SBI PO Syllabus – Prelims, Mains, Exam Pattern, Books, Preparation Tips

(State Bank of India (SBI) determines the syllabus of all the SBI Probationary Officer (PO) recruitment stages (Prelims, Mains, and Interview) separately. SBI PO aspirants must prepare their study plan in compliance with the SBI PO syllabus 2021 to surpass the bottleneck competition in this exam. 

The three stages of the SBI PO examination process are:

  1. Preliminary (Prelims)
  2. Mains
  3. Interview (Group Discussion & Personal Interview) 

SBI PO prelims question paper consists of a total of three sections – English, Reasoning Ability, and Quantitative Ability. On the other hand, the Mains question paper is segregated into four sections including Reasoning and Computer Aptitude, Data Analysis and Interpretation, General/Banking/Economy Awareness and English Language. 

The third stage of recruitment i.e., SBI PO Interview has no defined syllabus. However, experts suggest important topics to prepare for this round based on major happenings of the year. Let’s delve deeper into the stage-wise SBI PO syllabus 2021 in this article. 

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SBI PO Syllabus 2021 – Preliminary Exam

As per the prior discussion, the SBI PO Preliminary exam will have three sections, out of which two of the sections namely Quantitative Aptitude and Reasoning Ability will have 35 questions each. The third section (English Language) will have a total of 30 questions. Test takers will get a time duration of 20 minutes to solve each of the sections (total 60 minutes). 

The score in the Preliminary examination will not be added to the SBI PO final merit list for recruitment. However, qualifying for the Prelim exams is mandatory to become eligible for the SBI PO Mains examination. Candidates can proceed further to check the section-wise SBI PO syllabus for the Preliminary examination.

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

SBI PO Prelims Syllabus – English Language

SBI PO syllabus 2021 for the English Language section of Prelims exam will consist of the following topics:

English Language Syllabus for SBI PO Preliminary Exam

Fill in the BlanksSentence/ Paragraph CompletionPhrase Replacement/ Sentence Correction
Phrase Idiom MeaningSpellingsReading Comprehension
Error SpottingPara JumblesCloze Test

SBI PO Prelims Syllabus – Quantitative Aptitude

SBI PO syllabus 2021 for the Quantitative Aptitude section of the Preliminary exam will comprise the following topics:

Quantitative Aptitude Syllabus for SBI PO Preliminary Exam

SimplificationAlgebraData InterpretationPercentage
Ratio and ProportionInterestNumber SystemSpeed, Time and Distance
Profit and LossNumber SeriesMensurationAverage

SBI PO Prelims Syllabus – Reasoning Ability

As per the SBI PO syllabus 2021,  the 35 questions in the Reasoning Ability section of the Preliminary exam will be framed from the following topics:

Reasoning Ability Syllabus for SBI PO Preliminary Exam

Ordering and Ranking Grouping and SelectionDirections and DistanceBlood Relations
Input-OutputLinear Seating ArrangementCircular Seating ArrangementArrangement and Pattern
AnalogyClassificationData SufficiencyScheduling
Double Line UpVerbal ReasoningSyllogismsCoding-Decoding

SBI PO Preliminary Exam Pattern

Candidates must consider the SBI PO exam pattern along with the syllabus to devise a better preparation strategy. The exam pattern for the SBI PO Preliminary exam is as follows.

SBI PO Preliminary Exam – Test Structure

Mode of ExaminationOnline
Duration of Examination1 hour (20 minutes for each section)
Type of questionsMultiple Choice Questions (MCQ)
Number of questions100 questions
Marking scheme1 mark each for every correct answer; 25% negative marking for each incorrect response
Name of SectionsEnglish Language
Quantitative Aptitude
Reasoning Ability
Medium of examinationBilingual (English and Hindi)

Sectional Weightage in SBI PO Prelims 

SectionsNumber of QuestionsMarksTime Duration (minutes)
English Language303020 
Quantitative Aptitude353520 
Reasoning Ability353520 

Recommended Books for SBI PO Preliminary Exam

SBI PO toppers have recommended some of the best books that will help you in cracking the SBI PO exam. Here are some of the top recommendations for SBI PO Prelims.

Best Books for SBI PO Preliminary Exam

SectionName of the bookAuthor/Publisher
English LanguageObjective English for Competitive ExaminationHari Mohan Prasad, Uma Sinha
Word Power Made EasyNorman Lewis
Quantitative AptitudeQuantitative Aptitude for Competitive ExaminationsR.S. Aggarwal
Bank PO Quantitative Aptitude Chapterwise papers with solutionsArihant Experts
Reasoning AbilityBank PO Reasoning Chapterwise papers with solutionsArihant Experts
Bank PO ReasoningPratiyogita Kiran

SBI-PO Syllabus – Mains Exam

SBI PO Mains examination will be divided into two phases – Objective Test and Descriptive Test. SBI PO Objective Test question paper will have 155 questions segregated into four different sections, carrying the weightage of 200 marks in total. The descriptive paper will have two questions based on Essay Writing & Letter Writing. These two questions hold a weightage of 50 marks.  

Candidates shall be given 3 hours to answer all the 155 questions in the objective test. Also, the sectional time limit of 40 to 60 minutes for different sections will cause an increase in the difficulty level of the exam. Get a hang of section-wise and test-wise SBI PO syllabus 2021 for the Mains exam with the information provided below.

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SBI PO Mains Syllabus – Reasoning and Computer Aptitude

It is advised to pick the topics suggested below to prepare for the Reasoning and Computer Aptitude section in sync with the SBI PO Mains syllabus.

Reasoning and Computer Aptitude Syllabus for SBI PO Mains Exam

SchedulingBasic of Logic GatesVerbal ReasoningOperating System
Ordering and Ranking, Code InequalitiesCoding-Decoding, Course of ActionSyllogismLinear Seating Arrangement
Input-Output, Analytical and Decision MakingComputer Fundamentals /TerminologiesInternetData Sufficiency
Double LineupMemoryNumber SystemComputer Software
Directions and DistancesMicrosoft OfficeComputer HardwareComputer Abbreviation
Blood RelationsNetworkingKeyboard ShortcutsCircular Seating Arrangement
Critical Reasoning

SBI PO Mains Syllabus – Data Analysis and Interpretation

Candidates must cover the following topics to complete the SBI PO syllabus 2021 for the Data Analysis and Interpretation section.

Data Analysis and Interpretation Syllabus for SBI PO Mains Exam

Data SufficiencyMissing Case DITabular GraphPie Charts
Let it Case DIRadar Graph CaseletLine GraphCharts and Tables
Permutation and CombinationProbabilityBar Graph

SBI PO Mains Syllabus – General/Economy/Banking Awareness

Although general awareness cannot be confined to a set of topics, SBI PO syllabus 2021 for this section can be described as follows:

General/Economy/Banking Awareness Syllabus

Current AffairsGeneral KnowledgeBanking Terminologies KnowledgeBank Credit Operations
Financial AwarenessStatic AwarenessMoney and Capital MarketingList of Bank and Insurance Companies with their Taglines
Principles of InsuranceAmendments in FDI Policy, 2018CIBILNon-Performing Assets (NPA)
RBI Act, 1934Financial Institutions in IndiaFund Transfer ServicesBanking Ombudsman

SBI PO Main Syllabus – English Language

The table below comprises the SBI PO syllabus 2021 for the English Language section of the Mains exam.

English Language Syllabus

Reading ComprehensionVocabularyPara Jumbles
GrammarSentence ImprovementError Spotting
Verbal AbilityWord AssociationCloze Test
Fill in the blanks

SBI PO Syllabus for Mains Examination – Descriptive Test

Candidates appearing for the SBI PO Mains exam have to take the descriptive test right after the objective test. The descriptive test will have two questions accounting for a total of 50 marks. 

The descriptive test of the SBI PO Mains exam will include the following topics:

  1. Essay Writing 
  2. Letter Writing

Candidates will have to complete these two questions within a duration of 30 minutes. Essay writing will include current prevailing topics such as:

  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. 

Note- The conducting authority evaluates the descriptive test score of only those candidates who qualify the objective test of Mains examination as per the SBI PO cutoff.

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SBI PO Mains Exam Pattern

While taking the SBI PO Mains examination, candidates may have difficulty understanding the test structure. Thus, knowing the exam pattern is an integral part of the preparation strategy. The table below describes the SBI PO exam pattern for the Mains examination.

SBI PO Mains – Test Structure

Mode of ExaminationOnline
Duration of Examination180 minutes (Objective test) with a variable sectional time limit
30 minutes (Descriptive test)
Type of questionsMultiple Choice Questions (MCQ) and Descriptive
Number of questions155 questions (Objective paper)
2 questions (descriptive paper)
Negative Marking25% negative marking for each incorrect response
Name of SectionsReasoning and Computer Aptitude
Data Analysis and Interpretation
General/Economy/Banking Awareness
English Language
Medium of examinationBilingual (English and Hindi)

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

SectionsNumber of QuestionsMarksTime Duration (minutes)
Reasoning and Computer Aptitude456060 
Data Analysis and Interpretation356045 
General/Banking/Economy Awareness404035 
English Language354040 

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

 Section Total Questions Marks Time Duration (minutes)
English Language (Letter & Essay Writing)25030 

Recommended Books for SBI PO Preliminary Exam

Here are some of the top book recommendations from the toppers to qualify for the SBI PO Mains exam 2021.

Best Books for SBI PO Preliminary Exam

SectionName of the bookAuthor/ Publisher
English LanguageHigh School English Grammar and CompositionWren and Martin
Bank PO English Language Arihant Experts
Reasoning and Computer AptitudeA Modern Approach to Verbal ReasoningR.S. Aggarwal
A New Approach to Reasoning Verbal and Non-VerbalBS Sijwali and Indu Sijwali
General/Economy/Banking AwarenessBanking AwarenessArihant Publication
General KnowledgeLucent
Daily newspaper for current affairs
Data Analysis and InterpretationFast Track Objective ArithmeticRajesh Verma
Data InterpretationArun Sharma

SBI PO 2021 – Tips to Prepare for Prelims and Mains

  1. Start from sourcing the most authentic study material including books, previous years’ question papers (memory-based) and more for an effective SBI PO preparation.
  2. Prepare a plan specifically focused on the section-wise SBI PO syllabus 2021 for Preliminary and Mains examination. 
  3. For the Quantitative Aptitude in the SBI PO Prelims and Data Analysis & Interpretation section in the SBI PO Mains exam, candidates must brush up their basic mathematical skills including multiplication, square root and division, and learn some tricks to make intricate calculations easier. 
  4. For the Reasoning section, candidates must practice as many previous years’ question papers as they can to gain an understanding of the type of questions. Most of the questions in the Reasoning section will have a common trick for a solution. 
  5. Practice comprehensions as it takes a lot of time while reading the passage. Increase the reading speed and vocabulary while preparing for the English Language section.
  6. Watch news channels and read newspapers on a daily basis to stay up-to-date in regard to the current affairs around the globe.
  7. For the Banking Awareness section in SBI PO Mains, candidates must study as per the previous years’ question papers.

SBI-PO Syllabus – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

✔️ What sections do I need to study for the Prelims and Mains examination as per SBI PO syllabus 2021?

As per SBI PO syllabus 2021, Prelims question paper has as many as three sections - English Language, Quantitative Aptitude, and Reasoning Ability. On the other hand, SBI PO syllabus for Mains examination will include four sections i.e. English Language, Reasoning and Computer Aptitude, General/Economic/Banking Awareness, and Data Analysis & Interpretation

✔️ Is there any negative marking in SBI PO examination?

Yes. SBI PO Prelims, as well as Mains examination, will have negative marking for every incorrect response. 25% of the marks per incorrect response shall be deducted in both the exams.

✔️ I have qualified for SBI PO Mains but my score was not excellent in Prelims. How will it affect the final selection through SBI PO recruitment?

There is good news for you. State Bank of India considers the performance of candidates in SBI PO Mains exam and interview for final selection. After qualifying the SBI PO Prelims, your performance in this round has no influence on SBI PO final selection process.

✔️ Is there any sectional cutoff in the SBI PO Prelims or Mains examination?

No. There will be no sectional cutoff in the Prelims or Mains examination. However, only the candidates who qualify the objective test of Mains examination as per the SBI PO cutoff score will be eligible for the evaluation of the descriptive test.

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