SBI PO Exam Pattern 2021: Check the Exam Preparation Strategy

SBI PO Exam Pattern 2021: State Bank of India PO exam needs highly dedicated hard work. For that, the SBI PO exam pattern is very much important before you start the preparation. Here we have updated the SBI PO exam pattern for prelims and mains.

The SBI PO exam pattern is the schedule that mentions the sections that are included in the exam. Also, the SBI PO exam pattern contains a number of questions, total marks, and time duration for all the sections. Without the SBI PO exam pattern 2021, you cannot have a strategy. The SBI PO Exam pattern helps to analyze your strong and weak zones. By referring to the SBI bank PO exam pattern you can know the outline of the exam. Also, it will help you to prepare an exam strategy by referring to the weightage of questions. “What is the pattern of SBI PO exam?” is a common question among the aspirants after notification release. Here the SBI PO Exam pattern is updated for both prelims and mains. Candidates check it before you start the preparation.

Get More: SBI PO Notification PDF

SBI PO Selection Procedure

There are three phases in the SBI PO selection process. They are given below in order as follows,

  • Online Preliminary exam
  • Online Mains exam
  • Group exercise and interview

Each and every stage is a hurdle for the candidates. If you clear all these hurdles successfully, you can achieve your goal. Go through the updated SBI PO exam pattern and syllabus for all the stages and plan your preparation well. A well-planned preparation gives you real success.
Most of the candidates clear the prelims stage very easily. But the mains stage is very difficult to clear. In recent times, the SBI PO mains is a very difficult exam to crack. So candidates have to put in a lot of effort to crack the mains exam. Here SBI PO mains exam pattern and syllabus are available. Check them and plan a strategy for you. Only then you can handle the mains exam well. 

SBI PO 2021 Mock Test

SBI PO Prelims Exam Pattern 2021

The SBI PO pre-exam pattern is given for your reference. It consists of 3 sections namely English language, quantitative aptitude, and reasoning ability. The important details about the SBI PO prelims exam pattern are given here.

Prelims Exam Details

  • The Reasoning ability section has 35 questions comprising for totally for 35 marks.
  • The English language section will have 30 questions. Each question carries one mark, such that the total marks for this section are 30.
  • The quantitative aptitude section has 35 questions. The total marks for this section are 35.
  • So, totally the exam has 100 questions and the total marks for the exam are 100.
  • Students have to clear the overall cut off to clear the prelims examination. But there is no sectional cut off as per the SBI PO prelims exam pattern 2021.
  • For each correct answer, you will get one mark
  • There is a penalty for wrong answers. For each wrong answer, you will lose 0.25 marks as a penalty.
  • If a question is left blank, i.e. if no answer is marked, there will be no penalty for that question.
  • Each section will have a separate timing of 20 minutes.
  • In the exam, a section appears first. After the completion of 20 minutes, the next section appears automatically. In the halfway, you cannot swap between the sections.

SBI PO Prelims Exam Pattern

S No. Section No. Of questions Maximum marks Duration
1. Reasoning ability 35 35 20 mins
2. Quantitative  aptitude 35 35 20 mins
3. English language 30 30 20 mins
  Total 100 100 1 hour

SBI PO Mains Exam Pattern 2021

The SBI PO mains exam pattern has 4 sections. They are English language, general awareness, data interpretation & analysis, and reasoning ability & computer aptitude. There is negative marking for the wrong answers. Also, sectional time is available as mentioned in the table.  Apart from these sections, there will be a descriptive test. In this descriptive test, you have to type a letter-writing and an essay in 30 minutes. The total marks for the descriptive test are 50. The detailed information about the SBI PO mains exam pattern 2020 is given for your reference.

Mains Exam Details

  • The reasoning ability & computer aptitude section contains a total of 45 questions. The total marks for this section are 60. The sectional timing for this section is 60 minutes.
  • The data interpretation and analysis section have 35 questions in total. The maximum marks for this section are also 60. The sectional time duration for this part is 45 minutes.
  • In the general/economy/banking awareness section, a total of 40 questions is available. The total marks for this section are 40. Also, 35 minutes of time duration is given for this section.
  • The English language section has a total of 35 questions. The maximum marks for this part are 40. Also, the sectional timing for this part is 40 minutes.
  • Also, 1/4th of marks assigned to the question will be deducted as a penalty for each wrong answer.
  • Like the prelims exam, mains also have no sectional cut-off. The candidates clearing the overall cut off are shortlisted for the group exercise and personal interview.
  • As there are sectional timings as mentioned, you cannot swap between the sections as per your wish
  • Apart from these four sections, the SBI PO mains exam pattern also has a descriptive test. After the completion of four sections, automatically the page for the descriptive test will appear on the screen.
  • In the descriptive test you have to type letter writing and an essay. The time duration for the descriptive test is 30 minutes. The total marks for the descriptive test are 50.
  • Including a descriptive test, the total marks for the SBI PO mains exam are 250.

Mains Pattern

S.No. Section Questions Marks Duration
1. Reasoning ability & computer aptitude 45 60 60 mins
2. Data interpretation and analysis 35 60 45 mins
3. General/ Economy/ Banking awareness 40 40 35 mins
4. English language 35 40 40 mins
  Total 155 200 3 hours
Descriptive test: Letter and essay writing 2 50 30 mins

Group Exercise and Interview

The candidates clearing the mains exam are called for the third and final round. In this round, group exercise and interviews are conducted. The total marks for the group exercise is 20. For the interview round the maximum marks is 30. So, the maximum marks for the final phase of the SBI PO recruitment are 50. THE SBI PO exam pattern, i.e., mark split of group exercise and interview rounds are given in the table.

Name of the Round Maximum marks
Group Exercise 20
Interview 30
Total 50

Final Selection

After the completion of all the phases, the merit list is prepared based on the final cut off. The final cut off is arrived based on the following steps.

  • The prelims marks are not taken into consideration while calculating the final cut off.
  • The marks obtained in the mains exam and final phase are taken to arrive at the final cut-off score.
  • The total marks for the mains exam are 250 (including the marks of the descriptive test). The marks scored by the candidate out of 250 is converted to out of 75 marks.
  • The total marks for the group exercise and interview round are 50. Here, the marks scored out of 50 are converted to out of 25 marks.
  • By adding these two arrived marks, the final scores of candidates out of 100 are calculated.
  • Based on the available vacancies, a final cut off out of 100 is fixed. The candidates scoring above the cut-off marks are included for the preparation of the final merit list.

So candidates refer to the SBI PO exam pattern pdf. Then with a proper preparation plan, you can crack this exam easily.

SBI PO Syllabus

“What is the syllabus for SBI PO exam?” The Syllabus for SBI PO contains the exam topics of all the sections. So you can refer to it and prepare for the exam easily. A proper study plan can be prepared only with reference to the updated syllabus. Like SBI PO 2021 exam pattern, here the complete updated SBI PO syllabus 2021 pdf download for both prelims and mains is given.

SBI PO Prelims Syllabus 2021

For all the 3 sections of the prelims exam, the updated syllabus is provided here. Almost every topic is covered under these 3 sections. So you can make your preparation more effective.

Reasoning Ability Quantitative Aptitude English language
Syllogism Sequence & Series Reading comprehension
Inequality Simplification Para jumbles
Direction sense Ratio and proportion Cloze test
Blood relation Percentage Fillers
Alpha-numeric series Average Error spotting
Order and ranking Partnership Paragraph completion
Puzzle Quadratic equation Sentence connectors
Seating arrangement Profit and Loss Miscellaneous
Input-Output Time and work  
Coding decoding Pipes and cisterns  
Data sufficiency Boats and stream  
Tabulation Problems on age  
Logical reasoning Problems on train  
  Mixture of allegation  
  Time, speed & distance  
  Data interpretation  
  Simple and Compound interest  
  Permutation, combination & probability  

SBI PO Mains Syllabus 2021

The SBI PO mains syllabus for all the sections are covered in the below table.

Reasoning Ability Data analysis and interpretation Computer Aptitude General awareness English language
Syllogism Sequence & Series Internet Current affairs Reading comprehension
Coded Inequality Tabular graph MS Office Financial awareness Para jumbles
Coded Direction sense Line graph Memory  Static GK Cloze test
Coded Blood relation Pie chart Computer hardware Banking awareness Fillers
Alpha-numeric series Bar graph Keyboard shortcuts   Error spotting
Order and ranking Radar graph Computer fundamentals   Paragraph completion
Scheduling Missing DI Computer abbreviations   Sentence connectors
Tabulation Caselet DI Computer terminologies   Word association
Input-Output Data sufficiency Operating system   Vocabulary
Coding decoding Permutation, combination & probability Number system   Verbal ability
Data sufficiency Miscellaneous Networking   Sentence improvement
Critical reasoning   Basic of logic gates   Miscellaneous
Verbal reasoning        
Circle Seating arrangement        
Square seating arrangement        
Analytical and decision making        
Course of action

Use of Scribe & compensatory time

In the SBI PO application form, the candidates wishing to have a scribe should mention it in their online application form. The facility of a scribe is allowed to a candidate only if the percentage disability is 40% or more. And the compensatory time is for the candidates having a disability with the physical limitation to write including that of speed. In all such cases where a scribe is used, and the following rules are applicable.

  • Only if the candidate mention in the application, he can attend the exam with a help of a scribe.
  • Both the candidate and the scribe will have to give a suitable undertaking at the time of the exam. Also, the undertaking must be in the prescribed format.
  • The candidates eligible to take the test with a scribe will have eligibility for a compensatory time also.
  • For such candidates, a compensatory time of 20 minutes for every hour of the exam is allowed in the SBI PO exam pattern. It is no matter whether he is availing the facility of scribe or not.
  • Candidate should arrange their own scribe at their own cost.

SBI PO Exam Strategy

Candidates refer to the SBI PO exam pattern and syllabus to prepare a strategy for you. The strategy should be in such a way that you could score more marks in the exam. Here we have added the exam strategies for each of the sections.

English Language

As per the SBI PO exam pattern 2021, the number of questions in this section is 30. If you are strong in grammar, then you can easily score in most parts of this section. In this section, the time-consuming topics are jumbled sentences and reading comprehension so attend these topics finally. At first, you can target some topics that are listed below,

  • Spot the error
  • Cloze test
  • Fill in the blanks
  • Miscellaneous

As per the SBI PO mains exam pattern 2021, this section has 35 questions. In the mains exam also you can follow the same exam strategy as said above. But the standard of questions will be very high. Therefore, your preparation has to match those standards. For that, you should practice more mock tests on all the topics. Try to improve your accuracy in this section. Analyze the SBI PO exam pattern and cut off marks. You will come to know about the importance of this section. If you score well in this section, your burden for the other section will reduce considerably.

Quantitative Aptitude

As per the SBI PO exam pattern, this section contains 30 questions in the preliminary exam. This section needs fast calculation tricks and short cut methods. Only then, you can shine in this part. Coming to the strategy, aim to score marks from the easier topics first. In these topics, maintain your speed and accuracy at a high rate. Then automatically you can harvest a big score from this section. Some of the target topics for this section are,

  • Simplification and approximation
  • Wrong number series and missing number series
  • Data interpretation (Easy to moderate level)
  • Quadratic equation

In the prelims exam, the order of question selection is very important. If you excel in that factor you can easily attend more questions. Attend the difficult word problems at last. Also, if the data interpretation is difficult, skip it or attend at final timing.

As per the SBI PO exam pattern 2021 for the mains exam, this section has 35 questions. But it covers a bulk of 60 marks. So the standard of questions also will be very high. You have to attend too many mock tests and gain experience before the exam. Also, you can expect more questions from the data interpretation topic. All the data interpretation will be in a difficult manner. So refer to the old question papers and practice sample DI questions. So that you can attend this section without any fear in the mains exam.

Reasoning ability

As per the SBI PO prelims exam pattern, the reasoning section has a total of 35 questions. Most of the candidates are stronger in this section. So in the competition, you also have to attend to more questions in an accurate manner. In this section, some topics are very easy. Some of them are listed below,

  • Syllogism
  • Inequality
  • Alphanumeric series
  • Direction sense
  • Blood relation
  • Order and ranking

You can attend the questions in this order itself. If you are comfortable with a different order, then stick to your strategy. After completing these topics attend to the puzzles and seating arrangements. If you follow this strategy, you can cover more questions in very less time.

As per the SBI PO mains exam pattern, this section has 45 questions in total. However, it covers a whopping 60 marks. This is because the questions will be at a hard level. Strategy wise you can follow the above-said order. But you can attend a decent number of questions, only if you practice with complete dedication. So practice in a serious manner for this section in the mains exam.

General awareness

As per the SBI PO mains exam pattern 2021, the general awareness section covers 40 questions. The prelims exam does not include this section. However, in the mains exam, this section plays a major role in the final results. More candidates have missed the victory due to fewer marks in this section. Use the following tips to score more marks in this section.

  • Read current affairs in a daily manner. Only then you can complete a bulk amount of topics within the exam time.
  • Prepare notes and revise them daily. So that you will not forget the important points
  • Attend online quizzes regularly. It is the only way to improve your accuracy for this section.
  • Use power capsules for revision purposes. The power capsules will make your revision works much easier.

SBI PO Preparation Tips

  • Know SBI PO exam pattern and syllabus
  • Check the previous years’ question papers
  • Brush up the basic skills
  • Revise through short video tutorials
  • Build a section-wise strategy to attempt the exam
  • Analyze mock test and identify weak areas
  • Read newspaper daily to increase your General Knowledge skills
  • Practice regularly the Numerical Ability and Problem Solving Skills
  • Do not do guesswork to avoid negative marking

Importance of Previous Year Paper Practice

We have given the updated syllabus and exam pattern of SBI PO. This will help you to proceed with your preparation. But candidates should practice with smart methods to take lead in the competition. If you practice with the SBI PO previous year papers it will help you a lot in improving your performance.

  • More practice of previous year paper will help you to deal with difficult questions easily.
  • You can become a master in every tougher topic such as puzzles, seating arrangements, etc.
  • It is a real exam point of view preparation. Practice papers with timing as per the real exam. So that it will be a trial for the exam

The previous year’s papers will reflect the exact SBI PO exam pattern. So practice with previous year papers more.

Get More: SBI PO Previous Year Papers

Importance of Mock Test Practice

Our part is to give you the updated SBI PO exam pattern and syllabus. It is all in your hands to practice well with the available sources. We have prepared a very good mock test series for the SBI PO exam. The importance of the SBI PO mock test is,

  • You can get rid of various careless mistakes through the mock test practice.
  • Through the mock test practice, you can learn more exam point of view on a difficult question.
  • After the completion of the mock test practice, you can check detailed solutions for all the questions. So that you can easily clarify your doubts.
  • After the completion of the mock test, you can find your real preparation standard. So that it will help you to optimize your preparation to score much in the exam.
  • The mock tests are based on the actual SBI PO prelims and mains exam patterns. Also, it follows the updated syllabus.
  • Mock tests will easily eliminate your exam fear.
  • After a continuous mock test practice, you will get a good flow in selecting correct questions.
  • Finally, you can enhance your speed, accuracy, and time management skills through the mock test practice.

In the basic preparation, the level does more topic tests to analyze your strength and weakness. Then move on to the sectional mock test practice. Finally, move on to full-length mock test practice. Before the exam practice more full-length mock tests.

Start Practice: SBI PO Mock Test

Practice through Online Videos

Some people may find it very difficult and boring to prepare with books and other study materials. An online video course is the best option. The importance of video course learning is available here.

  • The faculty members are very well trained in all the subjects.
  • They will teach you as per the updated SBI PO exam pattern and syllabus.
  • They will teach you very important shortcuts and tricks. Learn them to save time in the exam
  • They will handle doubt sessions to clear your doubts.
  • You can learn from your home. It will give you a lot of convenience in exam preparation.

So candidates can also opt for this method of learning for the SBI PO exam. It will be very useful in learning a lot of tips from the trainers to crack the SBI PO exams.

Learn through E-books

E-books are very good sources to prepare for the SBI PO exam. Some people will find it hard to carry more test books for preparation and practice. Those people can download the E-books for exam preparation. The importance of E-books are,

  • You can download any number of data and prepare whenever you want.
  • It will cover the actual SBI PO exam pattern and syllabus.
  • You can see the elaborated solutions and descriptions for all the puzzles and difficult problems.
  • For preparing topics like banking awareness, static GK, etc, E-books are a very good source.

So candidates use E-books for your SBI PO exam preparation.

SBI PO Previous Year Exam Analysis

Exam analysis is very important in your preparation part. As you analyze the SBI PO exam pattern and syllabus, you have to check the previous year’s exam analysis. It will help you to revamp your preparation as per the previous year’s exam difficulty level. Also, you can prepare each section by taking it as a reference and benchmark. The SBI PO exam analysis will deal with the difficulties of each section and the individual topics. Also, you can know the number of questions asked in each topic. More importantly, the exam analysis will assess the number of good attempts in each section and the overall good attempts. By referring to this SBI PO exam analysis candidates can easily know the toughness level of the exam. Here the SBI PO previous year exam analysis has been added for your reference.

SBI PO 2021 Mains Exam Analysis

Name of the Subject Good Attempts
Reasoning & Computer Aptitude 13-19
Data Analysis & Interpretation 10-13
General / Economy / Banking Awareness 24-28
English Language 18-23 
Total 75-80


Data Analysis & Interpretation – Moderate to Hard
Topics No. of Questions
New Pattern Number Series 3 
Population Density-Based Graph DI 3
New Pattern Time and work Table Based DI 4
Probability-Based DI 4
Missing DI 4
Quantity I, II, and III 3
Caselet 4
Data Sufficiency 5
Application Sums 5
Total 35


Reasoning & Computer Aptitude – Moderate to Hard
Topics No. of Questions
Seating Arrangement 13
Puzzle 10
Statement and inference 4
Statement and conclusion 4
Course of action 3
Input and Output 4
Coded Direction Sense 3
Coding-Decoding 4
Total 45


English Language – Easy to Moderate
Topics No. of Questions
Reading Comprehension (New Pattern)  5-6 Paragraphs given  20
Single Fillers (New Pattern)Based on a column 5
Phrase Replacement 5
Sentence Replacement 5
Total 35

The level of general awareness section was easy to moderate. Most of the general Awareness questions are from the current affairs section from august, 2020 to January 2021. Some questions from static GK was asked. The break up is given below.

  • Current Affairs– 35 questions
  • Static GK– 5 questions

The topics asked in the descriptive test are given below.

The Essay topics were based on

  • E-commerce
  • Internet Banking
  • Financial Inclusion

Also, the letter-writing topics are based on

  • A Letter to Bank Manager
  • Thank you letter for a friend

SBI PO Cut Off

SBI PO Cut Off is the minimum required marks to get qualified in the exam. Here the SBI PO previous year cut-offs have been mentioned for your reference. It will help you to know about the standard of the exam. Here the SBI PO cut-offs at various stages for the years 2018 and 2019 have been compared. So you can get a clear vision about the increase in competition and cut off.

As per the SBI PO exam pattern, there is no sectional cut off. So candidates focus on your strong zones and try to boost your total score. Only then you can crack the overall cut off.


SBI PO Prelims Cut Off (Out of 100)

2019 2018
General 71.00 56.75
EWS 68.25
OBC 68.25 54.25
SC 61.75 49.00
ST 54.75 43.00
LD 59.50
VI 64.75 49.00
HI 16.25 14.75
OH 45.25


   Category SBI PO Mains Cut Off (Out of 250)
2019 2018
General 104.42 93.10
EWS 100.89
OBC 94.28 86.42
SC 82.50 77.13
ST 77.63 75.01
LD 86.51 75.03
VI 101.75 88.91
HI 75.36 75.16
D & E 75.14



SBI PO Mains Final Normalized Cut Off (Out of 100)

2019 2018
General 54.11 50.79
EWS 50.13
OBC 48.78 46.26
SC 45.74 43.99
ST 43.90 39.87
LD 47.11 43.04
VI 52.58 47.09
HI 35.29 32.69
D & E 33.37


  • Along with the SBI PO exam pattern and syllabus, the candidates have to analyze all these data. So that they can easily come to a conclusion on how to crack the SBI PO exam in the very first attempt. Yes, the candidates can even clear this exam in the very first attempt itself. For that, a lot of analysis, practice, confidence, and preparation is needed. Focused preparation and practice will surely give you success soon.

Some Common Exam Tips

Here we are giving you some common exam tips. Some tips may look very simple. But it will have a huge impact on your performance. Every single mark is very essential to succeed in the SBI PO exam. By looking at the SBI PO exam pattern you can find the section which has more weightage. Then as per your strength, fix a strategy.

  • Don’t prefer a tougher puzzle or seating arrangement at the beginning time of the exam. It will lower your confidence if you take more time on it.
  • Don’t recheck a solution after having solved a question. Because it will consume again some more. Also if you get a different answer the second time, then it will decrease your confidence level further.
  • Concentrate fully on the question, especially while solving puzzles, seating arrangements, data interpretation, etc. If you lose concentration, then you will end up with a tragedy for sure.
  • Don’t attend to questions in a fluke manner. It will lower your accuracy. Your total score will get affected due to the negative marking.

Get More: SBI PO Study Plan

Some Useful Preparation Aspects

Many candidates are failing the exam due to their weakness in any particular section.  As per the SBI PO exam pattern, analyze your weak sections first. Then try to enhance your marks in that section. Here a general preparation aspect is given here to crack the SBI PO exam.

  • Concentrate more on the general awareness part and English language section. These sections will surely give you a huge lead in the competition.
  • If you are good at reasoning or aptitude, don’t be careless and ignore them in the daily preparation. Allocate sufficient time for those sections also.
  • Concentrate more on prelims first. Many candidates think it is an easy round and fail there itself.

So candidates follow these methods to get success in SBI PO exams.

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs will clarify the common doubts of candidates. So refer to the questions given below.

Does the SBI PO exam have negative marking?
Yes, as per SBI PO exam pattern 2020, both prelims and mains have a negative marking of 1/4th of the marks assigned, for each wrong answer.
Is there any percentage criteria for SBI PO?
No, there are not any minimum percentage criteria to apply for this exam.
There is a sectional cut off for each section in the SBI PO exam?
There is no sectional cut off for both prelims and mains. If the candidates clear the overall cut off, it is more than enough to qualify for the further rounds
When can I apply for the SBI PO 2021?
You can start your online application form from 2021.
What is the marking scheme for SBI PO Syllabus 2021?
There will be three sections: Prelims, Mains, GD, and PI. Prelims will be of 100 marks, Mains of 250 marks including the Descriptive Test while GD & PI will be of 20 and 30 marks respectively.
What are the criteria for final selection as an SBI PO?
The final selection will be made on the basis of the marks secured in the SBI PO Mains and GD & PI.
What kind of topics will be asked for SBI PO GD and PI?
The topics will cover the issues of burning issues of national and international interest. The topics can be related to NPI, Natural Calamity, Women Empowerment, Digitisation, etc.
How can I prepare for the SBI PO Exam Online?
You can study online by visiting at You will get video lectures, E-books, Books, and other materials as well.