The SBI PO Examination is just around the corner. It’s time to prepare, and here are some strategies.

One of the most important bank officers’ examination is here! The SBI PO Examination has been tentatively scheduled for June, as per the notification. By the time you are reading this, you would have already applied for the examination. How can you prepare for this examination by making the best of the remaining weeks?

Keep it simple

The objective test is more important than the descriptive part of the examination. While you need to really score maximum marks in the objective parts of the test, the Test of English Language, which is a descriptive test, requires passing a qualifying mark which is to be decided by the bank. The key task here is to write in simple English without many grammatical or sentence-construction errors.

The main part therefore are the multiple choice questions, in the following components:

English, with emphasis on Grammar, Vocabulary and Reading Comprehension; General Awareness, with emphasis on Marketing and Computers; Data Analysis and Interpretation, which includes use of quantitative methods and Reasoning.

One of the main mistakes that candidates make while preparing for the exam is to overestimate their chances in the actual examination based on the number of questions they are able to solve or answer correctly from a practice paper or a sample exam material. Do keep in mind that there are several questions — in fact, much more than several questions — in an actual exam set that candidates with some level of preparation can answer. The crux of the issue here is, “how much is required to get selected?” Merely feeling good about one’s own performance, without any benchmark, is a perfect recipe for disaster in a highly competitive examination with more than fifteen-lakh applicants. Remember, the margin for error could actually be wafer-thin. When translated into marks, it means that an additional mistake can cost you big time, or, conversely, an additional correct answer could get you in.

Eliminate options

In the English section, you should be able to move through the questions relatively quickly, summoning all your accumulated body of knowledge of the language. For many questions, the solution is not just about finding the correct answer. The challenge would be to eliminate the options that are close enough but presented to add complexity to the situation. The General Awareness section can quiz you on Current Affairs, Business-Related General Knowledge, Banking Terminology, terms related to Marketing and Banking, etc. While programming skills are not checked, knowledge of the use of computing technology in the banking sector is definitely expected. There may be questions about software which is used by banks for certain financial transactions or accounting. The expansion of CTS, which is a norm now for faster clearing of cheques, can be another potential question. These should give you an idea of the type of questions than can appear in this section.

Slim margin

Data Analysis and Interpretation questions will require you to make quick calculations of basic arithmetic operations of addition, subtraction multiplication and division. In the quantitative ability area, topics like Percentages, Profit and Loss, Simple Interest and Compound Interest, etc., have been favourites in PO examinations, historically. These will require a bit of reasoning also to be applied to the problem situation. The testing section of reasoning could consist of verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning based on images. Ability to identify patterns and respond to a scenario is the key for cracking these questions.

The author is a Director of T.I.M.E., Chennai.