SBI PO Exam Pattern – Marking, Sectional Weightage in Prelims & Mains

State Bank of India (SBI) prescribes the exam pattern for SBI PO (Probationary Officer) Prelims and Mains tests separately. Last year, the conducting body announced a small variation in SBI PO Mains paper with the addition of ‘General/Economy/Banking Awareness’ section. The SBI PO exam pattern 2020 is expected to remain unchanged.

The conducting body will publish the SBI PO recruitment advertisement in July 2020 along with the respective schedules for Prelims and Mains exams. However, interested candidates can start their preparation right now as per the SBI PO exam pattern. 

The exam pattern of SBI PO consists of the most crucial information about the SBI PO exam structure (Prelims & Mains) such as mode of exam, medium of the test, number of questions, marking scheme, test duration, etc. Read this article to get insights into the SBI PO exam pattern 2020. 

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SBI PO Exam Pattern – Highlights

  1. SBI PO recruitment process is divided into three phases – Prelims, Mains and Group Discussion & Personal Interview (GD & PI) 
  2. The final selection through SBI PO recruitment process is done on the basis of candidates’ performance in Mains and GD-PI. However, it is mandatory to qualify Prelims to get shortlisted for SBI PO Mains exam. 
  3. The SBI PO Prelims & Mains exam is held online. The medium for the exams can be English or Hindi (except the English section)
  4. Test duration for SBI Prelims is 1 hour, and for SBI Mains is 3 hours
  5. The cumulative maximum marks of the entire SBI PO recruitment process (Prelims, Mains and GD-PI) are 400. 
  6. The Prelims hold a maximum of 100 marks whereas the Mains exam has a maximum weightage of 250 marks. Moreover, a candidate will be assessed out of a total of 50 marks in the GD & PI round (GD- 20 marks and PI- 30 marks)
  7. Examinees are awarded 1 mark for each correct answer and 0.25 marks are deducted for every wrong answer in SBI PO Prelims whereas different questions have different weightage of marks in SBI PO Mains exam. 

SBI PO Exam Pattern – Prelims

It is mandatory for the test takers to learn a few facts about the SBI PO exam pattern 2020 as mentioned below:

  1. SBI PO Prelims paper contains three sections namely Quantitative Aptitude, English Language and Reasoning Ability
  2. Candidates face a total of 100 multiple-choice questions (MCQs) in SBI PO Prelims question paper
  3. Quantitative Aptitude and Reasoning Ability sections contain 35 questions each and the English Language section has 30 questions
  4. For every section of the paper, test-takers get 20 minutes
  5. The total time duration of the SBI PO Prelims is 60 minutes

Sectional Weightage in SBI PO Prelims 


Number of Questions


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Time Duration (minutes)

English Language




Quantitative Aptitude




Reasoning Ability








Read More : SBI PO Application Form – Dates, How to Fill & Submit Form, Eligibility

SBI PO Exam Pattern –  Mains Exam

SBI PO Mains exam is segregated into two parts – Objective Test and Descriptive Test. The descriptive test is carried out immediately after the objective test. The highlights of SBI PO exam pattern for Mains exam are as follows:

  1. Both objective and descriptive tests are included in the SBI PO Mains exam
  2. The Mains exam contains a total of 157 questions (155 in objective test and 2 in descriptive type) of 250 marks 
  3. The total time duration of the Mains exam is 3.5 hours
  4. Candidates are given 3 hours to solve the objective test and 30 minutes for essay & letter writing
  5. The objective test contains a total of 4 sections 
  6. Each section holds different marks and time duration
  7. The descriptive test assess the writing skills and competency of test-takers with essay & letter writing 
  8. Candidates need to do typing on the computer while writing an essay and letter in the descriptive test. 

Sectional Weightage in SBI PO Mains (Objective-type Paper)


Number of Questions


Time Duration (minutes)

Reasoning and Computer Aptitude




Data Analysis and Interpretation




General/Banking/Economy Awareness




English Language








Sectional Weightage in SBI PO Mains (Descriptive-type Paper)


 Total Questions


 Time Duration (minutes)

English Language (Letter & Essay Writing)




SBI PO Exam Pattern – Marking Scheme 

As per the marking scheme of SBI PO exam, 0.25 marks will be deducted for every incorrect answer in Prelims, and 1/4th of the total marks of the question will be deducted in Mains. 

Marking Scheme of SBI PO Prelims & Mains Exams 


Prelims Marking Scheme

Mains Marking Scheme*

For every correct answer 


Not defined 

For every incorrect answer


1/4th of total marks of the question 

For unattempted questions



*In the descriptive test of SBI PO Mains exam, there shall be no negative marking applicable.

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SBI PO Exam Pattern – Weightage of Rounds  

Candidates will get selected on the basis of their score in SBI PO Mains exam and interview round. However, it is mandatory to qualify Prelims to get shortlisted for the Mains exam. Candidates should qualify Mains and GD-PI rounds separately for final selection. The table given below contains the weightage given to SBI PO Mains and GD-PI rounds for the purpose of final selection: 

SBI PO Selection Weightage 





Group Discussion and Interview




SBI PO Syllabus 2020

Apart from SBI PO 2020 exam pattern, test takers must also know about the topics and sections that come under the syllabus of SBI PO Prelims, Mains and Group Exercise. A glimpse of SBI PO syllabus is shown below:

Syllabus for SBI PO Prelims



Quantitative Aptitude

Data Sufficiency


Permutation, Combination & Probability

Ranking/Directions/Alphabet Test

Paragraph Completion

Work & Time, Sequence & Series

Seating Arrangement

Multiple Meaning /Error Spotting

Simple Interest & Compound Interest & Surds & Indices

Coded Inequalities

Sentence Completion

Mensuration – Cylinder, Cone, Sphere

Puzzle, Coding-Decoding, Tabulation


Time & Distance, Number Systems

Syllabus for SBI PO Mains


General/Economy/ Banking Awareness

English Language

Data Interpretation & Analysis

Computer Aptitude

Circular Seating Arrangement

Financial Awareness


Bar Graph

Keyboard Shortcuts

Linear Seating Arrangement

Current Affairs

Verbal Ability

Radar Graph Caselet

Computer Abbreviation

Double Lineup

General Knowledge

Word Association

Missing Case DI

Microsoft Office


Static Awareness

Sentence Improvement

Let it Case DI

Computer Hardware


Banking and Financial Awareness

Para Jumbles

Data Sufficiency

Computer Software

Blood Relations


Cloze Test


Computer Fundamentals /Terminologies

Syllabus for SBI PO GD & PI Rounds 

Group Discussion and Personal Interview will include current prevailing topics. Taking into account the present scenario, some of the important topics are:

  1. COVID -19 Impact on National/International Economy
  2. India-China Conflict 
  3. FDI, Gold Monetisation Scheme
  4. Disputes related to Water and other issues
  5. All about Digital India
  6. Facts related to Cryptocurrency, etc. 

SBI PO Exam Pattern – FAQs

✔️ What is the marking scheme for the SBI PO exam 2020?

For every right answer in SBI PO objective type papers (Prelims), one mark is awarded to the applicants while 0.25 mark is deducted for each wrong answer. In SBI PO Mains exam, every question has a different weightage of marks, and 1/4th of total marks of question shall be deducted for wrong answer. Unattempted questions are not counted in the marking scheme in both the exams.

✔️ What is the time duration of Prelims & Mains exams as per SBI PO exam pattern 2020?

Candidates will get 1 hour time for SBI PO Prelims exam and 3.5 hours for Mains exam (3 hours for objective test and 30 minutes for descriptive test).

✔️ How many questions are there in SBI PO Prelims and Mains exams?

Candidates will find a total of 100 questions in SBI PO Prelims exam and 157 questions in the Mains exam (155 in objective test and 2 in the descriptive test).

✔️ How many rounds do I need to clear in the overall SBI PO Selection Process?

SBI PO selection procedure includes three steps - Preliminary Test, Mains Exam and GD-PI round. The final selection is done on the basis of candidates’ performance in Mains and GD-PI rounds. But it is mandatory to qualify SBI PO Prelims to secure your candidature for Mains.

✔️ What is the mode of SBI PO exam?

Both Prelims and Mains exams of SBI PO recruitment process are conducted through online mode.


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