How To Prepare For The IBPS PO Exam

IBPS PO examination is a national examination conducted for the selection of candidates to fill the post of Probationary Officer in various public sector banks throughout the country. The IBPS PO examination has been conducted from the year 2011 and the 2021 exam will be the 11th one. Qualifying in this exam makes one eligible for a wide range of postings in public sector banks like Punjab National Bank, Bank of Baroda, State Bank of India, Life Insurance Corporation, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, Bank of India, Canara Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Bank of Maharashtra and others which are a part of the recruitment.

Registration and vacancy

The registration procedure is done online upon filling the registration form. The form would be made available on the official website The registration is completed on payment of a category-wise fee for the application. The number of aspirants is constantly increasing for this examination. The vacancy is variable from 3000 to 4500 posts every year.  

Eligibility criteria

To be able to apply for the IBPS PO examination, one has to satisfy a few basic criteria. This must be the first goal of the candidate, even before preparation. 

  1. Educational qualification: The candidates must have a basic education of a Bachelor’s graduation degree that is recognised by the Government of India or an equivalent qualification recognised by the Central Government with the required proof.
  2.  Language: One must be proficient in the state or union territory’s official language. The candidate must be able to read, write and speak in the language.
  3. Computer literacy: The candidate must have the basic operating knowledge of the computer with all the systems that may be required for the post. 
  4. Citizenship criteria: The candidate must be
  1.  A citizen of India
  2.  Subject of Nepal or Bhutan
  3. Tibetan refugees migrated before the 1st of January 1962.
  4. People of Indian origin migrated from Burma, Pakistan, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, East African countries like Zaire, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, and Ethiopia with the intent of settlement.

      5. Age eligibility: The candidate must be above the age of 20 and below the age of 30 at the time of registration, with relevant relaxations for various categories.

Examination format

Understanding the basic examination format helps a lot in approaching the exam. The entire examination is divided into three parts. 

  1. Online preliminary examination: This is the first part that the candidates must clear. This exam has three sections: English Language, Numerical Ability, and Reasoning. The sections carry 30, 35, and 35 marks respectively and the entire examination is to be completed in 60 minutes.
  2. Online Mains Examination: This is the second stage that is attempted by those who clear the first stage. This consists of a descriptive paper and an objective section with four parts: Reasoning and Computer aptitude, English language, Data Analysis, and Interpretation and General, economy/banking awareness. Each section carries 60,40,60, and 40 marks, respectively. The entire examination is to be completed in 180 minutes. The descriptive section has a letter and essay writing, with a total of 25 marks.
  3. Interview: The final stage is the interview process. It is conducted by the Nodal Officer in each state. The interview scores over 100 marks.

Once the candidate clears all three stages they will be placed at the post of Probationary Officer. It is particularly important that the candidate practices with the pattern in mind to make the preparation more effective.

Preparation for IBPS PO Examination

Preparation for an examination where over 8 lakh candidates take part is not a simple test, but it is not impossible either. With a few steps, followed diligently throughout the course of preparation time, the exam can be cracked with ease. Let us look at these steps:

1. Planning

With any examination, the most important part that can make or break the outcome is the planning. While formulating a preparation plan, the first and foremost aspect to deal with is the syllabus. Make sure you have all the required study materials and the list of syllabi, to get a good overview of what is to be done.

2. Timetable

Forming a well-scheduled timetable is also very important. Decide the number of hours to be spent studying in a day, and the number of days left. Work keeping in mind your personal strengths and weaknesses, setting aside more time for those subjects that require more attention.

3. Strong foundation

Strengthen the basic knowledge. Every subject has some basic points that form the foundation of the concept. Once this is established, studying, and understanding the subject becomes easier. Also, this will help in answering any question with the same or even similar concept.

4. Taking notes

Making notes is a huge part of the preparation. While many may not need it while studying, it plays an important role in revision. Notes can also help in collecting volatile information and points to be revised at a glance. 

5. Mock tests

One of the most used tools by almost everyone who clears the exam is to take mock exams. IBPS PO mock test will give the candidate a good idea of the entire format of the paper along with the time. Mock tests also help in analysing weak points so that more time can be spent on these areas. Mock exams also improve one’s confidence for the test and will make sure that the candidate stays calm and prepared at the time of the actual examination.

6. Reading habits

Reading every day is a habit that comes with time and practice. It is a learnable skill that improves one’s concentration and language. Spend time on subjects like general awareness, English, and computer aptitude. These cannot be learned at the last minute and must be continuously worked on over a period of time.

7. Regular practice

Last but not the least, is to practice. Practicing on a regular basis, in an organized and disciplined manner is the one preparational aid that is irreplaceable. Solving questions of the previous years, and constant revisions will strengthen concepts and improve memory as well. 

With this systematic preparation approach and regular practice, the IBPS PO examination becomes achievable for any candidate.