IBPS SO Study Plan : Step by Step Strategy to Ace the Exam

IBPS SO Study Plan : IBPS SO is a exam conducted by Institute of Banking Personnel selection (IBPS) for the posts of Specialist officers (SO) such as  IT Officer, Agricultural Field Officer, Rajbhasha Adhikari, Law Officer, HR/ Personnel Officer, and Marketing Officer under various PSBs (Public Sector Banks). 

IBPS SO is a great opportunity for eligible candidates as the competition is lesser as compared to IBPS PO and the salary and allowances is almost the same.

Since the dates for the prelims of IBPS SO is near, candidates should start preparing for the same and they should not wait for the official notification of IBPS SO to start their preparation.

Last year IBPS released 1163 vacancies in total for all the posts. This year also, the vacancies are expected to be somewhere close to last year.

Meanwhile, in this article we will take you through the IBPS SO study plan so that you can devise your strategy accordingly and ace the IBPS SO exam.

IBPS SO Study Plan: Prelims Exam Pattern

Before we get into the IBPS SO study plan, you must understand the exam pattern to get an idea in which direction you should prepare.

The Prelims exam has three sections for all the posts:

  1. For Rajbhasha Adhikari and Law Officer posts:
  • English Language
  • Reasoning Ability
  • General Awareness with special reference to the Banking Industry
  1. For IT Officer, Agriculture Field Officer, HR/Personnel Officer and Marketing Officer posts:
  • English Language
  • Reasoning Ability
  • Quantitative Aptitude

There will be a sectional cut-off for each section which will be decided by the IBPS. Also, there will be a negative marking of ¼ or or 0.25 marks for every answer marked wrong.

IBPS SO Study Plan : Prelims Section-wise strategy

English Section

  • Reading Comprehension, Cloze test and Fillers forms almost 70% of the paper. You can improve on these parts just by reading daily.
  • You can start by reading your favourite novel or even a comic. This will help you develop a habit of reading.
  • Then you can start reading your favourite section in the newspaper. 
  • Then finally move on to reading Editorial sections on a daily basis.
  • You can learn the vocabulary part from Norman Lewis book.
  • Learn the important grammar rules which are repeated in various banking exams.

Reasoning Ability

  • Clear the basics of every topic.
  • Learn step by step approach to attempt various types of puzzles.
  • Practice puzzles daily and miscellaneous topics every other day.
  • First try to develop accuracy, then work on your speed with regular practice.
  • There is no shortcut to increase speed. The speed in the reasoning section can only be increased through regular practice.

Quantitative Aptitude

  • Try to develop the basics of each topic from experienced faculties. 
  • Once basics are clear, then you can move onto shortcuts to attain speed in a topic.
  • Remember you should not run only after shortcuts.
  • Try to cover tables upto 20, squares upto 40, cubes upto 20 and some basic percentage to fraction conversions.
  • You can use any app from playstore to practice calculations daily.
  • Solve questions from each topic to understand the pattern of questions.

Know more about  complete syllabus for quantitative aptitude from here

Once you are done with your sectional strategies you should start giving the sectional test.

You can also give daily free quizzes from the ibpsguide website.

Then you can finally move onto giving full length mocks on the latest pattern by ibpsguide expert team.

Prelims Booklist:

IBPS SO Study Plan: Mains Exam Pattern

Mains exam pattern for IBPS SO is based on the particular posts professional knowledge only. Mains exam pattern of IBPS SO is different from that of IBPS PO and both should not be confused with.

For the Post of Law Officer, IT Officer, Agriculture Field Officer, HR/Personnel Officer and Marketing Officer

Name of Test No of Questions Maximum Marks Duration
Professional Knowledge 60 60 45 minutes


For the Post of Rajbhasha Adhikari

Name of Test No. of Questions Maximum Marks Duration
Professional Knowledge (Objective) 45 60 30 minutes
Professional Knowledge (descriptive) 2 30 minutes


Note : There will be a penalty of ¼ or 0.25 marks for every question marked wrong. No marks will be deducted for un-attempted questions.

IBPS SO Study Plan : Mains Important Topics

Candidates should note down important topics for their respective fields and prepare accordingly:

IT Officer (Scale – I)
  • Database Management System
  • Data Communication and Network
  • Operating System
  • Data Structure
  • Software Engineering
  • Computer Organization and Microprocessor
  • Object-Oriented Programming
Agriculture Field Officer (Scale – I)
  • Basics of Crop Production
  • Horticulture
  • Seed Science
  • Agronomy and Irrigation
  • Agricultural Economics
  • Agricultural Practices
  • Soil Resources
  • Animal Husbandry
  • Agroforestry
  • Ecology
  • Government Schemes
           Marketing Officer (Scale – I)
  • Basics of Marketing Management
  • Brand Management
  • Advertising
  • PR
  • Sales
  • Retail
  • Business Ethics
  • Market Segmentation
  • Product Lifecycle
  • Market Research and forecasting demand
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Service Marketing
  • Marketing Strategies
Rajbhasha Adhikari
  • Banking Regulations Passages
  • Synonyms-Antonyms
  • Cloze Test
  • Fill in the Blanks
  • Practical Translations
  • Hindi/English Grammar
HR/Personnel Officer (Scale – I)
  • Human Resource and Development
  • Business Policy and Strategic Analysis
  • Transnational Analysis
  • Training and Development
  • Recruitment and Selection
  • Rewards and Recognition
  • Industrial Relations
  • Grievance and Conflict Management
  • Performance Management and Appraisal
              Law Officer (Scale – I)
  • Banking Regulations
  • Compliance and Legal Aspects
  • Relevant Law and Orders related to negotiable instruments, Securities, foreign exchanges
  • Prevention of Money laundering, Limitation Act
  • Consumer Protection
  • Banking Ombudsman Scheme
  • Laws and Actions with a direct link to Banking Sector
  • Bankers Book Evidence Act
  • DRT Act

Bonus Tips

  • Study for Prelims and Mains exams simultaneously. Don’t wait till prelims result.
  • If you haven’t started yet, start preparing now and don’t wait for the notification to come out.
  • Always choose the resources carefully.
  • Solve previous year papers to get an idea of the level of the exam.
  • Focus more on basics.
  • Study daily even if you study for 2 hours.
  • Make a daily study plan and stick to it.
  • Complete at least 80% of your daily targets.
  • Give mocks to know your weak areas.
  • Improve on your weak areas.

You can attempt the mock tests based on the latest pattern from here

You can also check out the IBPS SO Mains level mock test from here.


Q1. Does IBPS SO and IBPS PO have the same exam pattern for mains examination?

Ans. No, Both have different exam patterns.

Q2. What are the IBPS SO vacancies?

Ans. IBPS SO official notification is not out yet, we will update you as soon as the notifications are out.

Q3. Can I apply for multiple posts in IBPS SO?

Ans. No, you can apply for only one post under IBPS SO.

Q4. What should be IBPS SO Study plan?

Ans. IBPS SO Study plan is discussed in detail in the above post.

Q5. What is the IBPS SO eligibility criteria for all the posts?

Ans. You can look for eligibility criteria for all the posts in detail from here.

That’s all for this blog. Hope you follow the above IBPS SO Study Plan and excel in your upcoming examination.

Best of Luck.

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