18 Dec

The two most sought after public sector recruitment exams in India are: SBI PO and IBPS PO. A candidate who wants to be a bank probationary officer usually takes both the exams. The objective of these exams is to assess whether the candidate has the aptitude required to be a Bank PO. Although the objective is the same, yet the pattern of the two exams is different from each other. For the benefit of candidates, the experts providing the Best Bank PO Coaching in Delhi have clearly laid out the difference in the pattern of SBI PO. The unique elements in SBI PO are discussed below-

Presence of Marketing:

Marketing is an area of testing which is unique to SBI exams. In fact, there is a composite section which has questions from Marketing, General Awareness and Computers. This section has a total of 50 questions with an equal emphasis on all the 3 areas. The questions from marketing are in general related to service marketing and marketing in banking industry. These questions are quite scoring as their difficulty level is not very high. A total of 12 questions from Marketing were there in SBI PO 2013 exam. You can understand their pattern by going through past year SBI PO & SBI Clerk exam papers.

Data Analysis & Interpretation, in place of Quantitative Aptitude:

SBI PO does not have questions from Quantitative Aptitude/Math as are there in most Govt. job exams. In place of that, SBI PO has a section on Data Analysis & Interpretation. This section aims to test your data handling and basic numeracy skills. Questions based on bar graphs, pie charts, different types of data distribution sets etc. are a part of this section. To do well on this section, you must be good at calculation. You must learn shortcuts, tricks and important values related to squares, cubes, square-roots, cube-roots, fractions, percentages etc. Without it, you may find the questions from this section lengthy, cumbersome and difficult to handle.

High difficulty level of reasoning section:

SBI PO reasoning questions thoroughly test the logical and analytical ability of the candidates. These questions are generally considered more difficult than the reasoning questions in IBPS PO. SBI clearly mentions in its recruitment notification that the difficulty level of the Reasoning section is on the higher side. The candidates find the questions on data sufficiency, degree of truth or falsity, strong & weak argument, statement-assumption, statement-course of action, statement-inference/conclusion, which are there in SBI PO, somewhat tricky and puzzling.

Same weight-age of all sections

Same weight-age is given to all the four sections in SBI PO online exam. Data Analysis & Interpretation, Reasoning, English and General Awareness, Marketing & Computers all carry equal marks. The total marks are 200 and each of these sections is worth 50 marks. This is unlike IBPS PO online exam which has five sections. In IBPS PO, Math & Reasoning carry 50 marks each, English & General Awareness carry 40 marks each and Computer Knowledge carries 20 marks.

Descriptive test

After the online test is completed, there is a descriptive test which has duration of 1 hour and carries 50 marks. It is a test of your written communication and English language comprehension and is carried out through pen/paper mode. It primarily contains three writing tasks: a short précis, a letter and an essay. You have to qualify the descriptive test by securing the passing marks decided by the bank. However, the descriptive test is evaluated only if you have passed the online objective test and have scored sufficiently high marks on it.

The table below summarizes the differences that exist in the pattern of IBPS PO & SBI PO.

1. English section is allotted only 40 marks. English section is allotted 50 marks.
2. There is a separate section on Computer Knowledge worth 20 marks. Computer Knowledge is a part of the section which also has Marketing & General Awareness.
3. A section on Quantitative Aptitude is there. There is a section on Data Analysis & Interpretation in place of Quantitative Aptitude.
4. A total of 5 sections are there. Only 4 sections are there.
5. General Awareness section is focused on Banking Industry. General Awareness part is a fair mix of questions from Current Affairs & Banking Industry.
6. There is no Descriptive Test. A Descriptive Test, carrying a weight-age of 50 marks, is also conducted.
 7. Moderate difficulty level of Reasoning section. High difficulty level of Reasoning section.


Conclusion: SBI PO is a fiercely competitive exam. Cracking it not only requires dedicated effort, but also proper exam orientation. You can be successful in SBI PO, only if you understand the uniqueness of this exam and prepare accordingly. To channelize your preparation in the right direction and to get guidance from some expert faculty you may enroll yourself in a bank PO coaching institute in Delhi.

Leave a Comment