Bank Probationary Officer (Bank PO) Exam

Every year lakhs of candidates contest for few thousand bank PO (Probationary Officer) jobs by appearing for the probationary officer (Bank PO) exam. The profession of a bank P.O. is a promising career opportunity with bright prospects for promotion and salary growth. If you want to succeed in the entrance exam, you should have a fair knowledge about the syllabus and topics to be covered along with general awareness. Sheer dedication and advance preparation is the key to succeed. The bank PO entrance exam is conducted by IBPS (Institute of Banking Personnel Selection), which provides its services to all the public sector banks, regional rural banks, RBI, SBI, SIDBI and NABARD.

Different banks conduct bank PO recruitment at different point of times. The minimum eligibility criterion for bank PO exams is graduation degree in any discipline from a recognized university or an equivalent qualification and the age limit is 20 – 30 years.The number of bank PO seats is limited, while the number of candidates applying for the entrance exams is enormous. Thus, you need to work hard and prepare yourself specifically for the exams in order to succeed. The selection procedure of bank PO exams is divided into three steps –

Preliminary Examination (Written, Objective type questions)

  • Main Examination (Written, Descriptive)
  • Group Discussion and Personal Interview (Verbal)

Step 1 - The Preliminary Examination (Objective Test)

This comprises of a two hour written examination consisting of multiple choice questions from following categories

Test of Reasoning

No. of Questions - 50
Maximum Marks - 50
Time Duration - Total time 120 minutes

Test of English Language (grammar, vocabulary, comprehension etc.)

No. of Questions - 50
Maximum Marks - 50
Time Duration -

Test of Data Analysis and Interpretation

No. of Questions - 50
Maximum Marks - 50
Time Duration -

General Awareness, Marketing and computers

No. of Questions - 50
Maximum Marks - 50
Time Duration -


  • There is negative marking of ¼ marks for every incorrect answer.
  • Bank PO preliminary exams (objective test) are now conducted online.

Step 2 - The Mains Examination (Descriptive Test)

Immediately after the online preliminary exams, the main exam starts; this is also a written exam and is conducted in pen-paper module. The minimum cut off marks of the preliminary exams is decided by individual banks and Descriptive Test copies of only those candidates who qualify in the Preliminary Examination are evaluated.

The Descriptive Test comprises of long answer type questions with aim to assess the proficiency of English language of the candidates. The maximum time allowed for Descriptive Test is 60 minutes. It carries a total of 50 marks.

You can expect the descriptive question paper to contain English language questions under following categories

  • Essay Writing – Writing an essay on the given subject in about 250 words.
  • Letter Writing – There can be internal choices in this part, and you will be required to write a letter on one of the choices to viz. writing a letter to an editor, bank manager etc.
  • Precis Writing – Reading a long article and then shorten into a small paragraph without changing the actual meaning.
  • Reading and comprehension – Reading a paragraph or short article and then answering some question based on the paragraph.
  • Paragraph Writing – Writing a paragraph on a given topic in about 150 words.

The cut off marks of the descriptive test is again decided by the respective banks.

Depending upon the number of vacancies, and based on the performances of the candidates in the written exams (the Objective Test and the Descriptive Test), the shortlisted candidates are called for Group Discussion and Personal Interview.

Step 3 - Group Discussion and Personal Interview

Group Discussion aim at assessing the personal skills of a candidate, such as speaking ability, knowledge of current affairs and, attitude and temperament. Reading newspapers and watching news channels will greatly help you in this regard.Personal Interview is conducted to check the personality of the candidate in terms of behavior, conversational aptitude and knowledge about banking and finance sector.Based on the overall performance of a candidate in both the written exams, GD and PI, a final score is prepared and the shortlisted candidates are invited to join.

Related Links

ad horizontal