How to Crack the SBI PO Exam in First Attempt

The State Bank of India Probationary Officer (SBI PO) exam is one of the most coveted banking exams in India. Cracking this exam on the first attempt requires a well-structured plan, dedication, and effective strategies. In this blog post, we’ll explore practical tips and techniques to help you ace the SBI PO exam on your first try.

Understand the Exam Structure

The SBI PO exam consists of three stages:

  1. Preliminary Examination (Prelims)
  2. Main Examination (Mains)
  3. Group Exercise and Interview

Preliminary Examination

The Prelims exam is the first stage and includes three sections:

  • English Language: 30 questions, 30 marks, 20 minutes
  • Quantitative Aptitude: 35 questions, 35 marks, 20 minutes
  • Reasoning Ability: 35 questions, 35 marks, 20 minutes

Total: 100 questions, 100 marks, 60 minutes

Main Examination

The Mains exam includes both objective and descriptive sections:

  • Reasoning and Computer Aptitude: 45 questions, 60 marks, 60 minutes
  • Data Analysis and Interpretation: 35 questions, 60 marks, 45 minutes
  • General/Economy/Banking Awareness: 40 questions, 40 marks, 35 minutes
  • English Language: 35 questions, 40 marks, 40 minutes

Descriptive Test: 2 questions (Letter Writing & Essay), 25 marks, 30 minutes

Total: 155 questions, 200 marks (Objective); 2 questions, 25 marks (Descriptive)

Group Exercise and Interview

Candidates who qualify in the Mains exam are called for the Group Exercise and Interview, which carries 50 marks.

Create a Study Plan

1. Know the Syllabus

Understanding the syllabus is crucial. Download the detailed syllabus from the official SBI website and keep it handy. This helps in knowing what to study and what to avoid.

2. Set Clear Goals

Set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals for your preparation. Break down the syllabus into smaller sections and assign deadlines for each.

3. Daily Schedule

Create a daily schedule that includes dedicated time for reading, revising, and practicing questions. Ensure you allocate time for breaks and relaxation to avoid burnout.

Study Material and Resources

1. Standard Books

Invest in standard books for each subject. Here are some recommended resources:

  • English Language: "Objective General English" by S.P. Bakshi
  • Quantitative Aptitude: "Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Examinations" by R.S. Aggarwal
  • Reasoning Ability: "A Modern Approach to Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning" by R.S. Aggarwal
  • General/Economy/Banking Awareness: "Banking Awareness" by Arihant Experts

2. Online Resources

Leverage online platforms for additional study materials, video lectures, and practice questions. Websites like BYJU’s, Unacademy, and Oliveboard offer comprehensive SBI PO preparation resources.

Practice and Revision

1. Mock Tests

Regularly take mock tests to assess your preparation and improve your time management skills. Analyze your performance in these tests to identify and work on your weak areas.

2. Previous Year Papers

Practicing previous years’ question papers gives you an idea of the exam pattern and the types of questions asked. It also helps you manage your time effectively during the actual exam.

3. Revision

Regular revision is essential to retain information. Make concise notes for each subject to facilitate quick revisions before the exam.

Develop Test-Taking Strategies

1. Read Questions Carefully

Carefully read each question to understand what is being asked before looking at the answer choices. This helps avoid mistakes due to misinterpretation.

2. Eliminate Wrong Answers

If you’re unsure of the correct answer, try to eliminate the obviously incorrect options first. This increases your chances of selecting the right answer from the remaining choices.

3. Manage Your Time

Time management is crucial in the SBI PO exam. Don’t spend too much time on any one question. If you’re stuck, move on and come back to it later if time permits.

Stay Healthy and Motivated

1. Physical Health

Maintain a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep. Physical well-being is crucial for maintaining concentration and stamina during preparation.

2. Mental Health

Stay positive and motivated. Surround yourself with supportive people and take breaks when needed. Meditation and mindfulness can help reduce stress and improve focus.

3. Consistent Effort

Consistency is key in SBI PO exam preparation. Even if progress seems slow, keep pushing forward with regular study and practice.


Cracking the SBI PO exam on the first attempt requires a strategic approach, dedication, and consistent effort. By understanding the exam structure, creating a robust study plan, utilizing quality resources, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, you can enhance your chances of success. Remember, persistence and perseverance are your best allies in this journey.

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