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SBI PO Selection Process

SBI PO Selection Process – Prelims, Main, GD-PI, Vacancies, Reservation

by Team Buddy4Study

State Bank of India (SBI) organizes the recruitment process for the post of Probationary Officers (PO) every year across the country. The conducting authority is yet to declare the SBI PO examination schedule for this year. SBI PO 2020 selection process contains three phases, namely: 

  1. SBI PO Preliminary Test 
  2. SBI PO Mains Exam 
  3. Group Discussion and Personal Interview (GD-PI) 

Aspirants who clear all the three stages shall be posted as ‘Probationary Officers’ across various branches of SBI.

SBI PO Prelims is the primary step wherein the candidates have to qualify an objective-type paper containing three sections – Reasoning Ability, English Language and Quantitative Aptitude. Candidates who qualify this phase can proceed for the Mains exam which consists of both objective and subjective papers. 

The last step of SBI PO selection process is ‘Group Discussion and Personal Interview’ that carries one fourth of total weightage while calculating the marks for final selection. After the candidates have qualified all the three rounds of SBI PO 2020 selection process, they need to get their documents verified by the concerned SBI officials. Read this page further to understand the complete selection process of SBI PO 2020. 

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SBI PO Selection Process – Key Facts 

  1. SBI will release the PO examination schedule through its official notification in July 2020
  2. SBI PO selection process entirely depends upon Prelims, Mains and GD-PI rounds
  3. Candidates must clear Prelims to get selected for the Mains exam. However, the marks in the Preliminary test are not considered for the final merit list.
  4. SBI considers the scores attained by the applicants in Mains exam and GD-PI round while preparing the final merit list
  5. In the final merit list of SBI PO, the scores obtained in the Mains exam hold 75% weightage, whereas the performance of candidates in GD-PI rounds hold 25% weightage  
  6. Those who qualify all the three rounds of SBI PO selection process have to appear for document verification procedure
  7. SBI reserves the right to recruit the candidates at any of its branches across the country. Though candidates can furnish their preferences in SBI PO application form, the final appointment is based on their rank in the merit list. 

Read More : SBI PO Result – How to Download Scorecard, Previous Years’ Cutoffs

SBI PO Selection Process – Stage-wise Explanation 

Candidates need to qualify the Prelims, Mains and GD & PI to get selected as  Probationary Officers in SBI. Delve deeper into all three phases of SBI PO selection process through the information furnished below:

Stage I: SBI PO Preliminary Exam 

SBI PO Preliminary test contains three sections – Quantitative Aptitude, English Language and Reasoning Ability. It is an objective-type paper consisting of a total 100 questions. Candidates will get 60 minutes to solve the paper. Each right answer credits one mark to the score and each wrong answer is penalized with a deduction of 0.25 mark. There’s no deduction of marks for unattempted questions. 

Sectional Weightage in SBI PO Prelims 

Sections Number of Questions Marks Time Duration (minutes)
English Language 30  30 20 
Quantitative Aptitude 35 35 20 
Reasoning Ability 35 35 20 
Total 100 100 60


Stage II: SBI PO Mains Exam

SBI PO Mains exam includes objective and descriptive tests, both of which are held online. Objective-type paper contains 155 questions of 200 marks while the descriptive test consists of 2 questions (Essay & Letter Writing) of 50 marks. Time allotted for the objective paper is 3 hours and candidates get 30 minutes to complete the descriptive test.

A total of four sections are covered in the objective test: 

  1. Data Analysis and Interpretation 
  2. English Language 
  3. Reasoning and Computer Aptitude 
  4. General/Economy/Banking Awareness

Through the descriptive test, the authority assesses the essay and letter writing skills of the candidates. The descriptive paper is held just after completion of the objective exam.

Structure of SBI PO Mains Objective Paper 

Candidates must explore the below given table to learn about sections and section-wise questions, marks and time allotment for each section in the SBI PO Mains objective test:

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

Sections Number of Questions Marks Time Duration (minutes)
Reasoning and Computer Aptitude 45 60 60 
Data Analysis and Interpretation 35 60 45 
General/Banking/Economy Awareness 40 40 35 
English Language 35 40 40 
Total 155 200 180 

Structure of SBI PO Mains Descriptive Test 

Descriptive test of SBI PO Mains examination starts just after the objective test. Candidates must note the below given points about the descriptive exam:

  1. The mode of descriptive exam is online
  2. The paper consists of two questions that assess the candidates English Language skills
  3. Candidates have to showcase their essay and letter writing skills in this paper
  4. Candidates have to type both of their answers on a computer 
  5. Descriptive test carries the weightage of a total 50 marks
  6. Time allotted for this test is 30 minutes

SBI PO Prelims and Mains – Marking Scheme 

The conducting authority has set a penalty of 1/4th mark for each wrong answer, which is applied to both Preliminary and Mains examination. 

Marking Scheme of SBI PO Prelims & Mains Exams 

Parameters  Prelims Marking Scheme Mains Marking Scheme*
For every correct answer  +1 Not defined 
For every incorrect answer -0.25 1/4th of total marks of the question 
For unattempted questions 0 0


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

Stage III: Group Discussion and Personal Interview (GD-PI)

The authority considers the aggregate marks obtained by the test takers in the Mains exam to shortlist the candidates who are eligible to participate in GD-PI rounds. No provision of section-wise cut off is there. Category-wise merit list is prepared and the shortlisted candidates need to participate in Group Discussion and Personal Interview round. Through this process, the authority assesses the overall personality, communication skills, IQ level, logical thinking, etc. The key points of this GD and PI round are as follows:

  1. SBI PO Group Discussion carries a weightage of 20 marks 
  2. SBI PO Personal Interview holds a maximum of 30 marks
  3. The authority considers the aggregate marks in SBI PO Mains and GD and PI round while preparing final merit list for SBI PO recruitment 
  4. The marks of candidates in Preliminary examination are not considerate in final merit list
  5. SBI conducts document verification procedure after releasing the final merit list on its official website (sbi.co.in) 

SBI PO Selection Process  – Final Merit List 

As stated above, the conducting authority prepares the merit list on the basis of candidates’ scores in Mains exam and GD-PI round. The key factors of final selection procedure are mentioned below:

  1. The weightage of Mains exam is 75% and that of GD & PI is 25% 
  2. SBI scales down the candidates’ score in the Mains exam to 75 and the score of GD-PI round to 25
  3. Once the candidates qualify Prelims, the final two phases of SBI PO 2020 selection process are quite crucial
  4. Only those candidates who clear both Phase II and Phase III separately will find their names in the final merit list
  5. The participants who hold top ranking in merit list as per their category are selected
  6. SBI displays the final result and merit list on its official website

SBI PO Selection Process – Document Verification

Candidates who clear all the three rounds of SBI PO 2020 selection process have to go through the document verification procedure. The concerned authority instructs candidates to bring a certain list of documents in original and photocopies:

  1. Call letter of Personal interview 
  2. Print out of SBI PO application form
  3. Class 10th certificate as date of birth proof 
  4. Graduation marksheet and certificate
  5. One valid photo identity proof (Aadhar Card/Driving License/PAN Card/Passport/Any photo ID issued by state or central government) 
  6. Caste certificate (for SC or ST or OBC category) issued by concerned authority
  7. Disability certificate and other related documents (for PwD candidates) issued by the District Medical Board 
  8. Experience certificate (if applicable)
  9. Eligibility certificate issued by Government of India (for citizens of other countries or PIOs)
  10. Copy of discharge or service book and evidence of present or previous rank held by the candidates during interview ( for ex-servicemen)
  11. Domicile certificate provided by District Jurisdiction or Govt. of Jammu and Kashmir (for those who are the residents of J & K from January 01, 1980 to December 31, 1989)

Previous Year’s SBI PO Cutoff 

Candidates seeking to crack this highly reputed SBI PO recruitment exam must be acquainted with the cutoff trends of last year. The cutoff score varies minimally each year and having an idea of SBI PO cutoff score helps candidates benchmark a score they need to obtain in upcoming SBI PO exam. 

SBI PO Cutoff 2019

Category Prelims cutoff (Out of 100 marks) Mains cutoff (Out of 250 marks) Final cutoff (Out of 100 marks)
General 71 104.42 54.11
SC 61.75 77.63 45.74
ST 54.75 82.50 43.90
OBC 68.25 94.28 48.78
EWS 68.25 100.89 50.13
PWD (LD) 59.50 86.51 47.11
PWD (VI) 64.75 101.75 52.58
PWD (HI) 16.25 75.36 35.29
D&E 0.25 75.14 33.37

SBI PO Recruitment 2020-21 – Number of Vacancies & Reservation

State Bank of India publishes the number of vacancies in SBI PO exam advertisement every year. These vacancies depend upon the category of the candidates. The authority holds the right to make changes in the number of vacancies anytime throughout the process of recruitment. The table given below comprises the details of SBI PO seats available for various categories in previous year.

SBI PO Vacancies 2019

Categories  Number of Vacancies  Reservation 
SC 300 15%
ST 150  7.5% 
OBC (Non Creamy Layer)  540 27%
Economically Weaker Section (EWS)  200 10%
General (Unreserved Category) 810 40.5%
Total  2000 15%


Note – A total of 4% horizontal reservation remains applicable on the total number of available seats every year. In SBI PO 2019-20 recruitment, there were 2000 vacancies out of which 80 seats were reserved for candidates having benchmark disabilities. It means a candidate selected against the PwD category will be placed in his/her respective category by making the necessary adjustments.  

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SBI PO Selection Process – FAQs

✔️ How many stages are there in the SBI PO selection process?

SBI PO selection process contains three stages namely Prelims, Mains and Group Discussion & Personal Interview. Candidates must clear each phase of SBI PO selection process to qualify for the subsequent stage.

✔️ Is there any penalty for wrong answers in the objective test of SBI PO Mains exam?

Yes, there is a deduction of 1/4th of the total marks for every wrong answer in the objective test of SBI PO Mains exam.

✔️ Is there any minimum score that the test takers need to attain to get shortlisted for SBI PO Mains?

Yes, the authority releases category-wise SBI PO Prelims cutoff score that the test takers must attain to qualify for the SBI Mains exam.

✔️ What is the final selection step in the SBI PO selection process?

Group Discussion & Interview is the final stage of SBI PO selection process. SBI assesses the overall performance of the candidates in Mains and GD & PI and then prepares the final merit list.

✔️ What is the weightage of marks given to Prelims, Mains and GD & PI?

SBI Prelims is the qualifying exam to get the ticket to Mains. The weightage of SBI PO Mains examination and GD- PI round is 75% and 25% respectively.

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