The State Bank of India, every single year conducts an examination to fill up the vacancies for the post of a Probationary Officer. As you can expect in a country as densely populated as ours, there are a lot of people applying for a very limited number of openings. While the vacancies are around two to three thousand, the number of applicants surpass figures of lakhs. However, this should not discourage you from applying for the exam, and anyone with the right mindset and enough dedication is capable of making it all the way through. In this article, we will be discussing a few tips you may want to follow as a candidate preparing for the PO exam, especially if you’re running short of time and have to cover a lot, in a small amount of time.
Make sure you’re eligible
For someone new, understanding the eligibility criteria might be a little confusing at first, since there seem to be exceptions and restrictions for almost every criteria. While it is better if you check the sbi po eligibility before filling up the registration form, we’ll also do our best at explaining it in the simplest way possible. Firstly, the age limit. Every candidate must at least be 21 years of age and at max be 30 years of age. He/ She must have completed graduation in any recognized board, and in any discipline. Students studying in the final year can also apply, provided they can produce proof of graduation during the interview stages if they reach there. Moving on, there’s also a limitation on the maximum number of attempts one gets at this exam. Like for all the criteria mentioned above, this too has its own sub-categories that decide the maximum attempts to get to clear the exam. You probably must have guessed it by now, the rules for eligibility really only depend on the category you belong to and hence, it is recommended that you follow the link above, to ensure your eligibility.
Understand the pattern of the exam
The exam consists of three stages, each having its own syllabus, pattern and eventually study plan. For the first stage, that is the preliminary exam, there are three sections that one needs to solve in a maximum of 1 hour, the three sections being Reasoning Ability, Quantitative Aptitude and English Language. The English section consists of 30 questions, 1 mark each and the Reasoning Ability and Quantitative Aptitude each contain 35 questions for one mark. That’s a total of 100 questions to solve in an hour. A proper strategy must be made as to how much time shall be allotted to each question, how to recognize whether to solve a question or skip it for later, etc. For the main exam as well, there are various sections broadly divided into two, the objective part and the subjective part. The objective part of the exam consists of 4 sections : reasoning, data analysis, awareness and language. The number of questions are 455, 35, 40 and 35 respectively. To solve all these 155 questions, a total of 180 minutes or 3 hours will be given. Different sections have different time limits and the maximum number of achievable marks. Then comes the descriptive part, also known as the Subjective part. This just has two questions and above 30 minutes to solve it. What makes the subjective part challenging is the fact that students are expected to type their answers, not by keyboard but by using the mouse itself. Students must take this factor into account and practise doing this at home before the final exam.
Make a Section-wise strategy plan
Different sections, different questions, different marks, different times. The unique aspect of the PO is that there are different sections in the paper that demand the students to possess a different type of skill-set. This is especially true for the Main exam, where there are four objective type sections to be solved in 3 hours. Unless one is completely prepared with a section-wise plan, it is difficult to get through the cut-off. Each section has a particular syllabus and students must first analyse the scope of this syllabus, understand what their strengths are and work extra to score well in them. This may also depend on the background of your graduation. Once this analysis is done, practice must be done on a regular basis to understand if the assumed “strengths” are any strengths at all.
Since the number of questions are more than the number of minutes (in the preliminary exam), it goes without saying that special attention must be put into making sure you’re using your time wisely. Spending too long on any question should be avoided and a benchmark must be set as to the maximum time one you will spend on a particular problem. Making note of important topics to study, minimising silly errors such as misreading the question or marking the wrong answer despite knowing the correct one will go a long way in boosting your overall score.
Since there is a penalty of 0.25 marks for every question answered incorrectly, one must make sure he/ she is absolutely confident of the answer. Guessing the answer should be avoided since there isn’t any penalty for leaving the question unattempted , but only for answering it incorrectly.
Practise previous year question papers
This must not come as a surprise for anyone who has attempted a competitive exam. Solving previous year papers gives you an idea of the types of questions and their difficulty level. You can also refer to the solutions after solving the paper and analyse the areas where there is scope for improvement.
Revision (using short video tutorials)
Revision is essential. However, if you’re really running short of time and can’t afford to spend the better half of your day revising what you’ve learnt, you can still watch a few bite-sized videos available online that, if not everything in depth, cover at least the crust of most topics and help you get closer to the cut-off score.
And there we reach the end of 8 tips we have for you, if you’re planning to nail the SBI PO exam and don’t have much time left. These are, however, just bullet points and you’re always free to customise it to something that works best for you!