marks

SBI PO Exam Pattern 2018 – Mains (Phase II)

Candidates who secure the required marks and qualify the cut off will proceed to the second phase of the recruitment process. SBI PO Mains is subdivided into 2 Levels that would hold on the same day. The tests are as follows:

  • Level 2- Descriptive test
  • Level 1- Objective test and

Highlights of SBI PO 2018 Exam Pattern for Mains

  • After SBI PO Mains concludes, a Merit List is prepared by SBI.
  • It is obvious that candidates with a higher score will be given priority for GD and Interview Round as well.
  • The exam will be conducted in online mode.  
  • SBI, organizing body of SBI PO has specified a time to attempt each section of Mains exam.
  • SBI PO Main is scheduled for June 04, 2018. 

SBI PO Exam Pattern for Objective Test

This is the first level in the mains exam. Candidates qualifying the Preliminary examination are eligible to appear for this exam. Listed below are the highlights for Objective Test:

  • It consists of 155 Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)
  • SBI has allotted specific timings for each section in the exam.
  • There are a total of 4 sections, namely Reasoning & Computer Aptitude, Data Analysis & Interpretation, General Awareness about Economy & Banking and English Language
  • The exam is conducted in online mode
  • The medium of answer questions is the English language
  • Duration of the test is 3 hours (180 minutes)
SectionTotal QuestionsMaximum MarksDuration (minutes)
Reasoning & Computer Aptitude456060
Data Analysis & Interpretation356045
General Awareness (Economy & Banking)404035
English Language354040
Total155 Questions200 Marks3 hours

Exam Pattern for Descriptive Test

This is Level 2 in the Main Exam of SBI PO. It will commence immediately after candidates are attempting the Objective Test. Listed below are the highlights of SBI PO Descriptive Test.

  • The exam is conducted in online mode i.e. candidates have alloted a desktop in which they are supposed to type their responses.
  • Each question is of 25 marks.
  • Candidates are given 30 minutes to the complete Descriptive paper
  • There are a total of 2 questions in this section namely Letter writing and Essay Writing
Note: Descriptive paper of an candidate will be checked only if he qualifies in the Objective test, as per the qualifying marks decided by the Bank.

READ ABOUT SBI PO Selection Process

Section-wise SBI PO 2018 Syllabus for Mains

Reasoning Ability and Computer AptitudePuzzles, Seating Arrangement, Inequality, Syllogism, Input-Output, Coding-Decoding, Verbal Reasoning, Data Sufficiency, Miscellaneous topics, Computer Aptitude
Data Analysis and InterpretationBar graph, Line graph, Pie chart (single or double), Tabular graph, Radar chart, Mixed graphs (combination of any 2 of the above), Caselet/ Paragraph DI, Missing graphs
English LanguageReading Comprehension, Cloze test, Para jumbles, Odd one out/ Theme based questions, Statement and Paragraph completion, Sentence Connectors
General AwarenessCurrent Affairs, Banking / Financial Awareness, Static Affairs

SBI PO 2018 Exam Pattern- GD/ PI (Phase III)

  • Marks for GD round are 20.
  • Candidates who qualify SBI PO mains exam are eligible to appear for GD and interview. 
  • Post organization of the interview, a combined score is generated which includes the sum of marks obtained in main examination and interview.
  • Marks for Personal Interview round are 30.
  • The final list of the selected candidates would be published on the official website of the bank’s website and also in Employment Newspaper.

SBI PO 2018 Syllabus for GD/ PI

Topics for GD/PI
Is right to freedom being misused?Cleanliness should be the fundamental duty of every citizen.
What are the merits and de-merits of One Rank One Pension scheme?What measures should be adopted for avoiding NPA?
SBI Merger: Pros and cons?What do you think about reservations in education and jobs?
How is Swaach Bharat Abhiyan currently important for India?

NSG is the need of the hour for India.

Rail budget should have merged into general budget much earlier.Women employment is possible through mass awareness rather than launching programs.
Is government just renaming the old schemes?Wind power Vs Solar Energy?

Marking Scheme for SBI PO 2018

The candidate must follow and understand the points given below to get an idea of how the marking will be done for each phase and its particular section:

  1. Preliminary Phase

  • Candidate whose application form has been successfully submitted is eligible to sit for the SBI PO Pre Test.
  • Each correct marked answer will fetch you 1 mark and each wrong marked answer will deduct -1/4 marks.
  • SBI PO Preliminary test consists of 3 sections- English Language, Quantitative Aptitude and Reasoning Ability.
  • English language section is of 30 marks while the other 2 sections are of 35 marks each.
  • The candidate must secure decent score to match the cut offset by the State Bank of India to qualify for next phase of SBI PO 2018- Mains Phase.
  1. Mains Phase

  • Mains will be held in two parts- Objective and Descriptive.
  • The second phase of SBI PO 2017 will be for the candidates who qualify the SBI PO Pre exam.
  • The descriptive test evaluates an candidate’s ability in letter writing and essay writing. The total marks for this section will be 50, as per revised changes.
  • The objective paper will be of 200 marks. Candidates who successfully qualify this section will qualify for the checking of the descriptive text.
  • Objective test will be consisting of four sections namely reasoning and computer aptitude, Data analysis and Interpretation, General/economy/banking awareness and English language.
Calculation of Marks: Total weighted score = Scores obtained in ( Reasoning & computer aptitude+data interpretation+general/ economy/banking awareness + English Language)
  1. Final Phase

  • Candidates will be shortlisted finally and called for an recruitment in various branchs of State Bank of India all over India.
  • After completing the second phase, the candidate will be called for group discussions and interview by the SBI.
  • Group discussion will be of 20 marks and interview will be of 30 marks bringing the total to 50 marks.
  • This phase will be evaluated on the basis of both, group discussion and interview.


Sample Papers of SBI PO 2018

  • To crack the preliminary section candidate will be able to practice the sample paper and get a strong grip on English language, aptitude and reasoning skills.
  • Candidates can download the sample papers for Preliminary examination for the preparation of SBI PO 2018.
  • Similarly, mains sample paper will help the candidate to solve the problems related with aptitude, general knowledge of banking and economy data analysis, etc.
  • Sample Papers for both Preliminary Phase and Mains are easily and readily available online for candidate’s convenience.

Benefits of solving Sample Papers

There are numerous benefits of solving a sample paper before sitting for the actual exam. Here are some of the benefits that an candidate can get by solving the sample papers of SBI PO examination:

  1. The candidate who solves the sample paper is at the highly advantageous position as he can grasp the gist of the type of questions that will be thrown at him during the examination.
  2. The candidate can gain familiarity with the types of questions that can be asked in the SBI PO 2018 examination.
  3. Candidates can also judge their preparation on the basis of the questions they can solve while attempting the sample paper
  4. It is always a possibility that candidate can get the questions from sample paper in the actual examination of SBI PO 2018.
  5. The candidate can gain confidence and change revision strategies if required.

Download  SBI PO Sample Papers

Preparation Tips for SBI PO 2018

The candidate must put all his efforts to prepare for SBI PO. There is no shortcut formula to succeed in any examination or test, the candidate must dedicate 100% of his or her efforts into the preparation. Make a proper schedule to manage time for studies and other activities.

An candidate must properly organize daily activities and take proper rest too. It is very important to go through previous year exam questions of SBI PO examination and attempt mock tests to get the idea of preparation that has been done so far.

For the convenience of the candidate, here are the tips to prepare for each section of the SBI PO 2018 examination:

SBI PO Reasoning Ability Section

Reasoning ability is both required for preliminary test and mains exam, only the level of difficulty varies in both the sections of SBI PO exam. Candidates must be sound with his analytical abilities and practice various questions to exercise reasoning skills.

The candidate must try and focus on the following topics to get better scores in both preliminary test and mains examination:

  • Statement and Conclusions
  • Coding/Decoding
  • Comprehension Reasoning
  • Analogy
  • Syllogism
  • Data Sufficiency
  • Ranking
  • Classification
  • Directions and Arrangements

SBI PO Quantitative Aptitude Section

The section deals with candidate’s ability to attempt aptitude related numerical questions. To crack this section with great ease, an candidate will be need to have thorough practice and some tricks to solve the questions within the stipulated time period. Quantitative Aptitude section is considered to be one of the toughest sections.

An candidate must start by solving easy questions with minimum calculations and then bring to use small tricks and strategies to attempt hard questions. Following are the topics to be prepared for this section:

  • Data Interpretation.
  • Time & Work/Distance.
  • Probability
  • Profit & Loss.
  • Average.
  • Ratio and Proportion.
  • Number Systems/series
  • Percentage.
  • Simple Interest & Compound Interest.

SBI PO Language Section 

English section is common in both Preliminary Test and Mains Examination of SBI PO examination. The candidate must continuously practice mock tests to strengthen this section. It can be calculated as the easiest section of this examination provideed candidate has a thorough practice and command over basic concepts of the language as Basic English language and its knowledge is tested in this section.

Following are the concepts that must be taken care of while attempting English Language section:

  • Idioms and phrases
  • Spotting errors
  • Cloze test
  • Para-jumbles
  • Reading and comprehension
  • Synonyms and antonyms

SBI PO General Ability Section

To attempt General ability section candidate must be updated with the current affairs and happenings. If an candidate is fully aware of all the surrounding events then this section of SBI PO examination will be easiest to crack. Reading newspaper daily will be an added advantage along with awareness for below-mentioned concerns:

  • History of Banking
  • Fiscal & Monetary Policies
  • Topics related with finance and economics
  • Banking Terms
  • Current Affairs of last 6 months

SBI PO Computer Aptitude Section

Computer Knowledge Questions asked in SBI PO exam mainly contain questions related with basic knowledge about computer. It is very important to be acquainted with computer related skills and basic theoretical knowledge to fetch good marks in this section.

The candidate can acquire information related to computers by just downloading pdf from the internet with relevant information on the following topics:

  • Keyboard Shortcuts.
  • Generations of computer
  • Hardware and Software
  • Basic internet knowledge and protocols
  • Network Basics (LAN and WAN)
  • MS Office (MS Word, MS Excel, MS PowerPoint)
  • Basics of Computers

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