IBPS SO 2020 – Study Tips and Preparation Strategy

IBPS SO Study Tips: After some delay, IBPS has released the notification for the IBPS SO exam. Candidates who were eagerly waiting for the release of the official notification can now apply for the IBPS SO exam. It is a great opportunity for the candidates who are eligible for the posts of IBPS SO as the competition is going to be very less when compared to the IBPS PO exam.

IBPS SO is an 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).

As the official notification for the IBPS SO exam is out, candidates must start their preparation as early as possible to take an edge over other candidates. So, in this article, we will give some of the IBPS SO study tips which you can follow in order to ace the IBPS SO exam.

Attempt a Free IBPS SO Mock Test Now and check your preparation level.

Exam pattern For IBPS SO

Before we get into the IBPS SO study tips we will discuss the exam pattern for the prelims to know the different subjects you have to cover during your preparation.

1. For Specialist Officers (Agriculture Field Officer, Marketing Officer Scale I, HR/Personnel Officer, IT Officer Scale I):

Serial No



Total no.  of questions Total Marks Duration
1. Reasoning section 50  50 120 minutes
2. English language 50 25
3. Quantitative Aptitude 50 50
Total 150 125

2. For Specialist Officers ( Law Officer and Rajbhasha Adhikari) Scale I:

Serial no Sectional topics Total no. of questions Total marks Duration
1. Reasoning section 50 50 120   minutes
2. English language 50 25
3. General Awareness

(With Special Reference to Banking)

50 50
Total 150 125


  • You can attend the examination in two languages i.e. English and Hindi except for the subject to the English Language.
  • For every incorrect response, 1/4th of the marks allocated to that question will be deducted as per negative marking.

Check the Complete Exam Pattern for IBPS SO

Important Note:

  • In 2020, IBPS SO exam will take place in 3 stages i.e. Prelims, Mains (Professional Knowledge) & Interview.
  • The IBPS SO prelims will be qualifying in nature which implies that marks obtained in prelims won’t be considered for the final merit list.
  • But, candidates need to score the min cut-off marks (to be decided by IBPS) in Prelims to sit for the Mains.
  • To clear IBPS SO prelims exam, you need to qualify in sectional as well as overall cut off as decided by IBPS.

Click Here for IBPS SO Previous Year Question Paper in PDF

Prelims Study Tips to Crack IBPS SO Section-wise Preparation

Study Tips to Crack IBPS SO English Language:

The English language is one of the most scoring sections among all other sections. The expected level of question in the English language is Moderate. There are many students who are scared to attend this section. But, with the right strategy, it is easy to score better. Check the weightage of different topics and IBPS SO study tips below:

Weightage of Topics:


Expected Questions

Reading Comprehension 10-15 Questions
Cloze test 5-10 Questions
Fill in the Blanks 1-5  Questions
Phrase Replacement/Sentence Improvement 5-10 Questions
Error Spotting 5-10 Questions
Para Jumbles / Odd Sentence out 1-5 Questions

Important Study Links for the English Language

Strategy for English:

  • Try to read all grammar rules based on the pattern, regularly.
  • Improve your vocabulary by reading the newspaper every day.
  • While reading newspapers, try to improve your reading speed. It will help you to score more in reading comprehension.
  • Try to attend your strongest part in the section initially, which will give you more confidence.

Study Tips to Crack IBPS SO Reasoning Section:

Logical reasoning section is one of the trickiest sections asked in the exam. The questions may be tough and the section may be time-consuming as well. You need to be good in your logical and analytical skills to score well in this section. Check the weightage of different topics and IBPS SO study tips below:

  Weightage of Topics:

Topics Expected Questions
Seating Arrangement 10-12 Questions
Puzzles 5-10 Questions
Data Sufficiency 3-5 Questions
Machine Input Output 1-5 Questions
Syllogism 3-5 Questions
Inequalities 1-5 Questions
Ordering and Ranking 2-6 Questions
Blood Relations 2-5 Questions
Direction and Distance 2-5 Questions
Coding-decoding 5-10 Questions
Verbal Reasoning 5-8 Questions

Important Study Links for Reasoning Ability

Strategy for Reasoning:

  • Categorize reasoning topics as simple, medium and complex based on your convenience.
  • Do your Attempts in the same order in the examination.
  • Solve puzzles online to sharpen your logical thinking.
  • Practice topic-wise tests, identify your weak areas and focus on those topics and find the shortcut to attempt those topics to avoid more time consumption.
  • Last year, questions from this section were difficult.
  • So practice with previous year question paper, it will give you an idea to split your time.

Study Tips to Crack IBPS SO Quantitative Section:

The quant section is there to test a candidate’s accuracy and speed. Quantitative Aptitude section is said to be time-consuming and accuracy. Check the weightage of different topics and IBPS SO study tips below:

Weightage of Topics:
             Topics       Expected Questions
Simplification/Approximation 0-5 Questions
Number Series 0-5 Questions
Data Interpretation 13-15 Questions
Algebra 5-6 Questions
Data Sufficiency 0-5 Questions
Miscellaneous Topics 15-17 Questions

Important Study Links for Quantitative Aptitude

Strategy for Quantitative section:

  • Practice tests from different difficult levels – start from easy and move to difficult.
  • Start with topics that form the base for other topics and then move on to higher-level difficult topics
  • Improve your calculation speed by memorizing tables, practicing mental calculations
  • Practice more difficult problems on simplification/ approximation, number series, data interpretation to boost your score
  • Hard practice in miscellaneous topics will help you in data sufficiency part.

IBPS SO Study Tips and Important Topics for Mains Exam

Candidates can refer to some of the important topics for different posts which are important from the mains exam point of view.

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

IBPS SO Study Tips FAQs

Q: How can I tackle Quantitative aptitude section for the IBPS SO exam?

A: For clearing the quantitative aptitude section you need two major things i.e. Basics and Practice.

Q: Which is the most asked topic in the quantitative aptitude section?

A: Data Interpretation and Arithmetic are the two most asked topics from the quantitative aptitude section.

Q: Is reasoning ability section tough?

A: No, this section will be of moderate level. Candidates need to be well versed with the puzzles and seating arrangements as most of the questions are asked from them.

Q: What is the professional knowledge section in the mains section?

A: The professional knowledge section tests the knowledge of the candidates according to the posts they have applied for.

Q: What is the selection procedure for the IBPS SO exam?

A: The Selection procedure of the IBPS SO exam consists of three stages: Prelims, Mains and Interview stage.

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