Candidates gearing up to take up the Common Written Exams in October can expect a tougher paper and higher level of competition

The banking sector has become much sought after by graduates across the spectrum owing to a spike in the pay, thanks to the Sixth Pay Commission and stability in times of recession.

According to experts, banking is no more the preferred option of only those from rural backgrounds and graduates from non-professional courses; even students of engineering and management are looking at joining this sector.

The competition is only set to go up with the Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS) now changing the upper age limit to 28 from 30. In addition, only candidates with 60 per cent marks and above in their graduation can apply now.

“Narrowing down the pool of applicants to a higher standard is surely going to enhance the level of competition,” says Sai Kumar, director, T.I.M.E, Bangalore. According to him, even the exam itself may get a notch tougher as the sector is looking to recruit a better breed of candidates.

“As students armed with MBAs who have not landed jobs or those who have got inferior placements are joining the ranks of lakhs of banking sector aspirants, candidates should be prepared to face a tough exam as well,” said Mr. Kumar.

There are a minimum of 20,000-25,000 vacancies every year in public sector banks and nearly three lakh candidates apply for these positions, he added.

The cut-offs are decided by the board of the respective bank. “Students who score well in the exam will be eligible for interviews conducted by banks separately,” said Aiyanna K.P., Financial Literacy Officer, Grameena Abhudaya Trust, Udupi.


Candidates who wish to take up the next Probationary Officer Common Written Exam in October need to start working on their general awareness knowledge from now, suggest experts.

“The verbal and quantitative sections of the exam are comparatively easy as opposed to the general awareness section,” says Mr. Kumar.

He advises students to start preparing early by reading all the newspapers everyday to keep themselves abreast with news from around the world. “Ideally, a student must begin reading all papers six months prior to the exam,” he said.

The exam is also more a test of speed, said Mr. Aiyanna. “Candidates need to be quick in answering their paper. And they cannot take the chance of going wrong as there is also negative marking. It is advisable that students keep track of the day-to-day news and also read editorials in newspapers to answer general awareness questions,” he added.

The online exam is going to be not much different from the paper and pen exam and unlike the GRE and GMAT it is not a computer-adaptive test.

“One question will follow another (students will be given rough sheets to work out their calculations) and students just need to click on the right answer. They can review their answers by scrolling back or skip questions and go back to them later. There is no reason to worry,” assures Mr. Kumar.

Register today

The Probationary Officer (PO) Common Written Exam (CWE PO/MT-III) for recruitment of POs in about 20 public sector banks is all set to go online this year. The computer-based exam will be conducted in October and online registration begins on July 22. The last date to register is September 12 and the exams will be conducted on October 19, 20, 26 and 27.

The results of the exam will be declared in the third or fourth week of November. Visit the IBPS website for details and updates.

Free training

A free pre-examination training will be arranged by the nodal banks/participating organisations to a limited number of candidates belonging to Scheduled Caste/ Scheduled Tribe/minority communities at some centres including Bangalore, Gulbarga, Hubli, Mangalore and Mysore.