IBPS SO exam pattern comprises information on the mode of exam, test language, type of questions, marks allotted to each question or section, negative marking etc. This year, IBPS (Institute of Banking Personnel Selection) is expected to conduct the IBPS SO Prelims exam on 18th and 26th December 2021.
This exam will be held in the CBT or Computer Based Test mode in more than 93 cities in India. As per the IBPS SO exam pattern, the question paper in the Prelims exam shall contain 150 questions which have to be attempted in 120 minutes. In case of IBPS SO Mains exam, 60 minutes will be allotted to answer 60 questions (for Rajsabha Adhikari Scale 1 Officer and Law Officer) and 45 minutes to answer 45 questions (IT Officer Scale 1, Marketing Officer (Scale 1), Agriculture Field Officer, HR/Personnel Officer).
IBPS SO is a national level recruitment exam, which is held annually. This year, this exam will be conducted to fill 647 Specialist Officer vacancies in the Indian Banking Sector (Government).
In this article, Buddy4Study has compiled all the information related to IBPS SO exam pattern that will benefit all the aspiring candidates waiting for the upcoming exam.
|IBPS SO Tentative Exam Dates: 18th and 26th December 2021
IBPS SO Exam Pattern – Key Highlights
Candidates who have registered and applied for the IBPS SO exam should go through the exam pattern thoroughly before attempting the exam. Here are a few key points that they should keep in mind:
IBPS SO Key Highlights
|Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS) Specialist Officer (SO) (CRP SPL-XI 2021-22)
|Exam Conducting Body
|Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS)
|Duration of Exam
|Prelims – 2 hours (120 minutes)
IT Officer Scale 1, Marketing Officer (Scale 1), Agriculture Field Officer, HR/Personnel Officer – 45 minutes
Rajsabha Adhikari Scale 1 Officer and Law Officer – 60 minutes
|CBT/ Computer Based Test (Online)
|Medium of Exam
|English or Hindi
|Type of Questions
|Number of Questions
|150 questions (Prelims)
47 questions (Mains – Rajbhasha Adhikari)
60 questions (Mains – Law Officer, IT Officer, Agriculture Field Officer, HR/Personnel Officer and Marketing Officer)
|Prelims – 125 marks
Mains – 60 marks
|+1 for every correct answer (objective)
– 0.25 for every incorrect answer
|IT Officer Scale 1, Marketing Officer (Scale 1), Agriculture Field Officer, HR/Personnel Officer, Rajsabha Adhikari Scale 1 Officer and Law Officer
|Age Limit for Candidates
|Between 20 to 30 years
IBPS SO Exam Pattern – Section-wise Distribution of Questions (Prelims)
As per IBPS’s official announcement and official IBPS SO exam pattern, there will be 3 stages of the IBPS SO exam. All candidates will receive common questions in IBPS SO Prelims exam. In the case of Mains, the questions will be as per the post. The questions asked in the IBPS SO Mains exam will be of Graduation level.
The Prelims paper will have 150 questions, and Mains will have 60 questions. Candidates will have the freedom to attempt or move onto the next question anytime they want.
The questions asked in the Prelims exam will be presented to candidates as objective-type questions (MCQ). Each question will have 4 options. Among the 4, candidates will have to select one option that they consider as the most appropriate answer.
Candidates can know more about the IBPS SO exam pattern in the table below, and check the sectional distribution of questions and marks for both Prelims and Mains.
IBPS SO Exam Pattern for IT/Agriculture Field/HR/Personnel and Marketing Officer (Prelims)
|No. of Questions
IBPS SO Exam Pattern for Law Officer and Rajbhasha Adhikari (Prelims)
|No. of Questions
|General Awareness with Special Reference to Banking Industry
IBPS SO Exam Pattern – Section-wise Distribution of Questions (Mains)
Candidates selected in the IBPS SO Mains exam will have to attempt both objective type questions as well as descriptive questions. However, this is only limited to the exam set for the post of Rajsabha Adhikari Scale 1 Officer. Question paper set for the exam for IT Officer Scale 1, Marketing Officer (Scale 1), Agriculture Field Officer, HR/Personnel Officer, and Law Officer will only have MCQ type questions.
IBPS SO Exam Pattern for the Post of Rajbhasha Adhikari
|Number of Questions
|Medium of Exam
|English & Hindi
|English & Hindi
*+1 mark is for objective type questions and the descriptive questions will carry 15 marks.
IBPS SO Exam Pattern for the Post of Law Officer, IT Officer, Agriculture Field Officer, HR/Personnel Officer, and Marketing Officer
|Number of Questions
|Medium of Exam
|English & Hindi
IBPS SO Exam Pattern – Interview Round
Shortlisted candidates in the IBPS SO Mains exam (CRP SPL-XI) under the latest IBPS SO exam pattern will be called for the Interview round. The total marks allotted for the Interview round is 100 marks. The minimum qualifying marks in the Interview round will not be less than 40% for General candidates and 35% for SC/ ST/ OBC/ PWD candidates.
Candidates will be shortlisted for subsequent provisional allotment process only if they qualify in the Online CWE (Main Examination) and Interview round.
IBPS SO Exam Pattern – Syllabus in Brief
IBPS has released the IBPS SO syllabus 2021 along with the IBPS SO notification. Candidates can find the syllabus by visiting the official website.
As per the IBPS SO notification, IBPS SO syllabus (Prelims) is divided into 4 sections:
- Reasoning Ability
- Quantitative Aptitude
- General Awareness
Candidates can find below all the topics related to each subject covered in the prescribed syllabus of IBPS SO Prelims exam.
IBPS SO 2021 Prelims Syllabus
|Analytical Decision Making
|Percentage & Ratio Proportion
|Coding & Decoding
|Fill in the Blanks
|Directions & Distances
|Profit & Loss
|Ordering & Ranking
|Speed, Time & Distance
|Time & Work
|Mensuration & Geometry
|Permutation & Combination
IBPS SO 2021 Main Syllabus
The standard of IBPS SO syllabus will be of graduation level. Candidates will be judged based on the professional knowledge in their respective fields.
|HR/Personnel Officer (Scale-I)
|Business policy and strategic analysis
Recruitment and Selection
Business Policy and Strategic Analysis
Performance Management and Appraisal
Human Resource Development
Training and Development
Grievance and Conflict Management
Rewards and Recognition
|Law Officer (Scale-I)
|Compliance and Legal Aspects
Consumer Protection Act
Laws and Actions with a direct link to Banking Sector
Prevention of Money laundering, Limitation Act
Bankers Book Evidence Act
Banking Ombudsman Scheme
Relevant Law and Orders related to negotiable instruments, securities, foreign exchange
|Marketing Officer (Scale-I)
|Basics of Marketing Management
Market research and forecasting demand
Corporate Social Responsibility
Product Life Cycle
|Agricultural Field Officer (Scale-I)
|Basics of Crop production
Agronomy and Irrigation
|IT Officer (Scale-I)
Database Management System
Computer Organization and Microprocessor
Data Communication and Networking
IBPS SO Exam Pattern – Marking Scheme
Candidates will get 4 options for every question. For every correct answer, they will be awarded 1 mark. However, ¼ (0.25) mark will be deducted for every wrong answer.
IBPS SO Marking Scheme
|Type of Answers
|1/4 mark deducted for every wrong answer (-0.25)
IBPS SO Exam Pattern – Previous Years’ Question Papers
Buddy4Study has compiled previous years’ question papers in the below table. Candidates can download these to understand the IBPS SO exam pattern thoroughly and prepare for the upcoming examination accordingly.
|IBPS SO Prelims Question Paper 1
|IBPS SO Prelims Paper 2
|IBPS SO Prelims Question Paper 3
|IBPS SO Prelims Question Paper 4
IBPS SO Exam Pattern – General Instructions for Online Test
Candidates must follow the online test instructions and guidelines set by the IBPS SO authority. The test instructions will help the candidates to attempt the computer-based exam without any hassles. Given below is a list of online test instructions set by the IBPS panel:
- The candidate/s must report at the examination centre at least an hour before the allotted exam time
- Candidates reporting 30 minutes after the reporting time mentioned in the hall ticket, will not be allowed to enter the examination hall
- The candidate/s must compulsorily bring the admit card (hard copy). The test centre officials will verify it and then allow the candidate to sit for the examination
- The candidate must show, on-demand, the Admit Card downloaded/printed from the IBPS’s website
- Admit cards must be in good condition. Dismantled, disfigured or mutilated admit cards compromising the details of the candidate will not be accepted
- A seat with Roll Number will be allotted to each candidate. They should find and sit on their allocated seats only
- No baggage is allowed inside the examination hall
- Candidates will be allowed to carry only a photo ID proof and hard copy of admit card inside the examination hall
- Candidates will not be allowed to carry mathematical/log tables, electronic watches, calculator, slide rules, pager, pen, bits of papers and cell phone inside the examination hall
IBPS SO Exam Pattern – COVID-19 Guidelines
Candidates must check out these general COVID-19 related guidelines (new normal) and follow them at all the IBPS SO exam centres:
- Social distancing would be maintained strictly at the exam centres. Candidates have to maintain at least 6 feet or 2-metre distance from other candidates.
- Exam authority will ensure that monitor, keyboard, mouse, webcam, desk, chair, etc. are thoroughly sanitised.
- A significant gap has to be present between two seats inside the exam hall.
- Hand sanitizers would be present at the entrance door and various places inside the exam centre for both candidates and the staff.
- Invigilators will distribute rough sheets to candidates wearing gloves.
- To avoid crowding, exam room numbers would not be displayed outside the centre.
- Candidates violating COVID-19 directives/advisories would not be allowed to sit for the exam
- Candidates would be allowed to leave the test centre one at a time to avoid the rush and maintain social distancing.
IBPS SO Exam Pattern – Recommended Books
Candidates need to prepare well from the topics highlighted as per the IBPS SO syllabus to score well in the upcoming entrance test. Buddy4Study advises candidates to prepare well for their upcoming exam with the help of the below-mentioned books that are recommended by candidates who cracked the exam successfully in the previous years.
IBPS SO Books on Reasoning Ability
|A Modern approach Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning
IBPS SO Books on Quantitative Aptitude
|Rapid Quantitative Aptitude with Shortcuts & Tricks
|Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Examination
|The Pearson Guide
|Quantitative Aptitude Book
IBPS SO Books on English
|Objective English for Competitive Examinations
|Hari Mohan Prasad, Uma Rani Sinha, Mcgraw Hill Education Publication
|English Grammar & Composition
|Wren and Martin
|Descriptive General English
|S P Bakshi and Richa Sharma
|Word Power Made Easy
IBPS SO Books on General Awareness
|The Malayala Manorama (Mammen Mathew)
|Guide to Banking General Awareness
Candidates will find the list of books for IBPS SO Mains exams here.
IBPS SO Exam Pattern – FAQs
In which format are the questions asked in the IBPS SO 2021 exam?
As per the IBPS SO exam pattern, candidates will have to attempt the paper as per the Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) format.
What is the duration of the IBPS SO exam?
According to the IBPS SO exam pattern, the duration of the Prelims exam is 2 hours. For the Mains exam, candidates appearing for the following exams (IT Officer Scale 1, Marketing Officer (Scale 1), Agriculture Field Officer, HR/Personnel Officer) will be given 45 minutes. On the other hand, 60 minutes will be allotted to candidates appearing for Rajsabha Adhikari Scale 1 Officer and Law Officer exam.
Is there any negative marking in the IBPS SO exam?
Yes. For every incorrect answer in both preliminary and mains exam of IBPS SO 2021-22, 1/4th mark will be deducted.
What is the age limit for IBPS SO?
The lower age limit for IBPS SO is 20 years and the upper limit is 30 years. Besides this, candidates are also provided with age relaxation benefits, which is highlighted in the IBPS SO syllabus article.
How many times is IBPS SO conducted in a year?
IBPS SO recruitment test is conducted once every year.