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How to prepare for SBI PO 2017 mains examination?


With preliminary examination for State Bank of India (SBI)’s probationary officers (POs) concluded on May 7, 2017 and the mains scheduled for June 4, 2017, the journey towards a PO job has reached at a crucial mid-way juncture. As important as SBI PO prelims were, they were but a qualifier – a screening test. The aim of the candidate would have been just to crack the cut-offs as the prelims scores will not be considered during the final section stage.

Candidates would need to score well in the main examination since the marks are calculated in the final selection, the merit list.

Preparation strategies

The candidates have a few more days to prepare for SBI PO mains to bag one of 2313 coveted spots. Here is a list of seven pointers that candidates can adapt to create their strategies for the mains:

  1. Review: The SBI PO main examination pattern has not changed and is the same like the previous year. So there are more than enough samples to refer to. But nothing teaches you better than your mistakes. Hence, candidates need to analyse individual preliminary test scores. It will give them an idea on sections that need improvement.
  2. Familiarise: They have to be familiar with the structure, pattern, and the difficulty level of the exam. The sections to be attempted are placed in the following default order as set by the system – General awareness about economy/ banking > English language > Reasoning and computer aptitude > Data analysis and interpretation. Time allotted for each section is different and candidates need to time themselves.
  3. Practice: Ideally, candidates should practice mock tests to assess their performance as per exam pattern. Business Standard Learning has an exclusive 25 test packages of 155 questions each designed. Interested candidates can purchase the tests worth Rs. 1,250 for a special price Rs. 300. The tests will also give candidates an idea on how to attempt online exam, and about the exam interface. Specially designed by designed by experts to extensively cover the expected syllabus, the test are also created to help candidates keep abreast of the current affairs. With exams drawing near candidates have to practice questions from those sections everyday for at least two hours.
  4. Easy does it: Of the four sections in the objective test, reasoning and computer aptitude, and General awareness about economy/ banking are two easy to score papers. Candidates should start by preparing them first.
  5. Tough call: Reasoning section carries the maximum duration, i.e. 60 minutes. So it’s likely that the questions could be difficult, hence they require bit more practice that others.
  6. Get writing: Preparing for descriptive test could be tricky since in addition to getting a better grip on current affairs, the candidates also need to get better at typing. An hour long test for 50 marks contains letter writing and essay question. Candidates have to practice letter writing in a MS-Word document and get comfortable in typing. For essay writing practice, they can rewrite an article from newspapers and news portals.
  7. Be prepared: Candidates should get their examination bag ready much in advance. They should ensure that the bag includes:
  • A photocopy of an ID proof along with the original
  • Print out of the call letter / admit card and with photograph pasted in the designated space

SBI PO main exam 2017 call letters

The hall tickets / call letters will be available for download from May 22, 2017 onwards. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to the SBI PO hall tickets 2017:

1.      Log on to the official website of bank – www.sbi.co.in
2.      Click on the Careers tab on the top right corner of the homepage
3.      Click on ticker SBI PO – Main Examination on 04-06-2017: Call Letter Available scrolling in the Important Notice section, or
4.      Select Call Letters for the main exams from the Latest Announcement section under Recruitment of PO officer section
5.      Enter the registration number / roll number and password / date of birth on the page that opens
6.      Press Login to get the admit card
7.      Download and save the admit card
8.      Take a printout of the same

After taking a print out, candidates have to paste a passport size photograph in the appropriate box. They have to ensure that the photograph is the same as the one uploaded during the application process.

Selection process

SBI PO main examination 2017 is an online test, usually conducted after 10-15 days of prelims results. The SBI PO main examination divided into two parts:
·         Objective test for 200 marks
·         Descriptive test for 50 marks

Both papers would be held one after other on the same day itself. And marks of both tests will be taken up while calculating the final scores.


Scheme of the objective test

SectionQuestionsMarksTime limit
Reasoning and computer aptitude456060 minutes
Data analysis and interpretation356045 minutes
General awareness about economy/ banking404035 minutes
English language354040 minutes
Total1552003 hours

Scheme of the descriptive test

SectionQuestionsMarksTime limit
Letter writing and essay writing25030 minutes

The descriptive paper, of total 50 marks, has to be completed in total 30 minutes. This test will check letter writing and essay writing skills. The descriptive Test paper will be evaluated for only those students who will score qualifying marks in the objective tests.

SBI PO main exam – previous cutoffs

Although the final aim of any candidate appearing for the mains would be to score better, it is important to understand the selection process and cutoff marks. To be eligible for group discussion and personal interview, candidate needs to score certain minimum marks in each section and the total of main exam. There are cutoffs for each section and on the total marks of objective test. Here are the cutoff marks of the last shortlisted candidate in 2016 and 2015 mains respectively:

Cutoff scores – SBI PO mains 2016
SubjectTotal marksCategory
Data analysis and interpretation609666666
General / economy / banking awareness/ computer knowledge4013101010101010
English language406444444
Total (objective test)20070606060606060
Descriptive test502017.517.517.517.517.517.5
Objective + descriptive test2509087.257878.7579.582.7579.3


Cutoff scores – SBI PO mains 2015
SubjectTotal marksCategory
Data analysis and interpretation5012.2510107.57.57.5
General / economy / banking awareness/ computer knowledge5021.2518.518.518.518.518.5
English language5012.2510107.57.57.5
Total (objective test)200807070606060
Descriptive test502017.517.517.517.517.5
Objective + descriptive test250124.25110.889799589.75

GD and interview

In the phase-III of SBI PO recruitment, the candidates are scored out of total 50 marks. There are cutoffs in this stage as well.

Final cutoffs

After completing all three, the final cutoffs are computed. Marks secured in main exam (250 marks) are converted to 75. GD and interview marks (out of 50) are converted to 25. The final merit list is then prepared for a total of 100 marks, completed by appointment of candidates.





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